Go Ape, Alexandra Palace

My two little monkeys (excuse the pun) love anything that involves climbing, mud, and zip wires so when we were invited to review the new junior treetop adventure at Go Ape, Alexandra Place, we were delighted. Go Ape is a fantastic concept that involves outdoor adventure of all kinds, most of which Is designed to challenge you, both mentally and physically.

Doing the Dab outside Ally Pally

Where- There are 31 Go Ape venues across the UK. We visited the one at Alexandra Palace, London. A list of the other venues can be found here.

Opening- Open March 18th – October 29th 7 days a week except Tuesdays term time. Sessions vary by first and last daylight – please check availability online.

Admission prices and restriction information-

All Ages welcome (Over 1 metre) – £20

Minimum height 1m (3ft 3″)

Maximum weight – 20.5 stone (130kg)

Adults can supervise from the ground or up on the course

We were staying in Kent and so I made the decision to drive into London to visit Alexandra Palace. I was a little anxious about the journey, but it was actually really straightforward from the M25 and there is loads if complimentary parking at the Palace. Once parked we took a walk around the palace grounds before making our way to the Go Ape adventure.

The views over London from the Palace are really incredible and far reaching. The children were able to spot many famous landmarks, like the Shard and Canary Wharf.

On arrival at Go Ape I filled in some forms whilst the children were fitted into their safety harnesses, by a friendly, bubbly member of staff. She then proceeded to help them around a mini practice course, where they were able to get to grips with the equipment.

 

Petrolhead A is 10 years old and an absolute thrill seeker. He is fearless with any high adrenaline rides, heights , speeds etc. Princess D is very much the same, except she doesn’t like apparatus with holes or that isn’t stationery (rope climbers, swinging bridges etc) so I was a little apprehensive about how she would find this. She didn’t seem at all phased as she gazed up into the trees watching the other children bouncing and swinging along the bridges, ladders and walk ways.

After  a final safety brief, off they went on the first course. Petrolhead A stayed close to Princess D and encouraged her along. I was able to follow them along from the floor and offer plenty of support.  I could see Princess D surprising herself with how well she was coping with being so high!

The climax of the first course was to fly down a fantastic zip wire – both thoroughly enjoyed this part!

Once course one was negotiated, off they went on course two, which was certainly higher and more challenging. Princess D found it a lot more difficult, but she did really well with lots of verbal encouragement. They reached a part of swinging steps, very high up in the trees. There was a bit of a “traffic jam” here as many of the adventurers were finding this one tough. Princess D got a 1/4 of the way along, panicked and started to cry. Within moments one of the instructors was there holding her hand, reassuring her and guiding her to the end of the course. Thankyou to that guy!

At this point it was literally pouring with rain, but the kids didn’t seem to notice, they were having a blast. Having finished course two with another go on the zip wire, Princess D finished and came to watch Petrolhead A charging around course three like a professional. Or a monkey….

Go Ape is a fantastic attraction for all the family, even those who are afraid of heights will be encouraged and supported and you can leave feeling like you have accomplished something. Watching various family members supporting each other, over coming challenges and working together as teams is really heart-warming. It can build character, courage, confidence and bonds.

The Go Ape course at Alexandra Palace is in such a fabulous setting. Once we had finished our tree-top adventure we wandered up to grab a snack and a drink at the pond – side café whilst watching the pedalos sail around. We had fun in the adventure playground and spotted some adorable ducklings before heading back to the car.

Sincerest thanks to Go Ape for inviting us to visit and review their fantastic attraction

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mother Shiptons Cave, Knaresborough

We were invited to visit Mother Shiptons Cave during their Easter celebrations, which had a Wizard of Oz theme. They celebrate a different theme for each school holiday and the effort that they go to is evident from the moment you arrive.

