Where to start? At the beginning of course. In fact NO. Before the beginning because they get this so right you are excited like a little kid before you even leave your house. To see what I mean watch the first minute or so of this. The only other place I have been that generates this level of magical excitement is Disneyland. A signpost before you get to the park sums it up perfectly. “BeWILDerwood – 2 miles… and a whole world away”.
The first time you go (and rest assured it won’t be the only) TAKE THE BOAT. It’s to the right of the shop as you enter. I’m not going to tell you why, just do it. The walk way is great but you can always do that next time you come… or the time after or the time after that. By the time you get off the boat you’ll have encountered at least a couple of the Twiggle Team (members of staff). These guys must be meticulously selected as their passion/enthusiasm/zest is amaranthine and cannot just be a result of all that fresh air or a flowing supply of their exceptional coffee. They are entertainers each and every one of them. They are integral to the story and can take credit for undoubtedly being a part of BeWILDerwood’s success. They are fantastic!
Imagine a steamy bog inhabited by swamp dwelling monsters, creeping around a dark forest. Witches living in trees. Giant bats, Spiders and a Scary crocodile. It would hardly be a place to take young children. Most adults would be petrified at the thought. What if the Crocodile turned out not to be a crocodile at all but a crocklebog. How would you tell the difference? By getting to know her of course. Sure Mildred may look scary and she certainly knows how to get your adrenaline pumping, but when you learn that she makes friends with butterflies, collects handbags and loves nothing more than a night on the tiles dancing into the wee hours, is she still scary? You have nothing to fear, she’s vegetarian. You couldn’t possibly know that from just looking at her but when you do know her you realise that she’s really rather beautiful. The swamp dwellers (boggles) are a small family who with their friends the Twiggles (tree dwellers) just going about their daily business catching fish and keeping the forest clean. If you want to learn about all the characters pay them a visit they are all lovely. Or if you need a sneaky peak, click here.
The park itself has lots of activities for you to burn off your well earned energy, so wear the right shoes. You, yes you are going to be scaling trees, crawling through tunnels (in the trees), crossing colossal rope bridges (in the trees) and hurtling down really steep slides (out of the trees). There’s lots of trees. There’s also a maze. Everyone does it backwards because the exit is much easier to find than the entrance. The exit is, of course, up a tree. You then, mistakenly, worm your way back to the start. Muddled? That’s handy. My 3 year old can now do it at running pace with no mistakes. It’s quite hard to keep up on gravel. The Muddle maze is not to be confused with the Sky Maze. Okay so there’s two mazes. I would recommend leaving the sky maze until late in your visit. But definitely leave plenty of time for it or take a sleeping bag. You can happily lose more than an hour up there. I’ve overheard city weekenders getting cross and confused with themselves at their inability to traverse it. I’ve been tackling it for a year now and I am still none the wiser. I convince myself that they change it every time we go. For me it is the grand finale. We’ve started doing it first. Mainly because if we escape, and I do mean if, we reward ourselves with coffee.
Ah the coffee. I may have mentioned this in another post but it never ceases to amaze me how enterprises that are trying to entice parents to bring their offspring and spend their cash fail to capitalise on the one thing likely to sway the vote. Starbucks is more popular than McDonald’s for a reason… and it’s probably the same reason that McDonald’s most recent and superb advertising campaign concentrates solely on coffee.
BeWILDerwood serves great coffee!
The food is pretty good too but should you wish to take a picnic they are more than welcoming providing plenty of picnic tables for you to sit alongside those who have bought their grub on site (unlike somewhere else, quite prominent, I could mention) There are several places around the site for you to plonk yourselves to catch a breath and a catering hut is never far away. It’s very well priced too (especially for members who receive 15% discount).
This brings me nicely on to the membership and the reason for the title of this review. The first time we went we had waited until the little man was near enough 3 so we were confident he was stable enough on his feet to tackle most of the obstacles. We are glad we did because we all loved it so much on that first visit we made the decision to upgrade to an annual membership. The ticket prices are here but in a nutshell, if you are likely to go 3 times in a year or more it is worth it. We ended up going at least once a month for the whole season. This also means that we experienced most of their events from the Easter special “Cedric’s chocolate bunny burrow” to the Halloween Lantern parade and everything in between. Their attention to detail is impressive and every visit feels fresh. Their personal and warm welcoming approach is the key to their success.
Thank you BeWILDerwood for a fabulous first year and we will certainly have many more. I would also like to add a happy 10th Birthday and thank you for not resting on your laurels. I’ll leave you with this. I once noticed a small but potentially dangerous hole in one of the safety nets. I went to alert a member of staff who immediately radioed the Boggle Builders (maintenance department). By the time I got back to the area in question it was already being fixed. We’re talking no more that 2 minutes.
Our family rate BeWILDerwood as the top Norfolk Family Attraction. I’d actually say it’s probably my favourite full stop.
Telephone 01692 633033
This was not a commissioned post however BeWILDerwood have since offered me complimentary family passes to the park in recognition of this post and my continued support on social media. Thanks Guys, I’m Overwhelmed. #ad