Terrible customer service Out dated ... rusty ... falling apart ridesSteep hill climb on rides .... poor entertainment .... no effort made to keep place in good condition .IN GENERAL TOTAL HELL HOLE .... WITH RUDE STAFF AND STOMACH CHURNING FOODS ... DON'T BELIEVE THE GOOD REVIEWS ... WAS A GOOD PLACE .....20 YEARS AGO!!!!!!!!
Gulliver's Theme parks has three locations Warrington, Milton Keynes and Matlock Bath. I Visited Gulliver's kingdom in Matlock Bath, Derbyshire over the half tem week with a friend and our sons aged three and four years old .Gulliver's is located just off the A6 in Matlock Bath and is located on a very steep hill.
The park is currently open from 9.30 to 5.30 seven days a week but the website does have a calendar to let you know when the season ends and current opening times. It does reopen over Christmas.
Adults - £12.50
Children - £12.50
Babies under 90cm - FREE
O.A.P - £11.50
Gulliver's does have a free car park although spaces seem to be limited and while there are staff to organise the parking they do tend to get very full and cars are crammed in along walls. There are two entrances to the park and predictably my friend got a space at the bottom of the hill and I was parked up by the top entrance so walked down to meet my friend.
Inside the park
We had to wait a few minutes for admission but this was not a long queue. The park is split into various areas which the names do have some relevance of the attraction when we arrived we found ourselves in the Bourbon Street.
This is where the chairlift starts from to take you to the top of the park. There is a chair lift which is a ski lift type lift which takes two passengers per chair and although I didn't personally try them my friend did tell me the bars are not secured down and she felt nervous her son if he decided to jump out he easily could. As my son is not the most sensible of children I decided it was worth the walk
As we walked into the park immediately in front of us was a pirate ship. My son stated it was for big boys and girls and needed to grow before he went on. While my friend and her older son went on the ride there was a playground type pirate ship at the side which was perfect. It meant my son got to play on not stand bored while waiting for others on the bigger rides.
Our next ride was the Carousel which was a double Decker ride. My son didn't feel confident to go on his own so I accompanied him and once he decided to go in a pumpkin carriage I was squashed as a coachman on the front however this did boost his confidence for the next ride.
My son's favourites were a fire engine which you got to stand in a cage on top and shoot water at a simulated burning building while been elevated and brought back down repeatedly
The good thing about this park is that you don't have far to walk before the next ride. He also loved the hot air balloon ride which was a mini big wheel.
The Lazy river ride was thoroughly enjoyable and my son remembered the same ride from Alton Towers although this is a much more sedate version.
We next visited Palace Royal area This is a bit of a mixed area there are a couple of the bigger rides that my son wouldn't go on which were the switchback and Log rollercoaster but conversely there was the Ladybirds and smaller carousel for smaller children.
When my son went on the lady bird ride he ran to get in a car and fell head first into the middle of the ride however he seemed unharmed and continued to enjoy the ride once he got over the shock. The lady who operates this ride seemed to engage the children and actually told them the ride wouldn't start and needed them to flap their wings to start the ride. Sadly one little girl sobbed which bought back memories of myself crying on this same ride when I was a young child forcing them to stop the ride.
This area housed the only ride which wasn't working that day which was the flying elephants.
We next visited Dinosaur kingdom this had models of huge dinosaurs around there were Triceratops and pterodactyl which are my son's favourite dinosaurs. There was a vintage car ride where you got to go dinosaur spotting. This ride had seat belt which is helpful for teaching car safety and keeping little ones safe. This is a smallish area but we did find a talking explorer cabin which encouraged the children to go dinosaur spotting.
Fantasy land seemed to be my sons least favourite area there were a few things he didn't like the flight of fantasy which was a sky drop just horrified him although my friends son loved it and then the ball shot which is where soft balls are shot through a gun but it is very loud and the noise scares my son. On the positive he did get his first ride on the dodgems which he thoroughly enjoyed and it was far more ideal than traditional fairground rides where he would have got bumped about far more.
Western world is right at the top where the log flume is located. There is also a miniature wooden town where my son seemed a little too happy for my liking to been in prison. There was a play area which my son thoroughly enjoyed. There is an old MacDonald feature where there are models of animals and by pressing various buttons started the farm animals to join in the song. Once all the buttons were pressed it was very loud in this area and I would have preferred it to be slightly quieter.
We went on a train ride in this area where you needed to shoot the targets and I don't think my son has any aiming ability with a gun but enjoyed shooting randomly. Fortunately you did get a gun each so I was able to activate the targets from most of the target.
The final area Lilliput Lane is where the main castle is based. It has a two story maze which my son ran in and I was unable to see him for five minutes and had to watch both the exit and entrance which were on different sides of the maze in case he came out of the entrance or exit. I was amazed that he actually found his way through this maze that actually was two storeys.
The new feature added for 2010 is the stepping stones which are simply that. While very relevant to Derbyshire with Dove dale on the doorstep but a little bit of a letdown as a new features in a theme park even if it is for children. My son chose to walk around but another child ended up with his foot in the water which probably would of dried quickly as it was a sunny day I imagine on a wet day it would be quite miserable.
Our final ride was the spinning barrels which my son tumble while climbing in and end up cutting his lip however he did thoroughly enjoy the ride. Outside of the barrel ride is a first aid point which seemed appropriate but fortunately his cut was minor enough I was able to deal with it.
Rides in General
The queues for the rides were quite minimal and the only ride we queued for over ten minutes was the log flume. The log flume was the only ride that had the photos taken and we did buy a keying which was £3.50 or two for £6.
Quite a few have a minimum of 90cms to ride and often children under 120cm need to be accompanied by adults. There are a few that my son was too scared to go on but my friends son did do go on all of them.
Other play areas
There are soft play areas dotted around the park. None of them seem to be huge or distinctively different but they were enjoyed by many children at the park. The problem with this is while it meant none were especially busy it did mean that the children wanted to go in loads of different soft play areas.
There was a few an outdoor park areas which do mean that they get a chance to run around and climb a little. These do seem to be a little more thought out than the average play area which has meant my son was able to tackle all the equipment. We also found tucked away upstairs from the party house was a selection of ride on tractors and none peddle bikes which quiet and easily missed if you didn't go searching.
Eating in the park
We actually took a packed lunch with us partly as we were both on a diet but also for financial reasons. There are places to eat around the park but none tend to be that healthy: fish and chips, burgers, hot dogs and ice cream. I only personally only bought a cup of diet coke and a coffee which cost £1.20 each. However there are plenty of benches around the park to sit and eat a packed lunch.
Dora and Diego
Dora and Diego are advertised heavily throughout the park and you do get a chance to meet Diego and Dora in person at 12 midday and 3pm this is in a special room where they are sat down on Sofa which is set up for a photo opportunity. My son is a huge Diego fan but can be scared of life-size dressed up TV characters. I queued for just over ten minutes but my son cried and refused to go near them but many other children did enjoy the experience.
There are a few amusement type rides dotted around the park the favourite of my son been diggers which are normally coin operated so it is amazing that these are free. In the party house there were also a few games like whack a mole that was free.
There are a couple of shops selling expected merchandising including plenty Diego stuff but I was able to resist the lure of the souvenir from the visit for my son. I am pleased to say it isn't all over the park.
