Preschool kids can’t get enough of Peppa Pig and her pals. Once they’ve watched the cartoon, read the books and worn the M&S pyjamas, they’ll be desperate to meet the porcine phenomenon – and they can do just that at Peppa Pig World, in Hampshire. Part of the Paultons Park theme park, it offers a winning mix of gentle rides, Peppa-themed play areas and photo ops with beloved characters from the show.
All of which is great for under-6s, we hear you say, but what about the rest of us? Paultons Park offers rides and attractions for bigger kids, who might not want to acknowledge their former Peppa obsession, and adults seem to like it too – it’s been voted UK theme park of the year by TripAdvisor users, and new attractions for 2021 include the first free-spinning rollercoaster in this country. It’s also in the New Forest National Park, so you can enjoy glorious scenery and a host of local attractions if you stay in a caravan park near Peppa Pig World.
We’ve chosen five five fabulous family-friendly places for a self-catering short break near Paultons Park, all within a 25-minute drive of the theme park, and listed them in order of distance, from nearest to furthest.
What else can we do in the area?
The New Forest was used as a hunting ground by the Norman kings – William II was killed by an arrow here in AD1100. It’s famous for ponies, deer and not actually being a forest: instead, it’s a mix of heathland and woodland that’s great for walking and cycling, with an untouristy 26-mile coastline that offers splendid views of the Solent.
You can see Donald Campbell’s record-breaking Bluebird at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, check out the marvellous mosaics at Rockbourne Roman Villa and sample real ales at the Ringwood Brewery. North of the New Forest, there’s Marwell Zoo, home to exotic and endangered animals, including terrifying Amur tigers. The historic cathedral cities of Winchester and Salisbury are also within day-trip distance.
Paultons Campsite & Glamping, Ower, Hampshire SO51 6AF
Open from April to October
If you’re looking for a caravan park near Peppa Pig World, you can’t get any closer or more convenient than this. Paultons Campsite is less than a mile from the theme park’s gates and just off the M27 – not the height of rural tranquillity, but there’s a hedge to keep the noise down, and it’s a handy location if you’re only here for a night or two. Romsey, 3½ miles away, has plenty of shops and restaurants, or you can stroll across the road to the Mortimer Arms for dinner or a fortifying pre-Peppa English breakfast (doubling up on the sausage and bacon, natch).
There’s a choice of grass or hardstanding pitches, all with electric hook-up and a six-seater picnic bench, and facilities include toilets, showers, a washing-up area, a football goal and playground rides for children. Guests can use the campsite’s barbecues free of charge or hire a firepit for marshmallow toasting and a Ging Gang Goolie singalong.
Prices: from £28.50 a night for two
Top tip: the owners can arrange a dog-sitter while you visit Peppa Pig World, so there’s no need to leave your four-legged friend in kennels back home
Green Hill Farm Camping & Caravan Park, Landford, Wiltshire SP5 2AZ
Open from April to November
This classy and luxurious site is set in pretty woodland, with an array of facilities that will keep you occupied for several days – just as well, given the three-night minimum stay. In the New Forest, and just across the Wiltshire-Hampshire border, Green Hill Farm is a 14-minute drive from Paultons Park and a half-hour drive from Salisbury, Rockbourne Roman Villa and the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu.
It has toilets, showers, a laundry, two fishing lakes, a games room, a well-equipped children’s play area, mini golf and a licensed bar/cafe with a communal firepit. It’s a mile or so to the nearest pub and a 15-minute drive to Lyndhurst for a range of shops and restaurants. It gets booked fast, so don’t delay if this sounds like your kind of stay.
Prices: from £28 a night for two, minimum three-night stay
Top tip: Green Hill Farm will satisfy any budding Greta Thunbergs in your brood. The company that owns it has earned coveted “B Corp” status because of its commitment to an inclusive and sustainable economy, putting it alongside the likes of Innocent and Ben & Jerry’s.
Hill Farm Caravan Park, Sherfield English, Hampshire SO51 6FH
Open from March to November
North of the New Forest in the idyllic Test Valley, famous for its trout fishing, this family-run site is 15 minutes from Peppa Pig World and 10 minutes from shops and pubs in Romsey. It’s a neatly manicured affair that’s perfect for young families, with play areas for kids aged up to 11, showers and toilets with underfloor heating, a licensed shop, an on-site cafe,a post office and plenty of room to walk the dog. If downward dogs are your thing, book a yoga, Pilates or reiki session at the wellbeing centre. The caravan pitches have electric hook-ups and you can do your laundry on the site, but there’s an annoying £1 charge for WiFi access.
Hill Farm is less than half an hour from Salisbury and Winchester, if you need a soothing dose of culture and history after a full-on Peppa fix. And if the kids want to see real animals as well as animated ones, it’s a 35-minute drive to Marwell Zoo.
Prices: from £22 for two a night, including two dogs
Top tip: there’s a 10% discount for Hill Farm guests at the nearest pub, the Hatchet
Ashurst Campsite, Ashurst, Hampshire SO40 7AR
Open from April to September
This secluded, stripped-back site is just the place if your kids love ponies as well as Peppa Pig: the New Forest’s most famous residents roam freely through the grounds. Just 17 minutes from Paultons Park, it’s a properly rural spot with few facilities beyond toilets, showers and a laundry – there’s no electric hook-up, and don’t even think about asking for WiFi – but there’s direct access to cycling and walking trails, and some of the pitches are hidden away by trees.
While Ashurst Campsite feels a million miles from civilisation, it’s within strolling distance of Ashurst, a village with pubs and a Co-Op, and there’s a wider range of retail and dining options in Lyndhurst, 2½ miles down the road. You’re only 20 minutes from the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu and half an hour from the south coast. Just don’t bring the dog: there are ground nesting birds on site.
Prices: from £18.70 a night for two
Top tip: Ashurst is one of several back-to-nature New Forest sites run by Camping in the Forest, which works with Forestry England. Its Hollands Wood, Ocknell and Longbeech parks are worth checking out if Ashurst is full.
Long Meadow Campsite, Brockenhurst, Hampshire SO42 7QH
Open from March to November
If you want a real New Forest experience, this is the caravan park for you: it’s slap bang in the heart of the national park and only 25 minutes from the beach at Milford on Sea, but the A337 will whisk you up to Paultons Park in a mere 22 minutes. There’s open forest on the doorstep and the site is three miles from Lyndhurst and Brockenhurst, two of the area’s main villages, where you’ll find plenty of shops, pubs and restaurants.
There’s less to do here than on many of our other chosen sites, but it has a shower and toilet block, and you can expect to see deer wandering past your caravan door. WiFi is free, electric hook-up is available and the laundry facilities were added for 2020. The kids can let off steam in two dedicated grassy areas and if you fancy off-road cycling on the nearby forest trails, Long Meadow can arrange bike hire from a local firm.
Prices: from £19 a night for two
Top tip: if you can persuade your better half to spend a day doing Peppa Pig duties, treat yourself to a round at the New Forest Golf Club or a spa treatment at Lime Wood, one of the best hotels in the UK