Amusement parks, theme parks, ride photography

Gullivers Kingdom, Matlock Bath

Gullivers have 3 parks in the UK, Warrington, Milton Keynes and Matlock. Of the 3 I have only visited 2 choosing not to take the extended journey down to Milton Keynes from the north west.

Matlock has to be the most photogenic of the parks due to its location in the lovely market town of Matlock. for those that dont know Matlock sits in a valley and has some lovely scenary all around. The park location is a bit odd as its built on a hill with various flat levels or stages leading to the top.

As is the common theme with most parks these days Gullivers is divided into themed areas with various rides and attractions in each. They all share fantastic names like Fantasy Terrace, Lilliput Land, Little Switzerland, Party House, Palais Royale area and oh Bourbon Street ??. You would expect some areas to cater for smaller children given the names above, but generally its a free for all and the theming in each area is quite low key.

You enter the park at the bottom of the hill and Gullivers do try and force the public to start at the top of the hill and work your way down. This does make sense as some of the paths can be very steep to navigate especially for anyone visiting with wheelchairs or pushchairs/trams etc.

On entering the park you head over to the ski lift which takes you all the way to the top of the park, the lift is the type of ride that you stand and wait for once its behind you jump up and sit on the seat, the operator then flips down the hand rail and off you go with no stopping, the operator is quite capable at loading people especially the younger kids and even has a small wooden box for the vertically challenged. As with most ride ops at Gullivers the guy in question is very chatty and helpful and makes sure the people in the queue waiting for the lift are kept entertained, with a few one liners thrown in here and there.

The trip on the ski lift takes about 3-4 minutes and its a gentle climb up the hill, as it follows the countours of the hill you are never really any great height from the floor and it does give you some time to really appreciate the views. Once at the top you jump of and the lift goes back down for the next passengers.

Becuase of the location of Gullivers and the split levels its quite difficult to isolate various themed areas from each other, for this reason you should get a map or look at the parks website for some more detail. Gullivers Matlock

For the reason above, ill just cover our day out and the various attractions/rides that we enjoyed.

At one of the highest point of the park is a log flume, its only small but it travels very close to the edge of the hill so you get some great views of Matlock from this height.

the ride doesnt last long and before you know it your down the drop with a very light if any covering of water. You can see the water is a murky brown colour, i think this is just the mud from the hill thats causing it and nothing more severe. I wouldnt like to get any on a white tee-shirt though.

Also at this level of the park is a elephant ride, similar to what you see at disney but this is allot smaller – i think its the ride that was removed from Gullivers at Warrington early 2006.

Theres a small theatre here too with various shows throughout the day, the entertainer is stood outside trying to encourage people to come back later in the day. He would probably be allot busier if the theatre was nearer street level as I cant see many parents coming back up the hill just for the show.

Theres a few other attractions on this level, The Royal cave exhibition, Dancers Water show, Animal Farm and diggers.

Animal Farm.

Its a kind of interactive barn with various animals, push the buttons and each make a unique sound.

As with most attractions like this, kids arent happy pushing one button and before you know it every character/animatronic in the barn is singing or making a noise.

Its only a small attraction and the younger pre-school age children will really enjoy it.

New for 2007 to this area is mineral panning. the web site claims an additional charge. To me it sounds like the gold panning attraction with a new name.

Flights of Fantasy

This is a smaller version of the miami rides we see in allot of fairgrounds.

As you slowly begin to walk down the hill you come across a large indoor play area, you know the type with nets, spongy balls and bright plastic slides. This can get very busy and there is no supervision it wasnt long before we seen the first tears.

As you can see from the photograph above the park is on some very steep angles.

The Rio Grande Railway.

This is only a small train for the younger kids, the theme is cowboys and indians.

The switchback.

Not a bad coaster for young kids, it doesnt go high but the location means you get a great view of the park and countryside when climbing the lift.

Log Roller Coaster.

Also around this area is a nice two level carousel.

Balloons Ferris Wheel.

Fire Brigade Ride.

The Pirate Ship.

Lazy River Ride.

The lazy river ride is a gentle cruise through the lower part of gullivers, the boats/tubs travel very slow and i found this very relaxing.

food/catering.
Food provision at Gullivers is typical of what to expect at a theme park in this country. For anyone arriving early breakfast is available in the main entrance, if its busy be prepared to queue and everything is warmed up in a microwave, my breakfast took about 10 minutes to arrive and half of it was cold. Further into the park hot food is available half way up the hill next to the switchback coaster which we enjoyed, fresh food just cooked not a great choice but adequate and filling. They also have a number of anamtronic figures around the ceiling area of this restaurant that dance and sing at various points of the day.

Staff.
Great staff as always at Gullivers the ride ops can never do enough to ensure the kids have a good time.

Conclusion.
An enjoyable day at a park with the strangest of locations, ideal for any young families. The way Gullivers caters for younger children doesnt attract the teenage thrill seekers, so you never get gangs of kids hanging about. The atmosphere in the park is very relaxed and the queues for nearly all the attractions (even in summer) are always low.

Apologies for the detail in this trip report its such a difficult park to describe becuase of the location. I also suffered a technical (forgot to charge) problem with one of my cameras which only lasted for 2 shots so that was a bit frustrating, it didnt spoil the day though.

To see all the photographs from this park please check out the ridemad gallery

If you want to use any photographs on this blog please get in touch with me at paul@ridemad.com or fill in the contact form. Im quite happy to share and have high resolution copies of everything used, to see the complete gallery visit the Ridemad Gallery

Thanks for Reading.

There Are 3 Responses So Far. »

  1. I love Gullivers kingdom in Matlock… I used to live & work in that area as a nanny and used to take the kids there often. Its a bugger pushing a stroller up those hills though!

  2. I bet its a struggle getting a buggy up those hills, i was very suprised when i visited as you are advised to get the cable car to the top of the park and then walk back down, very strange but an enojoyable park all the same 😉

  3. If you have a young child and hate queuing, this is a great park to visit. My 2.7 year old have a fantastic day along with her 10 year old sister. The day was full and we just managed to get round everything in time. Pushing the pram up the hill isn’t a big problem as you don’t have far to go to get to the next level of activity. The staff were very friendly and helpful. Parking is free. We will be visiting again…love it.

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