*Ad: Tickets were gifted but the review is fully my own honest opinion
BeWILDerwood is a children’s adventure park set in 70 acres of Cheshire countryside in between Chester and Whitchurch. It’s a gigantic wooden playground of slides, zip wires and mazes all based on the books by Tom Blofeld about the magical world of the inhabitants of BeWILDerwood.
The whole attraction is built within an established forest and visually, they’ve done a fantastic job. The attractions are dotted throughout the forest, surrounded by pine trees, rhododendrons and ferns, it honestly is a pleasure to walk through the grounds and the paths are all wide and very pram/pushchair friendly.
Ok, so now for the attractions you can expect to find at BeWILDerwood followed by a summary of my top tips and my thoughts on it:
This is a set of 3 slides, two of which my 4 year old had no problem going on. One of them is very steep which I must admit I was a bit 50/50 about going on but it was fine and my 7 & 9 year old couldn’t get enough of it. You’re probably best wearing trousers, just in case of slide burns or if the metal is hot on a sunny day. I wore my running leggings and I shot down faster than anyone, coming right off the tracks at the end every time, so if you want to feel the speed you know what to wear! One very important point is that children need to be 92cm in height to go on the slides so do bear that in mind.
Tip Toe Valley
This is a small playground adjacent to Slippery Slopes intended for under 5s. I thought this was really well positioned as when my little boy had had enough of the big slides he played in here with me whilst the bigger two kept on the slides next door. The sandpit had some toys in it already which I thought was a nice touch.
Within the Slippery Slopes/Tip Toe Valley area there’s also another play area mainly of balancing logs and just outside it a birds nest swing and a giant swing.
This is their most complicated maze with the aim being to get to the top tower within a massive wooden frame with various walkways, bridges, ropes etc. I did wonder whether it was the next day by the time we completed it!! Well ok, it wasn’t that bad but it certainly had me and my husband scratching our heads a bit. If you want to add to the stress of trying to find your way, there are also 4 feathers to find, the words on which make up a sentence.
A small outdoor theatre area where a performer and puppets from the BeWILDerwood books put on a performance. There are 4 shows of 2 stories per day and I would say it’s suited to 4 and under, as there wasn’t enough to engage my older ones, however it was a welcome sit down for half an hour.
Oh I liked these a lot!!!! Three separate zip wires each with two lines so you can race your child on! They are really decent lengths, much longer than you find in your average park and again my 4 year old went on them all, although you do need to be 105cm to ride them. This was definitely Mummy’s favourite attraction, imagine having these in your garden!
These were two little mini zip wires aimed at children who aren’t tall enough for the zip wires. I’ve never seen these anywhere else before and thought they were fantastic for the little ones who want to experience their own little zipwire. Such a great idea.
Another giant wooden structure with, as the name suggests, a fun wobbly bridge to cross. There’s also an optional slide you can go on.
Mish Mash Maze
Another maze on raised walkways and slightly easier than Sky Maze. We loved the signs which try to mislead you so don’t be too trusting of them!
This is BeWILDERwoods craft area and is housed inside two big teepees. Currently the craft activity is making crowns, which they all really enjoyed. This is the longest we queued (still only short at about 15 mins) so I would suggest coming here early however we got to it about 2pm and found that doing a quiet activity in the shade gave them a much needed break from the excitement of the park. Plus if you do it early in the day and they don’t want to wear their crowns then that’s you carrying them/trying not to squash them in your rucksack for the rest of the day! Bear in mind it closes at 4pm unlike the other attractions in the park.
This is the second (or first depending on the order you find it!) Slippery Slopes area. This one has two slides, neither are too steep but are high up and again my 4 year old loved them. Again, minimum height is 92cm.
Toddlewood on the Hill
As the name suggests this is the area for toddlers/children 5 and under and is next to Slippery Slopes which once again means if you’ve got mixed ages you can play adjacent to each other.
A tall tower which the kids can go up and admire the views from the top. There’s a really narrow boardwalk about the width of an adult shoe which they have to go up at the top which makes it feel more exciting.
I’ll be honest I wasn’t planning on stopping here as building dens is something we do lots on our trips to the forest, but we were walking past and the kids ran on in and we ended up spending over half an hour here and they loved it. There are tons of sticks and tree trunks spread out so you can really make a decent den. It always makes me laugh how the grown ups end up taking over building their kids dens and taking great pride in the end result!
Another big play frame with some cute little ‘houses’ on the top level they enjoyed playing in.
Now for everything else you need to know about the park:
There’s a large free car park and it’s an easy and quick entry through the admissions desk.
At the entrance the children will get given a sheet with a little quiz on. The aim is to find some of the characters as you’re walking around the park and jot down the letter next to the character to try and make a word. As you exit at the end of the day hand it in and you’ll get a badge.
There are two food kioks on each side of the park - The Munch Bar and The Cosy Cabin. For kids you can make them up a picnic box if you don’t want to bring your own. A fairly small menu for adults but enough to stop you from going hungry.
Unfortunately there aren’t any water bottle refulling places as I’m always loathed to buy more plastic bottles, but we did take them to one of the food kiosks and they had no problem filling it up for us.
If you’re bringing your own food then there are plenty of picnic benches throughout the park.
There are toilets right by the admission desk which is great after a long car ride! Don’t think this is the only toilet block though as there are two more within the park! There is a lovely little hut for nursing Mums next to the ‘Big Hat’ craft area. Hand sanitisers were literally everywhere in the park, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many in one place before!!
It’s extremely well staffed and they have a designated person on each zip wire and on the biggest slides. I have to say it really struck us how lovely all the staff were and nothing was too much trouble for them so well done BeWILDerwood for this.
Tips to get the most out of your day:
- The first hour (10-11am) and last hour (4-5pm) are when it’s at it’s quietest, particulary the latter as the vast majority have gone home by then. The Slippery Slopes (the one near The Munch Bar) and the Wobbly Wires have the biggest queues so I would do those in the quieter hours.
- Everything bar the crafts is outside so if you are unlucky with the weather you will need full waterproofs to enjoy the day, and I do mean full waterproofs!
- Trousers and long sleeves are best for the slides
- I’m not quite sure how after 3 children I haven’t heard of these books before so if you’re like me it might be a nice idea to aquaint yourself with the characters beforehand as I think that would make it a more fun experience.
- If your kids are all different weights, tell them not to hold hands going down the big slides else one of them might get a bump on the head coming down like our youngest did.
- Know the height of your kids before you go to understand if there’s any attractions they can’t go on (Slippery Slopes 92cm and Wobbly Wires 105cm are the main restrictions).
- The car park isn’t far from the attractions so you can easily nip back to your car for your picnic/water bottles (they’ll give you all wrist bands when you arrive).
Overall we had a brilliant day here, it is on the expensive side as adults pay the same price as children, but that said I don’t think you’d come and not have a great time. My children are 4, 7 & 9 and I think that age range is the optimum for a visit to BeWILDerwood. Older children will still love the slides and zip wires though (after all this 40 something did!) but there’s not a lot more to entertain them outside of these. There is defiitely enough to entertain toddlers who receive discounted entry (or free if under 92cm). But to really get the most out of it and be tall enough to go on everything my kids ages are the best.