Is Paultons Park the Best Park in the UK for Toddlers?
Before our visit to Paultons Park, we presumed that theme parks were probably best suited for families with older children. Guessing that it would be a long time until our two-year olds could be strapped into a rollercoaster, we hadn’t really entertained the idea of visiting an amusement park with them (Legoland aside).
However, and much to our delight, we recently discovered a park perfect for toddlers: Paultons Park.
We were blown away by the number of rides for two year olds at Paultons Park, alongside endless playgrounds, gardens and animal encounters. Far from dragging two bored toddlers around, we found ourselves struggling to remove them from the park at the end of a fun-filled day.
Although many know Paultons Park for its famous Peppa Pig World, we discovered that it offers far more for toddlers than just its pink, piggy world. From tractor rides to dinosaur encounters, a mini log flume to car rides aplenty, Paultons Park is fantastic for toddlers.
Below are our 9 reasons why Paultons Park is the best theme park for toddlers in the UK, including our own favourite rides and attractions.
1. Toddlers Go Free
One main reason to visit Paultons Park with a toddler is that they get in for free (provided they’re under 1 metre tall).
Considering that there are so many rides and experiences for toddlers at Paultons Park, this is a brilliant bonus – and well worth making the most of while your child is still little.
For adults, or those over 1 metre, prices vary dependent on the time of year (i.e. during November, prices are discounted).
Generally, however, it’s £37.00 per ticket for adults and children if you book ahead online, or £42.00 if you pay on the day. The ticket price includes parking and access to all worlds, rides, gardens and character meets.
2. Toddler Friendly Rides at Paultons Park
The main reason Paultons Park is the best theme park for toddlers is the huge number of rides for little people. Far from having to base yourself in Peppa Pig World, you’ll find toddler-friendly rides across all ‘worlds’ in the Park.
Below is a round up of the best rides for toddlers at Paultons Park, aside from those found in Peppa Pig World (more of that later).
Critter Creek is a small and compact World that’s far quieter than Peppa Pig World.
Henry and Olive really enjoyed Professor Blast’s Expedition Express (a train ride), especially Henry who sat at the front and got to ‘drive’ the train and toot-toot the horn.
At Critter Creek, you’ll also find Beastie Burrow, which Olive and Henry were very excited to explore. Inside you’ll find a collection of bugs, insects and fish. Olive’s favourite was Eric the Chameleon – he was quite the character.
If your child is 0.9m or over, then the Cat-O-Pillar is the perfect introductory rollercoaster for them. We’re hoping to bring our little adrenaline junkie toddlers back for a ride next year.
If you have a dinosaur loving toddler, then the Lost Kingdom is the ideal place to come.
The Dinosaur Tour Co is a self-drive ride, that takes you through a wild prehistoric land, encountering dinosaurs as you go. Henry loved ride and was filled with self-importance as he ‘drove’ his 4×4 around the park.
The Boulder Dash is another toddler friendly ride with no height restrictions. When we visited, the boulders were spinning quite fast, so we decided not to take the toddlers on it (having recently eaten a huge portion of chips each).
Dino chase is another ride with no height restrictions in Lost Kingdom, and is classed as a ‘junior’ rollercoaster. Again, although Olive and Henry could have gone on it, it was quite fast and so we decided to wait until they’re a little older before strapping them into this (albeit very tame) rollercoaster.
While we were exploring the Lost Kingdom, we also noticed that a new mini log flume ride is coming to the World in 2024, which will includes rapids and a drop.
Tornado Springs was our favourite World at Paultons Park, and it’s also where you’ll find the best rollercoasters for older children and adults. During our visit in October, the World was alive with Halloween decorations and was so beautiful to explore.
In terms of toddler friendly rides at Tornado Springs, Olive and Henry really enjoyed Al’s Auto Academy. This is a self-drive (with adult) road trip through the US, and both toddlers seemed to truly believe that they were driving the car. You can also have your photo taken before the ride and pick up your ‘driving license’ after (at an additional fee).
Olive insisted on picking hers up and now religiously – and proudly – wears her lanyard, with her ‘driving license’ attached.
In Tornado Springs, you’ll also discover Trecking Tractors, which again is a self-drive tractor ride through a wholesome, American farm. We took the opportunity to sit back and relax in the back of the tractor, as Olive and Henry drove their machines – and so missed the fact there’s a photo opportunity on this particular ride.
Make sure you’re ready for it, so you’re not caught slacking on the parenting front like we were; capturing us both with our eyes closed.
Finally, at Tornado Springs, make sure you hop on the Rio Grande Train Ride. This miniature train travels through both Tornado Springs, surrounding woods and around the beautiful Wild Lands. It’s recently been refurbished to include onboard audio and was a great, slower ride to enjoy after a few frantic hours in Peppa Pig World.
