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Gulliver's World, Warrington
Gulliver's World (Cheshire)
Member Name: louisechackett
Gulliver's World (Cheshire)
Advantages: small, suited towards the children, not too expensive
Disadvantages: bad staff on occasion
For the past couple of years my friend and I have gone to Gulliver's World in Warrington with our children on the run up to Christmas for a special package in which we can have a meal, see a little show, visit Santa and get a present and also have access to the rides and things on the day. This year we visited on the 23rd December and my review will focus primarily on this day out but I want to point out that I have visited Gulliver's on quite a few occasions over the years with my son and not all of these have been at Christmas time.
==Getting there and prices==
The address of Gulliver's in Warrington is:
We live around a forty minute drive from Warrington and find that popping the post code in to the Sat Nav works really well but the theme park is sign posted quite well from the motorway and then as you come off it as well so you can't really get too lost looking for it.
The park is open at various points in the year and I would fully advise you have a look on the website for opening times and prices as sometimes they will have special offers such as the one for the February half term where adults and children can enter for £7.95 but these prices will be more in the summer for example. There are annual passes available for purchase which start at £55 per person and go up to £75 per person too.
We booked on the 23rd December for a special package which would allow us a sit down Christmas dinner in the restaurant as well as the entrance, meeting Santa etc and this cost us £45 per adult and child for the day so it isn't cheap by any means but I would say that it is usually worth it. I say usually because on our last visit we had a less than positive trip out but I would say this was more a one off due to bad management than anything else as our trip the year before was magical.
What I really like about Gulliver's is the fact that it really is aimed at the children for the most part. So many theme parks will have a small section suited for the children and then a range of more grown up and thrill seekers rides but Gulliver's is primarily about the children which is lovely.
There are lots of smaller sections inside the theme park with rides and these all have little names such as the Lost World where there are dinosaur themed rides or Circus World where rides are themed towards toys, clowns and animals. The park isn't huge and so you won't find yourself walking for miles just to get to the next section and the rides are pretty close together anyway which is great as you can jump off one and then head to the queue for another.
There are height restrictions on the rides obviously but my friend and I find that our children can go on many rides together now meaning that we can just sit and watch if we want. I think this gives them a real feeling of being grown up and independent too which they love and it means that we can just have a few minutes to ourselves whilst they are on some of the rides. There are some bigger rides where they would need accompanying and in some cases we even want to ride the rides with them and this isn't an issue at all at Gulliver's. Our children are seven and five years old now and I think last year there were a few less rides they could go on independently.
The rides are a mix of carousel type ones, to things like the log flume and smaller roller coasters. The rides all seem to be well maintained and clean and the staff seem more than competent with their jobs of operating the rides.
In the winter time there are less rides operating than in the summer peak times and so this is also the case when we visit at Christmas. Normally this isn't a massive issue though I do feel that the price we pay is quite high and it would be nice to have a few more rides to go at. This year when we visited there had been quite a lot of flooding and whilst this is clearly a natural event that couldn't be helped it did mean that even more areas of the park were cut off to us and we found there weren't all that many things to grab the children's attention this Christmas sadly.
As well as the rides there are some lovely little park areas in Gulliver's and there are always tables and chairs located near to these allowing parents to perhaps grab a few minutes sit down time whilst the children climb on the apparatus and have fun. These areas are lovely in the summer in particular but they do get very busy as people eat their lunches around here and so you won't always be able to sit down. The play areas are usually themed and a bit different too so there is one with a castle to climb in and slides to go down whilst there is another that is all wooden equipment which is nice to see.
There are also little character shows that go on at various points through the day. At Christmas there is a beautiful snow show where the characters sing and dance and then the children are asked to close their eyes and make a wish and then when they open them there is artificial snow being sprayed around which looks lovely and magical. At Christmas there are also things such as Elf School and biscuit decorating going on at points in the day and this is documented near the entrance so I would recommend checking times and venues for this and making the most of them should you visit at Christmas time. Should you be considering booking at Christmas time I would say go for it because it is a lovely experience walking through the Grotto and seeing Santa and things and it really helps make you feel the Christmas spirit.
The park is actually really clean and people seem to be responsible and use the bins around them which is a nice thing to see. In the summer time there can be quite a few wasps around which isn't nice but I think this is the case with all theme parks to a certain extent anyway! I've certainly seen much worse cases of wasps around especially Legoland!
Staff for the most part in this theme park is where it is lacking and it is a real shame. Whilst on a day out I hope to just do my own thing and not have to interact with too many members of staff properly they are always going to be around near the rides etc! At Christmas time we found that many of the staff didn't even have a smile on their faces for the children which was really disappointing. I work with customers face to face every day and understand you can be having a bad day but I always smile and say hello. One particularly bad experience was after we had attempting to have our meal in the restaurant which was part of our package we had booked and had been left waiting a long time for gravy as our meals went cold and were then ignored by the waitresses completely so we had to leave before desserts as our train to see Santa was booked for 2pm and we were cutting it fine. When we joined the long queue for the train we were told by a grumpy male member of staff that the queue was for the 1.45 train and we couldn't stay in it nor could he guarantee when we would be allowed to join it or when we would be taken to the grotto to see Santa! I was furious at this point and it takes a lot for me to go and complain somewhere but I went straight to customer services and was actually dealt with by a lovely manager who walked us to the grotto entrance and said she would sort us free tickets to come back in the summer as our experience wasn't acceptable. She told us that the reason that things were so busy was the fact they had experienced a lot of people turning up and paying "on the door" so to speak as the weather was the first nice and dry day we had experienced for around a week and we felt this was disappointing really as they should consider people who have pre booked and paid for a certain experience in my opinion.
There are plenty of toilets dotted around in the park and whilst these aren't huge there are enough of them around to mean you won't often have too long a wait to go. They are usually clean enough but of course this depends on the customers visiting the park on the day you go as some are not as clean as others sadly.
There are various places to eat around Gulliver's world and some are more like little shops where you can grab waffles and such like but there are also casual style restaurants where you can get what I would say is a more proper, pub style meal. The quality of the food on the occasions I have eaten there has been fine and although we had a bad experience with our meal this year on previous occasions this has not been an issue at all. Food isn't cheap on the park as you would expect and so I would consider taking a packed lunch on some occasions I visit too.
As with any theme park there are small gift shops dotted around the park and there is also a larger shop situated in perfect position as you are going to leave the park. Inside they sell the usual things such as soft toys, stationary and sweets as well as plastic items and price wise they aren't too bad really. Teddies will set you back around ten to twelve pounds but stationary items are much more like pocket money toys and reasonable but good quality too.
What happened at Christmas last year won't put me off Gulliver's world because I know it is a nice place to visit if you have a young family. It is well priced in comparison to some of the other theme parks in our area and what is even better is my friend has won four gold passes to the park for 2013 which means we get to visit as much as we want over the year!
I think Gulliver's world is a lovely place to visit for a full day out and in Summer I would say there is plenty for the children to do and it is a nice park to walk around in the sunshine. Should you decide to visit in winter on one of the special Christmas packages again I think it is a worthwhile experience as our children have loved it both years we have taken them and I think would continue to enjoy it in the future.
Thank you for reading my review!
Summary: A good place to visit usually where the focus is on the children
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