Tuesday, 4 July 2017

A Day Out at Diggerland Yorkshire - A Review

I am really excited to share this attraction review with you today as we had an absolutely fantastic time at Diggerland Yorkshire on Saturday, finding out what the site offers for family fun and adventure.

We are very lucky to have experienced many wonderful attractions around the world, but it is always very exciting to have the opportunity to try out somewhere new and enjoy some family fun together and Diggerland was definitely no exception.

Diggerland currently has four theme parks in the UK which are based in Kent, Devon, Durham and Yorkshire, so it is great to see that the theme park has expanded over numerous sites across the UK. The theme park is unique in the sense that it doesn't contain your usual rollercoaster rides that you may find at other attractions and instead all the rides and activities are based around..... (yes you guessed it) Diggers!

It is an award winning attraction which offers both children and adults the chance to drive full size construction machinery including diggers and dumper trucks, as well 4x4 vehicles and mini Landrovers. After reading everything that was on offer on the Diggerland website, we couldn't wait to visit for an exciting and unique experience.

We visited the Diggerland Yorkshire site as this was the nearest one to us here in North Wales. It took us 90 minutes to drive there with the majority of that being motorway driving so the time passed quite quickly. The attraction is only a very short distance away from junction 31 of the M62 so it is really easy to find. On arrival we were pleased to see that there was ample parking available for customers and the main building looked really modern, clean and inviting.

As we entered the building we were greeted by the Diggerland mascots Duggy and Dotty who provided a friendly welcome and gave the children a wave and a high five. We had arrived just shortly after opening time so there was only a few people in front of us in the queue and within five minutes of arriving we were ready to begin having some fun!

As we made our way outside, the children all ran off in different directions all excited to see what rides were available. We waited a couple of minutes for them to take in the view of all the rides before they came back asking what they could go on first. By the entrance there are a few rides that require a £1 coin which included some toy motorized diggers, some electric cars and the dodgems. As no-one else was on the dodgems I said it would be best going on later when there were more people to dodge and so we made our way to the first included ride which was the Mini Tractors. Both Emma and Ben were tall enough to drive this and Riley was the right height to be a passenger so everyone enjoyed our first fun experience.

After this Ben and Riley made their way over to the Mini Landrover's. Riley was a bit nervous about driving one of these on his own and so Ben went on with him as a passenger to help him the first couple of times with the steering. Riley soon got the hang of it though and loved driving round the little course. There wasn't a queue and so he was lucky to have a few goes before we moved on to the next ride.

After this there was a series of games using mini diggers. These were Buried Treasure, Dippy Ducks and Skittles and you need to try and use all your skills to complete the challenges. Buried Treasure involved digging deep for bricks amongst a pit full of stones and rubble. Once you had managed to grab a brick you then needed to position these on the ground at the side of the pit. This involved a lot of hand to eye coordination and was great fun watching all the children get competitive and try and beat one another. 

The Dippy Ducks game was similar to the old fairground favourite Hook-a-duck where you had to lift three ducks from a little pool. There didn't seem to be any time restrictions with it being quiet and so the kids were able to take their time in collecting all three of the ducks. 

In the skittles game a small metal bar had been placed at the end of the digger which you then had to swing to knock all the skittles down. Ben really seemed to get the hang of all of these and won every single challenge against his siblings.

Whilst the boys continued to play on the challenges for a while, Emma decided to give the Dumper Truck driving a go. Ben was slightly too short for this so it was the ideal opportunity for her to have a go whilst the boys were occupied. She absolutely loved this and went on a couple of times. Once Ben had finished on the skittles the member of staff running the ride saw he looked slightly disappointed and said that it would be ok for him to drive with his dad's help and so they both had a go much to Ben's delight.

After the fun of the dumper trucks it was time for another challenge, with Mr F attempting to stack more tyres than Emma on the StackAttack. On this ride you get to drive a specially adapted, four-wheel-drive, AVANT 200 Series Loader and try and stack as many tyres as you can whilst racing against the clock. My husband expected to do really well on this, but found it was much harder than he initially thought. Participants need to be a minimum of 140cm to drive this so again Ben was slightly too small, but we had known this prior to our visit having checked all the height restrictions on the website, so he was more than happy to sit this one out and shout directions to his sister from the other side of the fence to try and help her position the tyres correctly.

The next ride was one that Ben had really been looking forward to and was called Robots. This is where you can drive JCB Skid Steer Loaders around a purpose designed course. It had been raining prior to our visit so the course was really really muddy which added to the fun. Riley was also able to go on as a passenger with his dad and although he wasn't driving it, he felt like he was and was really proud of himself when he completed the course.

Located adjacent to this ride was the go karts. These were speed limited to allow younger children the chance to drive them too and everyone enjoyed this especially Riley. Both Emma and Ben would definitely have liked to have been able to put their foot down and race a bit faster but they had lots of fun regardless. There was also a large grass play area with plenty of picnic benches in between both of these rides with plenty of room for children to have a run around. There was a small catering kiosk where you could purchase ice cream or drinks and it was the ideal place to have a little rest and a snack.

Once we had enjoyed a little break the kids quickly demanded that we took a ride on Groundshuttle. Now unfortunately for me, I hadn't read what this ride entailed before embarking and foolishly thought that it was a bit like a tractor ride along a track and round a field at a leisurely pace. I was wrong. I am pretty sure that I have also left my stomach back in Yorkshire as still feel queasy even thinking about it. Usually I would be at the front of the queue for any thrill ride, but this absolutely terrified me. 

