This weekend, we visited Gulliver’s Land in Milton Keynes following their reopening after the lockdown. This was probably our 4th visit there (not including our Matlock Bath visits to Gulliver’s Kingdom too!), so we are huge fans of all their sites – and, despite the changes, this weekend was just as fantastic.
Still, we had no real intention of heading to any theme park on reopening weekend, our booking just fell that way.
I’d booked one of the Stay & Play packages, where we had an overnight stay in a themed den at Adventurer’s Village (this time was a beach den, last time was a dino den!), breakfast, and theme park tickets included.
Having had such a fantastic weekend and feeling so incredibly safe after such a crazy few months of lockdown, I wanted to share a few things about what to expect on your visit, and how it makes a great family day out, weekend trip, summer holiday activity, or overnight stay now that restrictions are easing.
Gulliver’s Land theme park – what to expect
If you’d like to check out my full review of the Gulliver’s Land theme park at Milton Keynes, click here, as I just wanted to share some of the changes here to help families understand what to expect when visiting, following the Gully’s Safe Steps they have put in place.
All bookings are now done online, with noticeably limited numbers in the park. In fact, it was so quiet that we were the first ones on several of the rides, and we had most of them to ourselves! There are staggered entry times throughout the day to ensure queues are kept to a minimum.
When arriving at Gulliver’s Land, there are bright red spots to queue on, helping keep your distance from other families. Everyone was respecting these when we were there, so it felt safe from the start.
One way systems
In places that are narrower or people are more likely to congregate, there are one-way systems around the park, with clear signs to follow. There’s also a traffic light system in place around the park for you to follow signs.
They check everyone’s temperature with a contactless handheld monitor when you arrive. It may be worth letting young children know so that it is no surprise when you get there!
Everyone over the age of 3 needs to wear face masks on all the rides. I’d get your own before you arrive and maybe get the kids used to wearing them. You don’t need to around the park, only on the rides. We have bought ours from Frerebears and Button & Squirt!
I’d like to think I’m a very clean person, and particularly addicted to hand sanitiser, but I’d never used it as much as we did this weekend! The staff apply it to you when you arrive at the park and before you get on every single ride, plus it is available around the park too!
Everything is cleaned regularly throughout the day and it is clear to see the staff going round dedicated to cleaning all surfaces. I was sat on a bench having a coffee with Lily, and the benches around us were cleaned several times in that time too. Everything from the rides (see next section for full details) to the shared facilities are regularly wiped and cleaned.
Rides are cleaned and wiped down between uses, and they’re closed at different times throughout the day for deep cleans. People are limited on the rides, queues are clearly marked out with red dots, so you don’t have large groups of people congregating in one place, and there are gaps left between different groups of people on the rides.
Saying that, we had no issues getting on any rides, walking up and straight onto most of them (especially down the back of the park by the rollercoaster), and I think people would genuinely expect to wait a bit longer if needed to get on a ride because they were being cleaned anyway.
Some rides were closed, such as the bigger water rides, but the majority were open and we rarely needed to queue for anything – which pleased Lily as she got to go right on the front 🙂
The playgrounds are opened with a limit of 4 children at a time, and for a maximum of 5 minutes. There’s obviously no one on each playground to control this, so you just need to rely on people being honest, but the playgrounds were empty throughout the park and it is great to see such a lovely way to allow children to still enjoy it.
JCB Tractor area
This was the only area that I was initially nervous about taking Lily to, as it involves ride-on tractors and diggers – fantastic for keeping children active, but also a great deal of surfaces to touch. However, there were so many staff members around cleaning and wiping everything, that I quickly felt reassured.
Toilets and baby changing facilities are open throughout the park as normal.
Food & Drink
There are takeaway food and drink shacks available, including coffee, snacks, ice cream, slushies and treats. There are clear signs for queuing too.
The gift shop opened at 12.30, with someone limiting numbers inside, a clear place to stand to wait to pay, and a one way in and out.
You’re still able to meet the mascots, and Gully and Gilly were more than happy to give air hugs, photos and wave from behind the flag!
The staff are all wearing masks throughout the park, with the gate staff wearing face shields. They are also incredibly friendly and helpful, which really helps reassure you while you’re there. I know it must be a crazy change for the staff too, but they really were so fantastic, explaining everything they were doing so nothing was a surprise or why it was taking longer than expected to get on a ride or something. I cannot thank them enough for making our stay so fantastic as it really made a huge difference.
I was admittedly nervous before heading to a theme park so soon, but we had the most fantastic time, helped by the friendly staff all the way.
For more on the Gully’s Safe Steps that the team have put in place, click here.
Adventurer’s Village – what to expect
We stayed in a beach den on one of the Stay & Play packages, which includes a breakfast bag, overnight themed accommodation and theme park tickets.
It’s great news for families as it’s the same price no matter how many of you there are (depending on the capacity of the cabin, obviously!). There are also accessible versions for those with reduced mobility to still be able to access the lovely themed accommodations. We previously stayed in a Dino Den, which you can read about here.
Inside your accommodation
They’re great for social distancing as you’re in your own self-contained accommodation and they are all spaced apart. They are basic inside but you have everything you need. We had our very own sandpit and outdoor decking area, mini fridge, microwave, shower and little sink above the toilet. The shower water was lovely and hot, and you get plenty of towels too.
The beds are bunk beds with a sofa that also opens up into a double bed. All your bedding, with sheets, duvets and pillows are provided.
When we stayed before, you were also provided with kitchen essentials, but this time due to changes in restrictions, we only had a few single-use cups (so perhaps bring your own reusable cup), teabags, coffee sachets and milk pots. There was a kitchen towel and paper towels too.
Food & drink
We were given little breakfast bags, with fruit, juice, croissant, yoghurt and jam inside them. There were also single-use knives, spoons and napkins.
For hot food, the Raptor restaurant is open for takeaway with a limited menu, mainly fish or burger and chips, cold drinks, and ice creams. It is all contactless with a screen at the entrance so you can’t go in.
The coffee shop is currently closed.
They’re not essental, but we’d recommend taking: tea bags/coffee (if you drink as much as us!), your own milk, reusable cups if you would like them, plates/bowls and your own food/drink if you don’t want to get some there.
We also love our trailer, which makes it easier to get from the carpark to the campsite with all your things 🙂
The play areas are all open with restrictions for 4 children for a maximum of 5 minutes. We were so lucky that it was so quiet that Lily had the play areas to herself most of the time!
She loved the one by the safari huts, directly from our beach dens, but beside the dino dens there is another play area as well as a separate sandpit to play in too.
Check in is totally contactless. As we arrived, there was a lady who greeted us by the entrance to take our temperatures. She then told us to go to a side window by the guest area, where we just told them our name and they gave us keys and wristbands. It was very simple and we just handed the keys back to them the following morning, before making our way to the theme park.
We already had our wristbands to access the park, so again we could just be scanned in to get into the park easily.
We had such a fantastic weekend again. I was really nervous about what to expect, but as soon as we arrived we felt so relaxed. Lily had the greatest time, it was so quiet, and being in our own self-contained accommodation meant we could just keep ourselves to ourselves. She loved the play areas, and she has already asked to go back again!
We can’t recommend Gulliver’s enough for days, weekends or even weeks away with the family – the setup is perfect for young children, with so much to do. After the craziness of this year, we really needed it, so thank you Gulliver’s for making that happen. We’ll be back again soon – Lily already wants me to book again!