For the August bank holiday Nathan and I were staying at Petruth Paddocks Campsite in Cheddar Somerset. We were lucky enough to visit nearby Wookey Hole which has got to be one of the top attractions and places to visit in Somerset – it seems everyone I’ve talked to since our visit has either heard of it or been!
Wookey Hole gave us a day consisting of fun, facts and fascination! There is so much to see and something for all members of the family to enjoy. Read on to hear about our tour of the caves, up close encounter with a giant gorilla, paper mill demonstrations and to find out who won the game of pirate island adventure golf!
Arriving at Wookey Hole!
We arrived at the infamous Wookey Hole at about midday and were directed to an overflow car park. We parked up and walked past the Wookey Hole Hotel (how cool would it be to stay here) to the entrance. We queued for about five minutes to get our tickets and were given a map with information detailing what was on offer to see and do. We were advised to visit the caves first so that’s where we headed!
The Famous Somerset Caves!
We joined the queue for the caves and waited approximately 30 minutes before reaching the front of the queue and meeting our tour guide. We were led into the caves and the tour began! The tour was great – we loved seeing all the caves fantastically lit up and enjoyed the detailed and interesting commentary provided by our guide. We passed through lots of different caves including the Witches Kitchen, Cathedral Chamber and Great Hall – you are transported into a different underground world full of mystery and magic!
You pass through passageways, wander over bridges and duck down through some low cave formations – all whilst listening to the interesting and funny stories from the guide. Different coloured lights and projections really add to the atmosphere of the caves and enhance the visitor experience. Stories of famous divers keep the adults captivated and talk of the Wookey Hole Witch kept the children entertained!
As if that isn’t enough there’s you even catch a glimpse of the cave-aged cheese – yes real cheddar cheese that’s being stored, refrigerated and aged within the caves!
The tour lasts about 45 minutes and I think there were about 40 people per tour – it didn’t feel overcrowded though and you had the opportunity to ask questions to the guide should you wish. You can find out lots more information about the caves on the Wookey Hole website – there’s even the opportunity for people to try out the unique Wild Wookey Experience – a three-hour caving, climbing and abseiling experience – rather them than me!
Dinosaurs, Fairies and the Ice age!
After enjoying our tour we stopped to have some lunch – just a small picnic we had brought with us. We then made our way through the mystic fairy garden – a cute garden area complete with dragons, elves and fairies! Unfortunately, it was raining quite a bit, so I didn’t get any pictures, but you can spot some mystical creatures as well as plenty of other pictures on the Wookey Hole Instagram page.
After wandering around the world of fairies we entered Valley of the Dinosaurs! Here you can step back in time to explore all things pre-historic and even have a go at digging for fossils in the Dino Dig Tent! I enjoyed looking at the huge dinosaur models and reading the accompanying information boards full of dinosaur facts. As well as the display of life-size dinosaur models, there’s also the more recent addition of an animatronic dinosaur which children around us appeared to be really entertained by!
It was in the Valley of Dinosaur that we came across the giant model of King Kong. It stands towering above you and is a great photo opportunity! I kept thinking about how scared I would be if it happened to come alive and start chasing me – quite an irrational thought I know but still, just imagine…!
To escape the rain we decided to head to the next showing of Ice Age – Dawn of the Dinosaurs. This is shown every half an hour and is super fun! First, you enter through the Witches Laboratory where you are presented with 4D glasses and listen to a spooky story told by a talking and moving bat! Next, you enter the cinema area and experience the adventure of the immersive 4D experience. The chairs move in time with the film’s action and even puff out air to make you jump – it’s really quite the experience and the film is pretty engaging too. The cinema ride requires visitors to be aged 3 and above and excludes those who are pregnant or those who have heart conditions for safety reasons – let that be warning enough! We thought this was a really cool attraction, however, didn’t think the Ice Age film followed on from the introductory section in the witch’s laboratory – I can only assume this is because they change the films every so often so they might not always fit with the spooky watch theme.
Cave Diving, Paper Making and Penny Arcades
There’s so much to see at Wookey Hole and our day touring the attractions continued as we entered the cave diving museum. This was a small yet interesting exhibit on cave divers and also housed a video displaying history and work of the paper mill which was really interesting.
Inside the monster mill, you can visit the papermaking museum which features the old-fashioned hand-made paper making machinery and information to match. There was even a papermaking demonstration going on which was really cool to watch. Children were invited to have a good too which looked fun! Shame I’m too old!
The cave museum houses lots of interesting information, artefacts from cave excavations and a display of the caves through the ages. There are even some human skeletal remains too!
We explored the Victorian penny arcade next – it was pretty busy, likely because it was pouring with rain by this time! There were loads of old-fashioned arcade games, many of which you played with using old-fashioned pennies which added to the nostalgia. There’s an indoor children’s play area and mirror maze too which were busy and looked fun.
Time for Some Competition!
To top of our action-packed day at Wookey Hole we partook in a game of golf at Pirate Island Adventure Golf. A round of golf is included in the admission ticket to Wookey Hole, although if you aren’t visiting the whole attraction the golf can be paid for separately.
As the name suggests the golf course was pirate themed with many of the holes being adjourned by swashbuckler figures and all things pirate related. There was a bit of a queue to get our clubs, but this soon eased once people got playing. The course was really good with long, challenging holes which kept Nathan and I in competition right until the last hole – where at the last minute Nathan took the lead and won the game by one point!! I was not best pleased as this meant the ice creams were on me! Again!
We finished our adventure by having a look around the well-stocked gift shop and left feeling like we had experienced a real family fun day out. Wookey Hole is so much more than just caves – whilst the caves for me are the main star attraction, the added extras of the paper mill, museums, 4D cinemas, penny arcade and more means there’s plenty to entertain the family for a full day and makes the relatively high entrance price a lot more understandable.
There were unique attractions that appeared to suit all ages and interests. The site encompasses both inside and outside elements making it a suitable attraction for both sunny summer days and those not so sunny summer days! The added bonus of a round of golf is great and was fully enjoyed by us as we love competing against each other! I would recommend Wookey Hole for a family-friendly day out for all ages – there’s a real range of interesting attractions and the spectacular caves are a must!
***Whilst our tickets were provided to us on a complimentary basis, all thoughts, pictures and opinions are my own.***