Getting around the park
The one thing that can't go without mentioning is the steep hills. The whole park is on a steep hill and while you don't have to walk long distances between rides which makes it comfortable walking but as this Park is predominately for young children it is filled with toddlers and babies in buggies and parents huffing and puffing up the hills. On my visit at Christmas my son was walking but found the hills hard work so I ended up carrying him up most of the hills. As he is now just over three years of age he did this time walk up the majority of hills him however I still could feel my legs had a work out the next morning. The Chairlift would not be an option for visitors with pushchairs and while facilities are accessible for wheelchairs the steep slopes would make it enormously difficult to manage and I don't suitable for people in wheelchairs
There were toilets with baby changing areas around the park. On one point when my son asked for the toilet we had to go down two inclines and so trek back up to where my friend was waiting. We visited three different toilets through the day and it was only the last toilets we visited that weren't immaculate. The last toilets seemed to have water all over the floor. The other thing is there were no hooks on the back of the doors which I do like as I don't particularly want my bag on a toilet floor.
Christmas at Gulliver's
I previously visited Gulliver's at Christmas with my son and my sister although all the rides weren't open it did have additional Christmas shows and a Christmas dinners. We choose the buffet which we had turkey cobs with chips with mince pies but you could a traditional Christmas dinner also. The best of this is was a winter wonderland where you got to meet Santa at the end. My son did not like Santa at all and barely managed to squeeze past him to get to Santa's shop and so we didn't even attempt the photo. Through the final door there is a present area which is described as Santa's Factory where your child gets to pick a toy. These are actually good quality and makes a nice change from the other useless gifts we have received at other Santa's. My son picked a red racing car that he still plays with and remembers it is from Santa. This is something I plan to do again this Christmas. It was a very magical experience for us.
I think this park has a great mixture of activities and does have a variety that I have not seen in other parks. I do like the fact that all the rides are designed that you can accompany your child on the rides if needed. It is a very physical day out but so long as you can handle the hills a great experience. This is no place for heels sensible shoes are the only way to get through the day. Gulliver's advertise this park as designed for two to thirteen year olds but I do think that I would wait till my child was over 90cm regardless of age. I do think that by the age of thirteen most children would find it a little tame and maybe by the age of ten would want somewhere more white knuckle but this depends of a Childs love of white knuckle rides. I do think as my son gets older he will gain more from this park and will get to experience the rides he found scary. The contented quiet snores from the back seat of my car on our trip home summarised our day a very happy fun day but exhausted.
Further information can be found at www.gulliversfun.co.uk
gullivers world warrington, is a theme park that has been completely neglected
the staff ,though friendly ,are generally lacking in motivation ,after all, if the owners have no interest, then how are the staff going to be interested or even care about what is happening, the toilets are a disgrace, in fact they are a health hazzard, with no cleaners , no attendants , we bought some chips and cups of tea, which we had to take back because they had put stale milk in the tea ,the tables where a total mess with nobody clearing up ,and their were chips and other uneaten food squashed all over the floor,the rides were ok in general, but even the music played at the kiddies rides sounded like it was being played on an old clapped out 78,at £12.50 per person including children for entrance to this so called theme park is somewhat over priced ,they are obviously making a nice profit ,without putting a penny back into an upgrade , or even a lick of paint
Gulliver's Kingdom in Matlock Bath, Derbyshire, is apparently one of a group of 3 others, however I have only experienced this one so my review is based on the Derbyshire branch.
I first visited Gulliver's when I was a child and I remember expecting so much more and then being sorely disappointed: I have vague memories of huge plastic or fibre-glass dinosaur figures dotted around the hillside for no particular reason, and my parents wondering out loud about the connection of dinosaurs to Gulliver.
More recently, I have been several times with my own children and children of friends etc., as they inexplicably seem to like it. I like it too, in the way that you would still love a really weird friend.
A word of warning: Due to the location, a day at Gulliver's Kingdom is actually the best workout you will ever do, as it is set on an extremely steep hillside. This covers the entire park and car parks too, so anyone with limited mobility might wish to think twice and telephone ahead for further information.
Anyone who decides to tackle it is best advised to go armed with a plan: get your map of the park and plan your route round the attractions to minimise your hill-walking (unless you enjoy it of course!). There is a ski-lift or chair-lift that goes right from the bottom to the very top, and back again, which is useful, but not really for anyone with babes in arms etc.
The prices miss no opportunity to extract your cash from your wallet: it's currently £11.50 for both adults and children alike, with concessions of £10.50 for OAP's . Anyone under 90cm is admitted free, mainly because the height limits mean they won't be able to use most rides anyway. Gulliver's do not participate in the Tesco Deals scheme, unlike almost every other one of their competitors that I can think of.
On entering the park, you will immediately feel an air of slight neglect and shabbiness, however try to ignore this and on with the rides: This park is mainly aimed at children, with child-size rides, and this is it's strength.
There are several really good rides, including a fairly new rollercoaster, a further several oldie-but-goodie rides, and even more attractions that make you think "eh?"
Your entry fee allows you unlimited rides, so I would recommend you concentrate on the big rollercoaster, the log flume, the swinging pirate ship etc if maximum thrills is what you like, and adults can ride these too.
The staff are dressed in unfortunate red and black outfits which I think are supposed to look like Gulliver himself, but make me think of Buttons in a Christmas pantomime.
I have got to mention the man operating the Log Roller Coaster - I've never met anyone so consistently happy and cheerful in the face of something so repetitive :)
There are many smaller , gentler rides for when the adults need a break, many of which the children can ride on their own. Generally there is a good mix of attractions.
Less popular with us are the many 'exhibition' style attractions, which consist of models behind a 'window' which move when the children press a button - I would do away with these in this day and age, but maybe that's just me. The kids just aren't interested in these, and they always seem to be broken.
Also not much fun are the scheduled 'live shows' which take place at a variety of locations and times. I don't really know whether the shows are good or not, because we couldn't remain in the building due to the overpowering smell of damp fustiness, which we could also see glistening off the walls . Not pleasant.
The jewel in the crown has got to be "Gullivers Travels - The Ride" : This is a feature so bad, it's good. Approach it with this in mind and you will laugh like you've never laughed before and not be disappointed.
You queue up outside what looks like a chipboard castle, and are eventually ushered inside by a member of staff. About 30 people will stand sweating in a tiny, hot room with assorted 'lifelike' models and pictures on the wall with puppet faces in them.
At this point, it's guaranteed that a child will start crying and ask to be taken outside (usually one of mine!). A story soundtrack is played over the loudspeaker while the staff member stands by, and the visitors look at each other with the corners of their mouths twitching. After a while, the pictures on the wall start 'moving'. Remember, it's serious. Try to breathe through your mouth so you don't inhale too many of those mould spores. This is merely to prime you for the main event:
In a few minutes, you will be moved along to the 'simulator' room. Essentially, you sit down on what looks and feels like the top deck of a bus and look at a large screen ahead of you. A film starts playing, telling you the story of Gulliver, and every so often, the contraption which you are all sitting in will move or roll in a random direction, to simulate flying or whatever else is happening in the story.
