Showing posts with label Attraction review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Attraction review. Show all posts

Monday, 22 November 2021

Christmas at Dunham Massey 2021 - A Review

On Thursday evening we had the pleasure of attending the press night for the launch of Christmas at Dunham Massey 2021. My family and I have attended every year since 2017, with the exception of last year due to our local lockdown, so it is fair to say that we were all extremely excited to return to one of our favourite festive events.

Christmas at Dunham Massey is brought to you by Raymond Gubbay Ltd (Sony Music) in partnership with the National Trust and sees the stunning grounds transformed into a beautiful winter wonderland, with a magical, after-dark illuminated trail. Featuring over a million lights accompanied by seasonal sounds, it is the perfect place to make memories with loved ones or friends as you walk around the stunning grounds and take in the creative and mesmerising lights.

Prior to beginning the Christmas Trail you can spend some time in the courtyard, where there is a selection of different street food vendors, along with some vintage fairground rides that included a carousel and a helter skelter. Tokens need to be purchased for the rides at an additional charge and these are available from a kiosk located nearby, if you haven't already purchased them in advance. 


It is important to note that due to the one way system, you don't return back to the courtyard area after you have finished the trail, so if you are wanting to enjoy this area and have a bite to eat, then this needs to be done prior to entering the trail. The food and drinks available looked delicious and were reasonably priced. I also felt that there was a good variety of choices available to cater for all tastes.

Once we had finished in the Courtyard, my family and I made our way over to the giant sized reindeer located at the start of the trail where we were greeted by friendly staff who scanned our tickets. The mansion was lit up brightly and we were captivated watching the sequence of lights across the building. Our favourite part was when Mariah Carey's All I Want for Christmas began to play and my son, along with some other guests, began to dance. It felt so Christmassy and welcoming and we were excited to see the rest of the event as we began to walk down the path.


Just like previous years we were greeted with stunning displays and my son kept asking how long it must have taken people to create the fascinating arrangements. The fire garden was so relaxing and I could quite happily have stood there for a long time just watching the flames and listening to the music. We were also extremely impressed by the incredible rose garden installation which was absolutely breathtaking as the roses began to change colour. 

There were also plenty of opportunities along the trail to purchase hot drinks and snacks including hot chocolates, mulled wine and tea. The option of a children's hot chocolate was also available and my boys both said it was absolutely delicious. It cost £2.25 and they enjoyed taking sips and keeping warm as we continued our walk together.

Approximately midway through the trail, there is a place to stop and purchase marshmallows to roast on one of the fire pits. The marshmallows were available to buy for £1.50 each which I thought to be reasonable given their large size. My youngest son opted for a candy floss favoured marshmallow, but my eldest son noticed additional cabins that were selling waffles and crepes, with the giant tubs of nutella immediately catching his attention. He therefore chose to buy a nutella filled crepe instead at a cost of £4.50 which he described as the best snack he had ever tasted.


My favourite part of the evening was watching my son speak with Santa, albeit socially distanced. Whilst there are no individual meet and greets, Santa did his best to speak out to guests in the crowd and welcome everyone. It was beautiful to watch his interaction with visitors and the surrounding setting was wonderful and perfectly lit with gentle lighting against the backdrop of the night sky.

Overall we had a wonderful time and it was the perfect start to our Christmas celebrations. The way the event is designed makes it suitable for all ages and whilst it is a lovely family event, I also feel that it is ideal for couples and individuals to enjoy too. All of the staff we came across were extremely courteous and were very friendly each time my youngest son spoke to them. He had taken one of his teddies with him and insisted on showing it to every staff member, who all seemed more than happy to engage with him and have a little chat. The highlight of our evening was the interaction between Father Christmas and my son which was just a joy to watch. We would absolutely recommend Christmas at Dunham Massey to others and if you have already booked your tickets, then you're in for a treat.

For further information on Christmas at Dunham Massey, please visit their website or social media channels which can be found here:

Website - National Trust - Dunham Massey
Facebook - DunhamMasseyNT - Facebook
Twitter - @DunhamMasseyNT

Event Details

Attraction - Christmas at Dunham Massey, the magical after-dark illuminated trail.
Location - Dunham Massey, Altrincham, Cheshire, WA14 4SJ
Dates - 19th November 2021 to 2nd January 2022 (the event is not open on all dates so please check for availability).

The majority of tickets for this event are now sold out, however on checking today (20/11/21) there are currently limited tickets still available for the 1st and 2nd of January 2022. However, the creators for Christmas at Dunham Massey are also operating a new lights trail approximately 40 minutes away from Dunham Massey called Christmas at Delamere Forest. You can find out more details on this event on the blog here.



*Disclaimer - We attended the press evening of Christmas at Dunham Massey and were provided with complimentary tickets for the purpose of writing an honest review of our experience. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Details provided are believed to be correct at the time of writing but can be subject to change. I would therefore always recommend visiting the attraction's own website in order to obtain the most up to date information. 

