Theme parks are ideal for a fun-filled family day out, but sometimes they’re not ideal if you’ve got young children who aren’t big enough for the rides.
Then there are the thrilling rollercoasters which may be a hit with teens and older kids, but a little too scary for smaller children – and even if they are brave enough, if they’re not tall enough they might not get to try the ride anyway.
The good news is that theme parks have taken note, and adapting to cater to toddlers and small children, while also adding new features to make the parks a little more baby-friendly too.
We’re talking dedicated zones, small children-friendly rides, and soft play areas where they can pass the time while older kids queue for the scarier rides.
We take a look at the best UK theme parks for toddlers and small children below…
1. Paultons Park , Hampshire
Three magical words for parents: Peppa Pig World.
Paultons Park has an entire land dedicated to the beloved children’s character complete with seven themed rides including Peppa’s Big Balloon Ride, Miss Rabbit’s Helicopter Flight and George’s Dinosaur Adventure Ride.
Not to mention that last year two new rides were added – check out our review here .
Of course, there are also plenty of meet and greet opportunities so little ones can spend time with their favourite characters – and there’s even an on-site toy shop if you want to treat them to an extra memento of the day.
Peppa Pig World is included in the theme park entry fee, and the rest of the park is also tailored to younger kids so there’s plenty to see and do, from the roaring dinosaurs in The Lost Kingdom to kid-friendly rollercoasters.
How much? Children under 1 metre go free. Book online to get cheaper tickets – individual prices start from £30.50.
2. Legoland Windsor Resort , Berkshire
Tailored for children under 12, Legoland offers a relaxed family day out with plenty of adventures to be had for the whole family.
Pretend to be a giant as you wander through the Minilands, relive your favourite stories at the Fairy Tale Brook, or for the brave, there are dragon-themed rollercoasters and rides on offer too!
For something extra special, you can also opt for an overnight stay at the themed Legoland Resort Hotel or Castle Hotel where there are plenty of extras including live entertainment, themed rooms and perks including early entry to the park.
For mums and dads with babies, there’s a dedicated Baby Care Centre where you can breast/bottle feed or change nappies, or buy baby food. Restaurants also offer facilities to help reheat baby food.
Legoland doesn’t always come cheap – but there are plenty of deals and discounts that can make it a bargain.
How much? Tickets start from £29 when booked in advance, from £47 at gate price.
3. Alton Towers Resort , Staffordshire
If your kids are glued to the screen whenever any CBeebies show is on the TV, then you’re going to want to head to Alton Towers Resort.
The theme park has a dedicated CBeebies Land – complete with a themed hotel if you’re considering an overnight break.
There are 14 rides and attractions, all tailored to little ones; go on a drive with Postman Pat, watch a show at the Furchester Hotel, take a magical In the Night Garden themed boat ride – and budding thrill-seekers are sure to love the Go Vroomster ride.
Meanwhile for parents there are private feeding rooms and buggy parks throughout CBeebies Land, while the restaurants offer high chairs and bottle warming facilities.
It’s an ideal compromise if you’ve got small children and teenagers, as there’s something to suit everyone.
How much? Kids under 3 go free. Book online to snap up discounts – individual tickets from £33pp (£56 gate price).
4. Gulliver’s Theme Parks
Gulliver’s theme parks are designed especially for families, so all of the rides and attractions are tailored to smaller children. (In fact, groups of adults or single adults with no accompanying children aren’t allowed in the park).
Choose from Gulliver’s World Warrington , Gulliver’s Kingdom Matlock Bath or Gulliver’s Land Milton Keynes .
There are rollercoasters, water rides, splash zones, log flumes – everything that bigger kids get to enjoy at other theme parks, only this time it’s the little ones who get to have all of the fun.
Toddlers still too young for the rides? There are plenty of play areas both indoor and outdoor they can also enjoy. Oh, and for animal lovers there’s a Dinosaur and Farm Park in Milton Keynes complete with petting zoos and a Lost Kingdom.
It’s worth noting that although you can’t hire pushchairs, the park does have ‘funbuggies’ available, that are little cars you can push your child around in.
How much? Children under 90cm go for free. Gate price tickets from £19.95, but you can get discounts online.
5. Drayton Manor, Staffordshire
Home to Europe’s only Thomas the Tank Engine themed land, Drayton Manor has a plethora of themed rides, attractions and the chance to meet all of your favourite characters including Thomas himself!
Fly up high on James and the Red Balloon ride, a Thomas & Friends barge, or even Terence’s Driving School where youngsters can drive their very own tractor.
As for facilities, there are baby changing facilities in all of the toilet blocks, as well as baby feeding areas in Thomas Land which has a private cubicle for nursing mothers.
The park also offers Stay and Play packages which includes an overnight stay, breakfast and park tickets.
How much? If pre-booked online, under 2s go free, 2-3 year olds pay £5, kids up to 12 pay £10. Adult tickets from £18. Gate prices start from £20 for kids, £30 for adults.
Drayton Manor ticket deal sees day prices for £19.95pp this summer but you need to book quickly
6. Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Blackpool Pleasure Beach boasts seriously exciting rollercoasters from the iconic Big One to soon-to-open Icon.
However for small children and toddlers, it’s Nickelodeon Land where you’ll want to head. Meet Chase & Marshall from PAW Patrol, join Spongebob Square Pants and Patrick, or discover new lands with Dora the Explorer.
How much? Wristbands from £19.50 each, including entry to Nickelodeon Land, when booked online. Gate prices start from £39.
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