COVID-19 safety update
Some facilities and attractions may be closed or restricted this year, due to COVID-19 – and there may be extra safety rules, pre-booking requirements or one-way systems in place. Please check Diggerland Kent’s website before travelling or booking.
Laura went to Diggerland Kent with her two daughters, aged 3 and 4, and their dad Adam. Laura is an experienced parenting journalist, and has previously written articles for a range of titles including metro.co.uk, The Green Parent, JUNO and Mumernity.
She visited on a beautiful sunny Sunday in July, a couple of weeks before the schools were due to break up for the summer holidays.
Fellow reviewer Maxine visited with her two toddlers, Ellis, 3, and Theo, 2, and their dad, Sharps, on the last Friday of term-time before the start of the summer school holidays.
What’s Diggerland Kent like since Covid-19?
At the time of visiting, there were no legal Covid-19 restrictions in place.
Although the Diggerland website urges visitors to maintain a sensible distance from people they don’t know, there was no signage to this effect that we could see in the park itself. The staff we came across were not wearing masks and neither were many visitors. Regular hand washing or sanitising is advised, although there were no additional hand sanitising stations at the time of visiting.
All indoor and outdoor activities were open, but if coronavirus restrictions are put in place, then this will mean a limit of numbers on play equipment. Make sure you check the website before visiting.
What age is Diggerland Kent best for?
Best for: Children aged 4-14 years
Still good fun for: Children under 0.9m, although there are a lot of rides they won’t be tall enough to go on
How much does it cost?
If you book online, tickets for adults and children 90cm and above are £25.95 (plus £2 booking fee), children under 90cm go free. Make sure you book your tickets online to save a few pennies as if you choose to pay on the door, the price goes up to £32 for each person over 90cm.
If booking online, tickets must be booked before midnight on the day of your visit. Family tickets aren’t available but you can find all the pricing details here.
Are there discounts or cheap tickets available for Diggerland Kent?
Unfortunately, Diggerland says it is currently unable to accept discounts or special offers, including Blue Peter badges and NHS discount and you can’t use Tesco Clubcard vouchers. If you have a Diggerland leaflet, the park will be accepting these until the end of 2022 but they can’t be used online. Present your Diggerland leaflet on arrival and the discount will be taken off the pay on the day rate.
Holiday Extras is a good site to check out to see if there’s any accommodation and ticket offers if you’re thinking of making a mini break out of your visit.
Any extra charges once I’m there?
Diggerland is full of coin-operated rides, diggers and cars which you’ll find dotted throughout the park, all costing £1 a go. Be prepared to bring a wallet full of change or be pestered to death. Our girls, aged 3 and 4, were relentless in their pursuit to go on the Bob the Builder ride-on.
Fellow reviewer Maxine, who visited the park with her 2 preschool-aged sons, noted: “We managed to get away with the boys just sitting on some of them, but when it came to the Formula 1 racing car track, we didn’t stand a chance.”
You also have to pay £1 per car if you want to go on the bumper cars and there are various vending machines selling sweets and toys for, you guessed it, £1.
There was also an ice-cream van on site, which is good to know if you’re planning on a visit at the height of summer.
What’s the gift shop like?
The gift shop is full of digger-related toys and clothes at a range of prices, including a kids hi-vis vest for just £2.50. Our girls were happy enough with their ‘I dug it at Diggerland’ medals for a couple of pounds. And don’t forget to pick up a free Junior Digger Driver certificate for your kids before you leave.
As you have to pass through the gift shop to exit the park, it is virtually impossible to leave without buying something. However, if you time it right, you may get away with it, as Maxine said: “As we were literally the last people to leave Diggerland we had to rush through the gift shop and weren’t able to buy anything as it was closed.”
How long will we spend at Diggerland Kent?
We arrived when the park opened at 10am and stayed until 2pm. This was mainly because both girls were tired and we had a long drive ahead of us back to our corner of Sussex. Thanks to the short or non-existent queues, we had managed to do all the rides the kids could go on, but we could have happily revisited our favourites until the park closed at 5pm.
You can easily get around Diggerland in one day.
