If Tilly is anything to go by, small children really enjoy a variety of activities. They love seeing animals, playing and going on rides and when you combine them all you’ve got a winning combination for a full day out. That’s precisely what Paradise Wildlife Park offers, located in eastern Hertfordshire near Broxbourne. Read about our day plus have the chance to win a family ticket to the park with our giveaway – worth over £60.
Today we take a break from the M6 with a stop at Rheged in Cumbria. This is part of a series of ‘ShireDad on tour’ posts over the summer holidays, where we’re out and about around the country.
Peter Rabbit and his friends from the animated series on CBeebies have a brand new home at Willows Activity Farm, just off the M25 near St Albans. 3-year-old Tilly puts the new Peter Rabbit Adventure Playground to the test and we find out what else is new down on the farm.
One corner of High Wycombe is fast becoming a go-to destination for parents of preschool aged children.
I find play cafes to be a great fallback option during the cold and wet winter months when options for getting your little one to let off steam is limited. We’ve been fortunately to have had several local play cafes in what is a fairly rural area however I’ve been saddened to see two close in nearly as many weeks, meaning the search for new venues is on.
Out of all the animals to capture the imagination of young children, it’s the large mammals. Lions, hippos, tigers, bears, elephants and others feature highly in children’s books are when a visit to the zoo is mentioned, they come at the top of the request list. Happily there’s a space not far out of London where the big animals roam free (well relatively, depending on their level of ferocity). We’d been to Whipsnade once before, which isn’t too far from us, but this was our first visit with Tilly. Offering soft play and a playground as well as an amazing array of animals, we were keen to get stuck in.
Industrial (estate) sized soft play is something I’ve been avoiding for months. I had visions of hundreds of children running amok, intense noise and dashing about trying to keep track of Tilly and avoid her being knocked over by bigger children. Having won a ticket to Playtrain in High Wycombe it was finally time to see whether my fears were founded. I found I was pleasantly surprised.
Animals are a big draw for two-year-old Tilly at the moment and a day out with friends at the Willows Activity Farm near St Albans in Hertfordshire was the huge hit we’d hoped for. From feeding animals to exploring the playgrounds and rides on the fun fair, we didn’t even get around to exploring the extensive indoor soft play area.
Another day of the holidays with no activities planned made for the perfect excuse to try out one more of the play cafes in the area. Little Beans & Co is located in the village of Chorleywood, handy for both SW Herts and South Bucks and just a few minutes off the M25. Chorleywood has a reasonable selection of shops for its size although it’s main attraction is the sizeable and unfeasibly picturesque common situated between the main road and the village. Access to the village is a little narrow but there’s free parking bays near the cafe with a car park for shoppers at the other end of the main street.
I’m something of a recent convert to play cafés, having discovered the Hidden Tea Shop a few months back. Since then, I’ve become aware that there’s a few of them around. In Chesham, ‘Thé, Stay and Play’ is making itself a name as fixture amongst local play venues. Soft play normally requires a trip to one of the larger towns – Wycombe, Aylesbury, Watford and the like so having something more local, even on a smaller scale, is welcome. Being in a smaller town also has its advantages, as the shop backs on to one of the larger car parks, making it an easy walk even for tiny legs.