All the way back in 2015 we visited Diggerland in Devon on a beautiful spring day, so when we were invited back, we couldn’t wait to see if anything had changed.
We left sunny Bournemouth in the tropical heatwave we have been experiencing and headed west, armed with suncream and raincoats – just in case the forecast of occasional showers came true.
As we approached Devon I noticed that the temperature was starting to drop and there were a few drops of rain, but I was not concerned, rain doesn’t normally stop us having fun but as we arrived the heaven’s opened.
We got inside and I tried to persuade the kids to play in the indoor play area to see if the rain was going to let up, but they were itching to head outside.
Diggerland has 20 rides and drives for children and adults looking for something fun and highly unique to try.
On our last visit, I had Daddy and Kian with us, who could help the younger ones on the rides, but this time I was on my own with them. I was concerned we may have to stagger our turns, but as Isaac and Eliza are both over 1m, it was only Sebby that I need to assist.
We started on the smallest machines in the park. After a brief guide to the controls of the Komatsu PC14, we were off, using our best digger skills to try to hook as many ducks as possible.
We had lots of fun to see who could get the most ducks, with Sebby and I getting two, Eliza managing to hook all three.
But it was Isaac who won – even getting two at once!!!
With our digger skills honed, it was onto the much larger dirt diggers next which involved scooping out mud from the pit and putting it into a pile.
These diggers (JCB 8030) tracked mini diggers, although there is nothing mini about them when kids are involved.
Thankfully the only controls they can operate is the arm and the bucket, and this time they added dimension of being able to control the bucket to learn.
By now, you would have thought we would be masters of digging, however, they made digging for buried treasure even tricker. We were back on Komatsu PC14 mini diggers, only this time with a bucket with holes in it!!
It was the Skittles test that really got the kids competitive. This time we were in control of a full-size Komatsu PC14, with the aim of knocking over the skittles with a mini wrecking ball.
It is much harder than it looks and really tests your concentration, hand-eye coordination, learning skills and patience!
The kids were keen to try a ride by now and Dig-a-Round is a unique adapted JCB 8060, where the kids sit in a bucket and spin forwards…… and backwards.
By now the kids were beginning to really struggle with the rain, as it was showing no sign of letting up, so we decided to head for some cover in the Diggerland Safari SUV.
You are driven around a special course and have to spot how many wild animal cardboard cut outs they can see. I think we ended up doing it three times, just to stay out of the rain!!
The JCB Skid Steer Loaders, also known as “JCB Robots”, have been especially adapted for Diggerland’s visitors to drive around a purpose-designed course.
I have to admit I was pretty skeptical that Isaac and Eliza wouldn’t be able to drive them, but they happily rumbled around the course which was made even more fun by the huge puddles that were forming.
JCB 3CX, Backhoe Loader
Sebby, on the other hand, only had eyes on the largest digger in the park – the JCB 3CX, Backhoe Loader.
He got to drive this huge beast around the track under the guidance of a specially trained Diggerland marshal.
He did it once on his own and then we all joined him as the digger can seat up to four passengers.
By now we were soaked through and our waterproof coats failed to keep us dry, so we headed inside to warm up with a hot chocolate in the cafe. Inside is a bouncy castle, a large kids ball pit play area and a smaller area for under 3’s, which I am pleased to report has been updated and improved since our last visit.
We wanted to wait around for the Diggerland Digger Stunt Show which was due to start at 2pm, but sadly had to be cancelled due to the weather and the instability of the ground.
At this point, with no sign of the torrential rain letting, up decided to head home as the rest of the activities are open air. The only thing the kids were disappointed at missing was Spin Dizzy, as on our last visit they didn’t meet the height requirements.
Diggerland has also introduced a new attraction – StackAttack, where you take the controls of a specially adapted, four-wheel-drive, AVANT 200 Series loader with a hydraulic boom fitted with a unique grapple that has been specifically designed for the new ride.
This ride is aimed at older children and adults as the minimum height is 140cm. Working against the clock within the confines of a 100 square metre fenced enclosure, the challenge is to pick-up, move and stack giant digger and dumper tyres without dropping them or knocking over the stack!
Despite the weather, I would still recommend a visit to Diggerland as it is great fun for all the family – just be prepared to get wet and muddy if its raining!!
Diggerland has sites all over the country: Devon, Kent, Durham and Yorkshire. Pre-book and pre-pay ticket prices start from £16.99 per person for children and adults over 90cm (Children under 90cm are FREE). This rises to £19.95 for on the door prices.
Disclaimer: We were guests of Diggerland for a day out. All thoughts and opinions are our own.