Just before lockdown was imposed, we were due to visit Audley End Miniature Railway to see their new play area. But then the dreaded Covid struck and had us stuck indoors for months. All our plans were put on hold!
Having visited a number of times before, we knew it would be a brilliant day out and Ita always becomes so excited to see the teddy bears in the woods, so we agreed with Audley End that we would visit as soon as restrictions allowed us to.
First things first, you must book in advance and it’s only fair that you arrive on time. Audley End have put so much detail into the planning of your visit to make sure you have the best day. The interactive parts are more or less one way but you do not feel guided or hurried. We knew that we wanted to experience our first proper day out with as little people around as possible. With that in mind we decided to book the 10am train ride. This is one of the highlights of a day out here and is possibly Ita’s favourite part!
You now enter where the gift shop is usually located and queue to board the miniature train. Little logs with green leaves have been added to help abide by social distancing rules and we found that they were really helpful. There is a number of staff to assist with the boarding and each family is provided with their own little carriage.
The journey through the woods is such a highlight. There are hundreds of teddy bears positioned so creatively such as swinging on trees or having picnics. New to this visit was the unicorn and the dragon. You also go through 2 small tunnels! (Worth knowing!)
The train journey is about 15 minutes long and you can only ride once per visit, at an allocated time.
Once we departed the train, a fairy greeted us and guided us towards the crafts area. Usually you can sit here and make your fairy want but they have now provided take a way bags.
Next, you walk through a beautifully bright floral arch and enter into the magical fairies woods…
The fairy trail is stunning. Absolutely gorgeous. I cannot explain how aesthetically amazing it looks. The effort that Audley End puts in is truly like nothing I can compare it too. It’s not a short little trail either. You can spend quite alot of time walking around. Again, the logs with green leaves were laid out but we did not feel crowded at all and there seems to be a lot of space to navigate around others. My favourite here is the Christmas fairy! They have added a cute trolls bridge and a little photo opportunity too!
After you exit the fairy trail you walk into the huge field with lots of new additions. There is now a really big and spacious play area as well as new fairground equipment like the hoop toss and catapult area too.
The field has plenty of picnic tables but the area itself is perfect should you want to bring your own picnic and find a quiet spot.
All around the play area is cleaning equipment for you to clean the surfaces down once your child has finished playing. It was because of this that I felt at ease with Ita using the slide for example. On top of this, we saw lots of “clean up crews” doing their best to keep everything clean and everyone safe. (Huge shoutout to these people!)
Food is served by the play area and is well thought out. There is more than enough space between you and the people serving and again, the logs are there to make sure that when queuing, there is plenty of space between.
After playing for a long while, we headed over to the fairy story telling area. Usually there is a show here but given the issues around distancing, Audley End have cleverly changed this to a story telling session instead. Seats are already set up in a spaced out fashion and we felt completely safe here. The story session is about 15 minutes long and the fairy encourages the children to get involved from their seats.
Afterwards we headed back to the play area and it still did not feel too busy!
Our visit yesterday was just what we needed after such a long period of lockdown. It’s totally changed how I feel about going out again and has given us the confidence to be out and about.
I really do believe that so much planning has gone into this day out. Again, I want to stress that we did not feel hurried or guided and the staff were all so friendly.
I have uploaded an IGTV of our visit so you can gauge how the day goes and see if you feel comfortable in visiting (I would never suggest it if I thought it did not work well).
Here is the link;
In order to visit you must book in advance so here is the link to book;
The fair event is on until 6 September!
Things to remember!
You have to book in advance and we recommend the earliest option the better.
Bring a picnic!
Bring your own sanitiser (although there is lots around here).
Tag me in your photos!