Friday, 8 November 2019

A Family Day Out at Fantasy Island - A Review

During the October half term, we travelled to the East Coast and spent a week in the county of Lincolnshire. We were really pleased to find so much to do in the area and enjoyed some fantastic days out as a family including a visit to Fantasy Island in Ingoldmells,Skegness.

The weekend prior had brought torrential rain, so we were a little worried that our day could end up rather wet, but luckily the weather was on our side and we were able to enjoy everything that Fantasy Island had to offer, both indoors and outdoors!

We were staying approximately 45 minutes away at Tattershall Lakes Country Park and it was a really simple drive to the attraction. On our arrival we found the car park easily and there were plenty of spaces for visitors. It cost £6 to park all day which we thought was a really reasonable price.

My children's eyes lit up with excitement as they saw the huge rollercoasters reaching towards the sky, whilst Riley was really keen to find out what was inside the large pyramid building. We therefore made our way over to the main entrance at the pyramid to obtain our wristbands and begin our day.


Fantasy Island has over 30 rides to enjoy as well as being home to Ingoldmells Market, which is Europe's largest seven day market. There is also a huge arcade which uses a state of the art i-card that brings a contactless system to the attraction.

Entry to Fantasy Island is free of charge, so you then have the choice of paying on a ride by ride basis, or you can purchase a Ride All Day wristband which offers great value for money. We loved the fact that it was free entry as this meant that my parents could also join us for the day, as although they are unable to go on the rides, they could enjoy watching their grandchildren have fun without having to pay an excessive amount for entry.

The wristbands vary in price depending on the time of the season, but if you purchase them in advance online, you can also get a 10% discount. Online bookings can only be made up until midnight on the night before the visit, so make sure you book in plenty of time if you want to take advantage of the online discount. Opening times vary throughout the year, so to check the most up to date information on wristbands and opening, you can visit their website here.


Once we all had our wristbands ready, it was simply a case of deciding where to go first. We had noticed on arrival that the queues for the larger rides were quite small, so thought it would make sense to take advantage of this, so we made our way towards The Milennium. This is a huge purple and green rollercoaster which stands at 150ft in height and travels at up to 55.9 mph. There are also two loops which my husband and daughter said were fantastic!

Our next ride was The Odyssey which travels at 62mph and has plenty of inversions as well as a vertical loop. It is certainly not for the faint hearted, but my husband and daughter thought it was brilliant and the boys and I watched safely from the ground as they zoomed past at speed.

With the two main thrill rides out of the way, we enjoyed the rest of them at a more leisurely pace and my children would choose between them which ride to go on next. My youngest son enjoys the more simpler rides, but his elder brother always goes on them with him which I think is lovely. Riley thought that the Bouncing Bugs were hilarious and he also really enjoyed the Bizzy Dizzy Beez.


As the day got progressively colder we made our way into the pyramid and enjoyed some of the rides that were on offer inside. The range of attractions was fantastic and there was so much to see and do. Our wristbands included a game of crazy golf which was absolutely brilliant, with a dinosaur theme. We are all really competitive so this was great to have a fun family competition. The 18 holes are spread across two floors and the whole area seemed really clean and well maintained. I was convinced that I had won, especially as I had got two holes in one, so admittedly I was really disappointed at the end to find that my husband had beaten me by two points - he always wins!


My favourite family ride was the Seaquarium which we thought was a fantastic facility to have inside the pyramid building. It was really good fun with lots to see and Riley enjoyed pointing out various fish and figures amongst the displays. Every ride we went on seemed immaculately maintained which not only made them look great in appearance, but also offered reassurance that the rides were really safe too.

In addition to the rides, there were also some shows on throughout the day which provided entertainment. As we were visiting over the Halloween period, the shows had a spooky theme and there were leaflets that provided the show times. This made it easy to keep track of where you needed to be and when.


The arcade was very popular with my children and they really liked the I-Card system. We have used something similar to this only once before and that was in Florida, so it was great to see this modern technology making its way over to the UK. One thing that stood out to me about the arcade was just how clean all the areas were. Also if we ever needed any assistance obtaining our 2p machine prizes, we could always find a member of staff with ease, who would happily help. Like most arcades you can win tickets whilst playing on the machines, which can then be exchanged for prizes. At Fantasy Island there is no need to carry a huge mound of tickets around with you, as just like the cash, your tickets are automatically added to your I-Card which makes things so much easier. My children enjoyed exchanging their tickets for prizes and there was a good selection on offer in the prize shop. They were all happy with their choices and came away with some small toys and sweets.


There were plenty of dining options to choose from on site and we found the prices of the food to be very reasonable. We had taken a picnic for lunch, so utilised one of the many picnic benches located around the site to eat our sandwiches. Later in the day though, we all opted for some burgers and chips which were delicious and the children enjoyed some slush drinks which were only £1 each. Throughout our visit we also purchased both hot and cold drinks and we were very pleased with the service received at each vendor that we used.