Basically the ride entails taking a seat on a special carriage at the front of a Manitou Telehandler which then takes you on a journey into a field. Once you reach the field you are then taken on a stomach churning ride as the telehandler rocks and spins you in the air whilst you cling onto the bars. I'm not going to lie I was screaming, but the kids were all laughing like crazy and went on it a further two times so I am clearly turning into a bit of a wimp as I get older. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of this ride for fear that I would lose my phone over the side, but there is a video on the Diggerland website which can be found here if you want to take a look.

We then made our way over to the Joyrider but unfortunately this was not available for driving experiences due to ground conditions. This was understandable as the ground was very muddy and boggy in parts which I could imagine some children would find quite difficult, especially when driving a vehicle for the first time. Everything else was available during our visit though so this was not a problem.

We chose to go on a bit more of a relaxing ride after the Groundshuttle experience and so we headed over to the Skyshuttle. On this ride you can enjoy some fantastic views as a specially adapted carriage lifts you 50 feet up into the air. It remains stationary when in the air so it is suitable for most ages as there are no scary movements once you have been lifted and you can simply relax and enjoy the views. Even Ben enjoyed this ride who is normally afraid of heights, but he was very comfortable on this and enjoyed spotting some of the rides we had been on from the sky.

Once our feet were firmly back on the ground, the kids enjoyed playing on the dirt diggers and crazy carts (a crazy cart is now also on Emma's wish list for her birthday). In the Crazy Carts you can skid and do doughnuts whilst spinning at speed. Funky helmets are provided and I must admit it looked lots of fun.

Emma and I then chose to ride on Spindizzy whilst Riley, Ben and Mr F took a trip to the indoor soft play area. This was my personal favourite ride of the day. There was a small queue but we must have waited about five minutes at the most before taking a seat in the specially adapted digger bucket which then raised you into the air and spun you in circles at speed. I really enjoyed this in comparison to the ground shuttle as I felt a lot safer and enjoyed the speed it moved at. It really was great fun and I enjoyed being able to spend some fun time with Emma laughing and joking on the ride.

Once we had enjoyed a couple of goes on SpinDizzy (you are advised to wait ten minutes between each ride to ensure you don't get too dizzy) we went to join the boys in the soft play area. This was a really nice space with decorative paintings on the walls. There were a few arcade games, a toddler play area, large soft play area and plenty of seating. There were steps to take you upstairs to the Dig In restaurant where you could purchase drinks and food at reasonable prices. One important thing to note however is that the on site catering is franchised and only accepts cash payments. Luckily I was aware of this before our trip but usually I don't carry cash and it could have caused an issue had I not been aware.

As we were in no rush to go home we decided to do another circuit of the park so that the children could enjoy their favourite rides again and also go on the dodgems which we had skipped earlier. The Dig-a-round was a popular choice with both Emma and Ben who really enjoyed riding on this again.

In total we were at Diggerland for 5 hours and had an absolutely fantastic time. As it had been raining in the morning I think this had put off some guests and so the park remained really quiet throughout the day despite the sunshine coming out in full force after lunch. This was great for us as it meant that we didn't have to queue for longer than five minutes for any ride all day. We loved how different and unique this theme park was in comparison to others we have visited and we found all the staff to be very polite and helpful. 

Hints & Tips

If you are planning a visit to Diggerland Yorkshire then I would recommend the following:
  • Take some cash, you will need cash to purchase food and drinks and also pound coins if you wish to make use of the dodgems or electric cars.
  • Don't wear your best clothes - The paths around the park are very well maintained, however when driving the machinery it is almost inevitable that you will come into contact with mud or dirt at some point during the day.
  • Get there early - The park was at its quietest from 10am til 11am and we were able to walk straight on to the majority of the rides. If you aren't a fan of queuing then you could try out the most popular rides in this time.
  • Check the height restrictions before you visit - The height restrictions for all rides are clearly displayed on the Diggerland website. All of the rides have either height or age limits which all vary so make sure you check that your child will be tall enough to enjoy the experience to the fullest and avoid any disappointment.
  • Take a picnic - The onsite catering is reasonably priced if you are wanting to purchase hot drinks or a meal, but if you are after a light lunch or snack or simply want to save a bit of money, then take a picnic and make use of the numerous picnic benches around the park.
  • Don't forget your free certificate - Children can obtain their free Diggerland certificate when exiting the shop. Simply ask at the till at the front of the shop.
Important Information

Address: Diggerland Yorkshire, Willowbridge Lane, Castleford, WF10 5NW.

Opening times: Opening times and dates vary so I would suggest visiting the Diggerland Website for the most up to date information. 

Entry prices: 
On the day - Adults under 65 & Children 90cm and over £19.95 per person on arrival
Prebook & Prepay - Adults under 65 & children 90cm and over £16.99
On the day - Age 65+ (ID required) £9.95 per person
Prebook & Prepray - Age 65+ £7.99 per person
Children under 90cm - Free
Disabled Carer (one per paying visitor) - Free
On the Day - Groups of 10 or more £16.99 per person 
Prebook & Prepay - Groups of 10 or more from £13.99 with further details available here

Diggerland Yorkshire offers baby changing facilities, disabled parking, free on site parking, free coach parking, gift shop, disabled toilets, indoor eating facilities & outdoor seating/picnic areas.

Disclaimer: We were provided with a complimentary family ticket for the purpose of providing an honest review of our experience at the attraction. All opinions and photographs are my own unless otherwise stated. Opening times, ride availability & entry prices were correct at time of writing, but these are subject to change and so I would always suggest checking on the attractions own website for the most up to date information.

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