Chessington World of Adventure – ‘Howl-o-ween Spooktacular’

Our family of four visited Chessington World of Adventure on Saturday, 20 October specifically for their ‘Howl-o-ween Spooktacular’. As neither my husband nor I had been to Chessington since we were in our 20s, we didn’t really know what to expect, but we had read that there was plenty to do for toddlers and preschoolers.

The park is open late on certain dates between 13 October and 4 November and was decorated for Halloween which was lovely! There were also quite a few Halloween events on which were appropriate for small children. We were able to purchase ‘super saver’ tickets for 2 x £24.17 for the two adults and a ticket for my four year old for £24.16. Children under three go free.

Read on for my review of the park from my perspective as mum to a four year old and a one year old! Ratings are out of 🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃.

Eating and drinking

We had lunch soon after we arrived at the Smokehouse BBQ & Bar. It was a semi self-serve deal, where my husband had to go up and order and then collect the various bits from different areas. We ordered one ‘Taste of Texas’ signature smoked platter for my husband and me to share, with a side salad and a side of mac & cheese. The platter was pretty good (and filled my meat quota for the next month!). The brisket was super peppery which I enjoyed, the pulled pork wasn’t too fatty and the jalapeno sausage was pretty tasty too. The mac & cheese tasted homemade but my one complaint was that it was made with penne instead of macaroni. The salad was pretty basic (lettuce, cherry tomato halves, cucumber slices and sweet corn) and very small but was adequate given the rest of our order.

We ordered the kids mac & cheese for my son and it was exactly the same as our side order. It was even in the same container, yet cost £6.50 as a kids main whereas our side order cost £3.50. If we had realised we would have just ordered another side order! We ordered the chicken tenders for my daughter and she ate two huge pieces. It came with chips but we only let her have a couple and gave her some of our side salad instead. The chicken was really nice and moist and had a lovely crunchy breading. My husband and I got the bottomless drinks and shared some juice with my son.

The staff were attentive and took away our tray to make room for us as soon as we were finished.

This isn’t usually my type of food but it wasn’t bad for what it was. I would recommend this restaurant for families, just be sure to compare prices on the menu!

Room on the Broom show

This little production was aimed at a younger audience and was super cute. The stage and seating were outside but there were plenty of spaces and although there was quite a large audience it didn’t feel overly crowded. There was a large faux grass mat for the kids to sit on in front of the stage so my four year old went up to the front and sat with the other children while my husband and I sat in the seats provided further back. It was lovely as he could feel a little bit independent but we could keep an eye on him from where we were sitting. There was plenty of room to park my daughter’s buggy next to us without blocking anyone which was a bonus as she was sleeping at the time and I didn’t want to have to wake her. The play told the story of Room on the Broom and the actors included a narrator, the witch and the dog. Children were chosen from the audience to be the cat, the bird and the frog, which was a cute touch! The witch definitely looked recognisably like a witch but wasn’t scary which was good as I don’t think my son would have been comfortable to sit on his own otherwise! The whole show only lasted as long as it takes to read the book (around 15 minutes), which suited the attention span of small children. I would definitely recommend this cute show for under 5’s! I think slightly older children would probably enjoy it as well. Check show times as it runs at various times throughout the day.

My rating: 🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃

Trick or Treat Wood

There was quite a long wait (at least in kids’ terms) of around 20 minutes to get into the Trick or Treat Wood. There was a big build up to it but I wasn’t impressed when we finally got in. In my opinion it wasn’t even mildly scary and mostly consisted of actors dressed up in various costumes (tree, fawn, etc.) doing a whole lot of talking. To enter you go into a path which has a trellis fence on either side and wood chips on the ground and join the queue. My children struggled a bit to cope with the wait and ended up getting completely filthy digging in the woodchips while we waited. Once we entered we were handed over to various actors who talked and made jokes that went right over my four year old’s head. Although each child got a treat at the end (Organix crispy peas), unfortunately they contained dairy which meant my one year old couldn’t have hers (which provoked a meltdown). I loved that they were handing out healthy treats rather than sweets, but it would have been nice if they had chosen a snack that was free of all the most common allergens (dairy, soya, nuts, wheat, etc. – Organix carrot sticks or even the plain crispy peas would have been perfect). It might be that my expectations are too high (I grew up in NY in the 80s where most kids would go to an amazingly scary haunted mansion every Halloween) I wouldn’t recommend bothering with this one unless there was no queue.

My rating: 🎃🎃

Adventure tree

This cute carousel was a hit with both children! My son was very excited to ride his wooden tiger, which moved up and down as the carousel turned (and was actually quite fast!). My one year old daughter rode on a stationary giraffe which was perfect as I was easily able to stand next to her and hold onto her. There was also a strap that you could put around your child to ensure they didn’t fall off which I thought was great – although I was holding my daughter, it was nice to know she was safely strapped in, just in case.

My rating: 🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃

Canopy capers

My son absolutely loved this maze of wobbly rope walkways. So much so that we had to prise him off when we were ready to move on! My husband went up with him and said it wasn’t too uncomfortable for adults (my husband is 6″2′ and has a bad back so some children’s play/ climbing frames are a bit of a challenge). There were also some lookout areas so my son was able to wave to his sister and me from above!

My rating: 🎃🎃🎃🎃

Dragons Playhouse

This soft play area was quite cold and dark and the floor was damp in areas so my daughter and I ended up with soggy socks. There wasn’t really anywhere for adults to sit so it wasn’t a particularly comfortable experience for the parents. The toddler area was annoyingly closed so there was nothing for my daughter to do as the big kid area was way to intense for a 15 month old. I can’t say whether we just walked in at the wrong time and it was a temporary closure or whether it was closed all weekend, but it meant that I had to take my daughter outside for a walk while my son played. No buggies were allowed inside and she didn’t want to sit still, especially as she could see her big brother playing. All negatives aside, there was a really nice slide and my son had a good time playing. And I think the experience would have been much more enjoyable had the toddler area been open.

My rating: 🎃🎃🎃

Toadies Crazy Cars

There was around a five minute wait for Toadies Crazy cars but it was completely worth it. Each family had their own small car which ran along a track through forest scenery with different animals, including mice, badgers and Toadie the toad! There was a tunnel at the end as well. There are two steering wheels at the front to allow children to ‘drive’ the car and my one year old was able to sit on my lap and enjoy the ride from the back seat. My son kept asking, “Mummy, am I really driving?” This ride was super cute and I totally recommend it!

My rating: 🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃

Griffin’s Galleon

I went on this ‘ship’, which (fairly gently) turns and goes up and down on the ‘waves’, with my four year old. He loved it! I can imagine that for a small child it felt like a proper ride as you did go up quite high before dropping back down and rising up again on the other side. My son was laughing and waving to his daddy throughout – great ride!

Mr rating: 🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃

Seastorm

This was another really cute ride. We went up and down and spun around in our little pirate ships! My son loved it and kept shouting, “Ahoy there!” and “Arrrrrr!” Perfect for your little pirates!

My rating: 🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃

Jungle bus tours

There was no wait for this ride so my son and I were able to get right on the bus. The bus was lifted high into the air in an arch and then swung back down again with a whoosh! This was the closest thing to a ‘big kid’ ride we went on all day and my son loved it, although he said it made his tummy feel funny (the rollercoaster effect!). I’m not sure he would have wanted to do it again, but Mummy really enjoyed it!

My rating: 🎃🎃🎃🎃

All in all it was a lovely (if slightly expensive!) day out.

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