N definitely takes after me. He loves leaflets. Anywhere we go he’ll spot them and pick them up, and then spend ages ‘reading’ them. The doctors surgery, museums, shops, sports centres. So when we stopped at the services on the way to Eastbourne I knew he’d love to pick up some Sussex leaflets and that would help us decide what we’d do while on holiday.
Only a few minutes into the journey he’d already spotted the electric quad bikes at Knockhatch Adventure Park and decided that we would be going there. Luckily it was nearby, so the next day I’d arranged to meet friends there and we were ready for a day of fun. Annoyingly I forgot to take the voucher that was provided in our hotel’s kids pack which would have given us buy one get one free.
We arrived early – the directions online said follow the brown signs, but we didn’t see any at the roundabout we needed so it was lucky we continued on to find the entrance on another roundabout. As well as the adventure park/farm, there’s activities for older children and adults, so it must be a pretty big site.
Entrance depends on peak or off peak dates, but being Easter holidays it meant everything was open. The prices were still reasonable for entry at £9.99 for 2 years+ and family tickets available (cheaper than Hatton Adventure World which is essentially the same type of place), but I was disappointed to see how many of the activities you then had to pay for on top (compared with Hatton where everything is free). I knew N wanted to go on the quad bikes which were only £1, but it could end up being expensive if children wanted to go on bungee trampolines, quads, climbing walls etc.
We’d met my friend (a birth board friend I’d only ever met online before) and her children, and the boys seemed to join in ok with each other when they felt the need. Then N got stroppy. It seemed to be a theme on this break which is highly unusual so I wasn’t too impressed.
We had a quick look round some of the animals, rabbits, goats, birds and pigs. My friend had bought animal feed for her children, but it was a bit of a mystery which ones we were meant to feed. Unfortunately one animal got a bonus because the 2 year old managed to feed it all of her cup instead of just tipping a little bit out.
The boys loved the quad bikes. Although it was Easter and good weather, arriving at opening time meant nothing was busy and we had no problem going on what they wanted to. The ride wasn’t long, but good enough value for the £1 we paid.
The sandpit and play area had some great climbing frames and slides, catering for all ages. We could spot people going down the water ‘shute/zip’ although didn’t get close enough. I wonder if N will ever fancy going on something like that when he’s older? Hopefully!
We saw the owls, against the background of N’s moaning that he wanted to go to the bouncy pillows. It’s always good for him to be with other children and realise that sometimes he needs to wait and do what others want to do as well.
The bouncy pillows were great. Cut up tyre flooring meant no sandy feet afterwards, and there was a large and smaller pillow. As usual it was a free for all rather than people taking note of the age per pillow, but they were big enough to take it. Of course once there, N decided he didn’t want more than a bounce.
There were plenty of other play areas – some had been a bit swampy to get to, so we stuck to the drier areas.
Then we had a leisurely stroll over to the soft play as it was nearing lunch by that stage.
The soft play area was brilliant. It was light, airy, not stuffy at all, with plenty of seating. The frame and play area drew the kids in straight away, and there was also a smaller toddler area with some baby sensory pieces. I can tell N’s getting more confident because he was straight into the soft play without dragging me around with him. Previously I usually had to go round once with him, but bonus is I now get to sit down straight away.
The café is basic – drinks, kids lunchboxes, sandwiches/toasties and jacket potatoes. We ordered just before 12, the kids had their lunchboxes straight away (around £4.95 which included a Capri Sun, Walkers crisps, a full round of sandwiches, and a freddo/raisins or piece of fruit). They have a ‘deli counter’ system where as your order is done, your number flicks round on the screen and you can go and collect it. A good system, although it did feel like it took a bit of time. But more efficient than many busy places.
By that time we were done and ready to leave and go on to the next place, but there was plenty more to see if we’d wanted to stick around. N had an ice cream on the way out – he can’t resist, and we were on holiday after all. The car parks were full so it’s definitely a place to arrive early and make a whole day of it to get the most value out of a bargain day out.
Have you been to Knockhatch Adventure Park? What similar places are near you?
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