Especially now the summer holidays are upon us (a teacher’s dream, a parent’s nightmare – I’m so torn!), it can be difficult entertaining your kids (their cousins, your neighbours’ kids and friends’ kids, plus whoever else you’re in a babysitting rota with!), and it never hurts to have a bit of inspiration.
I’ve known of the existence of Gulliver’s World since I was a kid as I’m from Warrington. I actually worked there as well – the job being kind of a rite of passage for any teens living in the Old Hall vicinity. But I know plenty of people around the North Wales area who have never heard of it, and so it’s not on their radar as a place to take the kids this summer.
Which kind of means you’re missing out!
What is Gulliver’s World?
It’s a theme park designed for kids up to about 11 years old – about primary school age. The website suggests it’s for kids aged 2-13, but I don’t think it can compete with Alton Towers and Drayton Manor etc when your kids reach high school – it’s a little too tame and childish, in my humble opinion.
However, it is great for younger kids, and while you may initially begrudge paying for your toddlers, you only pay if they’re 90cm and above, and this means they can actually go on a lot of the rides (accompanied by an adult) and, as there are a lot of attractions specifically for small children, it’s worth the money.
TOP TIP: Book online in advance (at least 2 days before) to save £2 per person!
Colin and I took Lily and two of our nieces for the day last weekend after ditching poor Esme with my mum (not that she’s missing out – she’ll be spoilt rotten!). Sadly, we didn’t realise there was an online discount available (hence my reason for the bold font above) and so we were financially drained – sorry – we paid £17 per person at the gate.
The “Big” Rides
Although no Oblivion or Nemesis, there are some “big” rides at Gulliver’s for the older kids in your party.
The Antelope is a rickety old wooden rollercoaster that I’m sure has been there since the dawn of the time, leading me to believe the park was actually built around it. Never-the-less, it was worth the 20 minute queue (another bonus – at Alton Towers the most popular rides can have queues over an hour long!) and the girls loved it.
There’s also a cool new (newish?) ride called the Pirate’s Cove, which is a hundred times cooler than the conventional Pirate’s Ship it’s next to. There was a very short, very quick queue for this ride, so we (and when I say we, I mean the girls and I, because Colin does not do spinning and sat this one out repeatedly) rode a few times.
The Wild Mine Ride is definitely the one you want to go on if you like being catapulted around and to feel like you’re running the risk of whiplash with every turn. It’s sort of the smaller version of Blackpool’s Cat and Mouse ride, but it certainly doesn’t skimp on the jerky corners! A fave of mine, but, surprisingly, it was a little too much for the girls!
What Not to Miss
I’m going to give a big shout out to our collective favourite rides of the day!
The Dodgems have been revamped since my last visit. They are now “jousting carts”, with each car containing one driver and one passenger wielding a gun to shoot the other cars with. Loads of fun and absolute chaos!
The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party (a.k.a spinning teacups a.k.a Waltzers) – whatever they’re called! This ride is bags of fun, firstly because you can spin yourself which means you can go at a crazy speed and, secondly, we all found it hilarious because, only 2 rides into the day, Colin was practically green! I’ve married a wimp.
The girls loved the Haunted House. To be honest, it hasn’t changed one bit since I visited as a kid, I’m sure, but I think half the fun for them wasn’t in the attraction itself but in hiding and jumping out on each other. Whatever makes them happy!
Don’t Bother With…
Although I believe the park is a great family day out, I’ve still got to highlight the bad bits. Sorry Gully Mouse!
The Tomb Raider ride in Adventure Land was dreadful! You have a gun and are supposed to shoot targets, but it was totally not working, so it was just a dark cart ride looking at targets and pretending to shoot.
I don’t have anything really against the “Crazy” Barrel Ride in Western World except that, ridden so soon after the teacups on the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party ride in Alice’s Wonderland, it was slow and boring. The barrels don’t actually spin, which is in stark contrast to the teacups which you can spin yourself, making the latter a much more exciting ride.
Might be useful info if you find yourself short of time and unable to do allthe rides!
So Overall, What Can Gulliver’s World Offer Families?
1. The queues are nowhere near as long as you’ll find in larger theme parks.
2. There are lots of free shows and entertainment throughout the day – make the most of these!
3. It’s cheaper than other larger parks, but great if you have young families as there are more rides for a variety of ages.