What does the park have to offer for families?
Diggerland Kent is an award-winning theme park based around construction machinery, where kids and adults get the chance to ride, drive and operate a host of different diggers.
There are 20 different rides in total, plus an outdoor Little Tikes play area for under 5s.
Our 3-year-old loves diggers and was squealing in delight as she got behind the controls of assorted dumper trucks and diggers. Our 4-year-old was a little lukewarm at first, but once she discovered the Diggerland Train, she was converted. The indoor soft play, complete with bouncy castle, Little Tikes ride-ons and assorted Wendy houses, was also a big hit.
What shouldn’t be missed at Diggerland Kent?
The highlights for us were:
- Our 3-year-old loved driving the Dumpers and trying to unearth buried treasure in the ride of the same name.
- As well as the train, her big sister also loved the Groundshuttle. Unfortunately, our youngest was too short for this ride and had to sit it out.
- My personal highlight was taking a massive JCB for a spin around the dirt track. Great fun.
- The whole family enjoyed heading skywards in the Skyshuttle, which gives you a great bird’s-eye view of the park.
How easy is it to find and navigate round?
Diggerland Kent is located in the middle of an industrial estate in Rochester. It is well signposted when you get near to the site and we had no difficulty finding it. There are no printed maps available when you arrive at the park, but it doesn’t matter as the park itself is fairly compact and easy to navigate. There are clear signposts within the park and the toilets were easy to find, which was just as well after a long car journey.
Are all the rides at Diggerland Kent suitable for preschool-aged children?
The rides at Diggerland are all based on height, and on arrival we were handed a leaflet with a table that made it easy to see how tall you need to be to go on each ride. There are markers in front of all the rides so you can measure your children and their heights are checked by the staff operating the rides. Unfortunately, our 3-year-old is just shy of 100cm, so there were a couple of rides that we avoided completely so she wouldn’t feel left out.
Is it fun for adults too?
Definitely! Personally, I loved taking the massive JCB for a spin and even managed to squeeze myself into a carriage on the Diggerland Train (although getting out again wasn’t easy!). More adventurous adults will enjoy a turn on the Spindizzy, a giant digger which lifts you into the air and spins you round and round until you get, well, dizzy.
And even if you are a non-driver, the Dumper Trucks and Robot Drivers were pretty easy to use with straightforward controls. This was echoed by Maxine who said: “I don’t drive so I was a little nervous about getting behind the wheel. But as my other half pointed out, there were 6-year-olds driving round the courses by themselves and the diggers didn’t go that fast.”
Is Diggerland Kent a good rainy day option?
It was a glorious sunny day when we went to Diggerland, so we didn’t bother packing our waterproofs or wellies. When it did look like rain may be on the way, we moved into the soft play. Luckily it didn’t, so we were soon back outside again. All the rides are outdoors and the queues are not under shelter so if it pours it down you will get wet.
Maxine and her family got caught in a downpour, but luckily they came prepared. She said: “It started raining quite heavily when we were there, but we brought waterproofs for the boys and waterproof jackets and umbrellas for us so we didn’t get too soaked.
“We accidentally left our wellies in the car but because it hadn’t previously rained for ages it wasn’t too muddy – although mud with diggers just adds to the fun!”
What to bring:
- If you’re planning on going on any of the rides you’ll need to wear covered, flat shoes, boots or trainers.
- Wellies and waterproofs in case it rains or is wet as all of the rides are outside and it could get quite muddy.
- Make sure you wear something you don’t mind getting a bit grubby. If you go to Diggerland in the middle of a dry spell, there is a lot of dust and dirt everywhere (which is hardly surprising as Diggerland is partly a construction site). We came back with filthy jeans, shorts and t-shirts. So, make sure you wear something you don’t mind getting a bit grubby.
- Your own changing mat/potty to avoid any accidents – baby changing is limited and in peak season there are bound to be long queues. There are not many toilets at the park either.
- Cash if you want to spend extra on the £1 coin-operated diggers and cars dotted throughout the park.
Is Diggerland Kent pushchair-friendly?
