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Ickle Bubba Aries Auto-Fold Stroller review: an easy-fold lightweight buggy

Lightweight and quick to fold, the Ickle Bubba Aries Auto-Fold Stroller is the ideal urban buggy. But how does it fare day to day? Mum of two, Claire, puts it through its paces. 

By Laura Westerman | Last updated Jan 18, 2024

Toddler in Ickle Bubba Aries Stroller
Price: From £159

What we like
  • Auto-fold mechanism that folds the stroller down in seconds

  • Ultra-lightweight at only 6.1kg

  • Offers good longevity

  • Decent amount of storage

  • Multi-position recline

  • Comes with a rain cover and bumper bar as standard

What we don't like
  • Fabrics aren’t machine-washable

  • Non-adjustable handlebar

  • Topples when changing bag hung on handlebar (without child in seat)

Key specs

Suitable from: Birth to approx. four years old | Maximum load: 22kg | Orientation: Forward-facing only | Weight: 6.1kg | Unfolded dimensions: 46 x 89 x 103cm | Folded dimensions with bumper bar: 46cm x 22cm x 79cm | Included accessories: Stroller and rain cover | Guarantee: 2 years (option to extend to four years)

Our verdict
  • Assembly: 4.5/5

  • Safety: 4/5

  • Stability: 4/5

  • Ease of use: 5/5 

  • Ease of folding/unfolding: 5/5

  • Comfort: 4/5

  • Design: 4/5

  • Ease of cleaning: 2/5

  • Value for money: 4.5/5

If you’re looking for a lightweight buggy that’s affordable and easy to fold, the Ickle Bubba Aries Auto-Fold Stroller is the ideal buy, particularly if you live in a town or city. 

After two months of testing this buggy out with mum of two, Claire, we were impressed with how well it helps parents navigate day-to-day life with a baby or toddler. Its handy auto-fold mechanism is a particular highlight as it allows the stroller to fold down in a matter of seconds - a game-changer for busy parents who travel often, whether that’s in the car or on public transport.

Our tester Claire says, “I would highly recommend this stroller as a lightweight, easy-to-open-and-fold option for parents who are on the go a lot.”

She adds, “It's great value for money with lots of extras, including a pocket on the back of the hood for additional storage - a huge bonus! The seat is a decent size for my one-year-old and my two-and-a-half year old found it comfortable too.

“Unfortunately, the fabrics aren't machine-washable and the handlebar isn’t adjustable - two things that I think would have made this a near-perfect stroller. But it's still a superior buggy when compared to others on the market.”

Child in Ickle Bubba Aries Stroller

How we tested the Ickle Bubba Aries Auto-Fold Stroller

  • Two months of testing with a mum of two

  • Used multiple times a week

  • Tested with a one-year-old and two-and-a-half-year-old

Our tester, mum of two Claire, says, “I used this stroller mostly at weekends to walk the kids to a soft play centre and for several trips into town. We used the car for most trips, and found the stroller very compact and easy to fold up and down. I've had many strollers over the years, and this is by far the easiest one I've ever folded and lifted into the car boot.”

During testing, Claire scored the Ickle Bubba Aries Auto-Fold Stroller on different criteria, including: assembly, safety and stability, ease of use, ease of folding and unfolding, comfort, design, ease of cleaning and value for money.

Read next: Best pushchairs for newborns

Ickle Bubba Aries Auto-Fold Stroller: what’s in the box?

  • Ickle Bubba Aries Auto-Fold Stroller 

  • Rain cover

  • User manual

The Ickle Bubba Aries comes in different bundles depending on your needs. While the above is part of the regular Ickle Bubba Aries offering (£159), the stroller is also available to buy in the Max (£179) or Prime (£199) version if you’d like additional accessories. 

The Ickle Bubba Aries Max includes a foot warmer and cup holder alongside the stroller and rain cover, while the Ickle Bubba Aries Prime (which we tested) includes a cup holder, carry bag and buggy organiser alongside the stroller, rain cover and foot warmer. 

