I was recently sent complimentary tickets to Diggerland. The closest site to us is in Yorkshire, so we planned to save them until Damian had some time off and head over the M62 for a day out.
We had hoped to go last Tuesday, but when I checked the website to get the address and see what time it opened I saw it was actually only open at weekends until the beginning of July when it opens daily. So, we instead decided to head there on Saturday.
I was a bit unsure if it would be busy with it being a weekend but it wasn’t too busy, probably just right. We arrived around 10:45 and headed in. The first thing that struck me was how clean the site is and how friendly the staff are. The site is really easy to find (it’s not far from J31 of the M62) and there is ample car parking. When we headed in the lady on duty got out a measuring stick to check Daniel and Emma’s height. Emma is below 80cm (so can’t go on many of the rides) and Daniel was just over 90cm, which meant he could got on 15 of the 18 things.
We went into the park and whilst I’d read that it was a small site I was surprised at how small it was, that said it was a good size for toddlers (and there looks to be some building work taking place on site too so it might be being expanded soon). Daniel and Damian went straight on the first ride and Daniel loved it. We had a look around at the diggers and Daniel and Damian headed over to a driving area. It was a shame really that Emma couldn’t go on this, she would have been fine on my knee as I drove (as Daniel was on Damian’s knee) but as she is short and below the height limit, she couldn’t go on it. Daniel is around 90cm and after queuing for this the assistant checked Daniel’s height against the sign and said that he was too short but that he could go on it anyway. A similar thing happened again a bit later on where the assistant checked him and said he would be ‘all right’. This is an issue because children under 90cm are free, over 90cm are the same price as an adult. I would have been cross if I had paid for Daniel’s entry to find he was being refused entry to a ride (and conversely I would be annoyed if I found out someone who had a child just under the 90cm and hadn’t paid was able to enjoy the rides ‘free’).
The concept is really good and Daniel is digger obsessed after our break in Bluestone when he saw lots of diggers! Emma enjoyed clambering over the things she could do and as it was getting a bit warm we headed into the soft play area. This was really quiet and they looked to be setting up for a children’s party. Emma and Daniel had a play in the bouncy castle type thing for a while and Daniel headed onto the bigger soft play structure.
We then decided to have lunch. I had made a picnic as I wasn’t too sure of the prices of the the food onsite (nor what it was they served) as the Diggerland website was down for a few days due to server issues. You are able to head back to the car park with ease (just make sure you get your hand stamped) so I grabbed our picnic and headed back in. We found a picnic bench and enjoyed our food. We were lucky we managed to find one in the shade (we sat near the soft play area) as a lot of the site is very exposed, which made standing around with Emma waiting for Daniel and Damian quite warm!.
After lunch Daniel and Damian headed onto a few more of the attractions before we all went on the land train (with the children sat on our knees). Emma was starting to get grumpy; a combination of being too hot, tired and teething so I got her some milk which cheered her up and we managed to get another wander around with her and Daniel.
Daniel was tiring so we headed home around 3pm and like most theme parks, you have to exit via the gift shop.
Daniel and Emma don’t really mither us for things as we went through the shop so we managed to get through without being pressured to buy anything. That said, the stuff on offer at Diggerland looked to be good quality. There were a range of books, both story and activity books ranged in price from 99p up to around £8. There were items of clothing as well as stationery type items, such as pencils for 50p, so lots of things to suit all budgets.
Children can also collect a certificate too, which I thought was a lovely touch.
All in all we had a great day, and friends have asked if we would recommend it. I have struggled on this to be honest. Yes we had a great day out, but the day would have cost us £59.85 (plus our petrol costs). I am not sure I can say it was worth that amount of money. (You can save a little by booking online in advance). We don’t often go to parks such as this, so I am never really sure how it compares. When I looked at other days out I found that it was similarly priced to other places (for example Gulliver’s world in Warrington costs £17 per adult and per child 90cm+) so I guess it is just in line with other similar parks.
I guess it’s the nature of things – it costs a lot of money to have family days out at places like this. I would certainly suggest looking around for any possible money off voucher deals, or looking at some of the group deals that are available.
We will visit again I am sure at some point in the future when all four of us can enjoy all the rides (and perhaps get better value for money). I have summarised the key points below.
Things that could be better
- The price point feels high for a family day out – I’m not sure what the pricing should be but just under £60 on entry wouldn’t have felt like good value for money
- Consider introducing a sticker system for young guests to quickly identify their height. As mentioned above, Daniel was, on entry, deemed to be over 90cm but he was told on at least one ride he was below 90cm and was continually checked – it would save time (and any disagreements) if children had different coloured stickers depending on their height, eg: under 80cm red sticker, 80cm – 90cm Orange, 90-100cm yellow and 100cm+ green
- More shaded areas for those who are waiting with younger children whilst older children enjoy the rides
What we loved
- We had a great day out – Daniel was able to experience rides that he hadn’t until this point.
- Plenty of picnic spaces – the benches were all clean and looked to be really well maintained
- The staff were great, all engaging with the children which was lovely to see
- The gift shop was well priced and the certificate was a nice touch
I was sent a complimentary family ticket in exchange for a review. All words, photos and opinions are my own