We ended our day with a visit to the high ropes course. My only minor complaint here was the length of time that it took for a turn, as there is no time limit in place. It therefore works on a one off, one on basis which meant that my children waited 50 minutes before two people left the course. It would perhaps be better to impose 20 minute sessions to ensure that guests don't have to wait too long to have a go. Once they were up on the course though they really enjoyed it and it was fun watching them complete the challenges on the climb. It is a great facility to have and all in the comfort of the warmth inside, so no need to worry about weather spoiling the enjoyment.


Overall we each agreed that Fantasy Island is a great day out for the whole family and felt that the prices were really reasonable and fair. My daughter said that it was one of her favourite attractions that we have visited as she liked the variation of rides and facilities that were available. There was a great choice of rides to suit all ages and I felt that the wristbands offered excellent value for money. As well as the rides we were able to enjoy crazy golf, bowling, arcade games, plenty of food options and even a large market, which meant that we were able to have a non-stop day packed full of fun. We would absolutely recommend Fantasy Island to others and we will definitely be returning next year!


Fantasy Island

Address - Sea Lane, Ingoldmells, Skegness, PE25 1RH
Website - www.fantasyislandresort.co.uk
Facebook - facebook.com/fantasyislanduk
Twitter - @fantasyislanduk
Instagram - fantasyislanduk


*Disclaimer - We were provided with 4 x complimentary wristbands for the purpose of writing an honest review of our experience. I also purchased an additional wristband, £30 arcade credit and food at my own expense. Opinions and photographs are my own unless stated otherwise.

Saturday, 24 August 2019

The Indoor Funfair Returns to Liverpool - A Review!

Back in April we visited the Indoor Funfair which was taking place in the Exhibition Centre, Liverpool. My children had a fantastic time and we thought that it was a great idea that offered excellent value for money.

We were therefore really excited to find out that it was returning to Liverpool for the summer holidays, opening on Friday 23rd August and remaining at the Exhibition Centre until the 1st September. Of course I didn't need to ask my children twice as to whether they would like to visit again, so we went along yesterday to the 10am til 1pm session to enjoy some family fun and see if there were any new rides on offer.


The week-long event, is set across almost 60,000 sq.ft of space and is packed full of a huge selection of rides that will be popular with families of all ages. Each visitor session lasts for three hours and offers unlimited access to rides during this time. There is a choice of session times which run daily from 10am til 1pm; 2pm til 5pm and 6pm til 9pm. The entry prices are very reasonable with rider wristbands costing only £10 per person, with spectator tickets priced at £2.

Usually we catch the train to Liverpool and then walk along the waterfront from James Street station, however with it being the school holidays and my husband being off, we decided to drive this time and parked right outside the venue at a cost of £7 for 5 hours parking. We thought that this was really reasonable based on the location and also meant that we could enjoy a walk around the nearby waterfront after visiting the fair.

We arrived right on 10 o'clock and was surprised to find no queue to get in. There was security at the main entrance conducting bag checks which was reassuring to see and we also saw security staff walking regularly around the venue throughout our visit. We collected our wristbands from the box office and then made our way into the exhibition hall.


On entering the hall, it appeared larger than our last visit and it felt as though there were more rides. When we visited in April, my 11 year old son had an amazing day, but was slightly disappointed that there were no dodgems. He was therefore delighted when he spotted them in the far corner and there are no prizes for guessing which ride he headed to first. In fact he actually ended up spending the first half hour of our session completely on the Dodgems, something which would have cost me a fortune at a normal travelling fair, so he was certainly ensuring that he was making the most of his unlimited rides.

Whilst Ben was busy working on his driving skills, both Riley and Emma enjoyed the Fun House and the large inflatable bouncy castle and slide. Once they had each finished doing their own thing for the first half hour we then regrouped and made our way round the hall together. My two older children also enjoy going on the smaller rides with their younger brother, so they were almost able to go on nearly every ride in the hall, apart from a couple where they were slightly too tall. Riley therefore loved that he could enjoy the rides with his siblings, especially the Monster Truck and Bumper Carz ride.


I definitely felt that the layout this time was much better and we really liked the fact that there was a lot of variety in the choice of rides. There also seemed to be more seating than on our previous visit, which was also a big bonus. I also strongly believe that they listened to customer feedback from April, as popular rides like the Miami, The Dodgems and Bumper Carz were all in attendance and had definitely been missed previously, so the selection and options available were perfect for both children and adults.

There was another brand new ride which caught Emma's attention and this was the Megaspin. As you enter the hall, this is located just to the right hand side and at first glance it simply looks like a wheel that spins you around. However, it does much more including full on upside down spins at both fast and slow speeds, with lots of twists and turns along the way too. It is certainly a ride for the thrillseekers and Emma was the only one brave enough out of our family to give it a go!


