Review: In The Night Garden LIVE! @ Richmond Old Deer Park

Seen the cost of In The Night Garden LIVE! and wondering if its really worth it?? Read on for an in-depth review of the experience... 

I decided to take my son to In The Night Garden LIVE! in the spur of the moment. I was surprised to find so many tickets online (considering I was buying them the night before). Premium tickets were around the £30 each (yes, each! As in I had to pay a whole £28 for a ticket for my two year old that might just decide to nap through the whole thing!!!!) but you’re guaranteed a seat within the first five rows and you get a free souvenir programme worth £7. The standard tickets were as low as £14.50 but you’ll be seated within the 6th-13th rows. Meet and greets for Iggle Piggle and Upsy Daisy are £15 each and last about 2-3 minutes (you’re allowed up to 3 children and two adults in each session).
There are two show options – the Ninky Nonk show (where Iggle Piggle looses his blanket and his friends help him find it) and the Pinky Ponk show (where Makka Pakka washes everyone’s faces, until his sponge gets stuck in Upsy Daisy’s megaphone).
You’re given the option of adding a goody bag to your order including £65 worth of toys and souvenirs for £29 (its £39 if you purchase one on the day). You’ll find the contents of the bag here I didn't bother buying it as we have a lot of similar items already.

If you have any special requirements contact the venue as they're able to make allowances ahead of time (like reserving seats for those who are unable to walk upstairs).


Getting there
Richmond Train/Underground Station is the closest to the venue, then turn right down Kew Road and left down Twickenham road. From there you’ll find signs leading you to the showdome. It’s about a 10 minute walk.

If you’re driving then TW9 2SF is the best postcode for finding the carpark (there are signs when you’re nearby so you shouldn’t miss it).

Doors open half an hour before the performance is scheduled to start (get there early for a better chance of sitting closer to the front as it gets packed fast).

There is a buggy park within the showdome but you’re advised to keep your valuables with you if you use it, it seems safe enough (I don't know why but I always worry that someone is going to go walkabout with my pram and leave me stranded). There are also toilets and baby changing facilities on the site (it’s best to utilise these as you’re lining up to be let into the venue or after finding your seats).

As you walk in there’s a gift shop (a full list of items on offer can be found here here) and a variety of food and beverages that you can purchase (as with any kids attraction these are expensive so I’d recommend bringing your own snacks – if it’s a good day why not bring a picnic and get there super early and sprawl out on the grass?). Don’t worry if you forget to buy drinks at the entrance, you’ll find a staff member inside selling sweet treats before the show starts.

Our Experience

The Show
As you enter the main stadium you’ll notice that the seats have been cleverly designed like large chair-sized steps so your kiddies wont fall off of them. They actually ended up being quite comfortable.

I’ll be honest I didn’t know what to expect having never been to anything like this before. I really didn’t expect to enjoy it all – but I did! The format really reminded me of watching the TV show, which admittedly I’m not a big fan of but it meant I was familiar with most of the songs and had a good sing-along with my boy. It was easy to follow thanks to the narrator and the overhead projections made it an all-around exciting experience. As you can expect it gets very loud in during the performance (excited children, duh!) but the strategically placed speakers mean you’ll always hear the performance. The ceiling projections were great but because of the shape of the roof it was hard to see them clearly at times. 

The characters cleverly flitted between handmade puppets and life sized costumed characters and followed Iggle Piggle on a journey with his friends to find his lost blanket. My son was mesmerised by the entire show as he clutched his gift shop Makka Pakka and clapped along to the beat. Upsy Daisy, Makka Pakka, the Tomliboos and even the Pontipines made an appearance and the show lasted just under an hour.
You can take photos during the performance as long as you don’t use the flash – they’re very strict on that and have staff members roaming around with walkie talkies ready to give you a telling off.. They're also very strict on not letting your child come within an inch of the stage at all times.

The Meet and Greet
The order you get called in to see your chosen character is based on a first-come-first-served basis in the order of who booked first – so there’s no waiting in lines. The downside of that is if you book the day before like I did you’re looking at a pretty long wait (around an hour to be exact). You get sent a link as soon as the show finished with a live countdown of your timeslot and another when its almost your time to go in.
I was in for a 57 minute wait – I’ll be honest I hated almost every minute of it. I was bored shitless but my little’un on the other hand had plenty to do – there were tables filled with colouring sheets and crayons, an Iggle Piggle ride, episodes on a TV screen, snacks, drinks and balloons (the Pinky Ponk one was £8).

After a 57 minute wait we finally got the go-ahead to see Iggle Piggle. While in line one of the staff members let slip that although Upsy Daisy is very popular (and was showing up as fully booked on the website) they reserve some spaces for visitors who want to book on the day. I was in luck! If we wanted to go in to see Upsy Daisy too all I had to do was let the staff member know as soon as we’d finished seeing Iggle Piggle and we could go straight in and pay after. 

Both of the meet and greets went really fast but they were super friendly and very understanding that my boy was a bit apprehensive and needed a bit of coaxing before he warmed up to the characters. Each meet and greet came with a photo and photo holder included. You’re also allowed to take your own photos and videos during the session.

I’d say that the In The Night Garden LIVE! Show is definitely worth a visit. The premium seats are pricey (especially when you factor in having to pay full price for child tickets) but you really do get the better seats. The gift shop, food and beverages can also rack up a pretty penny. Bring existing ITNG themed toys with you as well as a bunch of snacks so you don't have to worry about that. Is the meet and greet worth going to? Yes if you have a little ITNG superfan on your hands! I give it a 4.5/5 due to the price.

In The Night Garden LIVE! Is at Old Deer Park in Richmond until July 1st,
in Birmingham from 7th – 22nd July
and in Manchester from 28th July – 19th August.

Tickets can be booked here
Top tip: There are voucher codes flitting about online. I used the code: SPECIAL76Z

********Disclaimer: all information was correct at the time of publishing********

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