There are a few words that have to be whispered in my house. Cake, chocolate, biscuits, all the usual, and then, Diggerland.
My little man started with his digger and dump truck obsession when he was 2 years old. I’m not sure where it came from exactly. We had one or two diggers but all of a sudden, ever car trip near a building site was met with screams of “DIGGERS!!!!!!!!” and begging me to pull over. I
stupidly thought it would be nice to show him videos of diggers at work on Youtube. Why? Why did I do it? Have you ever sat and watched 20 minutes of a building site or a roadside project? Dear Lord.
On a day out to a country show last year, they had two Diggerland attractions. Little man spied them from a thousand paces and my heart sank as I knew he would be two small to be able to have a go and that tears would follow. He ran over and when I caught up I was amazed and so happy to see that he wasn’t too small after all! He had a go and was hooked. From that day on, A trip to Diggerland was begged for and in our future.
Finally, we went this July.
The best way to give you our opinion on Diggerland is to show you our video. You have to see Nanna on Spin Dizzy!
Diggerland currently have 4 sites/parks in this country. Two down South in Devon and Kent and two up North, in Yorkshire and Durham with number 5 coming soon to Worcestershire. We, in North Yorkshire are smack, bang in the middle of the Yorkshire and Durham ones. This time we decided to visit the Yorkshire park but believe me, we’ll going to Durham pretty soon!
We arrived just after they opened at 10am and parked in the disabled parking, right next to the door. There were plenty of car parking spaces but less than I imagined. I think because I viewed Diggerland as a theme park, I was expecting it to be on a similar scale but it’s much smaller but not in a detrimental way.
We entered through the gift shop which is also the way back out and boy was little man in heaven! You can but anything digger related. Toys, books, clothes and PJ’s, DVD’s, souvenirs, you name it. The prices weren’t too bad either.
There are 18 different rides / drives at all of the parks with some extra’s such as Dodgems / super karts (only in Yorkshire) at extra cost. I was slightly disappointed that there were extra costs within the park as it’s hard to explain to a young child why they can go on something’s and not others. With one child it’s not too expensive but with more than one, it could easily add up. I would personally prepare your child of your rules before you go to try and avoid upset if you would rather not pay.
Little man went on all but one attraction. He loved them all. Well, I say loved them all. He and his Nanna were TERRIFIED on Spin Dizzy (My Mum’s reaction was hilarious!) but another 3 year old loved it and went on repeatedly so your child might love it.
A is quite tall for his age at 103cm which meant he could go on all of the rides and drives but he couldn’t take the controls independently.
Below is the height chart which is useful to check before you head off.
If you’ve watched my video, you’ll see the speed of each drive. The park is not really about ‘thrills’ but it is so much fun!
First, we went on the Mini Tractors. They are each a different colour with a face painted on. They reminded me of Bob the Builder’s friends! Little man was too small to drive but sat on Nana’s knee and steered. Be warned- it’s hard steering! Think driving before power steering was invented. If you’re not as old as me, I’d ride with a child that is tall enough to drive, just to make sure that they are strong enough although all of the children that were driving alone, did a fab job.
We tried all 3 of the precision drives. Skittles, Dippy Ducks and Buried Treasure. Again, little man needed to sit on one of our knee’s but he loved them all, especially when he took the controls.
The aim of Skittles, is to knock over 10 metal skittles with a mini digger that has a small ‘wrecking ball’ on the end. It’s quite tricky but we got there in the end. Lots of 9 or 10 year olds were doing really well on their own.
Buried treasure has a claw on the end and the aim is to dig 3 metal bricks out of a pit of gravel. My Mum did this one with A and it was so fun! She blames him for her inability to do it but I’m not sure! I took over (as you saw in the video!) and we managed……Clever clogs as she called me!
Go Karts were fun and adults can ride too. ‘A’ drove one and my Mum drove another and they raced. They have two laps and then it’s time for someone else. It turns out that my son is a bit of a road hog and swerved to stop my mum from passing him!
The Giant Diggers are as real life as anyone can get. You can dig a massive hole in the earth and dump it from a great height. Well, that’s what we did anyway….they also have smaller versions too – dirt diggers which are also brilliant.
The diggerland train is nice for a scenic tour of the woods where unbeknownst to us, Dinosaurs were hiding! Children can ride in a carriage with adults or in a barrel behind with a steering wheel. That’s where little man rode and loved it. He complained that it was slow but I think that’s because we have those barrels at a farm near us and they are pulled much faster. I do think that 3 or 4yrs is the upper age for this unless you have a nervous older child however, it’s nice to have something that won’t scare younger siblings and it’s actually the only thing that children under 80cm can go on (but they are free to enter)
Mini Landrovers has to be one of the biggest hits of the day for us. Little man and indeed any child over 90cm, can drive these. He loved being at the wheel and the track was really interesting with lots of turns and even a bridge. He went on them over and over again.
The Sky Shuttle terrified me! No spinning no jerking, nothing like that but so amazingly high! You sit down on seats where a big digger bucket would be on the front of a loader. It then shows you the capabilities of its telescopic arm by taking you high above the trees! Not great if you’re scared of heights but you get a magnificent view. Little man wasn’t scared one bit so I’m glad I’ve not past my fear down to him! I tried my best to hide it but aaaaaaaagh!!!
