Dear Mummy, over the half term we were invited to attend BeWILDerwood adventure park, in Hoveton, Norfolk. It’s two miles from Wrexham on the Norfolk Broads and 8 miles north-east of Norwich. We’d heard great things about this outdoor adventure park. It’s a fantastic alternative to commercial theme parks by providing a whole days worth of play in the woods for families. The added bonus was a spooky lantern parade around the woods after dusk called The Glorious Glowing Lantern Parade during the Halloween half term.
We travelled to Norfolk from Hampshire and stayed at the Travelodge Norwich Central and there are plenty of tourist spots nearby to make a weekend of it if you are travelling to BeWILDerwood from afar.
As the lantern parade was due to start after dusk (around 6pm) we decided to get to the park for midday so that the I could enjoy roaming the woods and climbing without tiring myself out before the evening festivities. Before the sun set we explored BeWILDerwood it all its Autumnal glory. It was bewitching with golden fallen leaves and sunlight filtering through the branches.
BeWILDerwood is an outdoor adventure park based on the children’s books of local author Tom Blofeld, which are set in this whimsical woodland. The stories are brought to life with storytelling sessions, tree top playgrounds based on the homes from the books and boat rides through the beautiful countryside.
Entrance is based on a child’s height. Born to BeWILD (Under 92cm) are free, Almost WILD (92-105cm) £14.50, BeWILD Now (over 105cm) £16.50 and Used to BeWILD (65 years+) £9.50. You can book online for cheaper tickets too. It’s excellent value for money as face-painting, story telling, craft making and running wild in mazes, tree houses, slippery slope slides and wobbly wire zip lines are included in the price!
We started our adventure into the woods the same way as Tom Blofeld’s character Swampy, the Marsh Boggle, did with a trip down the river. The BeWILDerwood story was told by our boat driver who had a long grey beard and looked like he was from the stories as well. He took us down Dismal Dyke to the Scary Lake where we met Mildred the Crocklebog, who scared the life out of my mummy!
We filmed a little video of our day at the BeWILDerwood to give you an idea of what to expect and share our experience with you all (listen out for my mummy’s screams).
The staff were friendly and loved talking about the books. We were captivated by the stories that inspired the creation of BeWILDerwood. It’s a real feast for the imagination and throughout the woods there were fairy doors, little houses and unusual signs and I was constantly looking for Twiggles and Boggles amongst the tree top houses and in the reeds.
We joined in the spooky themed quiz trail which encourage us to explore the whole site with puzzling riddles and pumpkin style stamps. After completing the trail we collected a BeWILDerwood badge in exchange for our quiz sheet which was a lovely memento to take home.
BeWILDerwood has so many wonderful treetop gangways, crazy mazes, obstacle courses and slides suitable for all ages. They even split the activities into separate areas for toddlers and older children so there’s no worry of older children pushing in. I loved climbing through trees connected by rickety bridges and exiting down steep slides. It was nice seeing family members getting involved too.
There were great information boards to plan our adventure and scheduled storytelling sessions took place three times a day on a stage in the heart of the woods. They had a great dressing up box and I was encouraged to come up on the stage and cast magical spells in the wand whirling class. With twinkly fairy lights, bell tents, colourful tree houses, fire pits and outdoor eating it felt like a festival. We were lucky with the weather but I’m not so sure what it would be like on a miserable day…
There were three cafes around the adventure park which are reasonably priced selling snacks, tea and coffee and hot food, but you can also bring in your own picnic. On the day we brought in our own food which is a refreshing change from other places we’ve visited.
During lunch we decided to make our lantern ready for the parade. It was really nice to relax and craft, enjoying the surroundings and we did it on a picnic table outside the Big Tent as it was too busy inside. All the materials to make our lanterns were included in the price of the ticket and we got everything we could possibly need to make our glorious glowing light.
Before the lantern parade there was a puppet performance from Snagglefang, the BeWILDerbat, with a poem and jokes which started the procession through the woods. Walking around the woods in the dark wasn’t frightening but enchanting, however it did get quite busy at choke points along the route. We loved Hazel The Wood Witch’s potions and her cackling.
It was lovely seeing the Thorneycold Spider, Mildred the Crocklebog, tiny Slitherigrubs in the reeds and Swampy from the books. The atmosphere of the lantern parade was amazing with spooky fog and music, the shadow puppets and light shows.
Even if you are not local to BeWILDerwood we’d recommend taking a trip to Norfolk to visit, it really was a magical day! The books are also available to order online to make the experience of BeWILDerwood last longer. We can’t wait till the Pesky Bunnies arrive in 2018…
Love Bella x
Disclaimer: We were offered tickets to BeWILDerwood in return for an honest review. All thoughts and photos are our own.