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Gulliver's World - A Mix of Good and Not So Good
Gulliver's World (Cheshire)
Member Name: northernlovely
Gulliver's World (Cheshire)
Advantages: Range of rides for children, lovely duck pond and charming train. No extra charges for rides
Disadvantages: Awful food, cash only, one cash point, a bit delapidated in areas
Gulliver's World Cheshire is in Warrington, the address for the sat nav is:
We used our sat nav to get there from Cheadle, and it took just over 30 minutes, the post code taking us right to the car park. Getting there was very easy.
We decided to visit Gulliver's World as they were doing a special offer, all tickets £9, so we decided to give it a try paying £27 for myself, my husband and our 2 year old.
The regular park prices are as follows:
Day ticket (Entrance only)
Adult - £15.95
Child - £15.95
O.A.P - £14.95
Babies (Under 90cm) - Free
Family of four - £55
(So as you can see, the £9 promotion was quite a saving).
You can also go 'fully inclusive', which comprises a day ticket, a voucher for a meal and a drink, a voucher for an ice cream, and with the children's fully inclusive ticket, a £1 retail voucher. The price of a fully inclusive ticket is £22.50.
Finally you can purchase a combo ticket. A combo ticket allows entry into the park and into the splash world swimming attraction next door. Price here is £17.95 for adults, £18.95 for children and £3.95 for babies.
Overall I do think it's a bit pricy, and a bit cheeky charging the same or even more for children, but you can make savings when you buy the ticket online, and sometimes Gulliver's World run the promotional prices.
Car parking is a field, basically, with no set spaces. Unfortunately this meant that though parking in the morning was fine, when we came back in the afternoon a car had parked so close to ours that we couldn't get the door open to get our daughter in her car seat and my husband had to pull the car out to do so - I don't know what I would have done had I been on my own!
On the plus side, parking is free.
The entrance comprises a semi circle with the splash zone entrance first, then the main park entrance, and further around, a large log hotel.
As we had purchased our tickets online, we had a print out with a bar code. We queued for no more than a minute before our bar code was scanned and we were in Gulliver's World.
The park is set around a large and very pretty duck pond, it's very scenic, and in the glorious sunshine, which we had, it looks very cheerful.
The park is made up of different themed areas, each with little rides suited to younger children. The areas are as follows:
Gulliver's Railroad Main Station (An old fashioned mini railway which my daughter loved. It goes around the entire park, right back to the start, so I suggest you try this first, as you can get a look around the park and start from the beginning.
Veteran Cars (Little old fashioned cars which you ride around a track, my daughter loved this!)
Mad Hatter's Tea Party
Fire Brigade Ride
Billy Bob's Bi Planes (Planes which go around a central column and lift in the air, suitable for toddlers but my little one was too scared!)
The Runaway Train Coaster
Pedalos (Pedal amongst the swans and ducks)
Rio Grande Train Ride
**Gully's Cartoon Studios** (I believe this was closed on the day we visited).
Ellie's Animal Merry Go Round
Ellie The Ellephant Ride
The Antelope Wooden Coaster
Castle Toboggan Track
Horses Carousel (A beautiful old fashioned carousel, parents can stand and support their children on the upper level).
Alpine log Flume (Very high!)
Leonard's Flying Raft
Wild Mine Ride
Tree Tops Swing
**The Lost World** (An obvious knock off of the official Jurassic Park / Lost World movies!) There are big dinosaurs through a tree top walk, which made for some great photos and my dino-mad toddler thought was brilliant.
Carousel of Evolution
Journey's of Discovery
Dino Safari Tours
Sky Tours Observation Tower
The Incubation Unit
Flight of the Pteranodon
Junior Dino Cavalcade
Percy's Nippers Pirate Ship (A junior, indoor version of the big swinging pirate ship)
I would say about 70% of the rides are suitable for a toddler over 90cm as long as an adult rides with them which is a good percentage compared to places like Nickelodeon Land or Alton Towers which seem to be more geared to the thrill seekers.
My daughter preferred calmer, quieter and slower rides because she has only just turned two and she is a sensitive soul but she loved to watch the bigger rides even if she didn't quite have the bottle to try them out!
You can take a pushchair, but we prefrred to let her walk with her reins because otherwise you'd be leaving the buggy at every ride, though all are manned, so it's perfectly safe to do so.