Our girls are past the pushchair phase, but the paths are wide enough to easily accommodate pushchairs. Maxine said: “We brought our double buggy, mainly so Theo could have his lunchtime nap and for the shopping basket underneath to make carrying all our stuff easier. We weren’t the only ones as we spotted plenty of other people with buggies too, but we didn’t really need it.”
The car park is by the entrance and Diggerland itself isn’t that big so you can always leave all your stuff in your car and get it as and when you need it — just make sure to get a stamp on your hand on the way out so you can get back in again.
What are the queues like?
The queues were non-existent when we arrived at opening time, so we were able to go on everything we wanted straight away. The only thing we had to queue for was the Robot Driving.
The park was virtually empty until around 11am when it started filling up quite quickly. But even then, it never got particularly busy, which was a bit of a surprise as it was a sunny weekend day.
According to Diggerland, queues typically are no longer than 40 minutes per ride on a busy day. Diggerland doesn’t provide any queue jump passes, so this is something to bear in mind if you have a child who struggles with queues.
What you need to know about Diggerland Kent before you go:
- Diggerland advises against wearing flip-flops or similar shoes and you’re not allowed to wear high heels on any of the rides.
- The doors don’t open until 10am on the dot. If you get there early, there is nothing to do as the park is situated in the middle of an industrial estate.
- Take a note of your children’s height at home, as all of the rides at Diggerland are based on height.
- Then check which rides they wouldn’t be allowed on, so you can avoid them, and any disappointment, once you’re there.
- Be prepared to get dirty. Mud, dust or dirt, it’s all part of the fun!
- We have an electric car, so it was really pleasing to see a charge point in the car park. However there have been mixed reviews from other EV users, so it’s probably best to charge up before you go.
Does it cater well for different aged children?
Yes! There are rides to keep both younger and older kids alike entertained. The website says Diggerland is aimed at kids 4-14 years but my 3-year-old had a great time. However, all of the rides are based on height rather than age — the majority require you to be 0.9m to be able to go on them with an adult.
What are the food and drink facilities like at Diggerland Kent?
The appropriately-named Dig Inn café sells a selection of hot food, including an all-day breakfast, and a selection of freshly made rolls and baguettes, with gluten free and vegan options available.
The main meals were the usual theme park fodder – hot dogs, burger & chips (£7.95), fish & chips (£9.95), toasted paninis (£5.95), jacket potatoes (£5.95 with cheese or beans) and a selection of baguettes (from £4.50).
Likewise, the kids’ meals comprised the usual burger, hot dog, chicken nuggets, pizza etc with chips and a drink (all £5.50). There is a microwave at Diggerland Kent for customers to use for bottle warming. A cup of tea costs £1.80 and a medium cup of Pepsi, Tango or 7 Up will set you back £2.50 a time.
On the day we visited, there were plenty of seats available. The café looked like it seated around 200 people. A gourmet burger van and ice cream van are situated on the other side of the park selling food and drinks at similar prices to the cafe.
Where can I buy coffee and snacks?
The ice cream van must do a roaring trade in the summer, selling Mr Whippy and all the old favourites.
We came prepared with a variety of snacks, so we didn’t need to buy any, but our reviewer Maxine noted: “I did see some fruit available to buy in the front cabinet but the treats were mainly of the puddings, chocolate bars and sweets variety.”
Can I bring a picnic to Diggerland Kent?
Yes, there are picnic tables located next to the café, inside the soft play area and by the sides of various rides. Maxine advises that you choose wisely: “We brought our lunch with us and chose to sit on one of the picnic tables in the grassy area near the café – right opposite the Formula 1 racing track. This meant the boys didn’t really eat as they were too interested in the coin-operated cars and wanted to have a go. We managed to get away with just one turn on it for each of them but you might run the risk of a toddler tantrum for more.”
If the weather is wet, the only place to eat your picnic undercover is inside at soft play, but space is very limited. There are plenty of green bins available outside as the park sends all its waste away to be sorted for recycling.
What are the toilets like?
There were men’s and ladies’ toilets (four loos each) near the main entrance. These had pull-down toilet seats for kids, and a low-level sink so the girls could wash their hands easily. There were a few more toilets inside the café but these didn’t have any pull-down toilet seats or low-level sinks.
