Set in a woodland, close enough to civilisation, yet far enough away to feel in its own little world, BeWILDerwood is an award-winning family destination in the very beautiful heart of Norfolk. Celebrating their 10th birthday, they held a special press event, to which we were absolutely delighted to be invited. And, it fell at the beginning of an already booked half-term break in Norfolk. Luck like this doesn’t normally fall our way! 🙂
The celebrations began with Twiggles (um, grown-ups) in colourful hats, their cheeks adorned with face paint, spinning bubble wands around a grassy area that was surrounded by bunting. Straight away we understood BeWILDerwood’s reputation for being a place where grown-ups are positively encouraged to find their inner child.
The press event had a dual purpose: to celebrate BeWILDerwood’s 10th birthday, and to announce the news of a second site in the north of England.
In a marquee with straw bales for seating, we listened to Tom Blofeld, BeWILDerwood’s creator who wrote a successful series of stories that inspired the adventure park. Tom had always wanted to share with the world his belief that this area of Norfolk is “the most beautiful landscape known to man”. He grew up in the area, wrote stories, and then brought them to life.
Clearly, building BeWILDerwood has been a labour of love; they have been kind to the landscape, using no concrete at all and not one flashing light will you find. They’ve built their adventure park to be sustainable, as organic as possible, and in tune with its environment.
Tom was delighted to announce that the north-west will soon be able to enjoy their very own BeWILDerwood adventure park. It will be located in Moss Wood – near Bickley in Cheshire – owned by the Cholmondeley Estate. Watch This Space.
Following the media update we enjoyed a spot of lunch, the boys had their faces painted, and we were free to enjoy the Curious Treehouse Adventure. It was open to the public just as any other day, but with a few extra birthday celebrations.
As you enter the main park, you’re instantly transported into a magical world. Our journey began with a short ride on a pink wooden boat, piloted by a story-telling Twiggle. (You could take the boardwalk route if you wish to. It reaches the same point.) There were many tiny wooden buildings and boats on the way to fire up the imagination. Don’t want to spoil the surprise, but you meet one of the woodland stars on this little journey too.
From the boat we were dropped at the entrance to our brand new adventure; at that point we didn’t know what to expect.
Grown-ups are wholeheartedly encouraged to play alongside their children – and, to be honest, we didn’t need a whole lot of encouragement! However, it’s nice to have an excuse. 🙂
Suspended high up in the trees are wooden bridges, from where you can catch a glimpse of tiny treehouses and miniature bridges dotted around the woodland. It’s also a good vantage point to get your bearings and see where you want to head to next.
There were giant slides, zip wires, a swing for three, boardwalks, toddler areas, stepping logs, treetop walks, mudlde maze (spelling deliberate 🙂 ) and more. And, we tried them all! 🙂
In the middle of the afternoon we sat with other families on amphitheatre-style seating to watch the main birthday celebration on the storytelling stage.
Children were encouraged to dress up in woodland attire, we met some of the main BeWILDerwood characters, listened to a poem from Tom and ate cake!
The Sky Maze is at one end of the park, and almost our final destination of the day. And, as an activity that we could do together as a family, it was the thing we enjoyed most. The aim was to find clues to solve a riddle. The maze takes you high and low through the trees, and we worked together as a team to remember the routes we’d taken, and it was all great fun. We giggled lots.
We felt the food offering was pretty good with healthy choices; there were with several places where you could buy food and drink, so no need to double-back to the first one you see. Most importantly, everything throughout the park looked safe and well looked after.
The staff always had a smile and seemed genuinely happy. The park is not commercialised, but there is the expected gift shop (the Bizarre Bazaar) on the way out. There was plentiful free parking, everywhere was clean and tidy, the toilets were clean and easy to find (and managed to blend into the environment).
Was there anything we didn’t like? I’m honestly finding it hard to put fault to any part of our day. Of course, this was a press event so, possibly, they all made an extra effort on this occasion. I would be interested to know whether the side activities (face painting, ‘hoopla’, water-balloon race…) are held every day. I hope so.
If I have to quibble, I would say there was quite a wait for the boat at the start – everybody was anxious to get going. And, the gift shop was on the pricey side: had we not had a free day out, we probably wouldn’t have spent what we did in the shop. But, I guess this is where most attractions make their money. 🙂
You’ll find BeWILDerwood close to Wroxham, on the edge of the Norfolk Broads, 10 miles from Norwich. Whether you’re holidaying nearby, or live close enough for a day trip, all four of us would wholeheartedly recommend you visit BeWILDerwood – it really is fun for all ages.
As we were leaving, our six-year-old Ollie asked whether I thought the woodland creatures are real. I said, “Yes, I do.” And, for a long moment, it felt really good to believe that they actually did! Are you prepared to believe too? If only for a minute. 🙂
Disclaimer: We were given free tickets to attend the press event which gave me, Rob and the boys full access to the site. Within the park we bought our own refreshments and souvenirs. All words in this blog post are my own, and I have been completely honest in my comments.
Bye for now!