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We recently visited Gullivers World in Warrington. We have been there 3 times in the last 2 years and although the children really enjoy it, there are so many niggles with it that we think we will try a different one next time to see how that compares.
Gullivers is situated in Warrington. There are two others- one in Milton Keynes and another in Matlock Bath. For us the Warrington one is closest and it is really easy to find. You come off the motorway and it is sign posted all the way, it's only about a 5 minute drive from the motorway and the roads are really straight forward. It makes a change to have good signage so The Mrs doesn't have to navigate for us! When you first arrive you drive down a short drive way which has a few welcome signs and smiling cardboard characters which is always a good way to get the children excited! When you first enter the land there is a large lodge on your right and this is the hotel where you can stay, we've never been here but I think it is quite expensive but I suppose it would make the visit really exciting. Parking-wise there are attendants that show you where to park, although the last time we went they weren't doing a very good job of it and people were just choosing to park wherever which was odd! The car park is dreadful. It's like a big field so if it's been raining be warned- it can be difficult to get your car in and out. Also they are very close together so often when reversing in and out you need to do several manoeuvres to get out as the next row of cars is so close.
It opened at 10am and was already filling up quite fast but all of the windows at the ticket office were
open. It cost £15 for adult and £15 for Little B who is 5, it was based on her height. Baby B who is 2 was free. The frustrating thing I found was that Little B may have paid the same price as us, but she still wasn't big enough to go on all of the rides, there were about 40% of rides which she couldn't go on so you would think that would be reflected in the price.
When you first walk through there is music playing and some bubbles blowing so it looks and feels quite magical for little ones. There are plenty of rides to go on and they are all in a short walking distance for you to go to. There's quite a lot of 'ponds' to look at as you walk past although these seem to be mainly swampy looking water which isn't too attractive! The majority of the walking is flat so it's ideal for little legs.Rides often have signs outside telling you who can ride and who can't and they have an assistant who will measure children to see if they are tall enough. They also help you onto the rides and secure you in which is good but this does also mean that it can take a while to set off as they will check each person individually. There were lots of rides to go on for Little B's age, plenty of choice although still many that she wasn't tall enough for. For the smallies like Baby B he was able to go on a few of the very tame rides but he could also go on the log flume which was a surprise... he really wasn't impressed with it and I think it set him up to be traumatised for the whole day! It was cute to see him on some of the little tame rides like the train with a steering wheel so he felt like he was driving it himself and was clearly delighted. Little B went on a caterpillar which was a mini rollercoaster and absolutely loved that. It is a good way to introduce children to slightly more grown up rides.
Food wise we tend to take a picnic as the food is quite expensive there is a canteen which serves food as well as a few little kiosks. We bought a portion of chips to go with our sandwiches and they were really rubbish, only just warm and really greasy. We also wanted to buy an icecream and there were only 6 lollies to choose from and by the time we got to the front of the queue the one lolly which both our little ones wanted had sold out! So frustrating after a 20 minute queue! The seating arrangements are really poor and this isn't good, you would think they could update their seats and benches. So many of the benches were wobbly and had bits missing as though they were about to fall apart and lots of the chairs had the woven bits of material all uncurled so were dangerous. There was no consistency with the chairs around the tables either, all different kinds as though they were a mish mash of old chairs. Really disappointing, it wouldn't be hard to just buy in a load of new benches and nice places to sit so little legs can rest after walking around all day!
Is it family friendly? Well in some ways yes and you would hope so too given that it is aimed at small children but in some ways no! The lack of being able to sit down on a chair which wasn't about to fall apart is not good but also the lack of a place to leave your pushchair safetly is poor too. Before going on a ride you literally just abandon your pushchair by the queue and off you go. Really not ideal, would be good to have little trolley parks or something. It is family friendly though in terms of the paths are nice and wide and there's lots of children's things to look at.
The staff members varied really. Some were really friendly and made a big show of jollying kids along as they got on rides whilst others didn't say a word or have eye contact so it did vary!
The children both really enjoyed it- well Baby B was a bit scared after the log flume! We were there for a good 5 hours but by that time I think they'd had enough and were tired after walking so much but we could have stayed a bit longer. The rides were great, lots of options and good for children about 5 years old I think. I think it's probably ideal for 3-7 year olds really, if you're a teenager you'd get bored. There are a few rollercoasters but not enough to keep you entertained all day.
I think compared to the price of other attractions it's fairly reasonable really, we've spent roughly the same for a trip to an aquarium which only lasted half as long so I think it's reasonably priced although would be an idea to maybe charge slightly less for children who still aren't big enough to make use of all of the attractions instead of charging them the same price as an adult. You can buy annual passes and some of these are special ones which you can transfer to all of the parks.
It is a fun day out for children but it does just look quite sad and dated. So many things could be updated and improved- new seating, better food, paint on lots of rides could be touched up, the ponds not looking so terrible and so forth! Oh and the car park isn't too nice looking either!
It's a nice day out but don't have really high expectations and then you will do just fine here! Check out the opening times as they vary, I know it's not open every day in the week so check the website first to make sure!