Gulliver’s Fun has three theme parks across the UK. There is Gulliver’s World in Warrington (North west England), Gulliver’s Kingdom Matlock Bath (Midlands) and Gulliver’s Land Milton Keynes (south) plus Dino and Farm Park Milton Keynes. They are currently building a fourth theme park which will open in the future at Rother Valley, South Yorkshire.
We recently were gifted tickets to review Gulliver’s Kingdom at Matlock Bath in Derbyshire. I was really excited about returning there with my Mum. We used to go there a lot when I was a child as we didn’t live far away. It was our first visit with my son and he was very excited as well as he loves rides and theme parks as much as I do.
This was day 33 of our #80dayschallenge to have at least 80 days out in one year.
Arriving at Gulliver’s Kingdom Matlock Bath
The one thing to know about Gulliver’s Kingdom in Matlock Bath is that it is steep! It is set into a hillside. But you can visit the theme park without ever actually having to walk up a steep hill. We basically started near the top and then worked our way down. You can then use a chair lift and a travellator to get yourself back up to the higher levels.
Because of its hillside location the parking is also set in ‘layers’ on the hill. It’s really good fun driving up. Think hairpin bends! We arrived a little before 10am and we were quite relieved the bottom layer had already been filled up with cars. This meant we climbed a lot higher to park which meant we could start our visit to the park by walking down rather than up. Although you could get straight on the chair lift if you do park at the very bottom and work your way down.
Because the park is on so many layers it absorbs people really well. You aren’t all likely to go to the same ride at the same time so we rarely had to queue. Most of the time we walked straight onto a ride.
Below I will cover all of the rides at Gulliver’s Kingdom Matlock Bath.
Rides at Gulliver’s Kingdom Matlock Bath
We started our visit at the middle left of the park by one of their two entrances. After studying the map we were given we decided that we would be better off heading down rather than up. This meant that all the rides we went to were on a downward hill walk. We only had to go back uphill briefly for some lunch. We later took the chair lift up to the rides higher.
These are the rides we recommend visiting in order if you start from the 2nd entrance. The rides I’ve covered individually are mostly suitable for children over 4 years old. They do have some toddler rides which I’ve mentioned in the Toy Land section.
Crazy Barrels – Lilliput Land
Any height. Must be over 120cm to ride alone
Crazy barrels is a tea cup type ride. You sit in barrels which can seat at least 5 people, perhaps more. You are then spun around and it’s up to you how fast you spin. There are some lovely views from this ride across Matlock Bath.
Dino Cars – Lost World
Any height. Must be over 120cm to ride alone
This is a Jurassic themed ride in a car on a track. You can seat four people in the cars and they go around the track twice. Expect to see cavemen and dinosaurs with realistic sounds.
Log Coaster – Lilliput Land
Minimum 90cms – Must be over 120cm to ride alone
The Log Coaster is a mini rollercoaster ride. You sit two to a seat and it goes around twice. It’s not the most extreme of rides however young kids will enjoy it.
Dino Falls – Lost World
Minimum 90cm – Must be 120cm to go on without an adult
Dino Falls is essentially a tube slide like you would see at a large swimming pool. You sit in rubber rafts and slide down to the bottom at great speeds. You will more than likely get your bottom wet on this ride.
Crow’s Nest Quest – Smuggler’s Wharf
Minimum 110cm – Must be 130cm to go without an adult
This is an aerial adventure on many levels. You arrive for timed sessions and they let a certain amount of people on for each session. You are hooked on with a safety harness and you work your way around the course. It costs no extra to go on this.
Cycle Monorail – Toyland
Minimum 90cm – Must be 140cm to go on without an adult
This is a relatively long monorail ride where you have to cycle yourselves around a track. You can only sit two to a car so if you go on with your child and they are under 140cm be prepared to do all the peddling. I didn’t find it too hard but I did see others struggling.
Gully’s Magic Bikes – Toy Land
Minimum 90cm – Must be over 120cm to ride alone
These are pedal bikes that go round and round. You can sit two to a bike and the more you peddle the higher you will go.
Percy’s Pirate Adventure – Smugglers Wharf
Any height. Must be over 120cm to ride alone
This is a water barrel ride. It moves relatively fast around the ride but you won’t get wet. There are pirates with plenty of sound effects along the route.
Carousel – Smugglers Wharf
Any Height – Below 90cm must be accompanied by an adult
This is a lovely two-tiered traditional carousel. The horses don’t go up and down but it’s always fun to ride on a carousel.
Pirate Ship – Smuggler’s Wharf
Minimum 90cm. Must be over 120cm to ride without an adult
This is a really good Pirate ship for children. My son is often put off by the larger ones and has always refused to go on. This one was still big but not quite as daunting so my Mum and I persuaded him on for the first time ever. We loved it and I think he did. This Pirate ship had the best theming of any pirate ship I’ve ever been on. The Pirate’s Play area in the top right of this photo is currently shut for improvements and a new ride.
Chairlift – Smugglers Cove to Safari Kingdom
No height limit – Must be at least 140cm to ride alone
The Bourbon street chairlift is a great way to get from the bottom to the top. We used it to go to the rides at the top of the hill which really saved our legs. My son loved it so much we also did a round trip later in the day. (you can’t stay on it, you have to get off and queue again). I’m sure it was there when I was little. It’s great fun standing waiting for the moving chair to collect you. You can of course also use it to travel from the top to the bottom. You are allowed to take folded up buggies on the chairlift.
