With a reported £3m investment, William’s Den opened in 2017. Heidi and I went with 2 other families on a summers Wednesday to see what it was all like!
Located 5-10 minutes off the M62, it does feel as though it is in the middle of nowhere, (so trust the Sat Nav!). However, this is because of the vast open space that William’s Den needs for all the outdoor play areas.
There are effectively 2 sections – an indoor and an outdoor play area.
The indoor area is a huge rustic play/climbing frame with rope bridges, slides and sand. The adults favourite was the chill-out area, but we weren’t sure whether the area was suited for adults or children. However, it was much needed towards the end of the day as we were getting tired!!
The outdoor area included 2 zip wires, climbing stones, mud kitchen, swings and a maze of hills and tunnels which were made for creative, energetic play! Also outside were numerous picnic benches for the adults to watch the children go and enjoy themselves.
This is a place where you can let the children play amongst themselves, albeit watch from a relative distance. This is in part because it is a secure location, but also because the nature of the attraction means that it isn’t suitable for any children under 4. If you have an under 4, you will be doing a LOT of lifting and carrying on the climbing activities!
One of the really good things about William’s Den is the fact that you are allowed to bring a picnic in. As such, you don’t have to spend a small fortune on food. However–the food prices didn’t seem too bad at all, especially compared to elsewhere.
Another really excellent thing is the toilet facilities. Yes, I said that right! Being a single dad to a 4 year old girl, going to public toilets are often a challenge. However,here they have family toilets, with baby change (see picture below) which make it so much easier.
This also meant that my 4 year old daughter has now discovered going to the toilet with her best friend – which means chaos in the future!!! Suffice to say, the toilets were clean and in good condition.
Also, on the entry wristband for the children, adults were encouraged to put a contact number in case they got lost. This is very simple but never seen it before and it could come in very useful at times.
In terms of downsides, as it is a partly outdoor attraction, you do need a dry day to make the most of it. Also, it is somewhat exposed and so if the wind is blowing, it can feel a bit cool. As a result, make sure you take a jacket, even if the sun is shining!
As you can imagine, with a new attraction that has had positive reviews, it does get full and so it is advisable to pre-book online to avoid disappointment. However, regardless as to how full it gets, car parking is plentiful and free.
All in all, we spent 5 or so hours at William’s Den and at the end of it, we were all exhausted, but in the best way possible. I’m pretty sure this will be a place for us to visit regularly, especially as the kids get a bit older and stronger and can enjoy the activities a bit more.
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