There was just one accessible toilet in the whole park, shared with baby changing. Diggerland does not have a hoist or adult changing facilities for disabled visitors.
The toilets themselves were clean, although the ladies’ outdoor facilities were a bit dusty, which is only to be expected. It’s easy to imagine that it may get very muddy following a rainy spell.
There weren’t any toilets on the far side of the park and there were no toilets in soft play.
How well does Diggerland Kent cater for disabled visitors?
- Disabled visitors to Diggerland pay the same entry rate as anyone else, but each disabled visitor may bring a carer/helper free of charge
- Each Diggerland site has disabled parking spaces in the car park
- Registered guide dogs and assistance dogs are welcome at all Diggerland parks
- Pathways are either concrete, gravelled or tarmac making them accessible for wheelchairs
- As Diggerland uses real construction equipment, the machines may not all be suitable, or provide easy access for disabled visitors
- There are no wheelchairs or mobility buggies available to borrow or hire at Diggerland.
- For more information see Diggerland’s accessibility page
Opening dates and times:
Diggerland is open weekends and school holidays from 10am to 5pm until October 23. The park is open 10am until 4pm on October 24 to 30 before closing for the winter months.
Best time to visit:
Diggerland Kent is busiest over lunchtime on Saturdays, and quieter all-day on Thursdays and Fridays.
Is this the only Diggerland in the UK?
There are four sites in the UK in Devon, Durham, Yorkshire and the one we visited which is the original park, in Kent.
How to get to Diggerland Kent
Diggerland Kent is near Strood, Kent, just a few minutes from the M2.
- The postcode for your SatNav is ME22NU, but when we were fairly close there were road signs for Diggerland anyway.
- It’s in the middle of an industrial estate, so you might think you’ve gone the wrong way when you haven’t!
- If you’re travelling by train the nearest stations are Strood (Charing Cross line), Rochester (Victoria line) or Chatham (operates on both)
- All three stations are a short walk from the 151 and 170 bus stops. Both go to Medway Valley Leisure Park where Diggerland is located.
Do you have to pay for parking?
Parking is free and disabled parking spaces are also available. Diggerland provides free-to-use charging points for visitors with electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids.
Worth a long car journey?
We live in East Sussex and it took us about 90 minutes to drive to Diggerland Kent. It felt like a long drive, particularly as we weren’t sure whether both the girls would enjoy it, but it was definitely worth the trip. If you have a kid who loves diggers and you don’t live nearby, it’s worth making a special trip to the park.
Which hotels or holiday accommodation are near Diggerland Kent?
There are plenty of accommodation options for families nearby, including:
- The Premier Inn Rochester, which is located on the same estate as Diggerland.
- A 10-minute drive away is the RBS Hotel, with family rooms and free Wi-Fi
- Nearly as close is the Holiday Inn Rochester-Chatham hotel, with family rooms and an indoor pool, plus kids eat free with a paying adult
- For a home-away-from-home feel, look for deals on Vrbo.com and Sykes Cottages
- Find family-friendly hotel deals near Diggerland Kent on Booking.com
Nearby attractions for a longer day out:
We had great fun during our trip to Diggerland. The queues were short to non-existent, so we managed to get on the rides quickly and were even able to revisit a couple of favourites before we headed for home. Unfortunately, our youngest was too short to go on some of the rides, so we ended up having to swerve a couple so she wouldn’t feel left out. But she was so excited about having another go on the Dumper Trucks, I’m not sure she really noticed.
Maxine added: “We weren’t able to go on a couple of the most popular rides, Groundshuttle and Spindizzy, as the boys were too little but we didn’t feel as if we missed out on anything as there were so many other rides they loved. Ellis and Theo had a great time operating the diggers and driving the go-karts and cars.”
Although there is nothing remotely ‘girly’ about Diggerland, my girls, who are both fans of unicorns, Frozen and anything pink and fluffy, absolutely loved it and we are already planning our return visit.
Visit the Diggerland Kent website
See more reviews of Diggerland Kent on TripAdvisor