Safari Dodgems – Safari Kingdom
Minimum 90cm – Must be 140cm to ride alone
We loved this ride. It’s one we went twice on. You sit two to a bumper car. The adult drives while the kids shoot at targets on the front and back of everyone’s cars. It makes shooting noises but the scoring didn’t seem to work. That didn’t matter though as they were great fun. They have added bumpers so they’re super safe and they don’t allow head on collisions.
Flying Raft – Safari Kingdom
Minimum Height 90cm – Must be 120cm to ride without an adult
This is a ride where you sit in rows and you are spun around in circles. It’s not too fast and not too extreme which was perfect for all three of us.
Tree Top Drop – Safari Kingdom
Minimum 110cm – Must be 140cm to ride alone
This is a ride that goes in the air and then bounces you up and down. You sit around 8 on at a time. It took me ages to persuade my son on. Then when we got there it was sadly shut for a bit. Ah well, next time hey. It would have been a first for him as he normally avoids rides like this, he’s getting braver.
The Silver Mine – Western World
No height restriction – Must be 120cm to ride alone
This is a short ride in a mine which is actually in a real cave. You sit two to a carriage and you are given guns to shoot at targets. I don’t think the guns were working though as nothing seemed to work.
Log Flume – Western World
Minimum 90cm – Must be 120cm to ride alone
I needed my husband with us for this one as he loves Log Flumes. Sadly I couldn’t persuade my Mum or son on this. You will get wet!
We did not have a chance to find or even play on everything else at Gulliver’s Kingdom. There are many play areas dotted around the park which are both indoors and outdoors.
JCB Zone is a digger themed area. It’s perhaps more for younger kids as my nearly 6 year old was too big for the ride ons and the pall pit. He did have a go at one of the diggers though collecting balls.
In Lost World they have a few animated dinosaurs. Their website states that they have 13, however, we only found about five to six so we clearly were missing something somewhere. They are very realistic though. If you go please let me know where you’ve found the other dinosaurs. They may be on the way to the Dino Play area.
You will see some lovely views over to Matlock Bath and the Heights of Abraham from different levels of the park. Gulliver’s Kingdom is certainly a theme park with a view.
Toy Land and Rides for toddlers
Toy Land has some cute interactive play things for little kids. There’s a few climbing and sliding play equipment items plus an apple that talks, dancing mouse and other fun things. Some of these were at the park when I was little. There is also a small ride in Toy Land for the under 4’s. This has a height restriction of 150cm which you must be under this to ride.
In Explorer’s Playhouse, they have 3 more rides for toddlers. There is The Jumping star (must be over 90cm but under 150cm). Ladybirds (below 90cm must be accompanied by an adult) and Fish Ride (must be over 90cm but under 150cm). We didn’t visit this area as my son is too old and almost too tall for toddler rides. He loves more extreme rides now.
Pirate Adventure Golf – Smuggler’s Wharf
We love a round of crazy golf and I have to say we were a bit disappointed with this. The clubs were falling apart, the course was dirty and the holes were water logged. We gave up after 3 holes as it was too hard and we just weren’t enjoying ourselves. It would be nice to see some new clubs and the holes being tidied up. It was themed well so it’s a shame it’s so unloved.
Safari Kingdom – Play Fort, Cannons and Travelator
As well as the three rides in Safari Kingdom there is also an indoor Play Fort which is a soft play area for children under 150cm (there is a minimum height as well). Near here there are The Canons where you can fire rubber balls at each other. Plus it’s a very steep walk from the Safari Kingdom up to Western World. To help you up there they have a Travelator that you can also take buggies on. Please don’t let your kids push the emergency stop button as it was shut for ages after some kids messed about.
There’s a few other things to see and play on in Western World. They have the Stagecoach Saloon theatre, look out for show times. There’s some cute Western themed play houses to play in. Plus a pretend farm with animated animals. Also in this area you will find a Mine Cave. Here kids can pan for treasure and you can see the old train ride that used to go into the cave.
Gulliver’s Kingdom Matlock Bath | Rides and Attractions Review
Gulliver’s Kingdom is set in a really beautiful spot. There’s plenty to see and do there and it’s a great family day out. If you have time after visiting Gulliver’s why not turn left on the main road and head into Matlock Bath for a wander. There really is no place like it. The main street is lined with amusements, fish and chips and sweet shops plus more motorbikes than you will ever see anywhere. It’s quite an experience.
You can also book a stay at Gulliver’s Kingdom in their Explorer’s retreat. This has Princess or Pirate themed rooms. They also have a Blast arena which you can book sessions for (extra cost). There are a few fast food dining options at Gulliver’s Kingdom. You can choose from pizza, sandwiches, fish and chips, burgers and more.
Gulliver’s Kingdom is quite seasonal. It is open during most school holidays and weekends but it does shut over winter and most weekdays for the rest of the year. Please check their website for opening days and times before you leave home.
It is cheaper to purchase your tickets online at least 2 days in advance. For an adult this price is £15.00 and it is the same price for a child. On the day prices are £21 each so this is a big saving. Under 90cms are free and they do have other pricing options.
Disclaimer: We received complimentary tickets for the purpose of this review. All opinions and photos are our own and must not be duplicated without prior permission.
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