Tester Claire says, “The box included the main stroller chassis with seat attached, set of four wheels that clipped on very easily, a footmuff, a rain cover, a cup holder, bumper bar and a very handy handlebar bag! This was a bonus as not many strollers come with the extra storage.”

You can also purchase additional accessories including an Ickle Bubba Pram Hand Muff, (£25), Ickle Bubba Faux Fur Hood Trim (£25), Newborn Cocoon (£49) and Padded Fleece Seat Liner (£25).

Ickle Bubba Aries Stroller unboxed

How easy is the Ickle Bubba Aries Auto-Fold Stroller to assemble?

“Assembly was so simple that I didn't really need the instructions,” says Claire. “The only thing I found difficult was working out where the cup holder went. This wasn't in the instructions and, once I worked out where it was supposed to go, it did take a bit of effort to clip it on.”

She adds, “The straps took some effort to adjust too but, once I'd worked out how, it was pretty simple. Everything else was very straightforward and easy. It took me less than five minutes to assemble from opening the box to the Aries Stroller being ready to use.”

Ickle Bubba Aries Auto-Fold Stroller: how does it look?

The Ickle Bubba Aries Auto-Fold Stroller is similar in aesthetic to other popular lightweight buggies, such as the Babyzen Yoyo2. Its frame is made from aluminium, which helps to keep it lightweight, and the PU wheels provide extra shock absorption on different terrain. It comes in four colours: Black, Graphite Grey, Biscuit (natural) and Sage Green.

According to our tester Claire, “The overall look of the stroller is pretty good and the seat is nicely padded giving it an expensive look. I personally would have preferred it to be a darker colour. The natural colour I tested looks lovely but isn't very practical when you have two messy toddlers in tow.”

She continues, “Initially I thought the wheels looked a bit small and I wasn't keen on them being made from PU as I thought it cheapened the overall look, but they have held up well on pavements and grass so I'm actually very impressed.”

Read next: The best umbrella strollers

Is the Ickle Bubba Aries Auto-Fold Stroller safe and sturdy?

Boasting a five-point harness, UPF 50+ sun hood (essential for sun protection), and a sturdy footbrake, the Ickle Bubba Aries is a reassuringly safe buggy. 

Mum of two Claire says, “The harness clips are all plastic which doesn't initially feel very luxurious, but they do the job well, which is what's most important when it comes to safety.”

She adds, “The stroller is very sturdy overall. It didn't topple at all with my toddler in it, even with a changing bag and a couple of shopping bags attached, however when he climbed out it did topple backwards if I didn't remove the bags from the handlebars first.

“Despite this, I felt that that overall stability while my child was strapped in was great. I love that there is a five-point harness. When it was done up correctly, my son couldn't climb out which is reassuring when rushing around from place to place, and the straps were easy to do up and undo quickly.

“There was the small concern about it tipping over if there was too much weight on the handlebar when lifting my son out but, as I keep him strapped in, he couldn’t climb out by choice and I can make sure I take the bags off before taking him out.”

The footbrake is simple to engage and sits in the middle of the bar for ease of use. Claire says, “I love that the brake is in the middle saving me from having to remember which side it is. The brake felt very secure and the pram didn't roll at all when it was on. It was winter while I was testing so I didn't have a chance to try the break with open-toe shoes, but it was very easy to press on and off with my trainers or boots on.”

Read next: The best 360 car seats

Child in Ickle Bubba Aries Stroller with sibling next to buggy

What’s the Ickle Bubba Aries Auto-Fold Stroller like to use day to day?

One of the huge benefits of a lightweight buggy is that it’s nippy enough for trips around town, on and off public transport and in and out of shops. The Ickle Bubba is no exception, expertly handling small spaces and manoeuvring well on a variety of terrain, including pavements and grass.

