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Have a Digger of a time.
Member Name: Lunah_C
Advantages: Do something different.
Disadvantages: The Change in prices.
Diggerland is a very unique idea in the tourist industry. It all came about when one man realised how many 'ordinary' people and children desperately wanted to get their hands on mechanical diggers, and so all the activities in the park revolve around them and the ideas of digging and building. Attractions include rides, drives and static displays, along with play areas both indoors and out. As well as riding on and driving different types of construction machinery you can learn about the workings of these machines.
Diggerland can be found at three sites in the UK. One in Durham, one in Devon and one in Kent. They have also recently opened a site in Dubai. As I live in Kent and this is the site I have visited the most this review will refer to that particular one. I have also visited the Devon site and whilst the layout is completely different the rides are very similar.
Medway Valley Leisure Park
Directions by Car: M2, J2 follow A228 towards Rochester. At the roundabout turn right. Diggerland is on the right. Keep these instructions to hand as it is not that well sign posted.
Public Transport: As this site is just off the motorway public transport is not the best option for getting to Diggerland. I am not very good at reading timetables but looking at the Medway Council bus timetable it looks like a bus goes four times a day to the site from Chatham Railway Station. This is not the closest railway. Rochester is nearer ans Strood even more. Strood could possibly be within walking distance. I would asdvise phoning Diggerland direct to find out more about this.
Diggerland, Kent is open school holidays and weekends.
• Under 3's enter Diggerland free of charge
• Anyone aged 3 to 65 pays £12.50 per person to enter Diggerland
• Over 65's pay £6.25 to enter Diggerland
• Disabled visitors pay the normal entry price as detailed above, but may bring in a helper/carer free of charge
The Fee includes unlimited use of the following price:
• Pedal Power Diggers
• Digger Sandpit
• Rolling Fun Digger Video
• Bouncy Castle
• Indoor Ball Pond for under 6's
• Computer Digger Games
• Sony Playstations
Along with unlimited numbers of rides and drives on all the real building site diggers and dumpers, all day (excludes coin-operated activities).
Diggerland is open for parties and corporate events. Details can be found on their website.
*Our day at Diggerland*
Last month we returned to Diggerland, with 3 of our children. This was our second visit to the new site, but the first was just after they had opened and a lot of changes and additions had been made.
We went on a Saturday, as at this time of year it is only open at weekends. This is a bit of a pain, especially if you have under school age children (or training days) and would like to go on at quieter time. However even though busy there seemed to be plenty of space and we queued for no more than around ten minutes, and this was mainly due to the fact that the ride took this long. Most cases the children either went straight on or were next in the queue.
On entrance you are invited to watch a safety video. Most pass this by but it is worth watching, and is advisable. Safety is very evident on the site, with seat belts being used on all of the rides (that can only be undone by the operative) and clear instructions given on each ride as to what you can and cannot touch. The goodie shop where you can buy vouchers and wristbands is joined to the entrance. All sorts of things can be bought here; Digger toys, Bob the builder paraphernalia, postcards, pencils, magnets and also items from the exclusive Diggerwear range, which include, sweatshirts, T-shirts and caps.
As you enter you immediately catch sight of a swinging JCB. This is classed as the thrill ride of the park. You sit in the scoop part of the Digger and are then swung around as well as up, down, backward and forward. Unlike most rides that are computer programmed and only have one set pattern, this ride has a human operative. This means the ride is tailored to the riders. Younger children on board means it will be somewhat gentler, however screaming girls will cause more spinning.
To your left side is a small area set aside for the ride on tractors. These are designed for the under fives and are included in the price.
Next door is the toilets. Others can be found in the café, but both are at this end of the park.
On your right is the appropriately named Dig Inn. You can purchase all the usuals here. Burgers, sausages, nuggets and fries or a nice healthy salad. The food is good quality and at reasonable prices. Cold picnic boxes can be bought too or if you have brought your own you can eat it outside at the picnic benches. (No where to eat when wet though)
Next to the café is the giant sandpit. Some buckets and spades are provided but on busy days it could be worth bringing your own.
The other side of the sandpit is the indoor play area. A bouncy castle (under 4's), arcade games, pool table and air hockey table can all be found here. There are some seats around the outside, so I guess you could eat in here if wet. Also along one wall are half a dozen computers and playstations. All the workings are hidden, which means that you can only play the one game on offer which I believe are a Tonka construction one and a Lego building game. But these are enough to keep the children amused.
Outside is the larger Bouncy Castle for older children. This is also where you wait to get on the 'Train'. This is in fact a Dumper Truck that pulls very basic carriages. But good fun!
All along the length that the train runs is where you can knock down skittles, by swinging a ball at pins; dig for Treasure by using a scoop to find 7 metal shapes; or Hook a Duck where you must pull 3 ducks out of the pond by a hook attached to the Digger arm. All these rides can be driven by children over the age of 5 unaccompanied, which pleased my children a lot, but not us parents as they are great fun. Having a four year old, unfortunately I had to accompany him. Oh, shucks! Having said that Diggerland is aimed at all ages and you will see many adults having a try.
Diggerland do have special events throughout the year that are aimed specifically at adults. These include JCB and dumper racing or a two hour drive on a JCB 3CX backhoe loader. Not sure what this is but I guess it's big.
At the end of the park there is a large area of land with many slopes, hills and bumps. It is over this land that you can go for a ride in a jeep or JCB. You do get bumped about quite a bit and will be tipped at almost 90 degrees but you are safe at least I hope so as it is suitable for children over 3 (accompanied).
The sky shuttle sits down this end too. This raises you high up into the air…and I mean high. You get a great view across the Medway towns and all along the motorway. This ride is static however the one we went on in Devon also drove us around at this height which was even more fun.
Coming down the other side are some Bob the Builder character dumpers. We were not sure if these were open to all or private users only as there was a board up about private lessons.
The large JCB's are next, these are really for older children and adults so we passed them by but we will try them one day.
As I said all these rides can be found at the other parks. But Kent is the only one that has a Snow Park where you have the opportunity to ski, snowboard, sledge and snow tube outdoors in real, chemical free snow. All this can be done on,
** A tubing run of 100 m length
** A snowboarders' terrain park of approximately 2000 m² with a jump and rails (not always in place)
** A 3000 m² main slope, approximately 60 m long and 50 m wide.
** A 2000 m² teaching slope approximately 60m long.
** A 60 m rope tow lift.
** A 1000 m² snow play area for tobogganing, building snowmen etc...
For snowboarding children must be at least 8, otherwise over 5's for the other areas. Equipment can be hired for 2 credits, but is included in lessons.
For children of all ages there is a snow play area where you can play snowballs, build snowmen or toboggan. These are provided and are like giant dustbin lids.
This area is only open at certain times of the year. It was advertised as closed when we went but the snow play area was open, which was weird as it was brilliant sunshine that day. Do be advised that you will get wet and dirty if playing here.
Whilst I am not sure about the snow Park, all the other rides and attractions are suitable for persons in wheelchairs.
Having arrived at around 11am, and now being 4pm, we had spent 5 hours in the park. The children could have happily spent more time here, however we had decided to see a film in the cinema that at the other end of the leisure park. It is not often that in the same day you can bask in the sunshine whilst building a sandcastle then 5 minutes later play at snowball fights. Diggerland is definitely unique, and a good day was had by all. They have however changed the pricing since I last went, which are the prices above. These are way too steep for us and as I have children that are below average in height it means that they won't be able to go on most of the rides. So as good as the place is we won't be returning.
For more information visit:
Summary: A place that is fun for all doing something different.
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