As well as the rides, there are some additional games stalls which do cost extra for the chance to win some prizes. Fortunately my children didn't ask to go on any of these, but it's worth taking some change with you if you think your family may want to try their luck. Some food and drink stalls are also available offering a variety of different snacks and drinks. We didn't use these so I am unsure of the costs.

Overall we had a fantastic morning and believe that the £10 wristband charge offers excellent value for money. The event felt well organised, secure and safe and every staff member that we interacted with seemed very friendly and polite. The range of rides was fantastic and we felt that there was a great choice available for all ages. Ultimately it is a very fun event to visit for a really reasonable price and we would not hesitate to return!

For full information on this event or to book tickets, you can visit the Indoor Funfair website or their social media pages on the following channels:

Website - https://indoorfunfair.org/liverpool
Twitter - @indoorfunfairuk
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/IndoorFunfair/
Instagram - @indoorfunfair


*Disclaimer - We were invited to this event and provided with complimentary wristbands for the purpose of writing an honest review of our experience.

Thursday, 18 April 2019

The Indoor Funfair at Liverpool Exhibition Centre - A Review

With the ever changing weather at the moment, it is great to have the option of some indoor attractions. We were therefore really excited to learn that the Indoor Funfair was heading to Liverpool, which was perfectly timed with my children's school holidays. On Tuesday morning we caught the train into the city, to visit this brand new event and find out what was on offer for some family fun.

We travelled on the train from our home town via Chester and onwards to James Street station in Liverpool. I used our family and friends railcard (which has already more than paid for itself) and managed to get a return ticket for one adult and three children for only £9.40. Once we arrived at James Street we had an enjoyable walk along the waterfront towards the Indoor Funfair and it took approximately ten minutes at a steady pace.


We were booked in as guests for the 10am til 1pm slot and we arrived shortly after the start time at approximately 10:10am. Due to our slightly late arrival, there were absolutely no queues outside and we walked straight into the building. The first thing that I noticed were that there were good security measures in place and several security staff were on the door conducting bag checks. We also saw another patrolling the corridors to the attraction entrance and several more in the main hall, which I found to be very reassuring at a family event.

We collected our wristbands and made our way into the Indoor Funfair and my children were excited to see what rides were available. I saw that the cost for guests was only £10 per person, or £2 if just spectating, which for unlimited rides for three hours sounded great value for money. Under 3's are also able to visit free of charge, but understandably their are quite limited rides available for that age group.

Directly opposite the entrance were a selection of 2p machines which my children love, so before we even had the chance to walk around, my son had already put a pound in the change machine to try his luck at winning some sweets and chocolate that he had spotted on the edge. Once they had each played on here for a short while, we started to take a good look around the hall and had a walk around before choosing where to start.



It was slightly smaller than I expected and initially I was unsure if there would be enough to keep all of us entertained for three hours. However I needn't have been concerned, as it actually turned out to be the perfect length of time to enjoy everything a couple of times and my children had a great choice of rides to go on. Our only slight disappointment was that there were no dodgems, which is my eldest sons favourite, but he soon got over this after finding plenty of other fun things to do.

We started with the mini Dragon Coaster which was my youngest sons choice. This is basically a mini rollercoaster that travels at slow speed, making it ideal for little ones. Fortunately my older two children enjoy spending time with their little brother, so they were also happy to go on the smaller rides with him to keep him company.

We then moved on to the large inflatable slide which is recommended as being suitable for ages 5+. The member of staff running this controlled the queue well and would only allow one person up the slide at a time to ensure safety. My daughter also tried to go on this, but was slightly taller than the height limit so was turned away and although she was slightly disappointed, I was happy to see that safety rules were being followed and enforced. My two boys loved this slide however and travelled down really fast numerous times.

As Emma had been unable to go on the slide, I told her to choose where she would like to go next, so she picked the large swing chair ride and enjoyed a couple of goes on that whilst her brothers went on the mini train ride next to it. She then moved on to something a little more fast paced and hopped on to the waltzers, whilst her brothers had a second turn on the train. Before we knew it the first hour had passed so we decided to grab a seat and have a drink.


The food and drink costs would be my only complaint about the event as they were expensive. Obviously you dont HAVE to purchase anything and this is optional, but in three hours most people are likely to need a drink and I was a little annoyed at having to pay £2.50 each for a can. The food was also overpriced, but luckily my children have a good sense of value and refused to let me buy anything hot, instead suggesting that we went to a bakery on the way home to get some sausage rolls and cakes. I did however buy two bags of candyfloss for them to pick at throughout the morning which cost £2 per bag.

Once we had finished our drinks we continued around the funfair and Riley went on the Mini Miami which he absolutely loved. It would have been nice to have also had a full size version of this, as it is always a popular ride, but Riley absolutely loved the mini version and was even brave enough to put his arms in the air (well for a millisecond anyway)!

