IT’S the mark of a good time that four months after our visit to Paultons Park, each week my two year old son still asks when we’ll go back.
The Hampshire theme park – home to Peppa Pig World – has left a long lasting impression on my family.
Not just those of us under 1m tall either, I’m convinced I’ll never see a theme park in the same way again.
Paultons had a lot of hype to live up to before our visit, as it has been the UK's No.1 amusement park in TripAdvisor's Travellers' Choice Awards for five years in a row.
But everything from the quality of the rides to the food and drink on offer, the friendliness of the staff and even the cleanliness of the toilets was first class.
Thanks to its famous tenant, the most famous pig in the world (sorry Babe), the Hampshire attraction attracts a lot of families with young children.
We spent a good two hours in Peppa Pig World, on rides like Grampy Rabbit’s Sailing Club, The Queen’s Flying Coach, Grandpa Pig’s Little Train and Peppa’s Big Balloon.
But, in my opinion, the best rides are found in the rest of the park – and the queues are shorter too.
While there are plenty of attractions for older children, including the newly opened Cyclonator Gyro Swing and Storm Chaser rollercoaster, what’s refreshing is the number of rides for children aged five and under.
Most theme parks cater for pre-schoolers, but Paultons has something for them everywhere you look – not just within a small section of the park.
Outside of Peppa Pig World, my son rode a tractor, sailed in a pirate ship, drove his own car (pedals and all), was squirted in the face by a dinosaur on the Jurassic-themed train ride and toured the park on a miniature railway. And there were plenty we didn’t have time for.
Best of all, nearly all rides had queues of 0-10 minutes.
It might not be a turbo-charged Disney park but the ethos is the same, every single interaction with a member of staff is smiley and helpful.
An impressed mum friend who joined me on the trip commented: “You actually feel like they want you to have a great day.”
Their app is also impressive, with an easy-to-use interactive map that tells you about nearby rides and how long the wait times are, as well as a list of the nearest food stalls and what type of food they offer.
But I’m almost embarrassed to say what left the best impression on me – the baby changing facilities.
Because I’m a 37 year old mum and not a thrill-seeking teenager, that’s what turns my head these days and they’re the best I’ve ever seen.
In the first one we visited there were spotless mats, a toilet with a mini seat for child-sized bottoms, a chair strapped to the wall next to the loo for babies while the parent does their business and a breastfeeding cubicle with a microwave for heating up bottles.
Boring stuff, I know, but I’ve replaced my child’s dirty nappy in many public facilities and trust me – what I’ve just described is The Ritz of baby changing.
It’s details like this that makes it feel like Paultons was designed by families for families, which is probably why it does so well year after year in reviews from actual members of the public.
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