Have a great day out at Gulliver’s World Warrington.

After travelling up north to see family and friends we decided to visit Gulliver’s World in Warrington to meet up with some friends.

Gullivers-Logo-

I was a little sceptical at first as our eldest is only two and under 90cm so I wasn’t sure how much there would be for her to do. However my wife went on the Gulliver’s website to have a look at the list of rides  available to children under 90cm  and saw that there was plenty of rides that she would be able to go on.

Getting there and in

The good bit

The sign posting on the roads was very good, which was a bit of luck as our sat nav decided to lose it’s GPS signal just as we were approaching Warrington. Having arrived we were caught up in a bit of a queue for parking as it was very busy. However there was ample parking and what’s more the parking was free. This is very good compared to lots of places where you buy entrance tickets and you then have to pay extra for parking.

The bad bit

The queues were pretty bad and we had to endure two of them. First of all we had to queue up to get our tickets. You can buy tickets in advance and print them off.  We however had decided not to do this in case we had to cancel our visit, as the tickets are non-refundable. Next time we might try and book in the morning before we set off just to avoid the ticket queue. Unfortunately you cannot by-pass the second queue, which is the queue to actually get into the park. However it did start to move when they opened some more gates and we didn’t have to wait too long in the end. It probably just felt like longer with an impatient two year old.

Inside the park

The good bit

There were lots of rides and activities to choose from even for our daughter who is under 90cm. Quite a few of them were indoors so that if the weather had been bad there would still have been plenty to do. There also seemed to be different playgrounds everywhere from an indoor shop, to an outside sandpit, a play fort and lots more. Everywhere you turned there seemed to be something to do.

The staff were very friendly and patient, especially when our daughter was taking her time to decide if she wanted to go on a ride or not.

She especially liked the train, the ladybirds and the merry go round, as well as one particular slide in one of the playgrounds.

There was plenty of benches as well as comfy seating for my wife to breastfeed. There was also lots to look at as you were walking round, from mirrors on walls to ducks on the lake. My daughter didn’t know in which direction to go as there was excitement everywhere.

The bad bit

Some of the rides and attractions looked a bit tired and could have done with a lick of paint. This isn’t something that bothers the children, but it was something both my wife and myself picked up on.

As it’s not the peak season not all the rides were running. This could be annoying if you have come for a particular ride, but it was fine for us.

Some of the larger rides had very long queues, up to an hour for the log flume. Again this didn’t affect us too much, but it can be annoying if going with older children.

Other items

As it was off-season and not all the rides were operating, entry was reduced to £9.95 per adult and child over 90cm. The normal price is £17 if bought on the day or £15 if bought online at least two days in advance.

Mothers day special deal: On the mothers day weekend of 14th-15th of March, mums go free with one other paying person. This could be a great day out. For full details visit the Gulliver’s world website. This deal is also valid in Gulliver’s Land in Milton Keynes.

Definitely worth a visit.

All in all I would definitely recommend a visit to Gulliver’s World for age ranges between 2 and about 11. I think my eldest daughter would also enjoy it even more when she is a little bit older and taller and can go on even more rides. It would also be nice to go when my youngest daughter is a bit older so she too can enjoy the atmosphere. Today my youngest daughter was either in her buggy or in her sling. She did look like she was soaking up some of the atmosphere though.

 

 

 

The Natural History Museum at Tring: a great day out.

We really needed to get out of the house today so we decided to go to the Natural History Museum at Tring.

Giant Sloth Natural History Museum Tring

Now if your only experience of a Natural History Museum is in London and you think we’re brave for taking a two year old and four month old out to the Natural History Museum then you are mistaken. Tring is nothing like the size of the Natural History Museum in London nor as busy. That makes it an ideal place to take young children.

What is it?

The Natural History Museum at Tring is basically a building that contains three floors of stuffed animals and some other exhibits. Today, for example, they also exhibited photos from the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.

The below photo is what greets you as you enter the main display area.

 

Polar Bear Natural History museum Tring

 

This is an imposing sight for a young child, but they love it. Other animals on display on the ground floor include big cats, monkeys and gorillas and lots of birds.

On the second floor they have lots of fish and insects as well as zebra, elephants and giraffe.

On the top floor they have antelope and deer, sea mammals, snakes and domestic dogs.

All in all it’s a very varied display of animals. In fact, it is one of the largest collection of animals that has ever been put together by a private individual, Sir Walter Rothschild. It’s basically a zoo where all the animals are really close and and stationary. This makes it much easier to see all the detail.

Handy things to know

  • Parking: There is a small car park attached to the museum. However, whenever we’ve been it’s always been full. There is usually on street parking available in side roads not too far from the museum.
  • Entry Costs: The museum has free entry for everyone. Although there are sometimes some activities and exhibitions for which there is a charge.
  • Facilities: There is a small gift shop and a cafe. However, the latter is only open at weekends and during school holidays. At other times, there are drinks and snack machines available and you can use the cafe facilities for packed lunches. There are numerous places to eat in Tring should you not wish to bring a packed lunch. There is also a Marks and Spencers nearby if you want to buy sandwiches.
  • Opening Times: Monday to Saturday the Museum is open 10.00 till 17.00 and on Sunday it is open 14.00 till 17.00. The museum is closed 24-26th of December.
  • School parties: It can be a little bit busy with school parties, there were three today. However you can always find quiet spaces to enjoy the exhibits.
  • Activities: The museum organises various activities. For example on Thursday the 12th of February they are organising a bird feeder workshop for under fives at a cost of £1.50 On Wednesday the 18th of February  they are doing a free den building activity in the adjacent Tring Park for over fives.
  • More information: For more information I suggest you go to their website here.

Conclusion

I would whole heartily recommend a trip to the Natural History Museum in Tring- even though my daughter said the below monkey looked like Daddy! I hope she meant the howler monkey in the foreground and not the mandrill’s bottom in the background.Howler Monkey Natural History Museum Tring

 

The List

Frankie and Benny’s great for a 2nd birthday lunch

It was my daughters 2nd birthday on wednesday and we had long ago decided not to have a party as she would be overwhelmed. Instead it was just my wife, my four month old daughter, my parents and myself that spent her birthday with her.

We decided early on that we wanted to go somewhere for lunch, but it was a late decision to go to Frankie and Benny’s. We decided to go there due to the birthday experience they offer. We weren’t disappointed.

The Good:

  • Food: The majority of the food was really nice I especially enjoyed the chicken tenders as a starter, the New York calzone as a main and the ice cream, I chose peanut butter, cookies and cream and mint choc chip.
  • The service: The waiters and waitresses were really friendly and helpful. They never once complained about my daughter getting under there feet as she walked round and round the restaurant.
  • The birthday song: This was the highlight for us. Just as the dessert was brought out, the volume on the music went up and the song changed to happy birthday. It seemed that the entire staff then gathered round as my daughters dessert was delivered, with a candle in it, and sang happy birthday to her. They had even gone to the trouble of having someone dress up in a dog costume, which my daughter absolutely loved. She even noticed which door he went back in and tried to follow him numerous times.
  • The quiet: As it was a weekday during lunch it wasn’t too busy and there was enough space for my daughter to get up and explore.

The Bad:

  • Food: Although the majority of the food was good I didn’t enjoy the potato skins as much. They were a bit dry and could have done with more topping/filling. Also my daughter ended up eating most of our starter and then not really having her own meal. Next time I would suggest her main gets brought out at the same time as our starters as she takes a while to eat anyway.
  • The Table: When I phoned to book I asked for a table for four adults and two highchairs. We wanted the two highchairs as our four month old  likes being part of the group when awake and we didn’t want to hold her whilst eating. Their solution was an open booth seating about twelve with a highchair on each end. This would have been way to spread out. As it happens our four month old was asleep at first and my parents didn’t have a starter or dessert so could hold her then. During the main she needed feeding anyway. This highlighted another problem with the seating. The seating was too tight and cramped for my wife to breastfeed comfortably so she had to move to another table to feed the baby. I would also have expected one or two balloons on the table as it was for a birthday.

The Indifferent:

  • The price: I can’t remember what the total bill was as my parents paid, but I think it was neither really cheap or really expensive.

The conclusion:

Overall I would definitely recommend Frankie and Benny’s for a birthday meal. The positives far outweighed any negatives. Next time I would however be more specific about the table requirements to ensure we got a table that met our needs better. I expect we will be back to celebrate other birthdays in our family. Although I am happy to listen to other recommendations of restaurants where the birthday experience is really good for young children. To find your local Frankie and Benny’s click here.