Unfortunately, it's not dark enough around you to get the proper effect, and you can clearly see your surroundings, which look like the interior of a Soho cinema circa 1953. The most delicious moment is when , on the screen, Gulliver is crossing the sea in a boat during a storm, and so your simulator leans over wildly to one side while you are squirted from 6 water pistols that are mounted on the walls at the side of you. The machinery has broken down half way through every time we have been on this ride, which just adds to the unintentional hilarity.
There are plenty of food outlets dotted around the park, but I would recommend taking your own if possible: We find it poor quality and expensive. Toilets are also dotted around the place, although I would like to see a few more of them. There are also several gift-shops selling the usual souvenirs.
Overall - I know I'm contradicting myself here,but I would say it's run-down and a bit rubbish , yet I keep going back because it's such a laugh: great fun for everyone (as long as they can manage the hills!).
Following a busy summer so far, I thought I'd write about Gulliver's Kingdom next, a theme park at Matlock Bath but which is apparently one of four in total, the leaflet only details three though, this, Warrington and Milton Keynes.
So, the crucial stuff first, it's £9.95 each to get in, concessions, like senior citizens are £8.95 each and children under 90cm are free.
£9.95 sounds great, especially compared to the £15.50 rip off I detailed in my review about Pleasure Island, but, when you break it down it could be a nightmare. My twins are 2.5 and exceptionally tall on the 91st percentile for height, but I'd still have to pay for them at full rate even though genetically they happen to be fortunate or unfortunate enough to take after their father for height. Most kids in their age range are under 90cm or nearing it, my girls are well over. So, because I have tall toddlers that could cost an extra £20 when the next person could have kids a few months older and still get in free if they are shorter. Is it aimed primarily at kids aged 3-13 but even so.....your genetic predisposition should not cost you extra.
Fortunately, in this instance I did not take my twins, otherwise I might have been frothing at the mouth. The 12 year old I took is an entirely different matter for quibbling over prices, she's not into the white knuckle stuff, she likes it a little bit tamer than most her age.
For her, at £9.95 it's reasonable, there are 59 rides/attractions which is much better value than Pleasure Island who boast 36. Not all ideal for her, it would have suited my twins very well but my 12 year old still got a big kick out of the day, perhaps a better balance for a family of mixed ages, though hardly big thrills for parents.
The big and instant issue after the planning with the price is the big secret, the hill, the one which would be a nightmare for senior citizens and pushchairs... maybe that's why there's a concession!
I'm suffering a broken toe at the moment, still mobile but challenged on uneven or steep ground, so it was far from my ideal, despite being visually idyllic. It would have been difficult with my twins too.
Wear trainers or something equally sensible and flat to counteract the hike experience.
Height restrictions come into play once more with the rides, worth keeping an eye out for or have a look online for the exact height restrictions. 90cm is the height to pay but they can't get on all the rides even then, 1.2m is the height restriction for the log flume.
Gulliver's is broken into sub areas, each themed and named which helps create an atmosphere and some visual intrigue when wandering about Western World has several rides and featured attractions such as the Indian Reserve play area, new this year (2008) and a dancing water show which I really loved, I'm easily amused by such things anyway but this really appealed to me, a nice thing to watch on a lovely day. There's a log flume which is worth a go, but if you can go early, the water rides are always the ones with the huge queues, especially when it's hot.
Fantasy Terrace has 7 areas of interest including the chair lift which appeals to many, the old favourite dodgems and the Flight Of Fantasy ride.
The next area is Party House, this wasn't high on our agenda with a pre-teen as it features a Desert Sand Pit, Ice Palace Play area, Pedal Tractors and Mini Motorbikes..... really not her thing but ideal for those a little younger or boys of a similar age.
Next is Lilliput Land with much much more in the lines of rides with the Crazy Barrel Ride, Rio Grande Train Ride and the Gullivers Travels Ride.
Moving on there's the Palais Royale Area with The Switchback, Log Roller Coaster and lots of smaller rides but the little ones.
Finally Bourbon Street with a gorgeous carousel, a ferris wheel and a pirate ship, much more an old style area with more traditional rides.
I like the themed areas, some of the buildings are lovely and really help give the impression, for kids at least, that they are on an adventure, out somewhere special and that this is the kind of place magic might be real. That's fun enough before the rides in my opinion.
2008 is Gullivers 30th Anniversary and in their pledge to keep kids active they are putting on more in terms of energetic physical stuff and proactively encouraging kids to have a go, this would include the numerous adventure play areas and the pedal tractors and motorbikes.
There are a number of other facilities available, food can be bought on site, they sell the same junk as all other theme parks but there is a nod to those with a hankering for something healthier with subs and salads, though still lacking in any real choice. There's also a cash machine, useful for that emergency cash dash for something at the shop, which leads me nicely to the gift shop where you can buy, amongst the usual stuff, miniature versions of the theme characters of Gullivers, a selection of animals, cute but otherwise entirely unremarkable in my opinion. Though I reckon the elephant, inventively named Ellie, would have struck my twins with her enormous sleepy eyes and pink tutu.
The toilets are ok, enough of them for adults but for my toilet training twins it would have been a nightmare, they aren't frequent enough for me to be sure we could have got to any one time, a porta potty could be the answer for any parent in a similar dilemma. Thank goodness for the 12 year old, no such problems were endured today.
I especially liked that there was plenty to do is the weather wasn't great, there are enough indoor areas to balance things out for bad or extremely hot weather, again, not something every theme park can boast.
Opening times vary throughout the year, it would be best to check the website for exact dates (www.gulliversfun.co.uk), generally speaking it's open from either 10.30 until 5.00pm or 10.00am until 4.30pm There are a number of special event days and even Christmas opening dates at the very end of November and until the 23rd of December, predominantly at weekends. There is a 10% discount available for those who book online this year before 30th November, well worth looking out for if you are considering going.
Overall I'd certainly say it's cleaner and tidier than Pleasure Island but it is still distinctly tatty in places, I'll go back at some point with my twins, there will come a time when we must do something for sanitys sake, though not this year, maybe in a couple of years. Worth the money if you don't have exceptionally tall toddlers!
From a professional point of view, I would be looking at the risk assessment closely before taking a large group, there are a few things like quite jarring rides and ill padded and dirty areas which would be of concern with little ones or chaotic groups. Fine with a relaxed 12 y/o but I wouldn't recommend it with teenage boys who want white knuckle stuff and I'd be wary with young toddlers too.
Gulliver's Kingdom is an awful excuse for a theme park, situated in Matlock in Derbyshire. I live in the Midlands, and the necessary route meant queues of over an hour in Matlock, making the park's accessibility very poor. The park is built on a hillside, and therefore is not a good option for the elderly or the very young, which is a fundamental flaw, as the rides are aimed at the very young. The most notable of which is a log flume, which is around 15 ft at its highest point and necessitates queues, which, may I add, were past bushes full of bees' nests, of around half an hour for a frankly uninspiring ride. The cafe is in a dismal state, and I remember well a customer asking for the problem of the numerous wasps to be dealt with, only for a member of staff to pick up a tray and repeatedly hit it against the window in an attempt to squash them, replacing the tray back on the pile afterwards.
Gullivers is set on a hillside, and is out of the sun for most of the day, so assume it will be a little colder than you expect, and take something extra to wear.
There are really steep slopes to walk up, and down,but they aren't long.