Where – Knaresborough, Harrogate (sat nav post code HG5 8DD)

Opening- Open every day from 1st April-29th October – 10am-4pm

Admission Prices-

Adult: £7.00
Senior Citizens 60+: £6.00
Children 3-15: £5.00
Children Under 3: FREE
Family: £22.00 (2 adults and 2 children 3-15 years, or 1 adult and 3 children; additional children £4.00 each to a maximum of 3)
Disabled (Adult): £5
Disabled (Child): £4

All Day Parking: £2.00 (in addition to admission only)

Dogs are absolutely welcome, which I just love to be able to say about these fantastic family attractions.

We received a warm and very helpful welcome at the admission gate where were given directions and information. The children were given a quiz and a pencil each, to fill in as we proceeded around the attraction. Its worth mentioning here that if you have a large/ 4 x 4 vehicle don’t try to enter through the main admission gates on the left of the entrance – you should drive to the large white gate on the right and a member of staff will open it for you ( and save you losing a wing – mirror!).

The Easter theme is evident even as you drive down to the car park. Tasteful and beautifully thought out decoration and Easter scenes greeted us to the right, with the equally stunning River Nidd to the left.

We parked underneath a viaduct bridge, which is as enchanting in its beauty as its size.

As we made our way along the woodland path we were greeted by splendid  characters from the Wizard of Oz. All of whom were in fantastic costume and all of whom were very much in character. We first met the scarecrow, who spent ages chatting to the children and engaging them in the story.   They were sent on an errand to find the wizard to ask him for a brain for the scarecrow.

As we continued into the woods we are able to follow clues to answer some quiz questions and see some fantastic scenery. After meeting with tinman, the children oiling him so he can dance and adding a heart for him to their list for the wizard we came across all sorts of activities in the centre of the wooded area.

There is a large new adventure playground, which includes a zip-wire, swings, slides and wooden climbing apparatus. There is also another pirate themed adventure playground under construction, due to open in the summer.

The children were delighted to spot a lady in a large tent offering free face painting. I must say, the quality was fantastic! The lady providing the face paint was clearly very talented. So, Princess D climbs up on to the chair when its her turn. 

Face paint lady – “What would you like sweetie? A Princess? A unicorn? A fairy maybe?”

Princess D – ” A Python please”

Face paint lady drops brush.

The children were further thrilled to spot an ice cream van, I was much, much more than thrilled to spot that said ice cream van was selling cappuccino. There are picnic tables scattered around, and conveniently placed portaloos not to far away. Once we had enjoyed face-paint, the adventure playground, a picnic and an ice cream we then continued on our mission to the find the wizard. We came across a delightful lion, looking for courage. He spent plenty of time with the kids, getting them to teach him to roar and then handing out chocolate eggs.

Just before we reached the famous petrifying well and cave, we found the wizard and the children were able to complete their quiz.

The cave at Mother Shiptons

The story of Mother Shipton, the cave and indeed the petrifying well is extremely interesting. I did some research before we visited, and told the children all about it so they had an understanding of where they were going and what was unique about it. All the information you need on this fascinating story can be found here . The children loved the story, they found it absolutely mesmerising and so to then be able to visit the place where it all took place was very exciting for them.

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There is the opportunity to make a wish in a magical wishing well – in order for the wish to be granted you must follow very strict instructions. The children were thrilled that as they were making their wishes the wishing well changed colours right in front of the eyes!

We proceeded along a lovely avenue of beech trees, and passed some clever wood sculptures before arriving at the gift shop. Its a magical fairy and wizard wonderland!The gift shop is packed full of weird, wonderful and quirky items. What’s great is that there are many lovely little bits that are within a pocket money budget, and not the usual plastic tat that can be found in so many of attraction gift shops.

Mother Shiptons Cave can boast to be Englands oldest visitor attraction, having been open since 1630. Isn’t that staggering?

It is a unique, fun and educational day out for all the family, the welcome is always warm and the attraction is beautifully kept. There are some fantastic events coming up too (see below) 

Please bear in mind if you have a buggy or a wheelchair, the access to the well, cave and gift shop is via steep steps. Many people carried smaller buggies up and down but for larger, heavier ones these parts aren’t really accessible.

