After a month of badgering, I finally take my five-year-old twins to Peppa Pig World at Paultons Park in the New Forest. It's a scorching hot day at the end of half term and it seems that the majority of the pre-tween population have had the same idea. Anyone with children born in the last 15 years will be familiar with a certain little piggy and her perky family, who with her sweet voice and penchant for muddy puddles has received the highest accolade in children’s TV – her very own themepark.
The gates swing open and along with several hundred other fans we swarm through the park in search of Peppa, George and Daddy Pig with his gorgeous gravelly voice. The girls point out Windy Castle and Madame Gazelle's School House before dragging me and their reluctant older brother towards the queue for George's Dinosaur Adventure, a gentle ride around Peppa's perfectly manicured garden. There are seven rides in all, most of them said to be suitable for all ages, although my nine-year-old heartily disagrees (and I too can safely say that once you've been on one slow car/train/boat ride you've been on them all). Windy Castle is as extreme as it gets, with spinning clouds that reach dizzying heights overlooking Peppa's empire.
Other attractions include having your picture taken in Peppa's house and splashing in not-so muddy puddles in Mr Potato's Playground. Queues are unavoidable at themeparks unless you bunk off school, and sadly there are no fast-track options here, although you don't have to wait in line for every attraction – George's Spaceship Playzone is a great softplay area perfect for young 'uns to cool off in. When little bellies start to rumble, Daddy Pig's Big Tummy Café sells sandwiches, coffees and cakes (though there’s a disappointing lack of his favourite pancakes).
Peppa Pig World is very much aimed at pre-schoolers, who won’t be disappointed, but even our jaded nine-year-old can’t help but be a teensy bit excited to meet a life-size Peppa and her pals. And to placate their older brother, the girls reluctantly agree to check out the rest of Paultons, which, thanks to the crowds in Peppaland, we do with relative ease. There's a wildlife area with flamingos, owls and meercats, and a Water Kingdom that’s a must on a hot day (bring swimmers and a towel). Dozens of more thrilling rides include the “awesome” Raging River Ride for those everyone over a metre in height.
Read more about things to do with kids in Hampshire, and check out our recommendations for family-friendly places to stay.