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Last year we spent a day out with kids at Diggerland Kent. And my son (3 at the time) loved it so much! He periodically reminds us of that place and asks to go there. Luckily, Diggerland is not that far away: it is located ~32 miles NE from Trafalgar Square, London. We went there by car (a 45-50 minutes drive) but could’ve travelled by train and bus (80-90 minutes journey).
You cand find Diggerland on the Medway river and it has a pretty big car park. When we got there, it was around 1 pm. We parked the car and went inside.
The first impression wasn’t a positive one. The music was so loud! And next to the entrance there were small diggers and other vehicles that you have to pay 1£ for a ride. The whole thing seemed like the usual funfair, loud and expensive. The scenery changes really quickly though! As you go left and then past the toilets (keep their location in mind for future use), that’s the moment the real adventure and madness begin!
On the left, there are real diggers. You see JCB 8065 tracked excavators that anyone (over a certain height, I think it was 90cm) can handle. They are very stable and kids and adults can easily use the controls to scoop up a bucket full of soil, swivel about and dump it. Careful though: some manoeuvres can tip the digger over. When you get on board, a special trainer shows and tell you everything you need to know to have fun while being safe.
There is a limited number of diggers, of course. If there are queues, the time you can use the digger is fairly limited. However, you can go back in the queue (they were pretty short when we visited) and have another go!
Close to the diggers are the dumper trucks. Thwaites 1 tonne dumpers are the real deal. They have modified engines to keep their maximum speed down to a walking pace. They are fun, we couldn’t have enough! There is a track built for them and they are quite impressive. I can’t even remember how many rides we had.
For these the driver has to have over 140cm height, and the passenger over 90cm.
In the next photo, it’s the dumper truck me and my son drove. He was controlling the steering wheel (and he was doing an amazing job!), I was controlling the pedals.
Next on the road, there are the Go-Carts. For them, the driver has to be over 100cm and the passenger over 80cm. Again, my son was in charge of the steering wheel and this time his dad was controlling the pedals.
Close to the Go-Carts are the “Robots”. The JCB Skid Steer Loaders have been specially adapted to drive around a purpose-designed course.
Reaching the end of the land, on the right, there is a huge JCB 3CX, Backhoe Loader and it is quite impressive! Who is over 110cm can actually drive it, accompanied by one of the specially trained Diggerland marshals. And there is no way you can get off the track: one of the marshals also has a brake pedal at his/her disposal.
In the same area as the Backhoe Loader, there is the Skyshuttle. This machine lifts you, safely and securely, 50 feet up in the air. And the view is pretty beautiful!
Leaving the Skyshuttle behind, you get to a line of smaller diggers. Komatsu PC14 mini diggers are adapted for play and kids get a few challenges on their day out at Diggerland. They have to:
- dig to find a Buried Treasure, which takes a lot of work
- knock over ten skittles, which takes a lot of concentration and it’s challenging for adults too
- hook a duck out of the water, which was my son’s favourite – he wanted to have a go three times, though he had also played with the skittles and the treasure ones, and each time he worked until he managed to get all the ducks out of the pond
As out day out with the kids at Diggerland was coming to a close, we went on a train ride. The train had a Thwaites 1 tonne dumper as the engine, the main lead carriage and kiddie follow carts, especially custom-made for Diggerland.
We left Diggerland at closing time, meaning at 5 pm. We weren’t ready for this! On our way to the seaside, we thought “Ok, we could go in, see some diggers, and then we’ll be on our way”. Weren’t we naive! Honestly, we didn’t know you could have so much fun, as a family, in a place full of diggers and trucks!
Useful information for a day out with kids at Diggerland, Kent
How long do you spend at Diggerland?
On average, 3-4 hours might be enough. It also depends on the number of people in your group, the age of the kids and how busy the place is when you visit. Since I first wrote this post, we’ve visited Diggerland again and spend a whole day there (from 10 am to closing time with a 7yo and a 5yo).
What age is Diggerland suitable for?
The attraction is aimed at adults and children over 4 years of age – yet on our first visit there our son was 3 and our daughter was 1.
How tall do you have to be for Diggerland?
Every attraction has a height limit:
- under 80cm height, you are not allowed to do anything except ride the train accompanied
- for over 80cm there is a chart that I recommend consulting here
Other useful information:
- kids under 80cm height can enter Diggerland for free and they can ride the train and play at the Little Tikes Wheelz Play Zone and enjoy (some of) the coin operated rides
- on the site there are indoor eating facilities, outdoors seating/picnic area and a restaurant
- the toilets do have baby changing facilities and they are breastfeeding friendly (mothers can nurse wherever they feel comfortable)
- check here the opening days and hours before deciding to visit it as it varies