Advert - we received complimentary tickets to visit Diggerland
Scroll to the bottom for a video of our day out.
During the February half term we visited Diggerland in Durham. It was the first time that we’d visited, which feels strange as it’s such a big local attraction. I think there were probably two reasons, firstly because I didn’t know much about it, apart from that it was a theme park about diggers, and secondly it’s pretty pricey to visit, so there never seemed to be right time.
Diggerland is near to Langley Moor in Durham. It is a 30 minute drive from Newcastle. We arrived on a Sunday morning and it was easy to find a car parking space and get in. Looking through the gates there was much more than I had been expecting. There were some huge digger rides which I could see from the car park. The site itself is pretty compact. The park footprint is much smaller than other theme parks we’ve been to. It’s got loads of stuff packed in, but each ride is right next to the next, so it doesn’t take long to walk around it all. It was perfect for my small (read lazy) children to walk around as they often start complaining whenever there is too much walking.
Before getting into the theme park everyone watches a short video which explains some of the important health and safety information for visiting the park. There is lots of working machinery on the site so you have to be careful and keep a close eye on kids. Note to self this also extends to adults, as I got in the way of one of the little ride that drives around the park!
Health and safety out of the way we had a look around. Diggerland has an outdoor and indoor section. The biggest part is outside and it’s where all of the rides are. Inside has soft play, bouncy castles, little push along cars, toy diggers and a sand pit. The inside bit is perfect for toddlers and pre-schoolers and would be great to shelter from the rain for a while.
We headed straight to the rides. There were a lot to choose from, my kids are 5 and 3. They could both go on pretty much everything that they were interested in. My youngest is just over 90cm, so as long as she was accompanied by an adult she was able to go on 15 rides. There were quite a few of those that should could go on herself too. Diggerland admission fees are the same for adults and children (although kids under 90cm are free) so I was glad that there was plenty to keep the kids entertained. You can see all of the rides and height restrictions here .
One thing we loved at Diggerland was that it was so quiet. We didn’t have to wait for any queues. We got on each ride straight away. Our favourites were the Diggerland Train, which took you around the whole of the park, the Dig-a-Round which was a bit like chair-o-planes but sitting in a digger head, go karts and mini land rovers, both of which the kids could steer themselves. I’d say these were the best pre-school rides at Diggerland, but there were also loads of rides for older children and adults.
There were a whole host of rides where you got to drive diggers and machinery, and loads where you could dig up things, or use the digger in skill games, like hook a duck or skittles. For more thrill seekers there were a couple of fast and high rides.
There really was something for each age range. Us adult really enjoyed some of the trickier driving based rides which the kids were happy to sit next to us whilst we sweated our way around tight corners.
After a while the kids got a bit cold so we went indoors to warm up. They thoroughly enjoyed themselves running around in the play area. Some of the Diggerland mascots even came out to say hi to all of the kids. I was pleased that the indoor section had so much for the kids to play on, as there is no getting away from the fact that Diggerland is not a cheap day out. For us this area was great to have a quick sit down and recharge our batteries. The indoor play area did look a bit tired but it didn’t put our kids off.
For food there was a cafe where you could buy hot food, kids meals and drinks. There was also an indoor picnic area which is great to keep costs down.
the highs and lows
What we loved:
• So we had a really good day out. There were so many rides that my two could go on, and it was brilliant that there were no queues so they could get the most out of going on their favourites a couple of times in a row. Rides like the mini landrovers and the go karts, where my 5 and 3 year old could drive them themselves aren’t that common and not the type of rides that you see at every fair. They loved being able to go on those as much as they liked. It was totally unexpected to me that there would be so many rides for older kids and adults. It was really fun to test out whether I’d be any good driving a mini tractor, and try and knock over skittles with a digger. We had a full day out where everyone had fun, and it was totally different to anything that we’d been to before.
• That kids under 90cm are free. With the indoor play areas at 8 rides they can go on, there is still a fair bit for toddlers to do, but it’s great that if you are mainly going for an older sibling that you won’t have to pay for any kids under 90cm.
• That there is an indoor picnic area. Such a great addition to help make it a good value day out.
• The staff. They were all so friendly and happy to help us. They really made the difference to us on our day out.
What we didn’t like so much:
• There are three ride which aren’t included in the admission fee. These were coin operated driving rides and dodgems. These rides are spread out in the park and aren’t particularly different looking to the other rides. Naturally my kids wanted to go on them, but we didn’t have any change. We were lucky enough to get complimentary entry, but if I had paid full price I wouldn’t want to be spending any more money on rides. I think it’s a shame that parents either need to cough up more money, or tell their kids they can’t go on certain rides, after they’ve paid the entry fee.
• The website listed about 15 rides that my little girl could go on, but in practice some of them were very similar, for example the skill based digger rides, and felt a bit like the same ride. It wasn’t a problem for us, there was still loads to keep us entertained, but unless you are a digger superfan then you might find that some of the rides merge into one.
Is it worth it?
Diggerland is probably one of the more expensive North East family attractions. If you pay on the day it’s £23.95 each for adults and kids over 90cm (under 90cm are free, and over 65s are £11.95) but if you pre-book and pay online it’s £19.95. For our family of 4 pre-booking would cost just under £80. For me that feels like a lot, but we did have a lovely day out which was very different to any other North East attraction we’ve been to.
Whether it is worth the cost is a pretty subjective. Previously I’ve been reluctant to spend too much on days out for our kids in case when we get there it turns out they aren’t in the mood. There is nothing worse than willing your over-tired toddler to start enjoying themselves so that you haven’t wasted an entry fee. Saying that, as they’ve gotten older they get much more excited to go places like theme parks so we have less days where they are whinging to come home. For us personally I would go back and pay full price for a very special occasion like a birthday. I’d make sure we took loads of food, snacks and layers of clothes, and get there early so we had the whole day to spend on the rides.
I would definitely go back and pay when they were running an offer. When we actually visited they had a 50% offer for people who booked in advance. That would have made our trip £50 for our family. Not super cheap, but comparable with lots of other local attractions and we had a really good day when we visited. I haven’t seen any other offers like that since we visited, but if you fancy visiting Diggerland then give their facebook page a follow as they advertise all of their special offers on there.
Have you visited Diggerland Durham? What did you think? Would you recommend it for a family day out? Let us know in the comments.