A visit to BeWilderwood (near Wroxham, Norfolk) has been high on my list-of-places-to-go since Little Miss was just a baby. So many friends have recommended it to me, and when we were on our Haven holiday at Wild Duck last year, I finally found out what everyone had been going on about. It was definitely one of the highlights of our holiday, even Little Miss’s dad agreed that it was a good day out (and that really is saying something!).
BeWilderwood is one of the biggest adventure playgrounds you’ve ever seen. It’s set among 50 acres of woodland with a series of treehouses, slides, zipwires, mazes, wobbly bridges, cargo nets and lots more. But the real magic for the kids (and adults actually) is the story of the characters that live at BeWilderwood which is brought alive through really clever theming and detail. Right from when you enter, you are immersed in a world where creatures called Boggles, Twiggles and Crocklebogs live. The first thing you do is take a short boat ride to get to the centre of the site. A guide sets the scene for the day by introducing the characters you might meet. After that it was really quite fun to pretend with Little Miss to see Boggles and Twiggles hiding among the woodland.
Adventure play at BeWilderwood
There is plenty to see and do at BeWilderwood to keep everyone busy the whole day. I did wonder whether at 3-years-old, Little Miss might be too small for some of the play areas, but she was able to go on everything. One of us had to go up with her, as she couldn’t do some of the cargo nets by herself, but I was surprised at how much she could do.
There are seven different play areas (for want of a better word!) built among the trees. One of our favourites was the ‘Broken Bridge’ which was a series of treehouses linked together by wobbly bridges, cargo nets and rope walks. We went back several times to play on this one. Little Miss also loved the ‘Tricky Tunnels’ – a whole lot of tunnels to crawl through and climb up and over.
New when we visited was the ‘Sky Maze’. We actually visited on the day it opened, so were some of the first people through this new attraction. It is a maze set on lots of different levels, over bridges, through tunnels and up and down stairs. The whole structure weaves in and out, under and over, with half a kilometre of maze, reaching over 8 metres at its highest point. I normally pride myself on my sense of direction, but this maze had me stumped. We did the maze at the end of the day and poor Little Miss was really ready for home, so she got a bit grouchy when we couldn’t find our way out. But finally after 20 minutes (and a lot of to-ing and fro-ing) we found our way out.
The very little ones don’t miss out with two special areas for toddlers with swings, slides, sandpit and smaller treehouses to run around on.
Aside from the play areas, there are also a number of ‘static’ displays, to help bring the story alive. Look high up in the trees and you will see little villages (complete with washing lines!) and signs of life of the Twiggles and Boggles. Little Miss thought these were brilliant.
There’s also a storytelling stage with regular performances throughout the day. The one we saw had lots of kids from the audience involved and dressing up to be part of the story.
Top tips for visiting BeWilderwood
Get there early. Since we were staying so close, we got to BeWilderwood just on opening time at 10am. It was nearly deserted for about the first hour, then we noticed it started getting a lot busier, especially at the zip wires and ‘Slippery Slopes’ (the giant slides).
Do the Sky Maze or Slippery Slopes first. These are the most popular areas, so do these at the beginning of your day. We got to the Slippery Slopes at lunch time – the same time as everyone else, so there was quite a queue each time we wanted to go down.
Take your buggy. If you have a tot who still likes to use the buggy; take it. When we visited last year, Little Miss hardly used the buggy, but this is quite a big site and by the end of the day she was in the buggy. The site is completely buggy-friendly (buggies can go on the boat trip as well).
Take your own lunch. There are plenty of places to have a picnic; and plenty of picnic tables, so save some money and take a packed lunch.
Check the height on young ones. BeWilderwood charges on height, not age. Children under 92cm are free, but that also means they are restricted on some of the play areas they can go on (zip wires for instance).
All the important bits
BeWilderwood is located north east of Norwich on the A1062 between Wroxham, Hoveton and Horning in Norfolk. The postcode is NR12 8JW. You will need to keep an eye out for the brown BeWilderwood/Adventure Park signs, from Wroxham and Hoveton.
There is plenty of free car parking at BeWilderwood.
Prices are based on height and time of the year. Children under 92cm are always free. Children from 92-105cm are £12 – £13.50 and adults are £14 – £15.50. You can book tickets online, although there is no saving in ticket price, you just save time on queuing at the gate.
Eating and drinking
There are three places to get something to eat or drink at BeWilderwood: the Snack Shack, the Munch Bar and the Cosy Cabin. The Snack Shack is more for just a snack or drink. We didn’t eat lunch, but the food looked good with an extensive menu of light bites to more substantial lunches like sausages and burgers.
The site is buggy-friendly, although in wet weather, the going might be a bit tough. The paths are just compacted dirt and bark, but you don’t particularly need an off-road buggy (we just had our lightweight stroller and that managed just fine). There are toilets with baby changing facilities dotted around the site.