Where to take the kids for Half Term in Devon
You might not have heard of Dingles. A lot of the locals know its there but admitted to not having visited it until now. I've been working there during half terms since October 2014 and its been getting steadily busier. The last two half term events have exceeded all expectations with visitor numbers through the roof.
I have no doubt that the popularity will snowball because Dingles is an absolute hidden gem. Set within the hills of the Devonshire countryside, you could be forgiven for driving past the signs on the A30 and carrying on down to holiday in Cornwall. Don't! Pull off at the next junction and step back in time to the most beautiful vintage fairground you could imagine.
For vintage enthusiasts there is a museum of retired fairground essentials, you can grab a scrumptious lunch, there's rides to thrill the young and old, the staff are delighted to tell you about the history and mechanics of the rides. During half terms its not just the rides that you can get excited about. There's tonnes of added value entertainment.
This February the event was Wonderland at Dingles, so welcoming you into the park were The White Rabbit and The Queen of Hearts up on stilts handing out balloon models courtesy of the lovely Higher Beings.
The characters did not stop there. Throughout the week they had a roller skating Mad Hatter who was played by a different person almost everyday, variety is the spice of life as a costume character I suppose. Whats the opposite of a roller skating Mad Hatter? A Mad Hatter statue! Well there was one of them plus a white rabbit statue. Of course we had Alice so that the young visitors could meet their hero, she could often be found on the dodgems weaving in and out and head on bumping ; )
It really was a bamboozling amount of entertainers and it really paid off as the extra hands were really needed to run the attractions throughout the peak times.
I was pretty much doing my usual thing, I started the week as a version of Mad Hatter, but my top hat wasn't particularly practical so I ended up just being Mad.
The lovely and challenging thing about Dingles performing is that I might be trying to engage a 1 year old, his parents and an 80 year old couple all at the same time. 1 year olds can be a tough crowd and their ruptuious applause can only just be heard over the 'Supersonic Skid' which is a little bit noisy right next to me.
I spend my days taking children for rides either on my Ninebot One or my Circus Bike, both of which delight the chidren and I'm sure put some hearts in mouths of some of the parents but their quick to get their camera phone out so they must be happy! This week I also built up the guts to have a play on my new Cyr Wheel, I'm only new to it but it was a great opportunity to practice in front of people and it seemed to get a good reaction.
Most of the lovely photos in this blog post are by Kim Stone who visited during the week, you can check out her Instagram here.
I didn't get a chance to film anything this time but incase this article has left you wanting more you could check out this video from previous Dingles Halloween here.