The long Bank Holiday weekend seemed like the perfect opportunity for a family day out.
Our family group consists of two people who would technically be described as "grown ups" (we're anything but!) and a nearly three year old thrill-seeker. Pleasurewood Hills just had to be our venue of choice.
In these seemingly never-ending times of Covid, it is necessary to pre book a visit time online. We weren't organised enough to bag a 10am slot and so arrived to find a hefty queue at the gate just before 11am. We were relieved to find that our wait was minimal, with well organised staff directing guests to the most appropriate admissions booth.
Despite there being no headline-grabbing addition to the the park this season, it is clear that the extended months of closure have been put to good use. There are plenty of nice decorative tweaks around the park, lots of new and brightly coloured signs and a revamped Sea Lion theatre.
In recent years, the park have increasingly sought to squeeze everything possible out of their existing equipment, with the mothballed Rattlesnake being given a major revamp to become Egg-Spress in 2019 and the log flume receiving a make-over, reopening last year as the Water Fun Factory.
Keen eyed guests and regular visitors will notice a number of previously used plots around the park which now either remain vacant or provide additional picnic areas. Covid-19 has a lot to answer for in all aspects of life, but hopefully the predicted boom in staycations will benefit the park and give their owners the confidence to invest in new attractions in future.
The recently renamed and revamped Sealion Splash was a hit with our usually impatient little boy. He didn't take his eyes off the impressive display of skills for a single moment. The timing of the show couldn't have been more unfortunate, with the heaviest rainfall of the entire day being confined to the duration of the show. Our spirits, and those of the presenters, were not dampened, however, as the display was sound tracked by some very catchy tunes. Fans of 90's dance will not be disappointed by Dario the Seal Lion's cleverly selected walk-on music.
The surprisingly low height requirement for the Cannonball Express meant that, for the first time, our little one could join us for a ride. As ever, the queue was very slow moving but it was worth the wait. My heart skipped a beat as we reached the front of the queue where a sign suggested that accompanied children must sit "behind" the accompanying adult. Fortunately, this appeared to by a typo and I was able to sit beside my son and keep an eye on him. I needn't have been nervous. He absolutely loved it and wanted to re-join the now much longer queue for another go. We managed to convince him otherwise.
Before heading to the next family-friendly ride, I selfishly took advantage of the que-less state of the Jolly Roger drop tower. It seems so much taller than it looks and is my absolute favourite ride on the park. I know screaming out in public is frowned upon in the current pandemic, but I was incapable of making a silent descent!
Children's rides were next on the agenda, as we quickly hopped from one ride to another within the kids zone. The Safari themed veteran cars, Pony Rail and Flying Elephants were particular favourites here. All were largely without queues, which was a bonus.
At just over 90cm, our son is now the perfect height to experience a larger selection of the rides at Pleasurewood Hills. We all enjoyed the adrenalin rush that the low-tech Wavebreaker slides offer and the Egg-Spress, with it's cheerful theme tune, was great fun.
Another attraction given a lick of paint this season is the Woodland Express Train. It's so nice to see this nostalgic ride going strong after so many years and it gave us a much needed opportunity to rest our feet for a few minutes.
On the drive home we all agreed that another visit was definitely needed soon, once circumstances allow for the indoor attractions and eateries to reopen.
A cuddle from Woody Bear is also long overdue... for me! My son has yet to experience that particular rite of passage.
Tickets are available to purchase at www.pleasurewoodhills.com and with the challenges that the leisure industry has experienced over the past year, I am sure they would greatly appreciate your custom.