Blog2018 ≫ Chessington weekender

Was not my first choice for myself but overall voted most popular by the family, so we went to Chessington for the weekend. It's exactly Clare's sort of thing and the boys were very excited so it's a good thing for us all to do together. Kent VW festival (including an AC/DC tribute) was on the same weekend BUT then I would have been on my own.

We booked it through Chessington Holidays1 which is a work thing, but, I can't get a discount on this sort of thing, hmm. We had booked a two day package with a stay in the on site Azteca hotel, plus some fast track passes. A not insignificant layout. I will be back later with thoughts on of / how we could have done it cheaper, but first, was the trip even going ahead?

Clare had downloaded the Chessington app and was idly checking queueing times while we were out and about on Friday and oddly all rides were reporting as "closed" instead of showing queueing times. What's going on? There was a burst water main and the site was closed, and we weren't sure if it was going to open at all! We kept monitoring the situation and it was opening on the morning we were going so all good.

We got there just about for opening on the Saturday morning, and rolled right in to the on site hotel car park, a good spot. Slight confusion about what to do with the various tickets we had, including the fast track. Don't get me started on this scam, you pay to get in and then you can pay to jump the queue for every ride. You get exactly the trip you can afford, which I think is kind of disgusting. I did not have a fast track pass for myself, and so only went on things when there was no queue or a short queue that the little one could cope with. Mostly Clare and Thing One went on the bigger rides and Thing Two and I did some smaller things. He particularly enjoyed the Scorpion Express, Dragon's Playhouse and Temple of Mayhem. That last one was odd, like Kidz Planet soft play but made of concrete and iron; I saw many tears and bumped heads.

I liked the Zufari: Ride Into Africa though I do worry that some of the animals in this place looked depressed.

I was pleased to see there was a vegan food concession, though we had picnic for the first day.

We were staying onsite, which was the best bit for me, a nice hotel room with plenty of room. It was like two rooms in one, the boys had bunk beds at one end, then the bathroom in the middle, then our room at the other end. Both had their own TV, we did not watch but I think the boys found time to put it on. We went to the bar before dinner, splendid to be looking out of the fake African savanna at the Zebras and things. I washed this view down with a Stella, imagine! We got up fairly close to the animals here, thing two said at this point that this was his dream, to be up close to a zebra. His other dream was to stand under a giraffe apparently, so Clare booked a giraffe breakfast experience for the next day, and they got to feed them. He was a bit wary but it's a great holiday experience for him to talk about when he goes back to school.

Dinner was OK, Clare sent hers back, and was not the only one that night, someone had gone crazy with the salt apparently. Was actually quite reasonably priced, maybe we didn't get charged for everything.

We sat up and had a few more drinks, we didn't need to do the usual where someone leaves the room while the little one drops off, as there was enough room to give him some peace.

The next day we got back in the park early, before it opens to non residents, but not many rides were open, and it was raining. We had a few half hearted goes in the drizzle, but left by lunchtime and so were home in time to get some jobs done.

Next time would I do the same trip? I did really enjoy the on site hotel and love that convenience, but I think we paid a lot for it. I think you could book the very nearby Premier Inn independently, then get a two-for-one deal or kids-go-free deal on the tickets for one day, and then either pay £7 for a next day ticket if you really wanted to come back for a second day, or just go home and not bother. That is my recommendation, though not sure if I will come back for another visit myself. I may send them on their own next time.

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Paul Clarke's blog - I live in A small town, Kent. Wed + father to two, I am a full-stack web engineer, + I do javascript / nodejs, some ruby, other languages ect ect. I like pubbing, parkrun, eating, home automation + other diy stuff, history, family tree stuff, TV, squirrels, pirates, lego, and TIME TRAVEL.