Other favourites included The Frogs, The Helter Skelter and The Funhouse, which my children went on numerous times. Again time had passed quickly and we soon realised that there was only half an hour left, so we made our way over to the Energiser Assault Course. This is an absolutely huge inflatable which took up an entire wall of the exhibition hall and is packed full of obstacles and slides. My children thought this was fantastic and spent the entire remainder of our time at the attraction on this inflatable, taking it in turns to race one another.


Overall we had a great time and felt that the £10 entry fee being charged was very reasonable for what was on offer. We have been to travelling funfairs before that tend to charge around £2.50 per ride, so considering that you can go on the Indoor Funfair rides an unlimited amount of times in three hours, it really is great value for money. I felt that the event was well organised, secure and safe which are all essential elements when organising a family event and all of the staff that we interacted with were friendly and helpful. My only criticism would be the costs of the food and the games because whilst these are optional expenses, it is highly likely that children are going to want to try them at some point during the visit.

The Indoor Funfair will be at the Exhibition Centre in Liverpool until Monday 22nd April. There are three times slots available each day which are 10am til 1pm, 2pm til 5pm or 6pm til 9pm. Entry costs £10 per person for unlimited rides, £2 for a spectator and Under 3's go free. Height and age restrictions apply to some rides and there are also additional charges for the games and food stalls.

For full information on this event or to book tickets, you can visit the Indoor Funfair website or their social media pages on the following channels:

Website - https://indoorfunfair.org/liverpool
Twitter - @indoorfunfairuk
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/IndoorFunfair/
Instagram - @indoorfunfair


*Disclaimer - We were invited to this event and provided with complimentary wristbands for the purpose of writing an honest review of our experience.

Friday, 9 March 2018

A Family Day Out at Crealy Adventure Park, Devon

It can sometimes be hard to find some fun places to visit during the February Half Term. The weather is often cold and miserable and many larger attractions are closed until April, when the temperatures begin to improve. I was therefore really pleased to find out that Crealy Adventure Park in Devon, would be open during the school holidays, so we could go and enjoy some family fun and adventure, whilst also exploring somewhere new.

The attraction was well signposted from the main roads and it was very easy to find. We arrived shortly after opening time and had to wait in a short queue of cars to get into the car park, but everything seemed well organised and the traffic was guided through quickly with the help of some car park attendants.

After leaving our vehicle, we made our short walk over the entrance, where we collected our tickets using the self service computers. I noticed that there were also some staffed ticket desks for anyone that would rather collect them or purchase tickets in person. We found the computer system very simple though and within minutes of our tickets being printed, we made our way through the turnstiles and into the park.


First impressions were that everything was spread out well, with numerous rides and attractions for all ages. There was plenty of open space and everything seemed well maintained and tidy. Emma and Ben noticed the pirate ship straight away so headed over to the queue to wait their turn. Within a few minutes they were enjoying their first ride with big smiles on their faces. Next it was Riley's turn to pick a ride and he spotted a beautiful carousel in the distance that he wanted us all to go on.


As we approached the carousel, we could see many other customers enjoying themselves. It soon became apparent that this wasn't just because of the carousel, but more the ride attendant who was operating it. The young gentleman on this ride was named Jordan and I don't often single out individual members of staff, but he definitely deserves a mention. His positive energy, friendly personality and determination to ensure that all customers have a great time, was fantastic to see. We have visited many places where staff can sit there looking bored, but Jordan clearly enjoys his job and the kids all seemed to love him. Well done Jordan!


Once we had finished on the carousel, we were joined by Nana and Grandad, who had decided to come along for the day to spend time with their grandchildren. My dad has walking difficulties at times, but we found the paths to be very even, well maintained and there wasn't too far to walk between areas. There was also plenty of seating all around the park which made taking a rest easy.

Next we visited the Driving School area, which was very popular. Despite it being busy we only had a ten minute wait and both Riley and Ben enjoyed driving around the miniature roads, complete with road signs and roundabouts. I was a bit worried at first, thinking that Riley wouldn't be able to control his vehicle well enough, but he actually managed perfectly fine and felt very grown up. This was his favourite attraction at the park and we returned to the cars, several times throughout the day.


The rain began to fall and it suddenly became very cold, so we decided to go and grab a coffee and let the kids burn off some energy in Buddy Bears Kingdom. This was a huge indoor play area with so much for little ones to do. There was also plenty of seating, hot food available for purchase, as well as a Lavazza Coffee Shop. We decided to buy some coffees to warm ourselves up, they were really nice, although the service was quite slow. This caused quite a lengthy wait between ordering our coffee and then receiving it at the collection point. It wasn't a major problem though as the children spent a good hour in there having fun, so the delay didn't cause us any issues and I am always mindful that the staff could have been new and just getting into the swing of things.


