Diggerland – fun for kids of all ages!!
I’ve wanted to go to Diggerland for ages, but have been waiting until my son was a little older so that he would be able to go on a few more of the rides. My husband was also very excited by the prospect of getting to drive a real JCB, so when we were offered the opportunity to go to Diggerland for this review, we jumped at the chance.
In preparation for our visit I checked the website, where there is a very handy height chart, which clearly shows what rides children are allowed on based on their height, which is very helpful to plan your day.
We were taking a 3 year old and a 15 month old. As the 3 year old was over 1m tall, he was able to go on the majority of the rides. Our 15 month old, at 80cm, could go on less than half of the rides, but he was able to enter the park free of charge, and with 4 adults, I was confident we would be able to entertain the little one whilst others went on the bigger rides. Also, bear in mind if you are pregnant that there will also be restrictions for you on some of the rides.
Having had a few wet days prior to our visit, we travelled armed with wellies and raincoats, but luckily for us, the sun was shining, and it was suncream we needed. If you do find yourself caught out by rain though, I found the Diggerland Goodie Store has a number of reasonably priced wellies and rain ponchos available to purchase, so you’d still be able to enjoy your day.
We used sat-nav to find Diggerland Kent, which is only an hour from Crawley, so an easy distance for a day out. We didn’t have a problem finding the place, but, if you’re not using a sat nav, be aware that there are no brown signs until you’re almost on top of Diggerland, so it’s best to know where you’re going beforehand rather than relying on signs.
Arriving at Diggerland
When you arrive, there are two queues for entry, one for pre-booked tickets or cash purchases, and a second for all other ticket purchases. The first line was much smaller, so if you haven’t managed to pre-book, it might be a good idea to take some cash to get through the lines quicker. On entry, you can pick up the height chart above to take around the park with you, but if you don’t, there’s plenty of signage next to each ride. I did notice that some of the rides have conflicting minimum heights on their signs (perhaps they had recently been changed?), but staff were more than happy to clarify for us. There are lots of rides and activities that we could go on as a family, or parent and child, and even a few that pre-schoolers could go on their own, but obviously use your judgement. Our 3 year old wouldn’t have had a clue what to do on the mini landrovers, even though he was tall enough to ride on his own! If your toddler wants to drive something though, the go karts are a good alternative, as a parent can sit on the back to help steer.
The Diggerland mascots, Dotty and Dug, were wandering around the park during the day. They greeted us on arrival, which both Mini Mumblers loved – they kept going back for more high fives! They were great with children, and happy to get down to their level to interact, although I’m not sure how they felt about being poked in the face by a baby!
We started off on the Dumper Trucks. Daddy and Grandad were in their element, while Granny and Mini Mumbler looked a little more apprehensive, but as the trucks only go at walking pace, everyone managed to drive round the course without any trouble. Then there was a great deal of hilarity trying to knock over the skittles and hook ducks. It’s much more difficult that it looks, especially with a child on your lap intent on pulling the levers for you, and there was much competition between me and Mr Mumbler to see who could knock over all their skittles first!
We also got to try out Diggerland versions of a classic fairground ride with the Dig-a-round, which was great fun, although bear in mind this is not the easiest for an adult to get in and out of!
The Sky Shuttle was definitely one of our favourites. I’m not always a fan of heights, so wasn’t sure what I’d make of being 50ft up, but the view over the Medway was well worth it, and as it’s a very gentle climb, both boys loved it.
Before stopping for lunch, Mr Mumbler had a go at driving a JCB, accompanied by a Diggerland marshall. He had a great time driving, and once he’d got the hang of the controls enjoyed purposely driving over all the bumps in the course to make people bounce around!
We’d opted to keep costs down and take our own lunch, so found ourselves a shady table to eat our picnic. The tables immediately outside the Diggerland café are not for picnics, but there are a number of tables outside the soft play, and there are also a few more dotted around the park. Whilst we didn’t try any of the lunches from the Diggerland café, I stopped off there later in the day for a snack and a drink, and was impressed by the variety on the menu, with all day breakfasts, main meals (including a vegetarian and children’s selection), burgers, salads, paninis and jacket potatos, and most meals available for under £8. The café is also fully licensed, with a selection of alcoholic beverages for parents, and, unlike what I have heard about some other Diggerland restaurants, this one does accept card payments. As it was a lovely sunny day, there was also an ice cream van in the centre of the park – I can imagine this being wildly popular during the summer holidays!
After lunch, we decided to try out some of the larger rides, starting with the Ground Shuttle. This was a very bumpy ride – my 3 year old loved it, but I could imagine some children may find it a bit rough! The Dirt Diggers and Giant Diggers were also great fun – Grandad now wants a digger for his birthday! And it wouldn’t be a day at Diggerland without a go on the Spindizzy! Having just eaten, not all of us were keen on being spun around, so Mr Mumbler took the 3 year old on this one whilst I took the little one to ride on the coin operated diggers in the soft play centre.
After this we took a ride around the park on the train. This is great for the kids, with steering wheels in the front of the main compartment, and individual cars behind for the slightly older children. In fact I saw a number of children rejoining the queue after each ride, so it was definitely a favourite! There were no seatbelts, so we had to keep a hold on our 15 month old, as he’s a bit of a wriggler, but he absolutely loved having his own steering wheel to drive with as we went around the park.
For the Younger Children
With the boys getting a bit tired by this point, and my youngest son desperate to join in, we headed over to the Wheelz Play Zone, stocked up with Little Tikes coupe cars, including a fire engine with working water tank, sand and water tables, and a giant sandpit full of toy diggers. This was probably one of the boys’ favourite parts of the park, and there’s a few more picnic tables here, so we settled down with a cake and a drink from the Diggerland Café whilst the children played. Before we left, we also stopped off for a quick go round the soft play, which extends over 2 stories of inflatables, ball pits, and slides. There are tables in here too, so a good place for parents to rest whilst the kids burn off some energy.
As with all attractions, the exit is through the shop. As the parent of young children, I always find this a bit daunting, as I’m expecting to hear cries of “I want this toy!” and “Mummy, can I have this…and this…and this…”. I was pleasantly surprised by the Diggerland Goodies Store, as there are a number of relatively cheap digger-related souveniers, and each child gets a free certificate (although you have to ask for it). Also, keep a look out for the prize draw box for a chance to win free entry on your next visit!
Would I recommend it?
We were at Diggerland for just over 6 hours, and had a fantastic day, with plenty to do for all ages, and it was great to have some options for the little kids too in the Wheelz Play Zone and soft play. There weren’t any long queues, so we go to try everything, which was great. I also noticed that there were a number of diggers not in use on each ride, so even in peak time, with these in operation, the queue time hopefully wouldn’t be too long. Overall, I’d have to say Diggerland is a brilliant change of pace from other local parks and attractions, and I’d definitely recommend it for a day out.
Diggerland have kindly provided Mumbler sites with an exclusive discount voucher, you just need to print it off and take it with you to enjoy 20% off entry prices.
We were provided with one free family ticket for the purposes of this review. Our views are our own honest opinion, and reflect our personal experience on the day.