A great day out
Piggy backing the popularity of a child phenomenon

By Chris Smith 23/04 Updated: 20/06 09:53

PEPPA Pig is a children's TV phenomenon. Since airing on Channel Five in 2004 the show has grown in popularity and is now on television in 180 countries. So it is no surprise there is now a theme park based on Peppa Pig, her family and friends, writes Chris Smith

And not even torrential rain could dampen the spirits of my daughter on our visit, such is her love of all things Peppa.

Peppa Pig World opened in April although it is not a theme park in its own right; it is located in a three-acre corner of Paultons Park in New Forest, Hampshire.

Walking through the entrance was like stepping into the television and actually being in one of the many episodes. Even the show's voice-over man reads out safety instructions as you queue for each of the seven rides: Windy Castle, George’s Dinosaur Adventure, Daddy Pig’s Car Ride, Grandpa Pig’s Little Train, Grandpa Pig’s Boat Trip, Peppa’s Big Balloon Ride and Miss Rabbit’s Helicopter Flight.

All are in the open and left everyone feeling rather soggy on such a wet day.

The format and design of two rides – Windy Castle and Miss Rabbit’s Helicopter Ride – were such that they took longer to load people onto them than the rides themselves - ok on a sunny day I suppose - while on others the park’s workers did not always seem keen to fill up carriages which lengthened the waits of a largely inpatient target audience.

As well as the rides there is also the chance for youngsters to step inside the Pig family home and enjoy a fun adventure playground and the usual sideshows at an extra cost.

But certainly the highlight for my daughter was meeting Peppa and her little brother George. Life size characters of the pair made regular appearances throughout the day.

Paultons Park is not just about Peppa Pig. Set in 140 acres off junction 2 of the M27 between Southampton and Bournemouth it first opened in 1983 as a country park and bird garden.

In recent years it has enjoyed major investment transforming it into a major family attraction with 60 rides and attractions, including three roller coasters and two water rides. The park is also home to a number of animals meerkats, penguins and over 80 different species of exotic birds.

Like most theme parks it is not a cheap day out with entry starting at £19.50 per person, family tickets from £56. But children under one metre tall pay nothing which makes it well worth the trip if you have toddlers who are as obsessed with Peppa Pig as my daughter has become in the first two and a half years of her life.

For full ticket prices and opening times log onto www.paultonspark.co.uk.

A Great Day Out: Truly Britain's ultimate caste: visit www.coventryobserver.co.uk/2011/10/11/entertainment-review-18532.html

A Great Day Out: Youth revisited at Drayton Manor: visit www.coventryobserver.co.uk/2011/10/11/entertainment-review-16766.html

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