A seven year age gap between kids is a bit of a tricky one. It’s great when the youngest is about a year old and your eight year old loves playing with adorable babies, but when that adorable baby turns into an annoying six year old, the now teenager isn’t always quite so keen.
One thing we find it really hard to do is to find activities and days out that both Bee and Belle, now 17 and 10, both enjoy. It is getting easier as they get older but funnily enough Bee doesn’t always leap at the chance to do things like spend a weekend with me and Belle in a caravan building sandcastles and playing on 2p arcade machines.
A couple of weeks ago though I discovered something that I reckoned would appeal to everyone, even Boyfriend, who doesn’t get hugely excited about any sort of family day out – Thorpe Park. Sure, I’m not a massive fan of rollercoasters, (you wait for ages, get banged about uncomfortably for a bit and then it’s over before you realise…), but I can tolerate them for the sake of that apparently much-sought after quality family time.
Here are some of the things we liked and disliked about Thorpe Park:
Parking was easy, there were no queues actually getting in to the park, and everything seemed to be laid out well, so there wasn’t masses of walking involved.
They offer a refillable drink cup for £6, which is great value for families who don’t mind sharing a straw. Unfortunately, the queues to get your cup refilled were long, and food and drink stands seemed generally understaffed. We spent over an hour altogether over the course of the day queuing just for drinks. Not cool.
We really enjoyed the log flume ride we went on – Loggers Leap – although the queue for the Tidal Wave was a bit too long to justify – over an hour and a half when we went to have a look. However, one of my personal best bits of the day was standing in the ‘splash zone’ for the Tidal Wave – as each car came down the main loop and splashed into the water onlookers could, depending on where they were standing, get completely soaked. I got completely soaked. It was a lot of fun, but probably best not done whilst wearing jeans as I was quite soggy for the rest of the day.
I found a video on YouTube to show you what I mean:
We didn’t get to go on Stealth – one of the big five – as it was shut for pretty much the whole day. This was very disappointing as this was the one we really wanted to go on. I also didn’t get to go on The Saw, as this was shut for the afternoon, and Colossus was also closed when we went back for a second ride. With just the five really big rollercoasters it can really impact on your day when one or more breaks down.
We liked the atmosphere that had been created with the set around the Swarm. This ride felt much more Disneyland-esque, where it’s telling a story and you can get a bit involved in the build-up as well as the ride itself. Having something to look at while you’re queuing does help make it feel not quite so tedious. Make the most of the build-up though, the ride itself was over very quickly.
The best bit though? Apparently it was the Rocky Express. Turns out you don’t have to do as much as you might think to please certain people…