The whole park is very compact - don't expect to walk for miles from one ride to the next, it just isn't that big, and the rides are very close together, which is great for the little ones.
Some of the parks decorations are in various states of decay, from 'new' to 'obviously been there for years', untouched. (The park is 25+ years old). You will be able to see for example a tableau of gnomes, large garden gnomes, starting to be covered in algae, and some fallen over and staring at the sky.
Lots of the decoration hasn't been painted for a few years, and you know what, it gives the whole place a charm, an innocence, a faded beauty that is wonderful to walk round. The kids don't notice or care about the fallen gnomes.
Some of the rides are old fashioned, which adds to the faded grace. There is a peddle-along monorail, and a ski-lift to take you some way up the park, and the most gentle and slow log flume....until the end that is.
The architecture is small-scale fairytale castles- the buildings are properly disguised as towers and Swiss lodges and so on.
All the rides and equipment seemed to be in first class condition - it looks as though effort has gone into safety and maintenance, and I had no qualms about our little ones going on any of the machines.
Some of the rides are clearly new - a roller coaster for example, and there are areas out of use at the minute which are having new equipment installed.
The staff were all excellent, warm and friendly, and very careful of our little ones, making sure they were strapped in and safe, cheerful and helpful, and nothing was too much trouble- really!
If your little one is 90cm or more, there are loads of rides they can go on and enjoy. Ages three to say eleven, it's great. Not like Alton Towers, where you pay so much to walk round and show them rides they can't go on.
Food is no gourmet delight, the usual fast food, but it's not over priced, and our portions were large, and it's a day out for the kids after all.....
When we went - end of oct. there was no queuing, it was a great day out for the kids. We got there early and left as dark fell, there were no moments of boredom, and we didn't go on everything, although some things we went on several times,...just by shouting 'can we stay on?' and if there wasn't a full ride waiting, then yes we could.
We have been to Alton Towers, and it was bitterly disappointing, because of the number of rides with height restrictions that stopped us going on.
Try Gullivers Kingdom. Everything doesn't have to be high gloss fibreglass does it?
first of all this is a good theme park for children-our 2 year old could go on most rides and enjoyed them. BUT, when you enter this park it does look like its been a bit neglected, which is a shame as it could be a nice place. The staff are friendly but seem a little un motivated. There is no "magical" feeling which could be helped by a little music like other theme parks have. I would advise any future visitors to take own lunch,as although food is not overpriced, it is not very nice and the tables looked like they hadn't been cleaned all day.however, sweets,drinks,ice creams are very cheap. Overall, this is a great day out for the younger children and the rides are exciting for children, but it lacks the excitement.But my child was happy so i was too!
Easter Bank holiday Monday and what do you do with a typical three year old who is already bored after spending three days with mum and dad doing decorating and sorting out the garden.
I also have a teenager daughter who was just as difficult to entertain as a child so as I was loking back at a photo album and saw my eldest and I at Gullivers Kingdom in Matlock I then remembered the fun we had both had ten years ago at this theme park.
So we set off mum, dad and toddler, teenager does not accompany us anywhere anymore - we are not cool enough! We arrived in the rain at 10 past ten on Bank holiday Monday and paid £26.97 to get in.
Some may add that to entertain a toddler for the day this is a lot of money but we didnt leave the park until nearly 4 oclock and that was becasue we had a previous engagement and not once did the small girl moan!
I have worked in the attractions industry for years at management level and was therefore expecting to be disappointed however I really couldnt fault the park for entertaining the hundreds of small people that were there.
Yes some of it needed a lick of fresh paint but then it is the start of the season and from my experience there is little dry time before summer to get these jobs all done.
A good range of rides though I would have thought that 10 years old was the limit before they are just bot really cool enough.
We went on one ride five times becauase my daughter wanted to ride on all the horses and fairy carriages, only ever had to wait about twenty minutes which for a bank holiday I think was good and were surprised how friendly some of the staff were especially when they were wet through and still smiling.
What was very refreshing was the number of benches provided to eat your picnics on and no signs that you must only consume parks own food at tables - not aways easy with a toddler who will only eat cheese spread sandwiches and monster munch and nothing else.
A good range of indoor and outdoor attractions which helped with the rain and lots of toilets which help with a toddler.
Some of the paths between areas are quite steep, but if you pay at the top entrance nad make your way down through the park, then catch the cable car up to the top this can help with the hike.
If you were to visit this park after a two week holiday in Florida you would be dissapointed, however you would have also been well and truly ripped off for the pleasure even if your doughter got the autograph of Minnie mouse - or the actress in that costuem on that day - so spend a good value day with your under tens here, go ont he rides with them as they wont make you want to be sick, and enjoy seeing their face light up over the simple things in life such as a the horse carousel.
Being a Nottingham resident for many years the Goose fair prices and The Tales of Robin Hood into perspective - Goose Fair - One Friday afternoon nearly £40 spent on rides, ballons and food, TORH one hour and the smae price per person as Gullivers Kingdom and very scared child because of hte nature of the ride.
Only a couple of negatives, the toilets were not hte cleanest, though not smelly and paper was available, mind you somewher with hundredsd of small people will have I suppose lots of unflushed toilets and too much emphasis on fizzy pop and hardly any opportunity to but soft drinks or botteld water, we had to vist five catering outlets to get a bottle of water for a fussy toddler who will not thank goodness succumb to the powers of cola.
Overall we will go again,hopefully on a dry day, several times in the next few years before I have to spend the same amount per person to get into Alton Towers to be scared half to death, anyway it is worth it just to see my husband sit in a pumpkin princess coach with his little princess on the horse carousel.
