Day Out at Puxton Park

After weeks of rain and snow we decided to start the Easter holidays by making the most of the warmer weather and heading out of Bristol for a few days.

Our short break led us out into the Somerset countryside (not far from home, but it was enough to feel like a holiday for the boys!) and whilst there we decided to visit Puxton Park, a nearby family attraction that's part of a working farm.

Being just 1/2 a mile away from the M5 and so well signposted means that Puxton Park is super easy to get to. It's 30-40 minutes away from Bristol but on this occasion we were staying just outside of Weston-Super-Mare so it didn't take us long to get there at all.

When we arrived we found that the car park was already starting to fill up and we wondered if we'd be able to find a space. It turns out that the car park is huge though so there were plenty of spaces available and we parked up with no problems.

After a short walk across the car park and over a little bridge, we came to a spacious reception area where we paid for our tickets and were handed a map of the site to find our way around.

In terms of layout, the park is great. There's no set route that you need to follow and all of the attractions are close enough to the main entrance for little legs to manage. Everything is quite evenly spread out too so even though the car parks were packed when we arrived, the site itself didn’t actually feel too busy.

The first thing that caught Finley’s attention was a Mini Golf course. He’s been talking about playing mini golf since he discovered it on holiday last summer so he ran straight over and picked up a club. In order to play you have to go back to the main reception to hire a ball for £1. Finley was raring to go so the whole process confused him a bit but he was fine once he got into the game. His attention span can be a bit hit and miss but he actually managed to complete the whole course (not in the most conventional way though, it has to be said!)

There were a few other paid activities such as electric tractors and bumper cars. The rides were pretty good but I’m not sure how I feel about the extra cost - mostly because it’s a bit of a pain if you don’t have the right change on you, but also because the price of entry to the park seemed like it should be enough to cover everything. 

Saying that, the admission fees are fairly reasonable in comparison to similar attractions. An adult ticket is £8.90, a child ticket for children aged 2-16 is £9.90 and children aged 0-24 months go free. Alternatively, you can buy a family ticket for £36.00. There's also a reduced 'Late Entry' rate of just £4.00 which is valid from 15:30. 

The vast majority of the park’s activities are free, including the tractor and trailer ride we came across next. Not only was this brilliant for the boys who both love anything with wheels, but it was actually really informative for the adults too. We learnt a lot about the farming side of the park and got right up close to the cows (Finley was a bit scared of them but Jacob thought they were hilarious and kept wanting to touch them!) We were really impressed with the driver too - instead of just hitting play on a recorded commentary, he chatted away, speaking loudly and clearly over a microphone and making everyone laugh along the way. He was very knowledgable and it was nice to learn from someone who clearly loves what they do! 

Another ride we were all able to go on together was the miniature train. The boys are both mad about Thomas at the moment so this was definitely one of the highlights for them! In fact, they loved it so much that we went on it twice during our visit! 

Of course the main attraction at Puxton Park are the animals - there were so many to see! There's a huge range of different types too, from guinea pigs to sheep to meerkats and even reindeer! Straight away we noticed that all of the enclosures were very clean with plenty of space for the animals to roam around and it was clear that they were all well looked after.

Jacob is fascinated by animals of all shapes and sizes so the little windows at child height were perfect for him to safely get up close to them and build up his confidence. He spent ages watching the lambs (and they spent almost as long watching him back!)

Finley likes animals too but at places like this he's often distracted by the play areas and moves on very quickly. Puxton Park had so many things that helped to hold his attention though - as well as the
clear viewing windows, he also enjoyed getting up close to a realistic model of a cow (complete with working udders!) looking at the information signs and having the opportunity to feed some of the animals as we walked around the park. We bought a small bag of animal feed when we arrived (they're available from the main reception for just £1) and found that this gave Finley the perfect starting point to interact with the animals he was interested in.

If you're visiting with a little animal lover then it's worth checking out the range of talks, shows, Q&A sessions and activities on offer at Puxton Park. We didn't actually get the chance to go to any but we weren't sure how interested Finley would be (and there's no way Jacob would've had the attention span for it!) so it's definitely something we'll look into when they're are a bit older.

When the boys did eventually move on from the animals there was plenty to keep them occupied outside. We were really lucky with the weather on the day we visited and managed to give most of the outdoor activities a try. There are play areas for all ages throughout the park and, despite their 3 year age gap, we were impressed with how much of it was accessible to both of the boys. They especially loved bouncing on the floor-level trampolines, exploring the maze of knowledge, riding on the horse and barrel fairground ride (again, this was totally free!) and playing in the giant sandpit, complete with buckets and spades, little hand-operated metal diggers and big wooden JCBs that could be used as climbing frames, slides or just pretend vehicles. There was even a big mechanical JCB in the corner of the play area that Finley fell in love with and spent ages pretending to drive!

Speaking of vehicles, another highlight for the boys was the Big Machinery Barn - a huge barn full of tractors, diggers, ploughs and other farm machinery that's used around the park. Finley was fascinated and had so many questions about what each thing was used for. Of course Jacob had no idea what any of it was but he liked walking around and looking at everything in the barn!

The weather was so nice that we ended up staying outside all day but it's worth mentioning that there's a plenty to do even if it rains during your visit. A lot of the outdoor activities are under cover but if all else fails then there's a giant indoor soft play with access to a cafe, toilets and changing facilities. Puxton Park is definitely the sort of place that is best experienced in the sunshine but it's great that there's still so much to do regardless of the weather (and best of all, no risk of disappointment!)

Our visit to Puxton Park was particularly special as Jacob not only took his first outdoor steps but then went on to walk around the park for over an hour and a half, holding my hand and leading me to all the animals he wanted to see. He'd only taken his first wobbly steps a couple of weeks before (seriously - that boy does not do things by halves!) so we weren't expecting it all but it seems that all of the park's open spaces made him determined to get down and explore!

Just as we decided to call it a day, we discovered that there's a little hidden gem at Puxton Park - leaving the site means walking through Puxton's Farm Shop which sells amazing fresh local produce! As well as all the usual stuff you'd expect to find in a gift shop, they have everything you need for a weekly shop - there's even a butchers and a deli counter. I'm a Somerset girl at heart though so I was more excited about the selection of local ciders (and obviously had to take a couple home to sample!)

We had a really great day out at Puxton Park and all 4 of us were exhausted by the end of it! Although it sounds a bit clich├ęd, we'll definitely be going back again as there was so much to see and do that we just couldn't cram everything into one day. All of the staff we spoke to were very friendly and on several occasions we were struck by how well they interacted with Finley. It’s so hard to find places to visit that will keep both boys entertained at an age appropriate level but Puxton Park ticked all the boxes for a 13 month old and a 4 year old at the same time. It's the sort of place that I think we’ll experience differently as the boys grow bigger and braver though so watch this space...!

Check out Puxton Park’s official website for more info: