There's a theme park in Milton Keynes, practically on our door step.
Gulliver's Land is almost Lilliputian, compared with it's bigger, noisier, well-known, busier cousins. It may be small, but it is perfectly formed. Still, there are over 70 rides and attractions. That's enough to keep me and my children occupied all day and we got to do everything we wanted.
The park is officially opened at 10.30, with a ribbon cutting ceremony, but you are let in the entrance before then. There is a carousel to get you warmed up, and a cafe with fairly decent coffee too.
Once inside everyone headed for the new ride, the Twist and Joust. I think there were logistical issues getting people on and off the ride as the queue moved very slowly. I guess there would be teething problems when a new ride opens. This put us off a little and we didn't try the Twist and Joust this time.
There were plenty of other big rides - with tiny queues - to keep my 5 and 6 year old thrill-seekers happy. They LOVE the log flume and the Python roller coaster. Me, not so much. If it was up to me I'd stick with the gentler rides, like the wonderful, gentle Jungle River ride and the tea cups. I may have closed my eyes and screamed on the big rides, but I am proud that I didn't swear.
We have a new fridge magnet. It's a photograph of my children enjoying the log flume, and me screaming my head off. No, you're not seeing it.
This is more my style, being chauffeur driven in the Vintage Cars.
It is difficult when you go to a theme park with two young children. There are only a few rides (like the Tug Boat) where you can take them both on with you. Mostly there is space for one adult and one child and nowhere to leave other children. On some of the rides (like the one pictured below), six year old Presley was tall enough to ride alone, with me accompanying five year old Cash in the chariot behind him.
I'd recommend taking one adult per child under 140cm tall. Luckily we were joined today by my friend and her son. We were able to take it in turns to go on everything, with one adult left to hold the bags and watch the children.
The signs indicating who could and who could not go on a ride were excellent and perfectly clear. The staff measured each child and were clearly enforcing the rules. They were vigilant and safety-conscious. This gives you confidence, even though some of the staff looked quite young. Having said that, I am 44. A lot of people look very young to me.
As well as the rides for all ages, there are other attractions that the children all enjoyed today. There is a massive ball pond for smaller children, a very good rope climbing frame, as well as traditional adventure playground equipment.
We had fun in the maze.
The small soft play area kept the children occupied while my friend and I sat on a comfy sofa drinking coffee.
There are many places to eat at Gulliver's. In the food court there is a good choice of food from around the world, including a fresh tasting tuna salad (not sure where in the world it was supposed to be from...). There is also a pizza and pasta restaurant.
Slushies, cold drinks, coffee, crepes and ice creams are sold all around the park and the prices are reasonable.
Presley enjoyed his £2.50 hot dog.
There are plenty of picnic tables and a grassy area at the far end of the park where we spread out our picnic blankets. There are bins galore and Gulliver's have addressed the problem of the wasps that were quite a nuisance when we visited last summer. They have hung fake wasp nests in the trees and we didn't see a wasp all day.
The park is pretty well maintained, although the boys were disappointed that three of the four mechanical diggers were out of order. Some areas could do with a lick of paint, but it would seem that there is an ongoing upgrade happening.
The toilets were clean and they were evenly spaced throughout the park.
Want to go to Gulliver's?
There are Gulliver's Land theme parks in Matlock Bath and Warrington, as well as in Milton Keynes. Also in Milton Keynes is a Dinosaur and Farm Park, a Splash Zone, a campsite and a new Nerf Zone. We went to a birthday party in the Nerf Zone last week and all the children there LOVED IT.
For up to date prices and all information check out the Gulliver's website.
You can find also Gulliver's on Twitter and Facebook
Disclosure: I was given free entry for myself and my two children in exchange for this review. I have not been told what to write.
Other reasons to love living in Milton Keynes:
MK International Festival
MK Dons Football Club
The sausage and cider festival
The Stables at Wavendon
Milton Keynes Museum
The well-planned new city
The Concrete Cows
The green open spaces