When you think of Gulliver you probably immediately think of little people. There must be many of us who have read this Johnathan Swift classic. Say Gulliver to my kids and they immediately get excited thinking that they are going to be treated to a day out at Matlock Bath and a visit to Gulliver's Kingdom. Situated on the edge of the Peak district with it's stunning scenery, Gulliver's Kingdom is one of three Gulliver's theme parks in the country. Gulliver's Kingdom is a theme park tailored to meet the needs of the whole family. The idea is that all the rides are accessible to both the young and the old. If you went to Alton Towers or the American Adventure you would be hard pressed to find too many rides that can cater for little Timmy and Grandma and Granddad at the same time. The great thing about this park is that they have very similar rides to the big attractions found in other parks but on a smaller scale and with less 'umpff' so the little ones get to have a go and feel that they are experiencing the thrills that are forbidden them at other parks because of age limits and height restrictions. Sounds great doesn't it? Like Alton Towers and most of the major theme parks, Gulliver's Kingdom is sectioned into different areas with different names, each with its own rides and stalls, refreshments and toilet facilities. There's Lilliput Land with its fairy castle, big barrel ride and Rio Grande train ride and Gulliver's Travels restaurant. There's Little Switzerland with it's excellent Mine Train ride through authentic mining caves and it's log flume, that guarantees you a good soaking. The scenery that goes with each area is well maintained and the rides in each area cater for different ages, so while the older ones are riding in the barrels there is always a merry-go-round nearby to keep the toddlers amused. I think you get the idea so I am not going to sit here and give
you a run down of each ride as there really isn't any point. I think Little Switzerland is our favourite. Matlock and the hills around it are well known for the mining that went on there in the past and the ride through the caves is really impressive. It's good to see them making the most of the natural facilities and the natural landscape available to them and if you pay a little extra you can pan for gold too. (Well fools gold actually!) There are over 35 rides and attractions so there is plenty to see and do here. The toilets were clean and there were plenty of places for changing baby. I did have a problem with the bins, they were overflowing and there were wasps everywhere when we went. I hate the nasty little devils and spent the best part of the day waving my arms around like a lunatic uttering obscenities as quietly as I could. All in all, value for money wise, I have to say that Gulliver's kingdom gives good value for money in the ride department. It gets a bit busy sometimes but we never queued for more than ten minutes and were happy enough with that. On the web page they state that the park is aimed at kids between the age of 2 and 13. Personally I think 13 is too high and would say 10 is about the age where the kids wouldn't be satisfied with these scaled down versions of the log flume and the runaway train. There are a couple of gift shops for you to peruse but anyone who has read any of my other opinions on theme parks will know that I have a problem with the fact that most of them sell nothing more than overpriced toys that have no relevance to the day out other than to increase the cost by tempting the child. Unfortunately I found this shop to be the same although it did also have a good selection of little souvenirs that were relevant to the park itself. You can have a great time at Gulliver's Kingdom. BUT....... Here we go, and this is a big BUT! I told you at the beginning
of this opinion that this park was situated on the edge of the Peak District. Let me now be more specific. The park is situated on the EDGE of the Peak District. I mean the very edge. The whole park is built into the side of a huge limestone cliff that looms over Matlock Bath. The park is clearly signposted, actually it has to be because it is not visible from the road at any time. The walk up to the park from the car park is steep enough to start. Steep is actually an understatement. There is a chair lift that can take you to the top of the park so that you can work from the top back but I personally didn't like it. It is one of those where the car moves all the time and you stand on a spot and jump onto the seat as it passes. Well us younger ones managed it ok but imagine poor granny with her lumbago trying to jump into one of these chairs. Doesn't bear thinking about. Poor MarkMinx is terrified of heights and found this to be quite a hair raising experience, especially when a big wasp took a liking to him half way up and he couldn't let go of the seat to bat it away. In the end we couldn't use it because having only a flimsy bar that could easily be pushed away, we felt it was totally unsuitable for Mark jnr, who has autism, to ride on. To get off you just push the bar away. Can you imagine if he did that mid flight? My heart is pumping just thinking about it. So having paid our admission we were left with no choice but to drag ourselves up the winding paths to each world on the map. There were plenty of benches along the way. There needed to be. On every twist and turn you could find some poor man or woman, their tongues hanging out, faces purple with exhaustion. I saw women with prams almost in tears as they put their backs into pushing them up the hills. Even my kids struggled with some parts of it and James is a gymnast. I have just found the web site for this park and it took me at least a dozen clicks to find
any reference to the steepness of this park. The little bit that is there goes like this. ' Due to the steepness of the site, disabled visitors are advised to ring prior to visiting the park. Disabled toilets are available.' Personally I think that this park is totally unsuitable for many disabled people, especially those with wheelchairs. There is no mention of the risk to the elderly, those with asthma, the infirm, people with pushchairs and those with toddlers that refuse to walk at the best of times. This park is hard work and in my opinion the price should reflect that and doesn't really. We paid seven pounds fifty to get in, senior citizens get in for a pound cheaper. Not good value for them seeing as many of them can't make it up the first hill. We did have a good time at Gulliver's Kingdom but personally I wouldn't repeat the experience. My poor feet won't take it. However I will recommend it to the more athletic of you out there, you know, the mountain climbers among you. Gulliver's Kingdom can be found by following the A38 toward Litchfield following it north until you hit the signposts. Open 10.30 till 5 Seven days a week
Oh dear, how disappointing can a theme park be? Tatty, dismal attractions, money-grabbing and lacking in festive fun if my experience in December 2002 is anything to go by! As a father of 4 I have a fair experience of this sort of park in the UK and abroad but this is one place I won't be going back to in a hurry. The standard entrance fee for adults and all children over 90cm is £6.80, i.e. there is no reduced children's price once you reach this height (entrance is usually free below this height but then they aren't allowed to go on the rides if you are smaller than this). Now this height is the average for a child of 2 years and 4 months but is well within the normal range for children of up to 6 months younger. The industry norm seems to be to charge a children's price from about 3 years old (it is usually from a year or two older abroad I have found) but to charge full whack for toddlers of 22 months onwards seems excessive even by usual 'rip-off' Britain standards. Furthermore as a particular piece of festive fun they charge £3.50 entrance for smaller children to cover a compulsory visit to Santa in December. On questioning whether we really did have to pay for our 3 month old baby to have a visit to Father Christmas that he obviously neither wanted nor could benefit from it was made clear that they did not care whether he was 3 months, 3 weeks or 3 days old we still had to pay to bring him into the park at all! The value for money was reduced by the fact that the lower half of the park was closed for the winter and the much touted free 'christmas punch' was in fact half a plastic cup full of warm Ribena. As to the park itself "Indigojade" has given an excellent review elsewhere on this site but I would add that the indoor soft-play area had a leaking roof so there were pools of water on the floor, the best thing about the 'dancing waters show' was when halfway through a 5 ye
ar old boy in the front row spoke out "Mum, this is boring!", the 'gullivers travels ride' may have a warning notice outside that it is a high-speed attraction that may frighten younger visitors but it is not and the video and sound is out of synch in the special effects which causes laughter rather than thrills. Good points? No queues. Can repeat rides as often as you like for no extra cost. Other attractions in the locality that are worthwhile!
