Living / 7 October, 2019 / Ellie Thompson
My husband and I decided it was high time we braved Peppa Pig World at Paulton’s Park in Hampshire, our toddler being one of their many die-hard fans. We wanted to a place stay to make a weekend of it, checked out Baby Friendly Boltholes and chose the beautiful Dairy Cottage, a charming little holiday rental situated nearby in the New Forest.
You can find the luxury thatched holiday rental Dairy Cottage in Ibsley, on the edge of the New Forest, just twenty minutes from Peppa Pig World. The cottage is tucked away down a pretty country lane lined with busy hedgerows. There’s large driveway for ease of transporting children and luggage safely inside.
The cottage isn’t without its history. Just before Christmas 2004, the building was devastated by a house fire and underwent a complete refurbishment. The transformation of the burnt out 17th century cottage into the beautifully modern, yet traditional home you see today was captured on popular TV show Grand Designs.
On arrival we were instantly delighted by our little home from home. Sleeping up to two adults and two children, we found Diary Cottage to be fully equipped with everything we needed, from cot beds to baby baths and baby rockers – even reliable baby gates to the stairs. The advantage of travelling light took a lot of stress out of the planning and travelling, which was a real treat. The only thing we had to bring in terms of baby/toddler paraphernalia was a baby monitor, which in the end, we didn’t even use.
Our daughter was enchanted by Dairy Cottage and the abundance of toys she found both upstairs and down.
She was enthralled by the dolls’ house and ride-ons, huge teddies and the countless books, games and toys she unearthed in her bedroom, as well as the beautiful wooden rocking horse that sits downstairs, always waiting patiently for his next passenger.
7pm marked bedtime for our baba. Unbelievably, she was happy to climb into her travel cot, completely tuckered out from play. She went quickly to sleep surrounded by hundreds of toys lit up softly by fairy lights that hung down from the roof of the cottage.
In fact, amongst completely unfamiliar surroundings, she slept peacefully until sunrise. To us, that was testament to how much she loved staying at Dairy Cottage. As children’s bedrooms go, they do not get more magical.
Our bedroom was definitely a room with a view: Its huge windows looked out over the large garden beyond the slide and the wooden pirate ship, out onto the sprawling countryside. We enjoyed the view from the comfort of the large, sumptuous bed while deciding this was a place we’d move into, in a heartbeat.
With an adult shower room and toilet downstairs, and a full bathroom complete with a gorgeous bathtub full of fun toys, we found everything in the right place for an easy breezy stay.
Dairy Cottage is perfectly placed to explore a variety of nearby seaside destinations. The owners have a fully kitted out beach hut you can book at Alum Chine Beach in Dorset – fabulous for warm sunny days and just a twenty minute trip by car.
In fact, you’ll find there’s easy access to many places of interest for children of all ages. Take in the scenery on a spectacular woodland walk littered with beautiful New Forest donkeys, visit the range of local pubs or stock up on delicious fresh food from the local farm shop, Hockey’s Farm – where steak never tasted SO good. There are also animals to see at the farm, including chickens, lamas, donkeys, ducks and pigs.
We booked Diary Cottage to use as the perfect weekend base for a day out at Peppa Pig World. From there we were able to get up and out early, being one of the first to arrive at the park to see the doors open for the day.
We found Paulton’s Park in full-Halloween mode, with over 10,000 pumpkins of all shapes, sizes and colours scattered literally everywhere you look.
There are nine Peppa Pig themed rides in total, so you won’t run out of things to do. Peppa Pig World caters to a younger audience so at a grand total of 85cm high, our toddler was able to enjoy all of the rides we managed to squeeze in during our day.
Judging by her enthusiasm and excitement, the top three rides were Grandpa Pig’s Boat Ride, Peppa Pig’s Ballon Ride, and Daddy Pig’s Car Ride.
Peppa Pig World is packed with a variety of activities for the younger kids, including indoor play areas, muddle puddles as well as the main rides and attractions. You’ll find the only problem is that there’s simply not enough hours in the day to do it all.
Paulton’s Park houses a grand total of 70 rides, with a range of animals and birds to see, a jurassic land full of the wonders of the dinosaur – including a lifelike moving T-Rex which completely mesmerised all of us.
We were sad to leave after such a short trip, but hope to book the New Forest’s Dairy Cottage again next year, when our new baby starts to walk and can join in on the fun. It really is a fantastic place for the littlest of children to stay, and the perfect base for a dose of Peppa.
You can join in the fun of Halloween this month and book your tickets to Peppa Pig’s World by clicking here.