Tornado Springs alone underlines just why Paultons Park is so great for toddlers.
Just behind Peppa Pig World, you’ll discover Wild Lands – a critter filled escape. Here you can take a break from busy rides to enjoy a land filled with meerkats, mongoose, Fennec foxes and pygmy mice.
There’s also a walk through an aviary, with a mix of bird species. This attraction was particularly toddler-immersive. Aside from this, Olive really enjoyed the ‘nocturnal house’, where she was careful to ‘shush’ everyone to make sure the sleeping animals weren’t woken.
3. Peppa Pig World
For most, Paultons Park is synonymous with Peppa Pig World – aka toddler Mecca.
We must admit, although we’d definitely heard of Peppa Pig World, we were a little hesitant to take our Peppa loving toddlers to it. Having had our fair share of disappointing experiences in crowded, over priced Peppa-themed events, we were worried that Peppa Pig World might follow suit.
However, and walking into Peppa Pig World (and Paultons Park more generally), we were blown away by the level of detail, quality and cleanliness of the grounds. Having been fortunate enough to spend a week at Universal Studios a few years ago, we firmly believe that Peppa Pig World is a strong UK comparable in terms of quality and experience.
A colourful, happy land filled with toddler-friendly rides, flowers, clean streets and an excellent playground, Peppa Pig World is a fantastic place to explore – for toddlers and adults alike.
Height Restrictions at Peppa Pig World
There are 9 rides at Peppa Pig World and only one has a height restriction. This is George’s Dinosaur Adventure ride (probably the most popular in the this World) and has a height restriction of 0.85m.
Best Rides for Toddlers at Peppa Pig World
As there are no height restrictions on eight of the nine rides, there are plenty for toddlers to enjoy at Peppa Pig World. This made it ideal for our toddling two year olds.
The rides at Peppa Pig World are:
- Peppa’s Big Balloon Ride
- George’s Dinosaur Adventure (height restriction of 0.85m)
- Grandpa Pig’s Little Train
- Daddy Pig’s Car Ride
- The Queen’s Flying Coach Ride
- Windy Castle Ride
- Miss Rabbit’s Helicopter Flight
- Grandpa Pig’s Boat Trip
- Grandpa’ Pig’s Sailing Boat Trip
We enjoyed all of the brilliant rides at Peppa Pig World, with Olive and Henry particularly enjoying the self-drive Daddy Pig’s Car Ride and Grandpa Pig’s Boat trip. The rides seemed to last about 4-5 minutes each, which is ideal for toddlers with short attention spans (i.e. all of them).
During our visit, the queues averaged around 20-minutes (this was during half-term), but some queues were longer, especially for George’s Dinosaur Adventure. We found even 20-minutes to be quite testing with a toddler in tow, who had little patience when it came to waiting.
If you have a toddler that isn’t the best at standing in line (what toddler is?) then you could take advantage of the Peppa Pig World Early Pass. This pass allows you access into the World between 9-10am, before the park officially opens. As well as 30-minute early access to the rides, the pass also includes a personal meeting with Peppa and George, including photo opportunities.
The Peppa Pig World Early Pass is available on select dates and is next available from March 2024. Alternatively, consider visiting during term time if possible, when the Park will generally be much quieter.
What Else is there to do at Peppa Pig World?
Rides aside, there’s plenty more for your toddler to enjoy at Peppa Pig World. As soon as we arrived, Olive made a beeline for Mr Potato’s playground, which was incredibly cute – in fact, I think this playground was her favourite part of Peppa Pig World. There’s also the equally sweet Peppa Pig’s House (3 Astley Street), which your toddler can explore.
For rainy days (or brave parents who can face it), there’s also a huge indoor soft play – George’s Spaceship Indoor Playzone. This is toddler heaven with slides, climbing structures, balls and tubes aplenty. For true Peppa Pig fanatics, the World is also home to the largest Peppa Pig store in the world – something parents might want to prepare for (or actively avoid) during their visit.
Toddler Friendly Food at Peppa Pig World
There are two toddler-friendly eating spots at Peppa Pig World – Daddy Pigs Big Tummy Cafe and the Queen’s Kitchen, as well as Miss Rabbit’s ice cream factory. Both offer your usual theme park fare, including sausage rolls, pasties, pizza and toasties.
If you’re looking for a healthier lunch, we recommend you bring a picnic along to enjoy. The eateries across all of the Worlds can be crowded, with 20-30 minute wait, so you may want to come pre-prepared to avoid any ‘hangry’ meltdowns.
4. Animals at Paultons Park
Toddler-friendly rides aside, another reason why Paultons Park is the best theme park for toddlers is the animals there. During our visit, Olive and Henry enjoyed penguin feeding, which they found hysterical.