Another excellent feature of Gulliver's World is that the small ride on toys (the ones you see in supermarkets and at the seaside, which you put 50p in) have all been set to free play so you don't have to keep forking out once you're in there.
Oh dear, food is such a big let-down at Gulliver's World, such a big let down. We didn't take a packed lunch as we wanted to go to the all you can eat pizza and pasta place. Unfortunately after walking around the park, not easy with a toddler, looking for it, we overheard a staff member tell another guest that it was closed. A bit of a cheek, I am wondering whether it was closed to 'encourage' people to go to the other outlets, given that the tickets were discounted that weekend. Very disappointing.
There are no concessions in Gulliver's World, so no McDonalds, no Starbucks, no KFC. Not that I want to eat that myself every day but it's a theme park, we sort of expected a bit of choice!
The only places open were two small cafe restaurants and a coffee shop, and two small sweet pancake stalls. We went to the first restaurant (in the Circus area) to find it was only serving chips, burgers, fried fish and fried veggie burgers. The food looked absolutely awful and wasn't cheap, so we swerved that for the second small restaurant in the 'camelot' style area (just under the huge princess' castle, which actually doesn't lead to anywhere!)
To our dismay not only were they selling the exact same fried rubbish and it was filthy, it stank of old oil and we saw the 'chef' pick up a burger with his bare fingers, sniff it and throw it back on the grill. We walked out!!
This left us with the coffee shop where we were then informed that no-where, not one shop or outlet, accepts card payments of any sort. That's right, Gulliver's World is cash only, and there is only one (one!!) cash point right back at the start of the park (which charges £1.50 per withdrawal). It was too far for our tired toddler to walk so we scraped up what we had on us (£6) and paid £5.20 for two of the most vile tuna sandwiches ever (we were told they were tuna and mayo but it turns out it was dry tuna between 2 pieces of bread scraped with mayo...driest sandwich ever! Yuck. Luckily my daughter had a drink and some raisins in her back pack so she was satisfied with a sandwich and raisins, me and hubby split a sandwich, I have to admit we stopped for food outside of Gulliver's World on the way home, not what you want to have to do.
My advice therefore is 1. Take a packed lunch and 2. If you want an ice cream or drink, make sure to take some cash.
My little girl did enjoy her day at Gulliver's World, I can't deny it but there are some issues which made it less great for myself and hubby. I think these could be dealt with quite easily so I do hope they read reviews and heed feedback. I'll list them because it's easier:
- The train station has a broken down old train abandoned on the track right at the start of the park entrance. You sit staring at it waiting for the train to start and it's full of rubbish.
- There are abandoned broken rides and decorations (a broken dinosaur, chipped wood carvings etc) around the park which you can see when you're on the train ride and tree top walk.
- The food, as above, is disgusting.
- The entrance is shabby and dated, it sets the wrong tone for the park.
- The lack of cashpoints and the only one being at the entrance, and a charged one at that. Gulliver's World, you'd make more if your outlets allowed card transactions!
- Some of the children's climbing frames are on sand and there are cigarette butts in the sand. As it's a children's theme park really, could they not ban smoking or allow it only in a designated area?
- Car parking can be an issue if an inconsiderate driver parks too close to be able to open your doors - either marking spaces or having an attendant would be good.
Overall my little girl enjoyed Gulliver's World and we did only pay £9 per person. I think for any more than that I'd have been disappointed however and this leads me to the conclusion that sadly I do think it is over priced and I don't think that they are really re-investing the money enough into park care.
The staff all seem friendly and enthusiastic, and I can't fault how much my daughter loved the little rides she went on. I do think the issues we saw are easily remedied with a little time and money and it would probably encourage me to re visit but as it stands it's not somewhere I would visit yearly.
My daughter has just as much fun at the seaside which even in parking and arcade costs, still works out cheaper than Gulliver's World. So for now we've had our one visit and we would be unlikely to visit again until she is older and they do another promotional price (and we will be sure to take a substantial packed lunch!)
A mixed bag of a review really and overall I'll give Gulliver's World 3 out of 5 and really hope that the management take some time to sort out the issues because it is a great local resource and looks so pretty on a sunny day. I don't want it to close down like American Adventure but sadly it does feel like some areas are dated and becoming delapidated.
If you can get a promotional price for tickets at Gulliver's World and you aren't travelling too far, give it a try because your kids will probably love it nevertheless. Just go prepared!!
Summary: A nice place for little ones, I just wish they would sort the niggles out.
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