Looking for a fun-packed family day out with attractions to suit all ages and wow factor in spades?
Then I have just the place!
Chessington World of Adventures is a theme park and zoo dubbed Britain’s ‘wildest family adventure’ and featuring some of the world’s most spectacular – and endangered – animals.
Sitting just off junction 9 of the M25 I can’t tell you the number of times we’ve driven past but for some reason – despite once living on the doorstep and now living just over an hour away – we’d never been until we were invited to take a sneak peek inside its latest attraction: Land of the Tiger.
If you’ve never been to Chessington World of Adventures before – or you haven’t been for a while – here are 10 reasons I think it’s well worth a visit.
10 reasons to visit Chessington World of Adventures
1. Land of the Tiger. New for 2018 is Land of the Tiger, home to Chessington’s four new endangered Amur tigers. There are only 500 left living wild in the world, so to have four living together in one enclosure is really quite something. We were invited to see what it’s all about before Land of the Tiger opens to the public and I have to say it was breathtaking. You can come face to face with the tigers thanks to huge glass windows, chat to their keepers as they feed them huge chunks of meat and watch the tigers walk right over your head in Europe’s first overhead trails. Nowhere in the world will you be able to get so up close and personal with not one, not two, not three but four Siberian tigers.
2. Tiger Rock. Also new for 2018 is Tiger Rock, a log flume ride which winds its way through Land of the Tiger (the tigers are quite literally prowling past you as you ride by) before climbing to the summit of Tiger Rock and plunging you 15 metres into a waterfall drop. I got the chance to be one of the first to have a go and I have to say it’s not for the faint hearted!
3. You’ll feel like a child again. When was the last time your heart raced so fast in anticipation of something you felt sick? Or your hands shook in exhilaration? That’s how I felt after plunging 15 metres down the waterfall in Tiger Rock – big thanks to Mr Little Hearts Big Love for coming on my ride with me! If you’re a thrill seeker there’s plenty to choose from, from Tiger Rock to the Vampire roller coaster (think legs dangling beneath you) to the Kobra which spins you through the air at 43 miles per hour.
4. The Gruffalo River Ride. Fun for all the family no matter how small (there are no height restrictions on this one) is the Gruffalo River Ride, a dark water ride through the Gruffalo’s famous wild woods. Scenes from the book are brought to life with a mix of sound, robotics and digital projections as you swirl on water through the woods. Even Misery Guts was smiling.
5. You can meet the Gruffalo. As well as making regular appearances at Chessington’s Gruffalo Arena for song and dance performances during the day the Gruffalo also goes on walkabout to meet and greet fans. Our older two were quite literally beside themselves and even Misery Guts demanded a selfie.
6. It’s educational. The zoo boasts a wealth of fantastic animals from its four new Amur tigers to lions, gorillas and a Southern White Rhino to name but a few. The keepers really know their stuff and are clearly passionate about their jobs – our older two were full of questions after visiting the enclosures (spot BB filming Kalinka the tiger) and the staff really fired their imaginations when answering all their questions.
7. You can make more than just a day of it. Chessington boasts two resort hotels: its Safari Hotel and its Azateca hotel with themed rooms featuring characters including the Gruffalo and Penguins of Madagascar. We stayed in the Safari Hotel which backs onto the resort itself – you can actually see giraffe and zebras from the window – and where features include an iguana in reception and an ant colony doing their business through glass walkways while you eat your breakfast.
8. You can comfortably fit three kids in one family hotel room. As a mum of three a big bugbear of mine is that ‘family’ rooms and ‘family’ tickets almost always mean 2 adults and 2 children (see my open letter to the Duchess of Cambridge for more ranting about the number three). But owing to a pull-out bed under the bunk bed in Chessington Safari Hotel’s family rooms for once ‘family room’ means more than just 2 adults and 2 kids.
9. It’s a magnificent adventure. That’s what my three-year-old declared as we left the park after our encounter with the tigers. And he hit the nail on the head – this is a trip that’s going to make an impression, and one they may well remember for the rest of their life.
10. You’re guaranteed some peace and quiet afterwards. Our three were absolutely wiped out after our trip to Chessington – meaning peace and quiet all the way home.
My top tips:
- Invest in fast track tickets to beat the queues – we waited just five minutes to board the Gruffalo River Ride as opposed to the 55-minute waiting time in the standard queue.
- Take waterproofs for Tiger Rock because you will get wet. Alternatively for £2 you can jump in a giant drying machine for a blow dry!
- Height restrictions on the rides range from 0.9m to 1.4m so it’s worth checking them out before you go in order to manage expectations.
Have you been to Chessington World of Adventures before? Are you planning a visit? What would your family like the most?
Land of the Tiger at Chessington World of Adventures opens to the public on Saturday May 5, 2018. We were invited to visit the park, have a sneak peek inside Land of the Tiger and stay in the Safari Hotel in exchange for this post. As always all opinions are my own and based on my own honest experience.