During the summer holidays my kids (17 and 12 years old) and I were invited to London to check out the new Shrek’s Adventure attraction on the South Bank.
The kids enjoyed watching the Shrek films when they were younger, and they both thought that they were a bit too old to be going to Shrek’s Adventure – but they came along anyway to see what it was like.
Shrek’s Adventure is in a vibrant part of the city, right near to the London Eye. We walked there along the river from London Bridge Station and arrived just in time for our booked slot at 11am. You need to book a time to visit the attraction because you go through it in groups and the numbers are limited to a maximum of 40 people per group.
Before the actual tour started we were invited to have our photos taken in front of a green screen – this happened at various points during the tour but we declined the offer. Visitors aren’t allowed to take any photos during the tour (the ones included here are from when I took part in a blogger event at Shrek’s Adventure a few weeks after my visit with the kids).
Once the photographer had finished, our group was ushered into a waiting area where an actor explained, very theatrically, the tour rules: switch off our phones; let kids to the front so that they can see what’s happening; don’t touch any of the characters. Next we walked into an area which reminded all three of us of the Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studio Tour. Here we met Princess Fiona and she explained that we were going to the land of Far Far Away.
We were invited to sing along to a song (my kids were very uncomfortable with this) and then get on a bus, driven by Donkey to get to where we needed to go. The smaller children couldn’t go on the bus (you have to be at least 90 cms tall in order to go on it) and so had to wait outside with their parents while the rest of us enjoyed the ride. This was my favourite part of the tour, although I felt sorry for the little ones and their parents who missed out on it. The bus ride is a brilliant 4D cinematic experience – you feel like you really are flying through the sky above London and beyond. As you fly you meet various characters from the DreamWorks stable including Po from Kung Fu Panda, Hiccup and Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon and the penguins from Madagascar. Finally the bus is surrounded by some scary witches on broomsticks and it crash lands in the forest, squashing Rumpelstiltskin’s favourite witch in the process.
Princess Fiona ushered us off the bus and directed us to escape through the forest before Rumpelstiltskin and the other witches found us. By this point it felt like we were in the story – and I think that some young kids could find it a little bit scary. I won’t give away everything that happened on our journey but we went in search of safety through a series of scenes with different fairy tale characters. It was entertaining and interactive and felt a bit like taking part in a pantomime.
I found the end of the tour to be an anticlimax. We’d managed to escape to safety, with the help of Shrek, Puss in Boots and various other characters and it felt like there should be a finale – something to mark the end of the performance. Instead of which we filed out into a corridor where we could line up to have our photo taken with Shrek. The kids didn’t want to wait for that so we made our way out past the people trying to sell us a £25 book of photos of our experience, past the models of characters from DreamWorks films, through the gift shop and outside to the busy Southbank to find somewhere for lunch. The whole tour took an hour and 15 minutes.
If booked online in advance, adult’s tickets for Shrek’s Adventure London cost from £23.40, children’s (under 16 years old) tickets cost from £18.72.
My daughter, 17, says: ‘I think that Shrek’s Adventure would have been very fun when I was younger or if I’d gone with younger kids. If you went with toddlers it would be a pain if they were too small for the bus ride because that’s the best bit. It’s kind of like Disneyland with the characters because the young kids were really excited to see them.’
My son, 12, says: ‘It’s really for younger children.’
I think that the 4D bus tour is brilliant and the scenes after that are fun. I found the forced photo stops and the start of the tour (before the bus ride) irritating. My kids were definitely too old for the tour – the best age to enjoy it is probably about four to nine years old.
Disclosure: We were guests of Shrek’s Adventure for the purposes of this review.
If you’ve been to Shrek’s Adventure, what did you think of it? If you haven’t been, would you like to go there?