Once the rain had passed, we were all keen to get back outside and enjoy the other rides on offer. Riley insisted on a quick stop at this lovely clean park on the way though and I can't blame him. It was lovely to see a play area that was so clean and modern.


Next to the Driving School was the Dino Jeeps where we could explore the Jurassic Jungle and see what dinosaurs we could spot. Both my boys loved this ride and kept shouting out the names of any dinosaurs that they recognised. It was a fun little ride that parents could enjoy too, so I sat safely in the back whilst Riley pretended to be the driver.


All the children then requested to go back to the big Gorilla that we had seen earlier in the day. There had been a few people getting their photo take on it in the morning, so Riley was eager to return so we could get a picture too. Whilst here, we also spotted that there was hardly any queue for the neighbouring Safari Express, so the whole family including Nana and Grandad enjoyed a nice train ride around the animal statues. Riley's favourite was the giraffe that stood very tall!


It wasn't long before the rain set in again, so we decided to have a look around Croc Creek and the Animal Barn. All of my children absolutely love animals, so it is always nice to get the opportunity to get up close to some exotic creatures and feed some friendly farm animals. There was a very cheeky goat that kept trying to chew Riley's coat, but he found this hilarious!



Nana and Grandad had started to get a bit hungry, so once we had finished visiting all the animals we made our way over to the Adventurer's Food Court and Bar. To be honest I wasn't expecting the food to be that great, however Grandad purchased a hot pork baguette with potato lattices and it was absolutely delicious. The children began to starting pinching the spicy potato snacks though, so we ended up purchasing a portion each for them. They weren't cheap, however the portion was a good size and it was something my children really enjoyed. Despite being very busy inside the food court, the service was very quick and there were plenty of places to sit.


After enjoying our food, we gave the children a few pounds each to spend in the Adventure Zone arcade area. My children love trying to win the cheap prizes on the 2p machines, so they spent a bit of money each trying to win a whistle and some keyrings. We didn't spend too long in here as it didn't take long for the kids to use up their money, so we made our way back to the other side of the park, so that Ben could enjoy a ride on the Go-Karts at the Crealy Grand Prix.

The Crealy Grand Prix carried an additional charge of £4 for a single kart and £5 for a double kart. The single karts weren't running that day, so my husband agreed (with very little persuasion) to be the driver of a double kart with Ben as the passenger. Personally I think he enjoyed it even more than Ben, as he did his best Lewis Hamilton impression around the racetrack, moving from 5th to 1st as they sped round.

We went on a few more rides, finishing off with the Maximus Rollercoaster, which was my daughter's favourite ride of the day.

Of course no trip to an attraction is complete, without a visit to the gift shop! Unlike other attractions where you are forced to make your way through the shop on exit, Crealy Adventure Park does not impose that on you and instead it stands separately, making any shopping trip entirely optional. My children had some pocket money they wanted to spend though so knowing their limits, I was more than happy for them to take a look around.

We found the shop to be well stocked, with plenty of items to choose from that suited all budgets. There was a range of pocket money priced toys, clearance products and some more expensive merchandise, but in general I though that the prices were reasonable.


Overall we had a fantastic time and despite the water attractions being closed (completely understandable in Winter), there was still plenty to see and do. We found the whole park to be laid out very well and found all staff that we came across both friendly and polite. The huge indoor play areas gave us a nice break from the cold outside and it also gave us the opportunity to enjoy a hot drink. My children loved the indoor areas just as much as the outside and it was great for them to be able to have the choice, making it an excellent all weather attraction. We would definitely return and hope to visit again in the summer months.

Attraction Details

Address: Crealy Adventure Park & Resort, Sidmouth Road, Clyst St Mary, Exeter, Devon, EX5 1DR
Telephone: 01395 233200
Website: www.crealy.co.uk
Facebook: @CrealyResort
Twitter: @CrealyResort
Instagram: @CrealyResort

Opening times: Opening times vary throughout the year, so please visit the Crealy Adventure Park website in order to obtain the most up to date information.

Ticket prices: Prices vary so please visit the Crealy Adventure Park website to obtain the most up to date information. There are sometimes savings to be made by booking online as opposed to paying on the gate, so it is worth checking the website for any online discount that may be available.


Disclaimer: We were provided with a complimentary family ticket for the purpose of writing this review. Opinions and photographs are my own unless stated otherwise. 


Saturday, 2 December 2017

Christmas at Dunham Massey - A Review

Last night we had the absolute pleasure of attending the opening night of Christmas at Dunham Massey and what a spectacular evening it was. Leading events producers Raymond Gubbay have teamed up with the National Trust to transform Dunham Massey into a beautiful winter wonderland, with a magical, after-dark illuminated trail.

