At the start of our Epilepsy journey I was anxious to take W out. What if he had a seizure? What if I was on my own? What if the ambulance can’t get to us or there is no phone signal? However, keeping W inside the house is a mission in itself. He enjoys an adventure and I didn’t want to stop this love of exploring. I’ve found some local gems that I thought I’d share with you…
Bugs Play Café (Bungay)
Soft play fills me with dread at the best of times, but with a child that has seizures I couldn’t think of anything worse. This place is an exception! It is suitable for under 7 years and has an indoor play area with super slide, ball pools etc. It also has an area for under 2 years and a gorgeous outdoor area (weather permitting). Best of all it is small. You can sit at a table and see absolutely everything. It is two story which also enables quick access to a child in need of some help. The food on offer is also great. You can take your pick from a healthy selection for the little ones and cakes and divine tea that is brought to your table whilst you literally sit at a table and relax knowing that you can see your children at all times. There’s also a 50% discount after 3.30pm and sibling discount available.
Phone signal: Yes
Prices: Please look at the site as prices vary depending on the age of a child.
We love this place but I have to admit I became anxious to go after W started having seizures. I didn’t need to panic. We were practical and made sure we checked all of the routes before exploring. Most of the routes for children circle the main ‘green area’ of Thetford Forest. They are within easy reach of the Information Point at most times. Phone signal can be patchy (as you’re in a forest) but you are normally close to help if you stay to the well-used trails. They are fantastic. The trails change which gives you a great variety. In the past there has been trails centered around the stories of ‘The Gruffalo’ and ‘The Highway Rat’ and currently there is a trail focused around the Julia Donaldson story ‘Zog’. On the trail you can look out for the characters from the story, uncover hidden signs on reveal panels (using the special lens in the activity pack) and learn from the Zog trail signs as you walk. There are also wild play areas, a sound trail, outdoor table tennis, den building, BBQ hire as well as the opportunity to spot the odd squirrel and explore the muddy puddles.
Thetford Forest also have an ‘Accessibility Statement’. There are shallow ramps to cafes and the site/trails are either tarmacked or on a hard-natural surface (obviously if the weather has been bad these may be a little more difficult with a wheelchair/pram). Free mobility scooters, powered and self-propelled wheelchairs are also available for use. There are also future plans to build an all-ability multi use trail through the forest that would be suitable for young families and people with a variety of health problems.
Information point telephone number: 03000674400
Diversity team: 03000675046 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone signal: can be patchy
Discovery Pass: £64 a year (that’s for as many people that you can fit in one car)
Parking for a day (if you don’t have a pass): £11.50 per car per day, with no extra entry fee on top.
The National Trust
We love to visit the large variety of National Trust locations in Norfolk and Suffolk. Some of our current favourites are Blickling, Felbrigg and Sheringham Park. We recently visited ‘The Tiger who came to Tea’ exhibition at Blickling. W absolutely loved it! We worried that W wouldn’t be interested in exploring historical houses but he loves looking for the hidden items in each room. These items change depending on exhibition. So far we’ve located book worms, Elfs and Tigers. The exhibitions change a lot so every visit can be different. They also put on events for each season or celebration such as Easter, Christmas etc.
W now calls National Trust visits his ‘Adventures’. He loves to ride around on his bike and stop in a pub afterwards for ‘crumbles’ (Apple Crumble to anyone else). We don’t mind the pub visits either.
Phone signal: Varies depending on location.
Accessibility: Depends on location. Check the website or call the venue for details.
Prices: Please check the website as there are many different types of membership available (I’ve included two below)
Two adults (aged 18+) living at the same address £114 a year
£9.50 a month*
Family 2 adults
Two adults (aged 18+) living at the same address and up to 10 of their children or grandchildren (17 or under). Under 5s go free.
I am looking to build on this list, so if you know of any toddler friendly places I could add to the list message or comment with ideas.