Before I had my daughter, Matilda, I promised myself I would not let my precious first born watch television and I would certainly not buy merchandise relating to television programmes. Well fast forward two years and with all my unrealistic expectations firmly out of the window, I knew there would be no where else in the world that Matilda would rather spend her second birthday than Peppa Pig World.
As Matilda is a winter baby I was initially apprehensive about visiting Peppa Pig World in the cold weather, after all as any self-respecting Peppa fan knows, the pig family's favourite activity is jumping in muddy puddles. However, I really needn't have worried as Paulton's Theme Park, the home of Peppa Pig World, really know what they're doing. There are special winter attractions, including a Santa's grotto, a winter theatre show and light show to make the most of the dark early evenings.
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I would go so far as to really recommend a winter trip to Peppa Pig World. Despite it being a chilly Saturday we barely had to queue for any rides. Matilda's favourite ride was Grandpa Pig's Boat ride and we were able to go on three(!) times in a row as the queues were so small.
As Peppa Pig World is a good couple of hours' drive away from our home, the adults in the party decided to treat ourselves as well by staying at the wonderful Beach House Hotel in Milford on Sea. It's located on the edge of the New Forest, a mere 35 minutes drive from Paulton's Theme Park and a stone's throw from the sea, and with a little person in tow we were indeed throwing stones in to the sea.
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The Beach House is a Grade II listed Victorian Mansion, formerly the holiday home of the Seaman's family. Nowadays it's part of the boutique hotel mini chain Hall & Woodhouse and offers luxury rooms, amazing food and friendly staff, at very incredibly reasonable prices with rooms starting at £70 a night.
Whilst the hotel does not officially offer babysitting or baby listening I optimistically bought our baby monitor in the hope that it would stretch downstairs to the dining room. It didn't quite, but had perfect reception in the central bar and reception area and the staff kindly offered to watch the monitor for us. Apparently at one point Matilda stirred slightly in her sleep and all the bar staff froze in panic, thankfully for us merrily enjoying our delicious dinner she went back to sleep straight away and we were blissfully unaware.
We really felt like nothing was too much trouble and the quality of accommodation, quality of the food and the willingness of the staff to help made us feel really quite special. We only stayed one night and wish we'd had longer to revel in the (incredibly priced!) luxury and see some more of this wonderful part of the world.
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Tried and Tested Cheat Sheet:
When to go: We loved visiting Peppa Pig World and the New Forest in the autumn/winter. The New Forest itself was a riot of autumnal colour and Peppa Pig World was mercifully quiet meaning we could really make the most of all the rides. There are more rides and a splash park open during the summer months admittedly but in my opinion the special winter activities more than made up for this. Plus, it's cheaper to visit in the winter which is always a bonus when you're paying for a family.
Top Tips: We were advised to make our way to the back of Peppa Pig World to benefit from quieter rides and work 'in'. We got about half way through before the excitement all got too much for Matilda and she had to go on Daddy Pig's Car ride. I would also recommend measuring your children before you go, as there are a couple of rides that are only suitable for over 1m, best to just steer them on to something else rather than find out as they're about to embark that they're too small.
Things to Avoid: If I was to visit Peppa Pig World again I would have packed our own lunch, or taken advantage of the Beach House's £6 packed lunch. I didn't think there was a large selection of food available and it wasn't particularly healthy as most of it was fried. There was however a large, covered picnic area just by the entrance to Peppa Pig World. I would also say don't go for just one night. Peppa Pig World was great fun but we wished we'd booked to stay longer at The Beach House and been able to explore more of the beautiful New Forest.
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