Reviewed by Katy Nettleton
and her 2 4½ year old girls
Wheelgate Park is an all action theme park situated in Newark, North Nottinghamshire, near Sherwood Forest and Clumber Park.
3 words sums up our day: Brilliant Day Out!
We weren’t quite sure what to expect when going to Wheelgate Park for the first time, the site map on the website gave a brief idea of the overview and the park and the rides / attractions including height restrictions: which meant we avoided the rides that my little girls weren’t tall enough for (so we didn’t have a melt down!). The good thing was that near each “ride” there was a playground or activity which all heights and ages could go on: so my 22 month old son was able to see his sisters go on the carousels/roller coaster from his swing or the slide he was on – so the whole family was able to stay together. This is a positive thing for my family as when we go out to places like this we want to be able to stay together, rather than separate off so that the children get “to do” something.
Getting there was easy from South Derbyshire, when you get closer follow the signs for White Post Farm, as Wheelgate is just off one of the roundabouts! We arrived early with it being Easter Holidays and nice weather, but there was no queue so was able to go straight in. I believe the queuing is not bad even at peak times due to having a number of kiosks, which you want through rather than a turnstile approach: making it easy for pushchairs. Once in my girls were very excited to see a multi-coloured horse – this was just the start of the excitement!
The park itself is not as big as I had expected (30 acres); but still spread out meaning that even at busy periods you are not going along in masses, and have to worry about children running off into crowds. As we were there for 10am we managed to have a walk around the park first, to see everything that was going on and get “our bearings” for timings and working out the most important part of any day for little boy “what time we needed to have lunch!” There was an activities programme provided with the map (at the entrance) which enabled us to work out this, with the first priority being “what time Frozen Sing-a-Long was” and where. This caused a little problem as we had “been told it was in the bandstand” however, having 2 princess obsessed “fairies” we followed Anna and Elsa into the Alien Galaxy Zone. My girls thorough enjoyed the 10 minute session, and was very excited to get an autograph and picture and the end (for free!). This was nice touch for a theme park, my only slight feelings was that the viewing area was small if a larger crowd had turned up, and that although “Anna and Elsa” tried to interact with the audience (children) there was not much rapport. However, this was not noticed by them so may be me just being critical.
The day was a success! We held a lizard (well the children did, including my little boy), we fed the goats, we stroked a rabbit, ate an ice cream and made sure we went on every ride, swing and trampoline as we could! The sandpit is only small, but that didn’t seem to spoil it for the little ones. The indoor play area is brilliant, as you are able to eat in there, so if the weather is bad there is still plenty to do undercover. This is something that I look for when organising a day trip with children in tow – if the weather is bad can we go? And for Wheelgate it is yes – many of the rides are inside, so you will just need an umbrella to run from one building to another.
As this was an “adventure” we had to try out the water park; which I have to say is brilliant, although a little cold in April! We put wetsuits on the children and they were OK for about 5 minutes! The waterpark is perfect for children of all swimming abilities as it is not deep, and there is still slides and fun to be had for adults and children alike! There is family changing rooms and toilet facilities just through the shop where you can buy costumes and water toys if you have forgotten to take yours! And there is a small café to get a nice warm drink from (they do sell ice-creams and snacks also but we were too cold to try them by the pool!).
Overall, I don’t want to spoil the surprise of the park, but it was a brilliant day out, with adults and children thoroughly enjoying it and making the most of quality family time together. The way the park is laid out makes it easy for you to see everything, as the rides aren’t long there are no long queues (which aren’t favoured by me waiting with two 4½ year olds, asking “is it our go yet” or “how much longer” which you usually get at theme parks).
My only slight criticism is the toilet facilities. For a theme park I don’t think there are enough toilets in each block, (although they are across the site making it easy for the emergency dashes) and that they looked a bit “tired” and could do with a bit of TLC: however they are perfectly useable.
For a family day out it is not cheap, however it is value for money if you are there for the day, and if you are going to go to Wheelgate or Twinlakes (their sister park in Melton Mowbray) it works out cheaper to get a season ticket.
I am looking at reviews now for Twinlakes, to see if we can manage to squeeze a trip into compare before the summer holidays arrive!
For my family, this was a great day out and one that the children will remember. My girls said it was better than another well-known theme park, and they loved that!
Overall I give Wheelgate Theme Park 5 out of 5.
Tickets cost (Gate prices, book online to save money):
Adult/Child (108cm +) £14.99 per person
Toddler (95-108cm) £7.99 per person
Senior Citizen (60+ years) £9.50 per little person
Special Needs £13.99 per person
Wheelchair User £7.85 per person please note: some of our grounds are uneven
For more information or to book tickets online visit www.wheelgatepark.com.
Wheelgate Park, White Post, Farnsfield, Newark, Notts, NG22 8HX | 01623 882773