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Sunday, 21 July 2019

Gulliver's Land, not Disney's.

Review of Gulliver's Land


We haven't done stays at theme parks other than Disney before but I decided to take the kids away for a couple of nights last minute during the Easter break and I thought this might be a useful post now that the summer holidays have arrived. Our trip was a last minute decision and so I wanted somewhere which wouldn't be far to travel or cost too much. I booked us a Gulliver's camping pod but when I had a look at the website a couple of days before we went I noticed other accommodation had last minute reductions and so I upgraded us to a 'Beach Den' .

Beach den at Gulliver's
View over to the lake to our den.
The journey from our house was just over an hour making for easy travelling. The Adventurers Village is at the same Waterside parking as the Farm Park and Splash Zone but all is only a few minutes walk from Gulliver's Land. My only issue is that the car park could do with a big sign to direct everyone to the Waterside/Adventurers Village entrance  as this wasn't very clear when we arrived. Our little detour was forgiven, however, when we were offered a drink on arrival at the Adventurers Village 'HQ', the refreshments were very welcome on a warm day. The HQ  included a small shop of essentials, board games and  outside equipment like balls to borrow.

Beach Den at Gulliver's Land
Our beach den


Our Beach Den was called 'Turtle' and had a plastic turtle on the roof and a big plastic giraffe next to it! The view over the lake was beautiful and we enjoyed watching the swans, ducks and geese and their cute little babies swimming by. It helped that it was dry and warm do we could eat at the table outside as the space inside was small but packed a lot in with bunks, sofa-bed, microwave, small fridge, kettle, shower and toilet.
Beach Den at Gullivers
Bunk beds and kitchen area


There was a full range of evening entertainment and we struggled to find time to eat as the kids wanted to do the quizzes, bingo, marshmallow toasting and on the second day we did a  scooter safari around the site, more bingo, party songs, bedtime film, The Gruffalo with milk and cookies and more marshmallow toasting! The staff were very friendly and approachable and made our time really fun.



The next morning we began with a walk over to Willen Lakes and a play on the fun and interesting playgrounds. It would be possible to spend much longer here with lots going on,  places to eat and its own outdoor splash park.

Willen Lakes

We then walked over to Gulliver's Land arriving in time for opening and their very own all singing and dancing 'rope drop'.

Rope drop at Gulliver's Land
Rope drop


 When walking up their version of 'Main Street' towards their castle I didn't have any Disney level expectations although the inspiration they had taken from Disney was fun to spot. There were a wide range of rides for young children including a mini rapids, runaway train, log flume, pirate ship and a very tall slide with boats which was my two's favourite, we returned go ride it various times throughout the day.

Pirate ship Gullivers


All the rides are geared up for mainly primary aged kids, in fact you have to be visiting with children to come to Gulliver's Land. To be honest, I can't imagine any reason for wanting to visit without little ones as the rides are so small.
Swing chairs, Gullivers

Climbing frame


Parts of the park need some painting and there were little features which would definitely displease the Disney Imagineers. For example, the sight of a vacuum cleaner amongst the adventurers props as we boarded the little rapid ride made me laugh.

Rapids ride


I was reminded of the fabulous Disney Country Bears Jamboree when we watched 'The Monkeys' performing in their cage- a vintage touch which I thought was fabulous! There were still the facades of older attractions which disappointingly weren't open such as the theatrical 'Hard Luck Bears Jamboree' which looked like they had been inspired by the Disney attraction. I love a bit of vintage animatronics!



With the attractions which were open there was plenty for us to do for the day. In fact if I had seen any sort of map we would have found the JCB area quicker which contains a number of new attractions, unfortunately is was a bit out of the way and I hadn't seen a map but we found it in the end and finished our day there on the dodgems.



After our second and final lovely evening and night in the 'Beach Den' we visited the Splash Zone the next morning. This is an indoor attraction at Gulliver's with sprinklers and slides. The kids loved being able to go on the slides multiple times but there wasn't really anything else to hold their attention so by mid-morning we said farewell to Gulliver's.

View from our beach den

I can't really compare this break to going to a Disney park, Gulliver's Land itself doesn't have the wow of a Disney park, but we were lucky to go on a day when many local schools were back so didn't have big queues or crowds to contend with and this was much cheaper than going to Disney. The accommodation was a highlight for us, especially with the evening entertainment and my son now wants to go back and stay in a 'Dino-den'. As we swapped to the Beach Den at the last minute, it only cost £105 for two nights, Gulliver's Land £18 each, Splash Zone £8 each for the kids, £2 for me. We have visited the Dinosaur and Farm Park previously for a lovely day out with family and all this together does make for a nice destination for those with younger kids.




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