With it being the summer holidays I’m always on the lookout for fun and educational things to do with my two little ones locally. I used to love visiting Chessington World Of Adventures as a teenager and the last time I went the famous Vampire Ride had excitingly just been reopened which was somehow way back in 2002 – that’s 14yrs ago; unsurprisingly a lot has changed since then and I couldn’t wait to go back!
Arriving with two my very excited children, my daughter Millisent 8yrs and son Gabriele 4yrs who were literally exploding like party-poppers in the back of the car, we drove through the front gates and into the car park. They had no idea where we were going until they saw the signs when we got in and I still don’t think they quite understood everything it involved. I just love surprises! The £3.00 carpark is absolutely huge and holds thousands of cars across multiple fields for which we were parked in the ‘Tiger’s’ which is also my daughters family pet name coincidentally. We also passed a new Go Ape park on the way to the entrance. Seeing as we were only visiting for the day I ordered my tickets online which meant I didn’t have to worry about queuing to get in and we arrived a little before lunchtime which allowed us to miss all of the traffic on the drive over.
Being the summer holidays it was busy but not as jam-packed as I would have expected, there wasn’t ridiculous queues or people pushing and struggling for space and as such it had a very calm and relaxed atmosphere that was glittered with giggles, smiling faces and families taking proud photos and reading maps. I always get so safety conscious in crowded spaces and tell the children to hold my hand at all times so as not to get separated but the sheer size of the park meant that people were more spread out and easier to see. I popped my business card into each of the children’s pockets as a precaution and told them if they got lost to ask a member of staff to call me to be reunited – thankfully it’s never happened before and I hope it never will!
My two squeakily enthusiastic map-readers took control of the whole day, where we would go, what rides we would do first and when we should stop for drinks and a snack and it was incredibly heart-warming to see them in their element as little explorers. Chessington World Of Adventures is absolutely huge and bigger and more spectacular than I remember as a young teen, it’s clearly had a lot of investment with a meticulous team of staff running it as nothing is out of place, the gardens are immaculate, the rides clean and safe and the food stalls, restaurants and picnic areas litter free and family friendly despite the thousands of people who pass through each day.
The park is divided into ten lands with a whopping 40 rides, a zoo, 1,000 animals, live shows daily and seasonal events which are all impeccably themed for different countries and cultures that transport you into an entirely different world and way of life for each; Wild Asia, the Land Of The Dragons, Transylvania, Africa, Pirates Cove, Mystic East, the Forbidden Kingdom, Mexicana, Market Square, Chessington Zoo, Sealife and Zufari. The map also contains a key to indicate which rides are suitable for young children, families and thrill-seekers so that you don’t waste time queuing for rides that little ones are too small for. I was expecting my four year old son to struggle to get onto rides because of his height but there was a wonderful selection in each zone and we had the most incredible time riding buses into the sky, sight seeing in hot air balloons, spinning in pirate boats, bobbing along and getting squirted with water at the bubble works, exploring the Hocus Pocus hall with ghoulish holograms and halls of mirrors, checking out the Sealife and tropical fish and sharks in the water tunnel, shooting cannons, racing cars and boats, visiting creepy crawlies in caves, spotting the lions, climbing over the monkey enclosure on high ropes, watching the sealion show, animatronic pandas, the dancing Penguins Of Madagascar and a wonderful picnic on the lawn.
In each land there were themed food stalls and shops to match the rides, scenery and displays that could easily have been part of a film set for how realistic they are; from foam swords and fish and chips besides the pirate boats to county jail and Mexican street food alongside a giant scorpion in Mexicana. Despite packing a picnic for my vegan diet we also enjoyed stopping off for ice creams, Slushpuppies, drinks and snacks along the way and the gift shops were filled with thousands of nic-nacs and keepsakes ranging from pocket money prices all the way up to birthday presents with family photos available on the bigger rides. A new Explorer Clamping site launched this summer where you can stay in tents with beds and carpets, or there’s the Safari Hotel with splash pool, gym and themed character breakfasts if you want to make a long weekend of it and VIP zookeeper experiences and fastback passes if you have a few extra pennies to spare. Chessington World Of Adventure’s is a fantastic family day out for all ages, budgets and levels of mobility; the perfect addition to our summer holidays!