Tester Claire says, “This stroller is very easy to move about. We got it up and down curbs, plus a set of five steps with no trouble. The front and rear suspension makes steering very easy. It's great for moving around shops with small aisles or doorways.”

She continues, “The handlebar isn’t extendable, which is the one thing that I have really missed on this stroller. That being said, I am quite tall (5' 8") and still found it comfortable to push - my husband too, who is 5’ 10.”

She adds, “I also attached a universal buggy board to it for my two-year-old, but unfortunately she couldn't stand upright on it because of the placement of the handlebar. Having an extendable handlebar would have been great so that her head could go through the middle.”

In warmer months, the sun hood with pop-out visor offers decent coverage, with a handy peekaboo window for keeping an eye on your child while on the move. Claire says, “The UPF 50+ sun hood comes all the way down to my son's legs when he is sitting up. When the seat is reclined it doesn't go all the way over but I'm yet to find any stroller that does this. The hood does feel very sturdy and thick, which is nice. I also love that there is a little window to check on my son when the hood is pulled over.”

Our tester Claire liked that the stroller comes with a bumper bar, something you don’t see on other lightweight buggies like the Babyzen Yoyo2, with a gate-opening design that allows you to easily get your child in and out of the seat. 

She says, “My son loved holding onto the bumper bar. I have never used the bumper bars on previous prams and strollers because I found that they got in the way, but this one is nicely placed to allow me to get my son in and out with ease.”

While we are disappointed that the Ickle Bubba Aries Auto-Fold Stroller isn’t cabin-approved for flights, it’s nevertheless the ideal buggy for travel-conscious families, whether you regularly travel by public transport or car. 

Claire says, “We drive so we didn't test the stroller on any public transport. However, I would have full confidence that it would fit through bus or train aisles without an issue and it could be folded down quickly with one hand while holding my toddler in the other.”

Read next: The best car sunshades for babies

How comfortable is the Ickle Bubba Aries Auto-Fold Stroller?

Lasting from birth to 22kg, which is approximately age four, the Ickle Bubba Aries Auto-Fold Stroller offers good longevity. 

While you can’t attach a carrycot or baby car seat to turn the buggy into a travel system, the extra-large seat has multiple recline angles, including a lie-flat option for newborns, as well as an adjustable leg rest for extra support.

The handy footmuff - included with the Ickle Bubba Aries Max and Prime - offers additional comfort in cold weather, and you can also purchase a cosy Newborn Cocoon should you wish to. Our tester Claire says, “The footmuff is lovely and thick, but didn't come up very far. It will certainly keep my one-year-old’s legs and feet warm but a coat is still needed too.”

While we didn’t test this buggy with a newborn, so can’t comment on how the seat fares with younger babies, tester Claire says, “My son seemed very happy and comfortable in the stroller. He enjoyed holding onto the bumper bar, and it was nice that he was able to sit upright while still strapped in. I've had other strollers where he was forced to lay back at a 45-degree angle because the seat didn't go all the way up.”

The seat can easily be reclined using the clip at the back of the seat, which lowers the seat smoothly if your baby is napping. Claire continues, “My son prefers sitting up and didn't nap in it, though I think he could have done easily.”

Read next: The best baby carriers, wraps and slings

Ickle Bubba Aries Stroller folded

Ickle Bubba Aries Auto-Fold Stroller: how easy is it to fold?

The stroller doesn't fold to cabin size, but it is very compact and extremely lightweight to carry at only 6.1kg. 

There are two steps to unfold it - a lock at the side that needs opening and a button on the handlebar, both of which can be done with one hand. The game-changing one-handed auto-fold mechanism means the buggy folds itself down when you press two buttons on the handlebar. Once folded, the buggy locks automatically (thanks to a locking latch) so that it can easily be carried around using the bumper bar.

Tester Claire says, “The great thing is that it folds down with everything attached making it very quick to set up the next time you use it. I left the foot muff, cup holder, buggy organiser and bumper bar attached to it between uses and amazingly it didn't affect the fold or increase the space it took up.”

