Peter Rabbit playground opens at Willows Activity Farm in London Colney

Lucas Harrison

Lucas Harrison - Credit: Archant

Boost for tourism in St Albans district as new playground opens at local farm attraction.

Peter Rabbit - Beatrix Potter’s naughty little bunny - is renowned for charming children, and from this weekend he will be at the heart of a major new play area in London Colney.

In a world first, Willows Activity Farm, Coursers Road, officially opens its new themed adventure play area featuring the much-loved children’s character, this Saturday, April 2.

Aimed at young fans of the bunny, whose adventures have been enjoyed by generations for over a century, the playground features cute and cuddly stars of the animated CBeebies series.

During a media preview of the Peter Rabbit Adventure Playground yesterday (Wednesday), Willows’ chief executive, Andrew Wolfe, told the Herts Advertiser that visitors have been ‘impressed’ with the area, particularly as it has been constructed to match its TV counterpart.

He said that the aim was to provide Willows’ 16,500 members, many of whom live in Herts, with a unique attraction – especially those who are regular visitors.

Andrew added: “Peter Rabbit is the perfect fit for us. We are not really looking for a significant increase in visitor numbers, but to give keep existing members and regular visitors entertained.

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“It is aimed at pre-schoolers, and I know that people can’t wait to see it. Peter Rabbit will be on site every day to meet and greet people.”

About £600,000 has been spent constructing the play area, the building of which began at around Christmas, after some animal shelters had been removed, and the site levelled.

Thomas Merrington, head of product development and brand management of Peter Rabbit at Penguin Random House UK, said: “The playground looks absolutely amazing.

“I think kids are going to love it.”

Asked about its potential to attract more tourists to St Albans district, Thomas said: “It’s the first Peter Rabbit themed adventure play ground in the world. It should have an impact. Also, it is opening in the 150th year since the birth of Beatrix Potter.”

He said that the area featured oversized characters and pieces in line with the CBeebies show, so children “felt like they were rabbits” while enjoying the attraction.

The centrepiece is Peter Rabbit’s secret treehouse, with activities themed around characters including a Mrs Tiggy-Winkle kitchen, Jeremy Fisher musical pond and Benjamin Bunny treetop adventure.

Ron Allen, senior vice president at Silvergate Media, co-producers and global licensing agent of the CGI animated TV series, said it looked “absolutely brilliant. Kids will have a great time.”