As animal lovers, our toddlers loved the addition of the zoo (mentioned above in the Wild Worlds) and it was nice to take some time out from the rides, for a bit of slower paced animal spotting.
The Nature Discovery Trail is also a brilliant place to take your toddler for a little downtime. This is woodland trail that weaves through trees and marshes, and has over 40 bat and bird boxes, designed to encourage native New Forest species to the area.
5. Playgrounds at Paultons Park
One unexpected highlight of Paultons Park were the number of themed playgrounds open to toddlers. In fact, I dare say that Olive enjoyed these playgrounds more than the rides themselves.
Allowing her to burn off energy in between waiting in line was perfect, and we could rest our weary feet with a cup of tea. Olive was a particular fan of Mr Potato’s Playground in Peppa Pig World, Parking Lot Tots (designed specifically for toddlers) and Little Explorers, which is a dinosaur themed playground.
6. The Grounds at Paultons Park
Another reason why we think Paultons Park is the best theme park for toddlers in the UK is the number of beautiful gardens and trails available.
On a perfectly crisp, autumnal afternoon, we found the gardens of Paultons a lovely escape from the crowds. Sensing that Olive and Henry needed a break from the hustle and bustle, we had a lovely walk around both the Japanese garden and the Snakes and Ladders garden.
You can view the full list of gardens ahead of your trip here, to help plan some much needed time out with your toddler. The number of incredibly manicured and pristine gardens throughout the park were a real surprise to us and something we hadn’t expected.
The parks are also a great option for your toddler if they’re in need of a nap, with plenty of quiet spaces for them to take a pram snooze (and you too!)
7. Park Size
Another reason why Paultons Park is the best theme park for toddlers is its size.
Although the park has plenty to offer, it’s actually very walkable – even with a toddler in tow. With two toddlers who actively avoid sitting in their buggies, we didn’t find ourselves exhausted at the end of the day from lugging them around.
Instead, both Olive and Henry walked a lot of the park themselves and it felt very do-able to see it all.
Alternatively, you can hire a stroller at Paultons Park, although these do need to be reserved ahead of time (£10 for a single stroller).
8. Toddler-Friendly Toilets
Anyone with a potty-training toddler knows how important toddler-friendly toilets are when you’re out and about. In fact, I can’t think of anything more important than a clean, easily accessible toilet during this testing time.
Thankfully, Paultons Park recognises this.
The first thing I commented on when we arrived at Paultons Park was just how clean and child-friendly the toilets were – with all toilets offering child-sized seats to pull down.
For those with smaller children, there are large baby care centres dotted around the park that are big enough to put a stroller in (something that’s not always possible when you’re out and about). Again, these felt clean, spacious and hygienic.
9. Tot Swap Tickets
Tot swap tickets are an ingenious offering for parents who can’t go on height restricted rides together due to childcare. Rather than one parent having to queue for a ride, while the other cares for their toddler, and the next adult then queuing all over again, tot swap tickets allows both parents to ride in quick succession.
Once the first member of the party has enjoyed the ride, they simply ask for a tot swap ticket on exit. This ticket allows the other adult to be able to skip the queue, and enjoy the ride too, within a 10-minute period.
We used the Tot Swap tickets on two of the rollercoasters, with me and Laura riding first, before swapping with our partners. We thought this was an excellent idea and something that makes Paultons Park great for toddlers (and their weary parents).
Paultons Park – Essential Information
Hotels Near Paultons Park
If you’re looking for toddler friendly hotels near to the park, then Paultons have already done the hard work for you. This list of toddler-friendly hotels near Paultons Park is incredibly comprehensive and all of those listed are included in Paultons short break offering, which starts from £164 per family.
Paultons short break packages include one night’s accommodation in any of the listed hotels, a free breakfast, and a two day pass for the price of one. They do also offer a 2-night deal, but I’m not sure you’d need that long – especially if visiting with a toddler.
Where is Paultons Park?
Paultons Park is located in Romsey, in the New Forest National Park. During our trip to Paultons, we were staying in the New Forest as part of a longer toddler-friendly holiday and we’d highly recommend staying if you can.
Just a 15-minute drive from our holiday cottage in Lyndhurst, Paultons Park was the ideal day trip during our holiday, without any long car journeys or the stress of early starts.
Aside from Paultons Park, the New Forest has so much to offer in terms of toddler activities, including horse riding, New Forest Wildlife Park, Beaulieu, Exbury Gardens and a day at the coast at beautiful Lymington.
Paultons Park App
We highly recommend downloading the Paultons Park app before your visit.
We found it really useful for sorting through the rides to find those that didn’t have height restrictions (and were therefore suitable for toddlers).
The app was also really useful in showing live queue times, so we could avoid those with long waits.