Set in the beautiful and scenic location of Matlock Bath, Derbyshire is perhaps a little known world, a world of fun, frolics, and adventures, that place is Gulliver's Kingdom - a children's adventure park. I have never seen Gulliver's Kingdom advertised on television, radio or in newspapers and only know about it as I used to live in and around Matlock for a number of years. So when James came along I thought it would an ideal place to visit with him, as he grew older, preparing him for the more boisterous rides at Theme parks such as Alton Towers. If you plan on going to Gulliver's Kingdom make sure you wear trainers or other sensible shoes - the hills are a killer on the feet and if you are unfit. The scenery is however worth it! OPENING TIMES The park is open March to December opening between 10 -10.30 am and closing 5 -5.30 PM, check on their website for more details www.gulliversfun.co.uk. ADMISSION PRICES Adults and children over 90cm £6.80 per person Children under 90cm FREE Senior Citizens £5.80 per person Parties of 20 or more PAYING people £5.30 per person CAR PARKING As you turn off the main road upto the park the first thing that strikes you is the hill - more of a mountain that a hill some people might say - but having lived there, I guess I am used to it. There was some confusion when we arrived; we initially drove right up to the reception area - following the signs to the car park. There we were told we would have to park back down at the bottom of the hill. Off we set down the narrow twisty road, with lovely vertical drops on either side, parked in the bay at the bottom of the hill, and waited, as we were a few minutes early. Lo and behold a park attendant came trotting down to us and told us we couldn't park where we were as it was reserved for coaches. We explained we had been told to park there - but he insisted we moved. Off we set up the twisty turny
road once again - we had to wait quite a while for the top car park to be unlocked, but once there, we found ample parking space - well we would we were one of the first to arrive! I would say that there isn't really that much space for car parking, so best to get there early - the park opens at 10am, to be assured of benefiting from the free parking the park provides. We left at 2pm and 'car park' full signs were posted at the entrance. Once parked you then enter the park and pay your admission price. The park is spilt into sections: LILLIPUT LAND featuring Lilliput land castle, Crazy Barrel Ride, Gulliver's Travels ride, Jumping Star, Hard luck bear jamboree, Rio Grande Train Ride, Stepping Stones, Millennium Maze, Giant Chess, Shops, Amazing Journeys of Gulliver and the Tikki Bird Show. The majority of the rides in this section went down very well with James and Thomas, both aged three. The rides were fast enough for them, but not too boisterous - the fastest I think was the Crazy Barrel Ride - sort of like a waltzer, but one you control with a steering wheel in the car. The downfall with this section was the Amazing Journeys of Gulliver - appalling. We waited for 15 minutes outside the door, where it asks you to wait. After this period several other people and we gave up and started to walk back out again. The door then opened and an attendant looked out - then shut the door again. A few seconds later she opened the door and asked rather brusquely - 'are you coming on or what?'. When I pointed out there was no indication that the ride was working, she merely claimed 'well it is'. The ride itself was rather uninspiring - you are led into a very small dimly lit room, where you suddenly hear a voice talking to you and a small lit scene in the wall. The voice is very muffled and difficult to hear for an adult, never mind a child. This lasts for about 5 minutes and begins the story o
f Gulliver's travels. You are then led into another larger room - no word from the attendant at all, she stands there. In the next room you are regaled with takes of Gulliver by some rather hideous figures high up on the wall. This lasts for quite a while and it is difficult to concentrate whilst craning your neck to see the figures, that is from an adults point of view - imagine if you're a child. As you can imagine my 3-year-old son was soon asking if we could go, as were other children. We were then led to the main 'ride', which is platform with seats on; you sit down and have to put on a seat belt. A 'movie' is then shown on the screen and the platform on which you sit, tilts and rumbles, and rocks, as though you are flying. This caused great excitement with the kids, and if you let yourself get into it, it is pretty good for adults too. The beginning part of this 'ride' is boring - but if you can get through it, the actual ride itself was quite fun. FANTASY TERRACE Diggers, Toy Shop, Flight of Fantasy, Balloons Ferris wheel, Adventure golf Dodgems these were all in good condition and all in working order, seat belts are provided, but no enforcement about wearing them. The attendant did explain the one way system - but did nothing to enforce the rule about no head on crashing. One imbecile decided to ram everyone head on - leaving several small children in tears. Chair Lift - this looked fun and our children were dying to go on it - but the rules state that it is a one way only trip - should you want to go back up/down again you have to get off and re queue. I can understand the logic of this, as you can get on and off the chair lift at the top and bottom - so its great if you don't want to walk up the hills. My complaint is that there is no where secure to leave your pushchairs whilst you ride the chair lift. Playport - this would be superb but for the lig
hting. It is a soft play area, where children can run and jump and burn off some energy in an enclosed area, whilst the parents can take a breather on the benches and watch the children. The lighting in this area was very dim indeed - which deterred our children from venturing too far inside. BOURBON STREET. Chair lift, Lazy River ride, Veteran cars Horses carousel this was a firm favourite with both adults and parents, there is an upper level of horses that is reserved for children only - older ones though as I wouldn't feel too happy about small children being up there on their own. Ball crawl - this is basically a huge ball pool, however it was in a quite disgusting mess, even early in the morning. There was evidence of melted ice cream, and the bottom of the ball pool was wet - with what I have no idea but both children had wet socks when they came out. Definitely in need of a good clean out! Under 5's play area this was a very dimly lit area indeed, with limited facilities - a small ball pool, and a seesaw and a large connect 4-type game to play. What concerned me most about this area was many parents seemed to leave their children here whilst they browsed in the gift shop. As the area is situated so close to the entrance, I would have thought the parents would have more sense! Barrel play area - this looked a tremendous amount of fun for small big 'uns, with barrels used to climb through and bridges and slides. The down side was the danger factor. The whole area was supposed to be covered with bark chippings - unfortunately they were sadly lacking in most important areas, under the slides. Some of the decorative metal banding on the barrels was severely rusty and in parts coming away. I managed to sustain a 3-inch cut on my shin from one of these barrels. Another feature of concern in this area was the thatching on the roofs of the barrels. The thatch was covered with chicken wire to stop it fa
lling apart I assume. This was coming down in places, and being at head and eye height very dangerous indeed. Whilst we were there, two children caught parts of their faces on this wire causing marked scratches - this could have been so much worse. Pirate ship - this was another firm favourite with our children and all went swimmingly until we went round again and Thomas managed to fall off the surrounding decking into an area supposed to be covered with bark chippings. Instead of bark chippings, he fell headlong into disgusting black soup of mud and rotted bark. PALAIS ROYALE AREA Honey swing, Cycle monorail, Ladybird ride, Bouncy bed, Talking apple, Singing orange, Chair o plane, Pedal go karts, Gold panning £1.25, Food area Billy bobs BI planes - This was a superb ride, 4 BI plane type carriages which seat 4 people (2 adult, 2 children) in which you are securely fastened in. The ride then turns slowly up a large pole. At the top you can see the most fantastic views of Matlock Bath and over Gulliver's kingdom. NOT for those afraid of heights. Log roller coaster - another complaint I am afraid, this ride was in a gross state of disrepair - with obvious rotting supporting timbers of the canopy, which had I seen this before embarking on the ride, we would have got off immediately. The ride itself is great and the children loved it - until it stopped. At the end of the ride the brakes are slammed on hard! A little shocking to anyone - but to a small child made even more so by the slamming of your face into the safety bar, even though this is padded somewhat - it still has the ability to split small lips against teeth. A few seconds after the first stop - it happens again, the result? Several screaming children, a few with bloody mouths and some with bloody noses. I do feel there should be some warning about this before you get on the ride, and a rethink about how the safety bars are fitted. WESTERN WO
RLD Hillbilly shooting gallery, Sheriff office, Wild West saloon Adventure fort - this was a great area, apart from the fact we started our day here and the slides were wet with dew. Would it be too much trouble for the attendants to perhaps wipe all slides down at the start of the day? Happily it was a sunny day so the children's clothes soon dried. Again here more bark chippings need to be added in important areas such as the bottom of slides. LITTLE SWITZERLAND The royal cave experience, Dancing waters show Family fun show Animal farm - this is not a farm with real animals as we expected, but was interesting none the less. A human sized figure is seated in the room, with a cacophony of animals. There are large push buttons at child height and when pushed the person and the animals all sing Old Macdonald. Huge fun for little people. Log flume - On the whole a good ride and in reasonable order, however much superficial work is needed in this area. Cutting back of all the overgrown weeds and brambles is required. On four occasions there were both nettles and brambles that encroached into the car whilst it was in motion - resulting in nasty nettle rash on arms that were safely in the car. Mine train ride and tour a rather rickety looking ride, the voice over was very muffled and unable to hear and understand in parts. Inside the mine was interesting, more lighting required to be seen to full effect. Better lighting required at the exits, with fluorescent paint used perhaps on the steps FOOD AREAS, these are plentiful with a fairly good menu and reasonably priced. We chose to take our own food and found plenty of seating. All food areas were in good clean condition. TOILETS - these appeared to be plentiful and generally clean. However at 10am in the morning, there was no toilet paper in any of the cubicles, something we found that was common to all the to