Our evening began with a short introduction into why the Christmas event had been created and how hard the two teams had worked together, in order to help their vision become a reality over the last six months. Dunham Massey is such a beautiful venue, but it is a location that is normally closed to guests in the evening, so what better way to welcome families to a night of festive fun, than with a beautiful display of lights, that lead you through the stunning grounds.


The trail has been specially designed to appeal to visitors of all ages and there is definitely something for everyone along the sparkling one mile path. Accompanied by the sights and sounds of Christmas, you can follow the winding path through the woodland whilst adoring the marvellous illuminated canopies, trees and oversized snowflakes, reindeer and baubles.

Although it was very cold outside, our family wrapped up warm in our hats, gloves and scarves and made our way out to the trail. As we entered the main courtyard, we were welcomed by a selection of food and drink stalls, as well as some traditional fairground rides including swings and a carousel. Riley absolutely loves carousels, so we purchased a token for him to have a ride at a cost of £2.


Once Riley had finished his carousel ride, we enjoyed a bite to eat, before continuing on the trail. Our adventure began by being welcomed by Father Christmas himself, who saw us on our way through the sparkling hedgerows. There were also plenty of staff on standby to help guests and provide a friendly hello. The huge building looked absolutely magnificent, lit up with stunning snowflakes.


We spent a short while simply admiring the amazing mansion, which looked extremely impressive, before embarking on our journey through the festive twinkling trail. We were fortunate that the last couple of days had been dry and so the path was very clear without a hint of mud in sight. However, we had come prepared with wellies in the car just in case, as I can imagine that with a bit of rain and a lot of footfall, it could get quite muddy throughout December.


Riley was immediately captivated by the tress and branches adorned with sparkling lights. It would be extremely hard to not be impressed by the beauty of seeing the woodland lit up so spectacularly and even as an adult, I could not help but say 'Wow' numerous times whilst walking down the path. Staff members continued to be a visible presence throughout the walk, always happy to help and guide you in the right direction. Several of the staff also interacted with the kids, engaging in conversation and asking them about what they had seen so far.


In addition to the lights, there were numerous benches and wooden huts, selling a selection of mulled wine and cider. These were placed at regular intervals along the path, so that you could treat yourself to a nice warm tipple whilst taking in the sights.


The giant baubles and Christmas decorations were stunning to see, but my children's personal favourite was the fascinating giant reindeer, who I believe has been named Cranberry Sparklesnaps, through a competition held by Dunham Massey on their facebook page. A wonderful name to go with what is truly a remarkable reindeer.


Mid way into our walk, we came across a fire lit wonder, which looked fantastic. This led us to the fire pit, where you could purchase a wide range of weird and wonderful flavoured marshmallows and toast them over the pit.  The marshmallows cost £1.50 and were extremely popular amongst guests with a short queue to purchase these delightful treats. This really added to the experience and it was lovely to see so many families enjoying themselves together.


The finale of the Christmas trail, was an astonishing water spectacular, that saw brightly coloured water jets, dancing in time to some music classics. There were benches placed along the walkway here and it was a delightful place to have a sit down and watch the display. My photo of this really doesn't do it justice and is something that really needs to be seen, in order to appreciate it's enchanting performance.


Overall, we had an absolutely amazing time and we are even hoping to return again before Christmas with other members of our family as we loved it so much. Whilst we enjoyed our walk as a family, I feel that this event is also very suitable for both individuals and couples too. I would definitely return here for a lovely Christmas evening just my husband and I, to spend a couple of hours taking our time around the trail and enjoying the offerings available in the courtyard. All of the staff we came across were extremely courteous and we were made to feel welcome by everyone. We would like to say a huge thank you and also well done, to everyone at Dunham Massey & Raymond Gubbay for putting on such a wonderful event, that left us all feeling magical and ready for the festive season ahead.

For further information on Christmas at Dunham Massey, please visit their website or social media channels which can be found here:

Website - National Trust - Dunham Massey
Facebook - DunhamMasseyNT - Facebook
Twitter - @DunhamMasseyNT

Event Details

Attraction - Christmas at Dunham Massey, the magical after-dark illuminated trail.
Location - Dunham Massey, Altrincham, Cheshire, WA14 4SJ
Dates - 1st December to 30th December (the event is not open on all dates so please check for availability).

Admission

Advance - Adult £16.00, Child (5-16) £10.00, Family (2 adults, 2 children) £48.00
On the day - Adult £18.00, Child (5-16) £12.00, Family (2 adults, 2 children) £56.00
National Trust Member - Adults £14.50, Child (5-16) £8.50, Family (2 adults, 2 children) £42.00

Disclaimer - We attended the opening night of Christmas at Dunham Massey as guests for the purpose of providing an honest review of the experience. Details are subject to change, so I would always recommend obtaining the most up to date information from the attractions own website.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Our Trip to Hagenbeck Tierpark - A Review

Whilst visiting Hamburg last week, we were very surprised at just how much there was to do in the area. We were only staying for a couple of days, but managed to fit so much into the space of 48 hours. One of the places we visited was Hagenbeck Tierpark, which is one of Germany's most popular zoos.