 Our sincerest thanks to Mother Shiptons Cave for inviting us to visit and review their excellent attraction

 

 

 

 

Lightwater Valley

 ***OFFER ALERT ***

Lightwater Valley are offering phenomenal discounts on admission tickets to the park exclusively for Family Travel with Ellie followers! Visit the Light water valley booking page here to book your tickets and enter our promotional code – FTWE17 to enjoy a saving of over 40% per person off the pay on the day rates (for up to 6 people)! QUICK – ENJOY THIS AMAZING OFFER WHILE IT LASTS!)

If you are looking for a family day out filled with more fun, excitement and adventure than you could wish for, then get yourselves to Lightwater Valley.

It is easily accessible, incorporating a beautiful drive through picturesque Ripon. (sat nav post code – HG4 3HT) and there is plenty of free parking.

The most wonderful thing about Lightwater Valley is that a huge amount of thought has gone into ensuring there is absolutely loads for everyone to do and enjoy. When I checked the handy park guide you receive on admission, I noticed the rides were categorised three ways – Mini, Mega and Ultimate Adventures.

Mini Adventures are aimed at 1 – 5 year olds. They include a huge Angry Birds Activity Park, merry go rounds, mini roller coasters, water rides, tractor fun…. the list goes on. The little ones will be very happy.

The Mega Adventures are aimed at 6 + (over 1m). Fabulous water flumes, wild river rapids, a flying cutlass, fast and thrilling roller coasters and a tower of terror…and much, much more.  The great thing about most of these rides is that responsible people over 1.20m can accompany younger riders – my son, aged 10 years, was able to accompany my 6 yo daughter whilst I  held the bags/took pictures/ chickened out.

Finally there are the Ultimate Adventures and these are for older thrill seekers ( 1.20m +) who enjoy the ultimate adrenaline rush. The Eagles Claw, The Ultimate and the Black Pearl are among the more fearsome experiences. Petrolhead A rode every single one of these, at least twice! No idea where he gets his courage from!

Our visit was on a Sunday, and whilst the park was buzzing, it wasn’t crowded or too busy and there was never more than a 3-4 minute wait for any ride, which was fantastic. The rides are all very well staffed and every member of staff I spoke to was cheerful and more than happy to assist. There are plenty of places to purchase fast food, drinks ice – creams and sweets. We chose to take a picnic, and I’m so pleased that we did as there are lots of beautifully kept grassy areas to lay down the blanket and relax to enjoy our sandwiches. We chose a particularly lovely spot over looking the lake. There are plenty of toilet facilities throughout the park, which with young children is an important factor for a day out!

There is so much to do at Lightwater Valley it simply wasn’t possible for us to see everything (probably not helped by the fact that Petrolhead A and Princess D insisted on riding everything they came across atleast twice!).  When we visit again we will be sure to make time to visit the Tree Top Net Adventures, which we passed on our drive in and look great fun, plus an 18 – hole Jurassic Adventure Golf course which looks great and we would definitely like to try at some point. Its worth noting these activities are not included in the theme park admission.  

I highly recommend a day out with all the family to Lightwater Valley. It has a great fun atmosphere and you really feel that you can stroll around at your own pace, take everything in and enjoy it. Princess D declared that is one of her favourite places, which coming from her is quite a statement and we are all very excited to visit again!

Sincere thanks to Lightwater Valley for inviting us to visit and review

 

Diggerland, Yorkshire

We were very excited to be invited to review Diggerland in Castleford, Yorkshire.  Petrolhead A was particularly giddy at the thought! The prospect of riding, driving and operating real full sized construction machinery is literally the stuff dreams are made of for 10 year old boys – right? Let me assure you though, there is plenty for all the family to enjoy at this fantastic attraction – its a wonderful day out for all.

Where is it?