ilets throughout the day. Just as well we all carry tissues for just such eventualities. DISABLED ACCESS - This is not a place for wheelchair users in my opinion, the hills make it very hard going indeed and most of the rides do not cater for disabled people. First Aid facilities - none found. Although most parents tend to carry plasters, antiseptic and the like, a first aid post would be a good addition to the park. STORAGE FACILITES - there are lockers available to put picnics into, so you don't have to cart everything around with you. These are situated at Bourbon Street, near the main entrance. A £1 deposit is taken from you each and every time you open/close the locker - making repeated visits expensive. Alternatively you can get a 'pass out' after 1pm, so you can leave your picnic in the car. Queuing times - we went on a Friday, during term time. There were quite a few coaches there, and as I said before the car parks were full when we left at 2pm. Having said that queuing times were minimal or non-existent - we managed to stay on the log flume a good few times, and the pirate ship without getting off and on again. GIFT SHOPS There are several of these on the site all containing pretty much the same things, wrist bands, pencils, purses with names on, toys which will break before the day is out and so on. There are some lovely pottery items however; none of which will break the bank! There are icecreams and drinks on sale in some of the gift shops - I was amazed that a can of Pepsi was only 60 pence -expecting to pay at least £1. STAFF - The staff were mainly younger people 16 - 20, most of them were very uncommunicative and quite rude at times. One young girl told me she 'hated bloody children' one has to ask the question why does she work there then. The more mature staff were superb, making friendly converstion with both parents and children. The park i
s mainly aimed at children from 3 - 12 years of age in my estimation, although they claim that 'At Gulliver's we aim to provide the best possible day out for families with children between the age of 2 - 13 years, and as such all the rides and attractions are aimed to cater for their specific needs.' In my opinion there was very little for 2 year olds to do here, unless they are over 90cm and feel that at age 13 children today are big enough and bold enough to encounter more exciting rides than the ones offered at Gulliver's kingdom. All in all James and Thomas did enjoy themselves and loved the majority of the rides on offer. However the cut leg, nettle rash, bramble scratches and split lip and bloody nose, marred the day for my friend and myself. Not to mention being constantly on guard to make sure things were safe for our children, in a place where we were supposed to have the best possible day out! Although the admission price is very competitive and there is lots for younger children 3- 8 to do here, but because of the problems outlined above I would NOT recommend Gulliver's Kingdom to anyone at present. There are far too many things that need addressing as far as safety is concerned. If you still wish to visit here are a few tips: Don't go on the log flume first unless it is a sunny day! Take a cloth with you to wipe down wet slides/swings/seats Take plenty of tissues/baby wipes Take a small first aid kit with you Take a spare change of clothing for your children Wear sensible shoes Start at the bottom of the park and work your way up. It is easier for children to walk downhill at the end of the day than it is up hill! If possible try not to take a pushchair with you - it is hard work pushing them up the hills, plus you have to leave them unattended whilst on the rides. Take the smallest bag you can with all your be
longings in it and keep with you at all times. I hope you have a better visit than we did. I have sent a letter to Gulliver's Kingdom outlining my concerns about their park. If I get a reply I will update this opinion.
I lived in the Derbyshire area for over 20 years before moving to Norfolk. As a child, I loved to visit “Gulliver’s Kingdom”, situated high in the hillside of Matlock Bath. It only used to take us about 20 minutes from my parent’s house and to have a theme park of this nature so close to our doorstep was a great luxury. However, if you do live elsewhere in the UK, getting to Matlock Bath and the Gulliver’s Kingdom theme park is actually very easy. If you are coming from the M1, exit from Junction 28 and follow the useful “toruisty” brown signs. If you are coming from the M6 Southbound, take the exit towards Lichfield, following North again, until you see the brown signposts. Having said all that, the AA Routemaster on www.theaa.co.uk proves a very useful guide for getting from A to B. Ok, so now you’ve found out where it is, why make the effort? Well, as the brouchure claims “At Gulliver’s, we aim to provide the best possible day out for families with children between 2 – 13 years”. Well, I would actually disagree with the claim “the best possible day out” as actually we had more fun at LegoLand and even Drayton Manor, but for a theme park of this size, it is excellent value for money. Last season’s prices were only £6.50 per person (with children under 90cm entering free of charge). This makes the park very competitively priced, and you can afford to go just for a few hours (especially with little children) and visit another attraction in the same day (obviously not possible with a larger theme park). There are many rides for smaller children, which is ideal for our three year old. I have always loved the Chair Lift which takes you from one end of the park to another. The park, like most theme parks, is split up into sections; Little Switzerland ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Log Flume, Mine Train Ride and Tour, Dancing Waters Show, Family
Fun Show, Aquablaster and Animal Farm. This section is great for families – plenty of toilets and some eateries, and plenty of picnic tables and benches for hot days. The Mine train ride is quite unique – I will spoil the effect if I tell you all about it – very young children may be frightened though, but good for inquisitive adults – very dark, too. The dancing waters show is really clever – the combination of lights, music and computer-controlled water fountains is a really interesting idea, and keeps children (and adults!) mesmerized for ages. Well, it did me, anyway….simple things and all that! Western World ^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Adventure Fort, Hillbilly Shooting gallery, Sheriff’s office, Wild West Saloon. Not many rides here, but a good place to let the kids run around and a good photo opportunity. I still have photos of me as a child talking to the pretend bar man and sat on the horse. Sometimes children don’t need expensive, fast rides to keep them amused for a while. There was a good gift shop here last time – I find the Top Entrance shop better than the bottom entrance one. It’s also handier for car – parking. Palais Royale Play Area ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Honey Swing, Log Roller Coaster, Cycle Monorail, Ladybird Ride, Bouncy Bed, Talking apple, Singing Orange, Chair-o-plane ride, Pedal go-karts, Gold Panning, Billy Bob’s Bi-Planes. Billy Bob’s Bi-Plane ride was a new attraction last year , don’t go on this ride if it’s windy or if you have had a new haircut as your head is almost blown off! You do get really good views of the surrounding town of Matlock Bath though, if you can dare to open your eyes! Again, simple things….but I still love the cycle monorail in this part of the park. You have to sit in a box-thing with wheels which is really high up, and pedal it all along the monorail – an effective,
yet tiring way to keep an eye on the kids! The gold panning is a really good experience, too – watch out for fool’s gold! Finally, all little kiddies love the ladybird rides! Bourbon Street ^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Chair Lift, Horses carousel, Ball Crawl, Under 5’s play area, adventure golf, lazy river boat ride, Barrell Play Area, Veteran cars, Balloon Ferris Wheel, Gift Shop, Pirate Ship. As you can see, a lot of rides here are common to those in theme parks all over the UK, but still very enjoyable. This is a good place to drop Mum (or Dad) with the littler kiddies, whilst Dad (or Mum) takes the older ones on the more exciting rides. The pirate ship was another new edition last year and is just like the one at Drayton Manor. Lilliput Land ^^^^^^^^^^^ Lilliput Castle, Crazy Barrell Ride, Gulliver’s Travels ride, Jumping Star, Rio Grande Train Ride, Stepping Stones, Millennium Maze, Tikki Bird Show, Giant Chess, Shops, Amazing Journeys of Gulliver (new in 2001). A variety of rides here, all are worth queuing for – you may get rather wet on the Barrel ride – you have been warned!! Fantasy Terrace ^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Dodgems, Chair Lift, Diggers, Toy Shop, Flight of Fantasy. Another good place to let the kids let of some steam and run around. There are many special events organised throughout the year, and although do vary from year to year, they usually take the form of: Easter Egg Hunt Bonfire Night Spectacular Halloween Christmas special shows The opening times themselves do also vary from season to season, for the exact opening dates and times it is well worth phoning the infoline on 01629 57100 or visit the website on www.gulliversfun.co.uk One disadvantage, obviously one which could not be prevented as the site is situated halfway up a very steep hill, is the wheelchair and pushchair access. The elderly may find it difficult to
cope with the slopes. Have a good day! PS. If you're wondering about the titile of my review, it comes from the advertisng campaign that used to come on the tele when I was a little boy!! (Wonder if anyone else remembers it, or am I just completely sad??)
