Reviewed by Jenny Seymour
We have just come back from a great day out at Twinlakes All Action Family Theme Park and have 3 tired children and a very tired mummy and daddy, with a great day had by all!
We arrived just after 11am (an hour after opening), but there was still plenty of space in the car park and not much of a queue to get in. The ticket office process was a bit slow though: there was only one queue for people paying on the day, another for online bookings and another for groups. There weren’t any signs that displayed the prices at the ticket booths or the opening times of the park, which would be an improvement. Make sure you ask for a map and a list of what activities are on throughout the day – someone handed these to us after we left the ticket office.
It is no surprise to know that many of the bookings are made online and if you book your tickets up to the day before, there are 20% discount offers on tickets. This makes the tickets quite good value for money. The full price is £17.99 for anyone over 108cm and £9.99 for OAPs.
As we drove in, our two boys (7 and 6) noticed the superhero Twinlake mascots, and one of the mascots met us “in person” as we walked down the driveway into the park – after some huge high fives and a family photo (which can be viewed and purchased in the barn at any time during the day), we were ready to look at the map and decide where to head to first…
We decided to head for the Excalibur Adventure Zone, but en-route we bumped into Princesses Elsa and Anna in a Frozen sing-a-long. It was very cute to see the little girls all singing along if Elsa held the microphone for them. BUT my two boys weren’t about to stay and watch that for very long.
We were quickly onto the Black Knights Castle play area and slide, Lancelot’s outdoor play camp, Jester’s Revenge (which is like the traditional cups and saucers fairground ride) and the Joust-about. At every section, there always seemed to be an outdoor play area and often also an indoor play area. We finished off with the pitch black Dungeon’s Dark Maze before lunch. Do you dare to head into the dark and will you find your way out for lunch???
One thing to note about Twinlakes is that there is lots to do for all ages, provided your children are over 90cm high. Also, if your children are between 90-110cm, they will have to be accompanied. If like us, though you have more than one child, they do a child swap – where you don’t have to re-queue with the second child: they can wait at the front until the first ride finishes and then you swap. But, if your child is 2 or under, it is unlikely that there will be rides for them to go on. Having said that, our 3rd child is almost 2 and she had a great day! She didn’t like the rides, but instead had fun in the animal farm, watching the Birds of Prey display and in all of the adventure playgrounds dotted around the park. There are lots of toddler-only soft play areas and many indoor things for them to do as well. My little girl’s highlight of the day though was the miniature railway trip from the bottom of the park (by the rowing boat and pedalo lakes from which the park takes its name!) around past some animals in the fields, the park’s very own beach (with holiday music, deck chairs and double sun loungers) and ending up in the Ao Guang Dragon Zone.
The Dragon Zone is home to the Log Flume. This is usually my favourite ride at theme parks – I love getting wet, especially on a nice summer’s day, but today, it was actually the low light of the day: it took an hour to queue for the ride (as there were only 3 logs and only 3 people were allowed in each one) – it would have been good if you knew how long you had to wait at various points in the queue, like they do in other theme parks. The ride is simply up to the top of the flume and then down for the big splash. Still good fun, but probably not worth the wait! Whilst some of us went on the log flume, the others all headed to the Susanoo Splash Play. This was fabulous – the home of 4 huge water slides. The boys grabbed their mats and headed up the stairs, trying to avoid the bucket which periodically tips water on unsuspecting queuers! My boys quickly knew to cover their heads with their mats to protect themselves from the splash! So please REMEMBER YOUR COZZIES AND TOWELS so that the kids aren’t disappointed! There are changing rooms there with showers and a shop will sell you swim wear if you forget.
Set in 100 acres of parkland, the park is very “green” – there are lots of open spaces for picnicking or for the children to run around – mingling with the resident peacocks – and it never feels very crowded. This makes for a really relaxed day and, other than the one queue I mentioned before, there wasn’t more than a few minutes to wait for any ride. The park also has its very own farm and birds of prey centre and animals are a big feature of the day. We were lucky enough to be at the farm on a day when a baby goat was born – very cute. The rabbits and guinea pigs are for sale! You may be tempted! There are activities on the animal farm (such as ferret racing, animal handling and feeds) throughout the day, so be sure to get a leaflet and plan your day.
We had our picnic in one of the designated areas and then headed down to the Birds of Prey display (where you can also see alpacas and reindeer). We were lucky enough to be sitting in sunshine, but if you go on a rainy day, there are lots of indoor areas to picnic in too, as well as cafes.
There are plenty of toilets dotted around the park and lots of rubbish bins, which I thought was great. I don’t like places where bins are piled high because they are few and far between or you have to dash back to the entrance area for toilet facilities.
We were a bit disappointed that two of the major rides weren’t running during the day – the Gladiator’s Galleon and the Buffalo Stampede. There was a board at the ticket office which informed you of closed rides before you moved in, but Buffalo Stampede wasn’t on there. Our boys were thrilled when it re-opened towards the end of the day and they could have their rollercoaster ride. The park did have a bit of an “in development” feel despite having been open for many years – the maize maze wasn’t ready (despite being the height of summer which was a bit of a disappointment, although the children would never have known – there was so much else for them to do!) and some of the displays in the creepy critters area were empty ready for them to buy new animals.
I liked the Action USA Zone, with a toboggan run, bumper boats, assault course where two people could compete, sand pits and go-karts. I think this was overall our favourite zone of the day.
Our favourite ride of the day though had to be Icarus – this is an amazing ride which sees you lying face down in a superman-style pose and are flying through the sky on a carousel. We’d never seen anything like it before and loved it.
We were there until the park closed at 5.30pm and still didn’t have time to cover all of the zones. We didn’t really see everything in the Labyrinth zone and nor did we venture into the Buccaneer Island Zone, but I’m sure we’ll be back to visit again soon…. With an annual pass available to cover all the trips you want to make during the year, this may well be an option because there are various themed events taking place throughout the year. There is a Halloween Screamfest, with their very own pumpkin patch; Breakfast with Santa and a trip in the Elves Workshop and even an Easter Bunny’s grotto. You can also buy a joint annual pass which can be used in Twinlakes’ sister parks of Wheelgates near Mansfield and Woodgates in Devon.
All in all, we were able to entertain 3 kids and the two of us all day with no quarrels or tantrums – there was genuinely something to please everyone just round the corner.
Overall we had a great family day out – from animals, birds of prey, rides, roller skating rink and water slides – fun for all! Lots of indoor and outdoor spaces to suit all kinds of British weather.
For more information or to save money by booking tickets online visit www.twinlakespark.co.uk.
Twinlakes, Melton Spinney Road, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, LE14 4SB | 01664 567 777