She continues, “While out shopping with my son in the stroller, there was a very long queue for a lift so I decided to use the stairs instead. It took less than a minute to put the changing bag on my back, get him out and fold the pram. I carried my son in one arm and the pram in the other down two small flights of stairs, which saved me so much time. I wasn't able to do the same on the way back up though as I had additional shopping bags.”

The Ickle Bubba Aries benefits from an ultra-compact fold, which most parents will appreciate, whether you’re navigating public transport or travelling by car. Claire says, “I previously had the Bugaboo Donkey Duo which was so big that I had to swap my car (a Ford EcoSport) for one with a bigger boot. This stroller would easily fit into even the smallest of boots, with room for a few shopping bags too, and even fits comfortably in the footwell of my current car, a Citroen C4 Grand Picasso.”

Read next: The best cabin-approved strollers for easy travel

What's storage like?

Tester Claire says, “The storage basket is not the biggest I've seen but is still a decent size for a lightweight stroller.”

She adds, “The best thing about the Aries though is the additional storage. There is a very handy pocket at the back of the hood which I used for my phone, snacks for the kids and a packet of baby wipes (for quick access). The stroller I tested also came with a buggy organiser which offered lots of extra storage space for drinks, nappies, changes of clothes etc.”

Ickle Bubba Aries reclined

Are there any added extras?

We tested the Ickle Bubba Aries Prime, which is the same as the regular Ickle Bubba Aries but comes with lots of extras including a cup holder, footmuff, bumper bar, buggy organiser and carry bag, making it great value for money. The cup holder is sturdy and holds several different sized baby bottles, sippy cups and reusable water bottles

Tester Claire says, “The stroller did come with a rain cover but I haven't had to use it in the rain yet. It seems to fit well over the entire seat unit and completely covered my son when I attached it.”

Is the Ickle Bubba Aries Auto-Fold Stroller easy to clean?

One area that lets the Ickle Bubba Aries down is ease of cleaning. Unfortunately, the seat fabrics aren't removable or machine-washable, which means that spills and stains are tricky to clean. The hood and storage basket can be removed and hand washed if needed, but we think that a removable seat cover would be much better for parents. 

Our tester Claire says, “I didn't spill anything on the stroller while testing it, which was a miracle, but I think it would wipe clean quite easily. My only issue with keeping it clean is that it's a very light colour and therefore highly likely to stain - not ideal with a toddler. There was no wear and tear to the stroller while I was using it though, which shows that it's very well made.”

Read next: The best toddler car seats as tested by parents

Is the Ickle Bubba Aries Auto-Fold Stroller good value for money?

As lightweight strollers go, the Ickle Bubba Aries Auto-Fold Stroller is an affordable option, made even more attractive by the huge number of accessories it comes with, including a rain cover and bumper bar. The fact that it can be used from birth all the way up to age four is simply the icing on the cake. 

Our tester Claire says, “I think this buggy is great value for money. There are a couple of small things that could be improved (extendable handlebar, deeper storage basket etc) but overall it has a lot of great features that usually come with a more expensive stroller.”

About the author

Laura Westerman is an editor, writer and Deputy Head of Editorial Content at Mumsnet. Mum to a one-year-old, she is fully invested in finding the best and most affordable products for families.

With over seven years' experience as a full-time editor, five of which have been spent writing, commissioning and editing product reviews and round-ups, Laura has a keen eye for what parents love and likes nothing more than putting together honest reviews to make parents' lives that little bit easier. 

In addition to her work as a writer and editor, she has also appeared in a number of product review videos for Mumsnet's YouTube channel.

About Mumsnet Reviews

All Mumsnet product reviews are written by real parents after weeks of research and testing. We work hard to provide honest and independent advice you can trust. Sometimes, we earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. However, we never allow this to influence our coverage.