Gulliver's Kingdom a theme park for younger children, aged from about 2 to 13, also suitable for parents who can't cope with the larger rides. Location.. Matlock Bath in Derbyshire set in the hills at the Heights of Abraham. This is a lovely location giving some great views and the theme park has plenty of trees to provide shade on hot days. The only disadvantage with this location is the steep climbs between the different attractions, make sure your childs buggy has good brakes and that your wear strong flat, dare I say it ?Yes "sensible" shoes. Car Parking is free. The Park. This has themed areas based on Gulliver's Travels. We arrived about 20 minutes before the park was due to open at 10.30, we were able to buy tickets and wait in the Bourbon Street entrance. Bourbon Street Entance. This is an enclosed entrance with shops and toilets, at one end you can get the chair lift up to the fantasy terrace, the other gives you access to the rest of the park. While we waited the children played with some radio controlled boats (20p). Little Switzerland. Once inside the park we made for our favourite of the larger rides the log flume which is an area right at the top of the park. We were the first there and managed to have two rides before anyone else arrived. I felt this was well deserved as it is quite a climb, if you are a little unfit I would recommend resting between the areas as you don't want to end up in hospital. In this area you can also see the Dancing Waters Show, Family Fun Show, Animated Animal Farm and take the Mine Train Ride and Tour. The mine train ride is something that you won't find at the other Gulliver's theme parks in Warrington and Milton Keynes , as it based on the Derbyshire Stone. You take a short train ride into the side of the hill, when you get off there is information about mining and you walk up and out of the hill looking at th
e labelled minerals as you go. The lighting inside the hill is good, but there are a few steps to negotiate. For anyone who has taken a tour of any mines before, this is a miniature version. Fantasy Terrace. Here we have the Chair Lift, Dodgems and Gullivers Toyshop. This area was a little more crowded with a wait for about 5 minutes for the Chair Lift and the Dodgems. Lilliput Land. Crazy Barrels ride, Gulliver's Travels ride, Jumping Star, Hard Luck Bear Jamboree, Rio Grande Train, Stepping Stones Millenium Maze, Giant Chess and the Amazing Travels of Gulliver. We had a go on all the rides in this area, but my 5 year old daughter really got her moneys worth on the Jumping star, a ride for children only that just goes up and down, she had about 10 goes on it and didn't have to queue. Another ride worth a mention here is the new Amazing Travels of Gulliver. Here you walk through a couple of rooms where animated figures of Gulliver and people he met speak, and then you enter the motion theatre. Here you sit in a carriage that moves as you watch a film, they vary the films, we were taken on a journey through the lost tombs. The movement is not as violent as similar rides at Granada Studios for example, but it's still exciting for little children. Western World. Here your children can expend any excess energy playing in the sturdy play fort. Palais Royale Area. Honey Swing, Log Roller Coaster, Cycle Monorail, Ladybird ride, pedal carts and Bouncy Bed. There are a lot of attractions here for the very small children. Of the larger rides, April liked the Honey Swing which she called the Busy Bee ride, the only problem with this ride for me was getting in and out of the swing harness, not designed for some one who is ample in the chest department. Father and son went on the cycle monorail a ride which depends on your own pedal power, unfortunately Matthew likes to let his dad do all the ped
alling. Bourbon Street Chair lift, Horses Carousel,Under 5's play area, Lazy river Boat Ride, Veteran cars, Balloon Ferris Wheel and Pirate Ship. Nice little river boat ride that doesn't get your knickers wet, carousel was very popular with my daughter. Best ride here was the new swinging pirate ship, wait was about 5 minutes. Food. You can take your own or buy the usual burgers, fries etc . We chose to eat in the Little Switzerland resturant. This offered cheese and tomato quiche, steak pie, yorkshire pudding with sausage , a chicken pasta dish and chicken teddies for children. This was a nice change from the usual theme park food , as the kids could have a smaller portion of any of the dishes and you got vegetables or salad with your meals. Cost was about £17.00 for the four of us. Facilities. Toilets clean, facilities for babychange and the disabled. We had a really good day out, with only minimal whingeing and moaning from the children. Queuing was minimal,a maximum of about 10 minutes for one of the rollercoasters. Ride attendants were helpful and friendly and would stop rides for distressed children to get off. Tip. If you arrive as the park opens make for any of your favourite rides that are on the far side of the park, chances are you will get to ride without queuing. Cost. Children under 90cm tall get in for free, but they won't be able to go on all the rides. Adults and Children £6.50 Senior Citizens £5.50 Special rates for groups. For more information. www.gulliversfun.co.uk
OK so how many of us adults have smaller kids (aged under about 8) that like the idea of going to theme parks but hate actually going on the rides????? Go to Gullivers kingdom in Matlock! Anyone over 90cm has to pay £6.50 to get in, if you have kids under 90cm, they get in for free. This admission price includes all rides in the park. Both times i have been, i've arrived at around 10am and stayed 'till gone 4pm. both times I've only just had enough time to get around everything. Basically the whole park is a scaled down theme park - little rides for little people. Nothing that goes at high speeds or that kids are likely to fall from. Alton towers it isn't. I've been in and out of school holidays, and there have never been any queues for the rides, which means that if your little treasures want to go on the dogems 5 times in a row, they can! without you having to spend half an hour each time in a queue! Don't go expecting space aged rides - but get down to the kids level - they can go on most of them on their own -they won't care if a couple of the rides look as if they need a coat of paint. The place 'feels' friendly - presumably because everyone there has little kids. you can get round with a pushchair without any problems, although for anyone that knows matlock, the whole park is on a hill - and quite a steep one at that! - so you will have to be prepared to push uphill - but it is all slopes and no steps, so it's not that bad. There are no restriction on adults riding with the kids - so if you want to feel silly you can! There are a couple of cafes around the park, but there are also covered and open air picnic tables so you can take a picnic with you - the car park is also right next to the park, so you can always nip back to the car and get the picnic rather than carry it with you. there are also a couple of smaller shops selling gifts/sweets and
ice creams etc. A definate recommendation for families with kids - probably under 8 or 9 - kids that aren't really 100% ready for the thrills of adult rides - fantastic for 3-6 year old from my personal experience.