A construction-inspired theme park where the adults can have almost as much fun as the kids. Ride, drive and operate a range of different diggers – simple but genius!
Fun for kids
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Fun for parents
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Worth the money
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3.0 out of 5 rating
5.0 out of 5 rating
Pros: Hands-on driving diggers experience, fun for young and older kids and grown ups
Cons: Lack of loos, lots of coin-operated rides that could cost you a fortune
When we visited:
We visited on the last Friday of term-time before the start of the summer 2018 school holidays – we managed to miss the crowds as it was pretty quiet
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 lots of rides they won’t be tall enough to go on
How much does it cost in 2018?
Gate prices: Adults and children 90cm and above £19.95, children under 90cm free
Online prices: Adults and children 90cm and above £16.99 (plus £1 booking fee), children under 90cm free
Are there discounts or cheap tickets available for Diggerland Kent?
If you live in Kent it’s worth checking local newspapers and magazines for special offers. And if you’re further afield you can sign up for the Diggerland newsletter for special offers or keep an eye out on social media as deals are sometimes advertised on its various channels too. Also check Picniq for offers.
Any extra charges once I’m there?
Yes – one thing I found slightly annoying was the coin-operated rides dotted throughout the park. There are various diggers and cars all at £1 a go and it was virtually impossible to avoid them. We managed to get away with the boys just sitting in some of them but when it came to the Formula 1 racing car track we didn’t stand a chance. So you may want to factor this in when budgeting your day out here.
You also have to pay £1 per car if you want to go on the bumper cars and you need to buy tokens from the gift shop.
There are also vending machines selling sweets for £1 and toys inside the soft play area and again, you may want to factor this in too.
What’s the gift shop like?
There is a gift shop and unfortunately, it’s impossible to avoid, as you have to go through it to leave. As you might expect it’s full of digger-related toys and clothes at a range of prices. You could get away with spending £5-6 on a toy construction helmet or high-vis vest that should keep your kids happy. Or, 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 for when the park opened at 10am and were literally the last to leave at 5pm. But that was factoring in naps and toilet stops that can take a while so you can easily do it in a day. If you’ve got older kids they might get a bit bored if you’re there for a full day so 3-4 hours could be enough. But this all depends on when you go and whether there are long queues.
What does Diggerland Kent 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. It also has an indoor soft play area for kids under the age of 12 and an outdoor play area for under 5s. It’s one of those places where the concept is simple but genius and we all absolutely loved it.
It has 20 rides, an indoor soft play, outdoor Little Tikes play area for under 5s and other activities. Like most toddlers my two little boys, Ellis and Theo, are obsessed with diggers and were excited to go. It didn’t disappoint.
What shouldn’t be missed?
Highlights for us were:
One of Ellis’s favourite rides was the Sky Shuttle, it takes you up in the air giving you a bird’s-eye view of the park
Both boys loved operating the giant diggers, they were fascinated trying to move the mounds of earth
The go-karts were another big hit with everyone – the boys sat on our knees and steered as we zoomed round the track
My personal favourite was the JCB Robots as it gave me the chance to get behind the wheel and drive round the course
We also noticed lots of the rides were operated by women, something both Ellis and Theo commented on too. They pointed out that a lady was driving the tractor or digger and it gave the opportunity to reinforce to them that anyone can do anything.
How easy is it to find and navigate round?
Diggerland Kent is located in the middle of nowhere, in an industrial estate in Rochester. It reminded me of a cross between a fairground and a construction site. I wasn’t sure how big the park would be but it’s fairly compact and loops round in a circuit. There’s no app or printed maps available, but thankfully it’s easy to navigate. There’s a map on the website you would print off or we took a photo of the map by the entrance on our phone, though it turned out we didn’t need it.
Are all the rides 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 some of the rides so you can measure your children on the day and the boys’ heights were checked by staff operating the rides.
As Ellis and Theo are both over 90cm there were only about 5 out of the 20 rides they couldn’t go on. The rest they could go on accompanied by either their dad or me.
However, there were a couple (such as the Mini Landrover ride) they could ride if they were with another child that was tall enough, but not with an adult. So if your child won’t go on without you, best avoid these ones.
Is it fun for adults too?
We loved that we were able to share the experience of driving diggers together with the boys, and they sat on our knees and helped steer or use the controls. 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.
What’s unique about this attraction is that it gives both kids and adults the chance to experience what it’s like to drive real JCB diggers and dumper trucks. So it’s great for younger kids, teens and grown ups, with something to keep everyone happy.
Is it a good rainy-day option?
All the rides are outside so if it’s really chucking it down you’re going to get wet, and you might want to head to the soft play area. It started raining quite heavily when we were there but we brought waterproofs for the boys and waterproof jackets and umbrellas for us just in case 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
Your own changing mat/potty to avoid any accidents – there is a baby change in Diggerland but there’s only one and in peak season there are bound to be long queues. Similarly, the main toilets have toilet seat inserts so little ones can use them but there were only 4 toilets in both the men’s’ and ladies’ loos. And again if there’s a long queue your child may not be able to wait that long
Cash if you want to spend extra on the £1 coin-operated diggers and cars dotted throughout the park
Was it pushchair-friendly?