Spin Dizzy, Safari, Dig-a-round and Ground Shuttle, are all rides. Spin Dizzy, similar to the Sky Shuttle, has you sitting where the bucket would be, but this time, on the bottom of the arm of a massive Excavator. It lifts you high, swings you around at speed, drops you, wiggles you, you name it! Now this ride can not be described as slow or sedate in anyway and is a true thrill ride!
Safari is where you are passengers in a 4×4 and are taken for an off road drive to find ‘animals’ in the woods. ‘A’ loved the fact that he was allowed to sit in the front as obviously on a road, he has to be in a child seat and in the back. He liked looking out for the animals also and the man that drove us was chatty and friendly.
Dig-a-round is a roundabout made of diggers and powered by a digger. Digger heaven! It spins you around forward and backwards and I think the arms moved slightly up and down as well although I can’t be sure! Either way, it’s a lot of fun and very inventive.
The Ground Shuttle is the same machine as the Sky Shuttle and you sit in the same type of seats in the same position, however, the difference is that you do not stay stationary. The driver drove us into a quarry type area and then spun us around, back and forth, jerking this way and that. You can’t help but laugh!
I had a big problem with this though but it was 100% my own fault. Like most of the rides you’ll encounter anywhere, it tells you not to ride if you have a bad back amongst other conditions. I ignored this as I absolutely hate not doing things with my little boy and saying no when he asks me to join him and also, I wanted the full experience to be able to review and didn’t imagine what it would be like. If you have a bad back, DO NOT IGNORE the safety warning. I had to take time out after the ride and was in a lot of pain. This is my fault though and Diggerland clearly warn riders. I just wanted to let other parents with chronic pain know.
The JCB ride is also not so great with a bad back but wouldn’t be too bad if you drove, which as long as you are 110cm or taller, you can! I could not believe that 7cm was the only thing stopping my 3yr old from driving a full size JCB off road. I thought this was amazing and I think it would be the highlight of any backhoe lovers day. Little man was unable to sit on my knee for this but Diggerland have fitted seats behind the driver so that younger children can have a ride. Fantastic.
The one thing that we didn’t do was drive the joy rider. This is a normal 4×4 that we see everyday on our roads but the difference is that children taller than 140cms but younger than 17yrs I believe (ring ahead to check if this will impact your trip) can drive it, off road, up and down hills etc. Amazing! We will definitely be back for this.
During our day, we saw the two mascots, Dotty and Duggy, wandering around, interacting with people and even joining visitors on the Sky Shuttle! They were really friendly and nice, as were all the staff at the park. You were provided with clear instructions of how to operate each ‘drive’ and we were asked if we had enjoyed the rides etc.
One thing that I loved about Diggerland was the size of the park. As the rides and drives are not massive roller coasters, they can be closer together, reducing the amount of walking that you have to do. They also had a lot of picnic benches dotted around and on a grassy area that meant that when I was watching, could often sit and rest which made the day much more enjoyable for me, being on crutches.
You can take your own food to Diggerland and use the tables outside but we chose to try the restaurant. We visited in Term time and so I think they would understandably have less staff than in the holidays but there was quite a queue. Each member of staff seemed to be in charge of their own orders from taking the order, plating the food and taking the money. The kitchen is quite small as well so I wonder how they cope in Summer but I think if you go with this in mind and maybe go a little earlier or later for your food instead of between 12pm and 1pm, it is well cooked, tasty and good portion size. They offer the things you would expect such as burgers, chips, hot dogs, chicken nuggets etc but also had some panini’s and jacket potatoes and the special on our day was a Giant Yorkshire pudding with sausages and mash.
They also do an afternoon special of tea and cake and by that time, the café area was much quieter.
As you can imagine, especially in Yorkshire, we were so lucky to visit on a sunny day. I checked what would happen in bad weather and the website says ‘Diggerland is predominantly an outdoor attraction with all the digger rides and drives situated out in the open air. Some rides and attractions may close in the event of high winds, thunder or lightning, if the Park Manager decides that such action is required…… If you come prepared for the weather you will still have a great day!
So basically, unless the weather is really bad, you can still enjoy the park and they do sell umbrella’s and ponchos etc if it suddenly changes when you are there.
If it’s really bad though, they have an indoor play area with amusements (extra charge) seating and soft play for younger children. Please email or ring to check that the park of your choice has this and height limits to be sure.
All in all, we LOVED our day at Diggerland and I know for sure that we will be returning to the Yorkshire site and trying the Durham site as well. My son is already begging me and it’s been less than a month since we went!
Adults up to 65yrs & children over 90cm cost £19.95.
However, if you book on line before midnight the night before your visit, £16.95
65yrs+ £9.95 or online £7.99
Groups of 10 or more £16.95, online, no change, £16.95
Children under 90cm FREE
Disabled visitors Carer (one per paying visitor) FREE
I do have to say that I think it is rather expensive. If I compare Diggerland to my local theme park, Diggerland is slightly more expensive. My local theme park has 25 rides for children who can ride alone above 1/1.1m or accompanied if smaller and there are a further 10 rides for taller children/teenagers/adults.
However, it is a niche attraction and we loved it due to it’s smaller size site and it made my little man’s dreams come true!
*we were kindly sent complimentary tickets however, my opinions are truthful and my own*