Children enjoy the thrills of being in the driving seat at Balmoral Show 2024

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The new Mini Land Rover experience has been allowing children to “take control of the driving seat” at this year’s Balmoral Show.

Set up by the team from Glenarm Castle, one or two youngsters can steer themselves around the tree bark course with parents or guardians walking alongside.

The Glenarm Castle’s Visitor Experience supervisor, William Rainey, was “very excited” about putting together “a cool course”.

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He said: “There has been a positive reaction to the experience. There are plenty of queues and a lot of questions about it too. It’s a lot of fun, everybody is having a great time.”

Glenarm Castle Visitor Experience supervisor, William Rainey.Glenarm Castle Visitor Experience supervisor, William Rainey.
Glenarm Castle Visitor Experience supervisor, William Rainey.

The high demand course is laid out with different bridges and obstacles ensuring some variety.

“When the children are driving around, there are all types of ramps on the course. There is a drive up on to a see saw bridge which then lets them go down the other side. The see saw bridge and the ramps are always very popular with the kids.”

The course permits the young drivers to “go off road” and get to grips with what it’s like for farmers when they are out checking the livestock across the land in their own vehicles.

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William said: “I can always hear the laughter from them from where I am standing over greeting people at the entrance to the course. I would have loved this experience when I was younger.

Harry Copeland from Poyntzpass enjoying the Mini Land Rover experience at the Balmoral ShowHarry Copeland from Poyntzpass enjoying the Mini Land Rover experience at the Balmoral Show
Harry Copeland from Poyntzpass enjoying the Mini Land Rover experience at the Balmoral Show

“The Land Rovers certainly don’t go as quick when I am in them, I don’t think,” he laughed. “It is great to see all the happy faces when the Land Rovers are being taken around.

A driving licence selfie prop means the youngsters can pose for a photo too.

A real-life blue Land Rover with a white canopy sits in the middle of the attraction allowing the young ones to set their eyes on what they could drive in the future.

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“They [the children’s version] really are like Land Rovers, only they are mini.

“They are like an electric vehicle. You just push the pedals forward and back. It can go off road or up and down hills. Back at Glenarm Castle we have a body of water for the children to drive through.

“There is a bigger course up around the castle. The show course is just a little taster of what that is like. It is one of the most popular parts of the estate up at Glenarm.

“The mini–Land Rovers run at the castle throughout the warmer summer and spring seasons, up until Halloween time.

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“The walled garden at Glenarm is another attraction we are proud of. We won the Historic Houses Garden of the Year Award. We were the first to be nominated in Northern Ireland and the first to win. We are quite chuffed to be honest.

“I’m looking forward to the other show days this weekend, meeting more new people especially if there is more weather like this.

“We hope that the Mini Land Rover experience will be back at the show again in the future.”

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