Last weekend we visited bewilderwood after being invited along on a gifted basis in exchange for a review. We primarily came for the glorious lantern parade but where also given some day tickets to use too. We’d seen a lot of photos on Instagram of bewilderwood and it seemed like our sort of day out! We love the outdoors and especially the forests so to go somewhere Elijah could enjoy and be outdoors ticks all the boxes. This will be a completely honest review from me and James’s point of view of both the event and the day trip.
So first of all we traveled from Suffolk which took a hour and half to get there but we regularly travel (lockdown postcode checked first) for days out. So this was no issue for us as we love going for a drive too! We arrived at 3 pm due to the fact our lantern event wasn’t till 7:30 and didn’t want Elijah to be tired. First of all the customer service team are fantastic, I had to isolate for a few days due to a family member I was near too having Covid symptoms so couldn’t go to the first event on the opening day of the lantern parade so had to rearrange. Luckily the family member did not have Covid so I could go the following week instead. They rearranged with no issues and they where lovely! The customer services also told me I had no time I had to turn up but the last admission was at 4 and they shut at five. So we arrived for 3pm.
So the good bits of the day trip! First of all the place was really lovely, there was a fairy tale fantasy vibe. The place is based on a book and the characters in the books are hidden around the park for you to find. The fact it’s in the middle of a forest is great too because you get lots of fresh air and can take in the scenery. The place is full of climbing frames, zip wires, treetop houses and slides galore. There’s lots of places to explore. There’s also arts and craft huts, story readings and much more to do during the day (before it starts to close).
Elijah loved running around and exploring. He even tried a big slide and wanted to go down a few more hundred times. He loves exploring all the tree houses and running through the woods. We looked out for characters and statues and Elijah got very excited spotting some bats and a giant spider! We loved the Halloween decorations too! There was a outdoor cafe with lots of picnic tables. They served hot food and drink too! It smelt really nice!
Being so close to Norwich it’s only twenty minutes to Norwich so there’s shopping and food places locally too that you can visit after or before. There is a gift shop with lots of little bits to remember your visit too! There is a boat ride that goes around and looked super fun although they didn’t allow us on as we where a minuite late.
Whilst we arrived at three we were a little disappointed a lot of things where closed when we arrived. The story telling was finished, many things where shut and it felt a bit like a race against the clock to look at everything in time for the place in time. When we arrived I also asked the staff what time the boat rides finished as we where most excited to do that. They told us they would run till 5pm when they shut so that everybody could have a go. So we decided to explore the park instead of queuing first. The downside of this was in fact the staff member was wrong and they shut at 4:30. Despite us arriving to the que for the boats at 4:31 they shut the gates in front of us. I asked if we could join as we where told they shut at 5 and it was one minute late the staff said no so we where all very upset. Elijah started to cry as we walked away and was sad and ended up in a tantrum. We left immediately as being around the boats again would of upset him all over again. I was surprised that they would state a last admission at a full paid price be a hour before they shut if everything is already closing. Perhaps they should advise a earlier arrival time. This way it avoids rushing and disappointment.
However we knew we where coming back later and we went locally to Norwich for dinner. Whilst bewilderwood would make a fantastic day out I would visit earlier if we where to go again. They did have a fantastic scheme with wristbands that you write your details on should your child get lost which I thought was fantastic. Overall we would come again but perhaps earlier to enjoy the story telling and arts and crafts. We would also come to have a go on the boats. The place is more suited to older children but so long as you follow your child along there’s no limit to the fun you can have together.
Now the glorious lantern parade. What can I say other then the fact it was fantastic!
First of all I’ll apologise for our photos we tried to walk through quickly to social distance and my camera didn’t want to focus. But none the less I can only describe the event as beautiful! Lanterns and fairy lights lit the whole way which took us about a hour to complete.
First of all we checked in and we went to make Elijahs lantern. The place was a light with lanterns absolutely everywhere and the energy from the kids was really sweet. There was a witch who opened the event and made everyone excited to go in the children loved it. However the only issue I had the whole time which lots of people loudly commented on was the fact they crammed us all through a small gate and didn’t filter people in so it created a big crowd and social distancing wasn’t happening. We tried to keep our distance but a lot of people ignored the social distancing rules.
When we followed the trails it was so pretty following all the lights and there was music and sound effects. Elijah enjoyed carrying his little lantern and kept trying to spot things. All the play frames where lit up and looked beautiful. There was story telling and characters too. The food and drink was open too and there was no rush to get to the end. We will book again for next year we loved it that much. It was well worth the travel and it was nice to experience some sort of festivity in the bleak of the corona virus pandemic.
Thanks for reading!