Yes, 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 way out so you can get back in again.
What are the queues like?
As my two toddlers are at nursery we visited Diggerland on the last day before the schools break up for the summer and it was pretty quiet. The only thing we had to queue for, for about 5 minutes, was the Giant Diggers ride. I was advised it’s a different story when the kids are on school holidays. On the busiest days queues for the most popular rides such as Spindizzy, JCB Diggers, Sky Shuttle, Ground Shuttle and Robots can be up to an hour or longer. But I was told that generally queues don’t tend to be more than 30 minutes max.
MFM tip: When it’s busy start from the furthest ride away and work your way back.
What you need to know 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 and if you get there early there’s nothing else there, so you may want to go for a coffee elsewhere
We noticed that some of the rides that had been open in the morning were shut later in the day – so if there are certain rides you really want to go on, do these first
Take a note of your children’s height at home, as all of the rides at Diggerland are based on height, and they’re pretty strict about it.
Then check which rides they wouldn’t be allowed on, so you can avoid them, and any disappointment, once you’re there
Did 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 two toddlers (3 and 2) 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.
Food and drink at Diggerland Kent:
The Dig Inn café at Diggerland Kent sells a selection of hot food and sandwiches. Pricewise, you’re probably looking at spending the same as you would on lunch in a pub. There were vegetarian and salad options but the main meals were the usual theme park fodder – hot dogs, burger & chips (£7.50), fish & chips (£8.95), toasted paninis (£5.50), jacket potatoes (£5.95 with cheese or beans) and a selection of baguettes (from £4).
Likewise, the kids’ meals comprised the usual burger, sausage, chicken nuggets, fish fingers etc with chips and a fruit shoot or water (all £4.95).
On the day we visited there were plenty of seats available, the café looked like it seated around 200 people. But in peak season when there could be around 1,000 people I’d imagine it would be pretty packed and difficult to find somewhere to eat.
What about drinks and snacks?
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. There were big jars and tubs of sweets right by the check out.
There was also an ice cream van on site with a Mr Whippy ice cream with a flake (£2.50).
My partner went to grab a coffee as it was about 30 seconds away from where we were having our picnic, but it seemed to take him forever. I think in reality it was 5-10 minutes, but he said that the service was quite slow, and the coffee wasn’t great, so we didn’t bother to get another one.
Can you bring a picnic?
Yes, there are picnic tables located next to the café, inside the soft play area and by the sides of various rides – 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 it’s raining and you’ve bought a picnic your best bet is to head inside the soft play as there are a couple of tables inside there. At a pinch, you could always eat in your car as the car park is so close to the park.
What are the toilets like?
One area where Diggerland Kent did seem to be lacking was on the toilet front. There were men’s and ladies’ toilets (4 loos each) near the main entrance. These had pull-down toilet seats for kids, and a low level sink making it easy for Ellis to wash his hands. A baby change facility was also located next to the toilets. There were a few more toilets inside the café but these didn’t have any helpful extras for kids. And there was just 1 accessible toilet.
Plenty of loo roll was available when we visited but it was a fairly quiet day and the toilets in the café were a bit of a mess, with loo roll everywhere.
There weren’t any toilets on the far side of the park and although it’s not a massive walk it’s not ideal if your toddler needs to go urgently.
How well does Diggerland Kent cater for disabled visitors?
Each Diggerland site has disabled parking spaces in the car park and disabled guests are entitled to a free carer ticket
Guide 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
Diggerland is open weekends and school holidays from 10am to 5pm until 4 November.
We arrived early hoping we could grab a coffee at the park before it opens, but you can’t get in before the official opening time. If you’re early and in desperate need of some caffeine, there’s an Esso garage just down the road with a Costa Express and Morrison’s supermarket or there’s a McDonalds about a minute’s drive away.
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 4 sites in the UK in Devon, Durham, Yorkshire and the one we visited which is the original park, in Kent.
The postcode for your SatNav is ME22NU, but when we were fairly close there were road signs for Diggerland anyway
It’s kind of in the middle of nowhere, in 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 3 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. There are also charge points for electric cars that are free to use if you’re visiting Diggerland.
Worth a long car journey?
We live in Kent and it was a 40-minute drive for us to get to Diggerland Kent, so we didn’t have to get up too early. Most small kids love diggers so even if you don’t live that close I’d say it’s worth making a special trip to come here.
Which hotels or holiday accommodation are near Diggerland Kent?
There are plenty of accommodation options for families nearby, including:
A 10-minute drive away is the RBS Hotel, with family rooms and free Wi-Fi
Our trip to Diggerland was muddy good fun. 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 whale of a time operating the diggers and driving the go-karts and cars. And Diggerland isn’t just for boys. The little girls we saw there were enjoying it just as much. It’s well worth a drive and we’re definitely planning to visit again.