Our week-long stay in Cornwall was drawing sadly drawing to a close, but there was one more thing we wanted to do with Monkey, and that was to take him on a steam train. We originally wanted to jump on board the Launceston Steam Railway but unfortunately, it wasn’t open.
Luckily, we were told about Lappa Valley – a Leisure Park with lots of attractions for young children where you have to catch a steam train which travels through woodland in order to reach it. When we turned up, annoyingly we had just missed it by five minutes, so had to wait half-an-hour to hitch our ride. Monkey was a little impatient, but he played for a while in the play area, and eyed-up lots of toys on sale in the ticket shop – which wasn’t so great for us as we had to keep fobbing him off with ‘no’, ‘no’, then ‘maybe, later!’ Did we end up buying a little toy train once we were in the Valley? Of course we did! Monkey has a memory like an elephant!
His window shopping was soon interrupted by the unmistakable sound of chugging and the ‘toot, toot’ of the train pulling into the platform. Remarkably, it was empty and we had the choice pick of the best carriage. Monkey thought it was imperative to check out nearly each one, but settled on one of the old-fashioned carriages.
The train journey was pleasant and lasted for a good 10 minutes – keeping Monkey enthralled with the scenery of autumn foliage and leaves that whizzed past our windows. Every so often shouting: ‘Choo, Choo!’ above the clackety clack of the rails.
Okay, so this wasn’t ideal, but stoic as ever, we pulled on our hoods and explored. And once we’d pretty much walked around the main circuit of what was on offer, we realised it didn’t take long at all. Lappa isn’t very big, and even though they claim you could spend a whole day here, I would argue otherwise. We were also only a small handful of people there, which was pleasant, however, I can imagine on in summer, not so peaceful…
Considering Lappa’s small size, there is still a lot to do for little ones. From an adventure playground, a boating lake, pedal cars, crazy golf, an indoor play centre, plus two other railway rides. There is also a café, gift shop and plenty of picnic tables.
Once the rain had begun to ease off slightly, we caught the Woodland railway, which Monkey really enjoyed as there were various random wooden cut-outs to spot on the journey such as the ‘big, bad wolf’ and a crocodile in the lake.
We then headed to the boating lake and got into a canoe – this was quite an experience. Not least as Monkey kept thinking it was funny to drop his oars and pick up lots of pond weed. We also ended up trying to race another couple around the little island. Childish, I know, but good fun.
Lappa Valley has just celebrated its 40 years anniversary and it shows. The equipment is tired and old, the crazy golf is very basic, the ‘fun’ cut outs dotted around the park need updating, and it needs a modern overhaul. However, for young kids, who don’t see any of this, it’s paradise. The tickets weren’t expensive and the ride on the steam train is definitely worth it for the price. Overall, it was a good way to spend a few hours entertaining Monkey and he really enjoyed himself. Although, I think he still preferred the miniature railway ride he got to go on daily at Coombe Mill!
Tickets: Reduced prices run at off-peak times; Adults:£9/12, Children £6.70/9.50, Under 3 Free