The zoo was approximately half an hour on the bus from the Appartello Smarttime Living hotel, that we were staying in. It was a direct bus service on the number 39, so there was no need for us to make any changes during the journey. It was then a very short walk from the bus stop, to the entrance of the zoo, where you paid at a kiosk for entry. We had Hamburg Travel Cards which give a discount on admission, however the family ticket worked out a much better deal than using the travel card discount, so we opted for this instead.

Hagenbeck Tierpark first opened in 1907 and drew attention, due to the fact that the animals enclosures are surrounded by moats, as opposed to fences. We noticed that this was still the case for many of the animals, only spotting a couple of fenced enclosures during our visit.


At the ticket office we were provided with our map and a list of feeding times. It is important to keep hold of this, as all the signposts throughout the park are numbered as opposed to named, so you will need to keep referring to the map to see which number corresponds to which animal. As we made our way into the attraction, we noticed a small queue of people, who were buying bags of fruit and vegetables. We had read beforehand that you could purchase these bags to feed the elephants and baboons, so the children quickly joined the queue to buy some food. There is no set purchase price, but instead they ask for a donation. I never really know what to give in these kind of situations, so I did feel a bit awkward and worried as to whether I had donated enough, but we gave around 3 euros in change per bag.

Shortly after entering, we saw a small crowd gathering to the right hand side, so we made our way over to see what was happening. As we approached, we saw the most beautiful elephants, who were all reaching out with their trunks to collect food from the visitors. They looked well cared for and the size of their enclosure was very impressive, along with a large pool for them to cool off or play in. It was amazing for the children to be able to get so close to such a large and stunning animal and they just couldn't believe that they were actually feeding them by hand.


We could have spent ages here just watching the elephants, but after half an hour, we decided to go and explore the rest of the zoo. As they were situated close to the entrance and exit, we told the kids that we would come back and see them again before we left. We continued our walk around the zoo and came across some pelicans wandering across the grass. They weren't bothered by the passing crowds and simply carried on about their business by the side of the lake.


In addition to all the wonderful animals, the Hagenbeck Tierpark is also home to some stunning gardens. This was one of our favourite places that we came across whilst walking around and it was so peaceful just sitting by the lake and enjoying some lunch.


There were lots of opportunities to feed animals as you made your way around the zoo. Even though the elephants were definitely the children's favourite, we also enjoyed feeding the baboons, alpacas and goats. It was a great chance for Emma, Ben and Riley to get close to some lovely creatures.


Emma really enjoyed the goat pen, which is where you could walk into the enclosure and feed and stroke the goats. Some were a little on the cheeky side and would try and take the whole bag from your hands, but others were quite happy to simply stand and pose for a photo!


Another popular part of Hagenbeck Tierpark was the children's play park. This was a really large area that provided plenty of room for kids to run around and have some fun. There was plenty for all ages to enjoy and Emma & Ben particularly liked the swinging rope, as they hadn't seen one of these before.


After a short play on the park, we continued our walk towards the Hagenbeck Eismeer, which is spread over 8000 square metres. The clever design allows you to view the animals from both above and below the water, which was very impressive.


Whilst underground we noticed that there were lots of information boards (in German) providing plenty of facts and figures. There were also a few photo opportunities, like this one on the ski mobile.


Overall we had a lovely day out and feeding the elephants is certainly a memory that my children will hold on to. The Hagenbeck Eismeer is spectacular and we spent a couple of hours in this area alone. The whole park is well maintained, with beautiful gardens and scenery, along with plenty of seating to have a rest when you needed to. The majority of the enclosures were very large for the animals, though I was a little disappointed with the lions enclosure as felt that this looked quite small in comparison to the others. Hagenbeck Tierpark was easily accessible by public transport and I felt that the entry price for families was reasonable. We would definitely visit again.

Important Information

Address: Hagenbeck Tierpark, Lokstedter Grenzstra├če 2, 22527 Hamburg

Opening times: Hagenbeck Tierpark is open all year from 9am. Closing times vary throughout the year, so I would always recommend visiting their own website, for the most up to date information which can be found here - Opening Hours

Entry prices: The following entry prices are for the zoo only, however you can also purchase combined tickets which allow entry to both the zoo & the aquarium. For the most up to date prices you can visit their website here - Entry Prices

Adult single ticket - 20 euros
Child single ticket (4 to 16 years) - 15 euros
Family Card 1 (2 adults & 2 children) - 60 euros
Family Card 2 (2 adults & 3 children) - 70 euros



Disclaimer: All opinions and photographs are my own unless otherwise stated. Our trip to Hamburg was arranged with the assistance of the Come to Hamburg scheme. Information provided was correct at the time of writing, but is subject to change, so would also recommend visiting the attractions own website before visiting.