There are four UK Diggerland Adventure Parks. Click on the links below for addresses and directions to each. We visited the one in Yorkshire.

Yorkshire

Durham

Kent

Devon

Prices –  ( pay on the day )

 Adults to age 65 & children 90cm or over  £19.95pp
 Age 65+ (ID Required)  £9.95pp
 Groups of 10 or more  £16.99pp
 Children under 90cm  FREE
 Disabled Carer (one per paying visitor)  FREE

Discounts are available if you pre-book on line and Diggerland also accepts Tesco club card points – the details of which can be found here.

Age/ height restrictions

An extensive age/height restriction chart can be found here – I absolutely assure you there are plenty of things for everyone to enjoy.

All about our day

The Yorkshire park is very straightforward to get to, just a few minutes from the M62 (sat nav post code for Diggerland, Yorkshire – WF10 5NW).

There is a good – sized car park. As you enter the reception area it has a fresh and organised feel, and clean toilets are available directly after you have bought your tickets.

The park itself is not huge, but its crammed full of things do get involved with. A couple of the first rides that we came to required payment (the dodgems and mini-vehicle driving) – don’t be alarmed, these are easily by-passed and almost all the other rides are included in your admission. The queues for all the rides were small, which was excellent. Any restrictions are clearly stated at the entrance to each.

The most wonderful thing about Diggerland is the fact that the kids are able to get in and have a go on so many of the rides. My daughter is 6 and approximately 1.10 tall and was able to drive everything there. 

As well as the driving and digging experiences and the cute rides for little ones, there are a couple of more adrenaline filled experiences. For example, Spindizzy.  

SpinDizzy at Diggerland

Spindizzy is one of the first rides you see as you enter the park, and whilst it looks fun and not too scary, if you’re not very brave with faster rides, believe me, it gives you quite a thrill! I was encouraged as we waited for our turn by all the tiny kids who were riding it, accompanied by parents, of course. However it soon became evident that whilst kids seem to love this giant, ruthless,  spinning monster – the parents don’t seem quite so enthralled! When you climb aboard you are very well strapped in, and the sweet looking young lady that was operating Spindizzy told us to hold tight (oh…) and that if we need to stop at any time to give her a thumbs down signal (uh oh….)

Once the sweet young lady gets behind the controls of Spindizzy she changes into a terror inflicting sadist who feeds off the petrified faces of the parents strapped into Spindizzys bucket. Round and round it goes, really fast one way, and then the other. Oh and very early on in the ride there is a camera set up to take your picture – so don’t forget to grimace! It went so fast I had tears streaming down my face – the kids thought I was crying. Which I obviously absolutely was not. Promise. Oh the relief when it came to a halt. Oh the horror when the smallest child starts begging immediately to go back on. Thankfully sweet young lady is back and tells Princess D that you have to have at least 10 minutes rest before you can go back on. Just enough time for me to regain my composure, and the control over my very wobbly legs. Despite the fact that I am a “ride – wuss”,  I still rode Spindizzy, twice. So you people have no excuses at all!

There is an indoor soft play, which is fantastic if you get caught out by the good old English weather during your visit. There is also a nice sized cafeteria with a very decent selection of hot and cold food and drinks. Picnicking is also welcome , there is lovely picnic area outside too.

There is an off road driving experience as well as many more rides and experiences to enjoy. The Ground Shuttle is a must ride. You climb aboard a purpose built carriage mounted onto the arm of a Manitou Telehandler and strap in. The arm lifts and off you go, across country, around a specifically designed course full of twists and turns and enormous bumpy ruts. Hold on tight as you get tossed and flung around – its fabulous fun!

The staff are all wonderful, very enthusiastic and friendly. Whether you are parents of boys or girls, babies to teenagers, a trip to Diggerland must be on your list – its a fabulous, fun day out that’s a bit different and that everyone will enjoy.

Sincere thanks to Diggerland, Yorkshire for inviting us to visit and review