Tucked away in a quiet corner of Epsom is the “mysterical” land of Hobbledown – a magical place guaranteed to tire out even the most energetic of children!
Suitable for youngsters aged 2-11, Hobbledown offers a well-balanced mix of outdoor/indoor activities alongside the traditional children’s farm experience. For those in search of a little adventure, head to Hobbledown Village, a series of towers linked by metal cages that have to be scrambled or crawled through, before descending back to earth via a twisty slide. If heights aren’t your thing, there is also a network of underground tunnels accessed by the towers which meant I didn’t see my two guests for about 20 minutes. I took two very outdoorsy girls (aged 9 and 10) on my visit, both of whom had no problem navigating the aerial and subterranean routes, but I can imagine supervising younger children could be a little taxing and there were a few parents and grandparents forced to scrabble up (and down) ladders to retrieve little ones!
From there, my intrepid explorers moved to the high-ropes Aerial Adventure Course. Each child is fitted with a harness and given a one-to-one safety briefing before setting off across the trail, which includes wobbly walkways, zig-zag paths and a trolley pull before culminating in a zip wire. Again, this activity suited my two perfectly and it was a very pleasant surprise to find that it was included in the entrance price. In fact, this is the only such place I have been too where there were no hidden extras – the entry price covers everything except of course food and drink – which makes budgeting for a day out a whole lot easier.
After all that outdoor fun, we headed indoors for some lunch. You are welcome to picnic around the park, but we opted for Hobnosh Restaurant which again has a lot more on offer than many other similar establishments, including a variety of hot wraps, main dishes such as BBQ Chicken and Moroccan Meatballs and of course a good selection of cakes and drinks all at reasonable prices. The café is situated in the indoor play section which had a fantastic range of climbing, jumping and tunnelling opportunites all in a well-maintained, safe, soft-play environment.
The premise behind the venue is that it is a land where the Hobblers (a race of pixie-like folk) live and you can meet some of them around the park and read about their exploits at various points. There is a good selection of animals (meerkats, goats, pigs, ponies) – some of which you are allowed to stroke – and there are also plenty of signs about washing your hands and opportunities to do so.
As I mentioned earlier, the daredevil, physical activities certainly suited my two, but there is enough at Hobbledown to entertain more cautious children, including a traditional park-stlye play area, bouncing pillows, and even a chill-out tepee!
I can honestly say, we had a great time at Hobbledown and with the holidays looming, it is certainly one to bear in mind for a full day out.
- For opening times and prices visit hobbledown.com
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