WALT DISNEY came up with a huge princess castle, rollercoasters and themed attractions.

But just off the M2 in Rochester, some genius suggested sticking a bunch of construction vehicles in the mud at an industrial park – and it proved a blinding day out.

As a young local reporter covering North Kent in the Noughties, I often used to drive past Diggerland and just smirk, wondering who on Earth would want to visit such a theme park.

Fast-forward 15 years and no day out this year has been as highly anticipated by my young son as this one to the Medway park. 

Diggerland has to be seen to be believed – and even then it's quite hard to compute.

We spent the day riding dumper trucks around a gravel pit, digging stones out of a hole with a full-sized digger and riding around a muddy concourse while seated in an enormous bucket.

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In fact, there are quite a few variations on each of those themes.

You can dig for mud, "gold bricks", stones or toy ducks. You can drive a dumper, take a digger safari, ride backwards in a bucket carousel – somehow, they've made 20 different rides from machinery.

If that doesn't suffice, there are also plenty of coin- operated (you've guessed it) car and digger rides dotted around the place.

With the exception of a couple of car attractions, everything comes straight off a construction site, and if you know any young kids you'll know there lies the appeal.

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My son can spot a crane or a dumper truck from a mile off, so even watching others dig while waiting in the queue was mesmerising.

Not that the queues were long – in fact, they were surprisingly short.

Diggerland caps its visitor numbers, which means you're never waiting in a particularly long line, despite the fact that some rides went on for around ten minutes.

Short queues and long rides make for happy families, and often it was hard to tell who was having a better day – the dads or their offspring – which is not something you can say about most theme parks.

As any construction worker will tell you, digging is hard work and tea breaks are key.

So we bought our own packed lunch, which we ate in a grassy picnic area, but there is also a cafeteria serving up standard fried fare, alongside some of my favourite treats from the Eighties – Choc Dips, Golden Wonder crisps, Pez and Slush Puppies.

If the weather is bad, there's also an indoor soft-play area and bouncy castle next door.

The price is decent, too. Three adults and a child cost £91 in entry fees, so long as you pre-book tickets.

So, it took me 15 years but I've answered my 23-year-old self's question: My family are the ones who want to go to Diggerland.

And my boy had such a good time that I'll eat my gift shop-purchased yellow hard hat if I don't find myself back there digging for gravel next summer.

Diggerland ticket prices are £25.95 for anyone over 90cm, £12.97 for Over 65s and under 90cm goes free. The last date of Diggerland's 2022 season is October 30, with 2023 dates confirmed early next year. To find out more go to diggerland.com/openingdates.


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