Diggerland, simply uttering the words is enough to get every man interested. Diggers, lots of them, and you can get behind the controls, its every little boys dream, and as I have the brain of a child, it got me very excited at the prospect of being given a digger to drive.
On arrival the park was quiet, with only about 15 cars in the car park. The queue to get in was short, and we were soon into the entrance area.
Paying to get in is quite a hassle as the single till struggles to cope even with the smallest crowd, and the member of staff having to explain the layout of the park to each person given the lack of any sort of map.
Once we were into the park, the layout becomes obvious. A small park in an oval shape, in the middle there is a small ride track.
Our first ride of the day was the Dig-a-Round. Now, this is simply a mini excavator with a canopy attached and from which double seats are suspended.
The seats are uncomfortable, but I don’t suppose anything that comes out of the JCB factory is meant to be comfortable.
The operator walks around making sure we are all safe and she climbed up into the excavator. Kicking the engine into life, we soon found out we were sat right at the exhaust, which was a little unpleasant, but the ride soon started to spin around, and the air movement dealt with the exhaust.
It is nothing spectacular, simply spinning around, the seats swinging out slightly as it does.
Next up we saw some small replica Land Rovers which were too small for me, but Daniel was in his element. The small electric powered cars are really good for kids, with each of them given free reign around the long track, over bridges and around tight corners.
The Mini Tractors opposite was our next stop.
The Mini Tractors are a little cartoony, and fun vehicles which kids can drive. The operator fires up the engine and away you go at a crawling pace. We took a corner a little too tight and the crawling tractor didn’t make it up a small hill, with us having to be rescued by the operator.
We spent the next half hour or so riding small excavators, all lined up, ready with 3 different challenges. One you are tasked to play 10 pin bowling, the next you are challenged to find buried treasure in a very deep muddy puddle and finally you play the ultimate hook a duck.
In essence, these are nothing really, just a digger, however, they become something of a massive challenge, trying to knock down that final skittle or hook that final duck which you simply push around the small pond given the increased space it now has.
I took a ride on what Diggerland calls Robot Driving. These are simply JCB Skid, the really small tractors which turn by stopping the wheels on one side of the vehicle. The track was extremely muddy and so much fun as the skid skidded around, with me getting a bit of a power slide as I arrived back into the station.
As I was riding the Skids, Daniel took a few laps of the electric go karts, which he came back complaining they were too slow.
As we met up again, now at the far end of the park, a tractor was coming back into its loading area. We weren’t sure what it did, but with enthusiasm, we climbed on board. It was a large tractor with a large flat attachment on front, which we all sat on and was strapped in with seat belts and lap bars.
The two park mascots took a ride with us, which was great, and as we headed off down the small path and into a clearing. Here, I was thinking it was a little lame, but then the driver seemed to lose her mind. Spinning the JCB around fast, diving through the mud and throwing us around – it was fantastic!
Next up we had a go on some more diggers, this time, our task was just to dig a hole a little deeper, and I know, it sounds lame, but there was something so satisfying bringing up scoops of earth, and then putting them back down again – much like digging a hole on the beach for no reason what-so-ever.
As we passed Sky Shuttle, we climbed on board. This high reach JCB took us on its modified attachment 50 feet in the air, and we got the chance to see the entire park from above.
Finally, we reached Spin Dizzy. Now, this JCB took us in its scoop bucket and spun us around, really quickly, dropping and raising as it did. Vicky was nearly sick, and Daniel just loved it. It was a fantastic ride, and had a no re-ride policy of 10 minutes, which I can really understand why once we got off!
So, all in all we had a brilliant day, and am really looking forward to my next visit to Diggerland. They may not have any huge roller coasters, but as a family theme park, as long as you like the theme of digging, they have a fantastic little place.
Diggerland can be found in Yorkshire, Kent, Durham and Devon. Tickets are cheapest at £16.99 each if you pre-book online before the day of your visit.