Categories
Holidays Nature Places to visit

Munchkin’ing around at Hobbledown

On the final day of our UK break away we visited Hobbledown, a farm and activity park a stones throw from Chessington World of Adventure, north of Epsom.

For starters let’s talk Covid. Hobbledown had it totally right. They had bookable arrival times so it was quiet on arrival, an app to book and order food and activities, a limited time at the park for busy days and bookable soft play time. We felt safe from the off.

For everyone here, there is a decent number of animals from the recognizable tortoise, lemur, pig and goat to the more unusual Rhea, Nilgai (Mighty Bloo) and Gibblegook parrot. It was a learning experience for Mummy and Daddy too! There’s also exciting ways to get up close with the animals such as the new Lemur walk-through.

There is then the soft play for the little ones (perfect for Munchkin who has recently realised that soft play is the play of dreams) with bookable slots. This is split into a large soft play for the tiny humans, a bigger one for the older kiddies and a hard play zone.

Back in the farm, for the older adventurers, there’s also the added experiences of zorbing and a high ropes course which can be added for a tiny supplement (high ropes was just an extra £2).

During the day they have an itinerary of events. On our visit was a fire show and bug eating try outs. On other days there are also bird of prey events and many more…

There’s also the best play park I’ve seen in my time as a parent. It’s huge, with a bouncy pillow, role play stations, a water play area and numerous slides and climbing frames, all designed around the quirky Hobbledown theme.

One of the amazing park areas.

When you need some munch, the onsite Hobnosh restaurant provides delicious street food in eco-friendly packaging. I had a chicken katsu curry and chips which was divine!

The best part for us adults is that it doesn’t break the bank. At £16 for adults and children (£18 at weekends) and free for under 2’s. Its an affordable fun-filled day out.

Hobbledown was the perfect end to our little breakaway, well suited to a 20 month year old. It’s already on the ‘visit again when Munchkin is older’ list!

Thanks for reading,

Subscribe for updates

Continue reading…

Categories
Halloween Holidays

A Howl-oween at Chessington

Sadly, Chessington came up with the Howl-oween pun, but I just had to use it for the title.

Chessington World of Adventures was our second day activity for our trip away. We thought it was a perfect choice with Julia Donaldson themed rides, zoo animals and a sea life centre all covered in the entry price. The entry price also can easily be lowered by using a Carex bottle too with £38.50 per adult knocked down to £24.

Lets start with Covid. I felt Chessington was the least prepared of our four spots we visited over our break. The website said numbers had been reduced, however cars absolutely packed the car park on arrival. Everyone also arrived simultaneously, and only the temperatures of adults were checked. That was a little disappointing.

The park opens at 10 am, which in hindsight is a little late for a toddler who woke at 6 am that morning and naps in the afternoon. That said, we had a good day. Although, we managed a grand total of three rides (queues were still up to an hour).

We quickly found out Munchkin wasn’t a fan of a the dark, starting on an indoor Mummified shooting ride, as he clutched to Mummy. It was a better, but similar experience for the Gruffalo ride too, but there was a mix of excitement and fear on that one. We won with the third choice though, a car ride where Munchkin got to ride and point out the animals. He loved that.

Beep beep

When it came to lunch, with a lot of the takeaway eateries closed, to help with Covid restrictions, and with a constant drizzle of rain, everyone was forced to eat indoors. This resulted in huge queues from 11:30, the worst time to try and get Munchkin to wait.

In the afternoon, it wasn’t long before Munchkin nodded off in his pushchair. Sadly, by napping he missed the zoo and sea life centre too which I rated highly. We must have tired him out at Cliveden National Trust. You can read about day one, with a double helping of National Trust by clicking here.

In hindsight it wasn’t the best location for a toddler, even with the 13 rides he could go on, there simply wasn’t the time with the late entry and his afternoon nap. It would be much better for us if it opened early for parents with toddlers, to make the most of that morning energy. This would also space out guests in light of the pandemic.

That said, the park is a perfect attraction for children of all ages, with gentle rides up to the slightly more thrilling (nothing upside down here). It’s a great park and on our revisit list!

Thanks for reading,

Categories
Holidays National trust Nature

A National Trust Double Down

Sadly, this is nothing to do with KFC, though I can confirm the double down is superb!


The last time we took Munchkin on a long journey (3 hours) was to see some family in Eastbourne in 2019. It was hell, with tears for the whole journey. With that in mind, we planned to break our journey down to Surrey into a few stops, putting our National Trust membership to good use.

Dunstable Downs

I think Natalie could have killed me when we stepped out the car into the fierce freezing winds of Dunstable downs, the highest spot in Bedfordshire, just off the M1, north of Luton. But the view was amazing with a sky that didn’t seem to end in any direction.

We had a short walk (there are several routes from 2 to over 6 miles) but as Munchkin wants to walk whenever he can, we only managed a short stroll down the hill and back.

On the amble, Munchkin pointed out all the people flying kits, with yells of ‘kite, kite, KITE!’. So we popped up to the cafe for some warmth, a coffee and a snack, and bought a kite.

We popped outside and got the kite into the air. We thought the amazement would reach sky heights however….there were some wooden posts nearby and well, Munchkin was more interested in them. Oh well, at least we have the kite for future fun.

Slide left to see our lovely kite, right to see what Munchkin was interested in

Dunstable downs NT is free for everyone to explore, however there is a charge for parking, but it is free with membership.

Cliveden

We popped back in the car for a short 50 minute journey to Cliveden, the main event for day one of our trip. This National Trust had a bookable slot system, with half an hour arrival times. Luckily due to Daddy’s impeccable planning (hehe), we arrived just 1 minute into our slot.

Cliveden is a huge estate, with a storybook play park, a woodland play trail, all set in beautiful woodland, high above a route along the Thames. We loved the park, pointing out all the storybook additions, as well as the wooden tractor and train (‘choo choo!).

There’s several routes along the woodland above the Thames. We took one of these then a slope down to the river. It is such a beautiful place for a woodland walk.

However when we got the few miles back down the Thames, we found the only was back up to the top, was many steep steps. To top that, Munchkin was asleep in the pushchair. It added a tough exercise to our otherwise relaxing day.

This has now probably topped our previous favourite National Trust property which was Belton House (Grantham).

Cliveden is £10 for adults and £5 for Children and free for NT members.

Thanks for reading,