This is a guest post by journalist Afra Willmore. Afra is an award-winning feature writer who blogs at madmumof7.com. Afra went to check out Chessington World of Adventures for Mums do travel one weekend in May. Chessington is a theme park and zoo with hotel and glamping accommodation in Surrey in South East England, around half an hour from central London by train.
Over to Afra:
Glamping at Chessington World of Adventures
“As a busy mum I am very keen on holidays which entertain the children and give me a bit of a break from the daily grind, so the new Explorer “glamping” site at Chessington World of Adventures offering the convenience of ready to use tents plus the excitement of a top quality theme park ticks all my boxes when it comes to a family break.
We often go camping but I have to admit the effort of planning and packing beforehand and the prospect of dismantling an (often soggy) tent at the end of the holiday does rather make my heart sink.
Chessington’s “glamping” site offers a choice of thick canvas tents. There are 31 round tents which sleep four in one double bed and two singles, and four premium safari style “Amboseli” tents which have a kingsize bed, and separate second sleeping area with three single beds and additional living space. The premium tents also have an outside seating area.
There are two standard tents with ramp access for disabled guests, designated disabled parking and a disabled toilet incorporating a wet-room style shower.
Bedding linen is provided in all tents and towels are provided in the premium tents. You literally can turn up and fall into bed after a busy day in the park.
I took my seven year old and my thrill-loving 15 year old for the Explorer glamping break and they both had the time of their lives.
We stayed in one of the round family tents which have a sturdy wooden floor mostly covered with a rug for comfort, a mirror, a hanging rail, a chair and a sort of built-in table which incorporated light switches for the two overhead lamps and a plug – very welcome for recharging phones etc.
We found the beds exceptionally comfortable with snuggly duvets and lovely squishy pillows. I’d say the beds were more comfortable than those in some hotels I have stayed in and at no point was I cold. It was mild during our visit however so I would recommend taking socks and onesies etc if the weather forecast is not so good. It is still camping of sorts after all!
It did rain during our sleepover but we stayed nice and dry inside the tent. No leaks!
All campers share a separate shower block and toilet huts. We found these to be spotlessly clean and because of the design of the site, no one is too far from the block.
The site is well lit with pretty strings of bulbs alongside bunting and there are very clear coir paths so even a night-time toilet trip is no problem. Security is good with a 24-hour reception tent on the site.
Any gripes? There was some piped “safari atmosphere” noises which went on until 10.30pm and were mildly irritating to me but the children fell asleep to the sounds quite happily.
Once the monkeys and parrots had been switched off I lay in my cosy bed listening and could only hear the occasional ‘plane, distant traffic and the wind through the trees.
I tried to hear lions or tigers roaring but Chessington’s resident big cats didn’t oblige on this occasion. Or maybe I just couldn’t hear them over my husband snoring. Shame.
Chessington World of Adventures
About the theme park – Chessington World of Adventures is actually much more than “just” a collection of rides.
There are 40 rides and attractions in ten themed lands plus a zoo with more than 100 animals, a SEALIFE centre plus lots of shows and seasonal events.
There really did seem to be something for all ages and interests at Chessington. My daughter got wet, was spun round and round, got wet, was hurled upside down and, did I mention she got wet, over and over again, much to her delight.
My less brave seven year old enjoyed scaled down version of the big rides, some rides specifically for his height and age bracket and loved the animals. He’s not tall for his age but he was able to go on most of the rides.
One of the benefits of staying in the glamping area is that you get exclusive access to some rides in the Wild Asia land and evening entertainment at select times of the year (check before booking.) You also get Hotel Fasttrack access on all rides for the first hour of the day.
We took advantage of our evening access to Wild Asia where we rode the thrilling Kobra ride without any queues, had a family battle on dodgems (Tuk Tuk Turmoil) and then got wet once again on the Monkey Swinger.
Explorers’ Outpost restaurant
Then we headed to the themed Explorers’ Outpost restaurant and bar, open exclusively for glamping guests, for a fantastic buffet dinner.
Glamping guests have a substantial buffet breakfast at the Explorer’s Outpost included in the cost of their stay and can add the three course eat-as-much-as-you-like buffet dinner option for £50 per family.
The food was plentiful, fresh and good quality and ranged from soups, salads and a jacket potato bar to dishes like battered chicken breast chunks, Piri Piri chicken, BBQ beef with a chilli and maple glaze, Malaysian vegetable curry and my daughter’s fave, mac and cheese.
The desserts were a hit too with my children – jelly, a chocolate fountain, fruit, cakes, chocolate mousse….I was almost too full to try the puds but in the interests of providing a full and accurate review I forced down a tasty Portuguese egg tart and a chocolate coated marshmallow from the chocolate fountain area. Delicious!
Glamping breaks at Chessington World of Adventures cost from £149 for two adults and two children (midweek) and currently include two days in the park and breakfast. You can find out more on the Chessington website.”
Afra lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and four of her seven children. The older members of the tribe have left to work or study. You can find Afra over on her blog, madmumof7.com and on most social media channels.