It snows every day at Gulliver’s Kingdom in Matlock Bath during the festive season.
The children who had gathered for the little Gully show were asked to close their eyes and cross their fingers and make a wish for snow – then, as if by magic the white stuff fell from above and the music began to play.
As soon as that snow began to fall the children who had been mesmerised by the characters could not run over to it fast enough.
Obviously it was fake, but it was white and fluffy and they had the best time playing in it.
Seeing my children stood there wishing for snow then watching their faces as it began to fall was truly magical.
Straight after it was our turn to see Santa. Gulliver’s Kingdom – a theme park which is aimed at children aged three to 13 – is the only place we’ve seen him this year and not had to queue. We were able to walk straight through the lovely winter wonderland during our time slot and admire the displays, then were taken straight to Santa by his friendly elf.
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It wasn’t the best grotto we’ve ever seen, or the most enthusiastic Santa – but the kids did love being invited into his workshop afterwards where they were able to choose their present themselves. They loved searching through the shop and it’s nice as a parent to say you can have anything you like – absolutely anything – and not have to worry about the price!
Seeing Santa is included with all tickets during the festive season and despite it not being in the height of summer, there was plenty of rides open, including the log flume!
The wide range of rides and attraction – from the Western World and pirates play area, to the log flume and Drop Tower – makes Gulliver’s Kingdom one of the best theme parks in the UK for children which is why we didn’t mind the 90 minute journey from Hull.
Children shorter than 90cm go free, yet can still go on 11 of 23 rides and enjoy all of the shows, play areas and interactive experiences.
The theme park is set on a stunning hillside which gives fabulous views over the main street in Matlock Bath. Make sure you’ve got your comfortable shoes on for walking up the hills though! However there is a travellator for one of the steepest hills you can hop onto and also a char lift to transport you from the bottom of the park to the top.
With that in mind I’d say it’s best to start at the top and work your way down to the bottom of the park.
If you want to keep the costs down, picnics are allowed in the park. I was really impressed there’s a warm indoor picnic area upstairs in the party house where adults can also get a hot drink.
But it’s downstairs where the real fun happens! The huge house has everything from a cinema room to rides, a massive sandpit, indoor soft play, ball pools, pedal tractors and interactive games. You could actually spend hours in the party house alone, I’ve not come across anything quite like it anywhere else.
Mrs Christmas’ Kitchen is also inside the party house where you will find a very welcoming Mrs Christmas. Due to it being so cold, we spent a long time in the party house and we still had to drag the kids out.
The entire park is decorated very festive and if like us you leave when it closes at 4.30pm it will be dark so you will be able to see all the twinkly lights which light the entire park up.
I loved the fact there wasn’t a teenage crowd at Gulliver’s Kingdom too. It’s very family orientated, there are no bars and no alcohol is permitted. Unlike other large theme parks, you won’t come across groups of teenagers, as not one guest who isn’t part of a family can enter.
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My six year old son loved Western World, where you can explore little buildings, including a bank, a church and a jail. He also loved operating the diggers, which surprisingly didn’t need extra money to operate and my three year old daughter liked the outdoor play areas and the magic carpet.
There’s also Gulliver’s parks in Warrington and Milton Keynes so no doubt we will be trying them next!
Need to know…
LOCATION: Temple Walk, Matlock Bath, Derbyshire, DE4 3PG
OPEN: March to December, excluding November.
PRICES: Children measuring under 90cm go free. £15 if booked online for those taller than 90cm. Prices range at Christmas for various packages.
- Wheelchair hire
- Cash point
- Dedicated smoking areas
- Mother’s feeding room
- Microwave facilities in the restuarants
- Baby change rooms in each area of the park
- First Aid point