Pigs and Panning for Gold at Hatton Country World

CAN you imagine what a nightmare it is trying to find something which will entertain children ranging from tots to teens, not too far away and not costing the same as a small car?

This a dilemma we constantly face - my lot range from 4-19 and apart from a nice meal out which they all love it is quite dificult to find a family day out which won't bore the pants off half of the children.
To be fair we usually break the children down into smaller groups - the older ones are usually happy to arrange days with their friends doing whatever teenagers do (gaming, pretending to study together, hanging around in parks....) while we take the younger ones to all the places we have done to death already. I swear our local soft play centre should have a level named after us - I've been taking my kids there for the past 18 years!!!

So I was very happy to be invited to Hatton Country World at Hatton in Warwickshire  - not too far from home and completely new to our family.

I did a quick straw poll of which children fancied accompanying me and to my surprise after checking out the website even my 12 and 14 year olds liked the idea.

I don't know if we were lucky or unlucky but the day we went turned out to be one of the hottest for years with the mercury hitting 32 degrees plus so the hour and a half drive from Hertfordshire with barely functioning air con (must get that re-gassed!) was not the best.
But at the sight of all the attractions at the park laid out before them the children quickly forgot their gripes and couldn't wait to start exploring.

cuddles with a guinea pig
There is so much to do there I can hardly mention all of it but our particular favourites were the guinea pigs - they live in a really cool model village and you get to cuddle the little critters if you like at special times of the day.
We loved the pig palace with the clever pig feeding tractor gadget and the helter skelter and giant bouncy slide kept all of my tribe entertained for ages.

Something I didn't expect was the Gold Rush feature. I've seen then before at theme parks where you have to pay to pan for fool's gold but here it was included in the park entry. Even I joined in scrabbling through cool water and sand, hunting for enough gold pieces to earn medals. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I'm glad to say every child won one. It made their day!

There were fairground rides, and little tractors to drive, great playgrounds dotted around and sheep racing. I was a little disappointed with the bird show which was a bit hard to hear probably because it was a windy day but the children didn't really mind as anyone who wanted to could have a bird of prey take food from their specially gloved hand and that's all they were interested in really!
We enjoyed a lovely tractor-trailer ride with an interactive story - Grumpy was agog as we hunted for Snorty the pig while riding a very bumpy track. If you go, watch out for the water feature part of the ride!
We saw lots of the usual farm animals plus micro-pigs and we were amazed to spot Santa on his summer hols along with his reindeer.

Stopping for lunch was a nice experience too - it can be a nightmare seating lots of children but there were plenty of places to eat to suit all budgets, and lots of nice picnic areas.
We chose to eat at Snorty's Bouncing Barnyard Restaurant with its built in soft play area (take socks!). We easily found table big enough for our larger than average family plus some friends we met there and enjoyed a lovely lunch with the best chips I have ever eaten in a family attraction.

The thing that makes Hatton Country World stand out though is that is more than just a farm park. There's a fabulous shopping village (free admission) with everything from antique shops and a candle maker to a lovely ice-cream parlour and a nice cafe.  This is currently being upgraded but seemed nice to me anyway so worth a visit - ideal to take the family on a Sunday!

milking a plastic cow
The owners also run camping weekends, a day care facility, holiday clubs and organise birthday parties. You can buy an annual pass and if I lived closer I would seriously consider it - there is so much to do in all weathers there that I don't think even the hardest to please child would ever get bored.

Disclaimer; I was given free tickets to visit Hatton Country World, and lunch was provided for us. Views however are unbiased and all my own.

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