Gulliver’s Family opens for business – with a socially distanced limit of 500 people

Gulliver’s Valley opened its doors to the public for the first time today - operating at a reduced capacity of 500 and staggering entries.

By Ben McVay
Saturday, 11th July 2020, 8:27 pm

Groups of families – with excited youngsters and tired-looking mums and dads – filing into the long-awaited theme park at just after 10am.

The £37 million family attraction was due to open in the spring but was delayed by Covid-19.

In-line with social-distancing measures groups were allowed entry at staggered times and a capacity of up to 2,000 has been limited to 500.

Pictured are Kirsty Taylor, Naomi, four, and David Taylor. Picture: Chris Etchells

Though managing director Julie Dalton admitted today was ‘about learning’ and numbers may be increased if it is safe to do so.

Before the general public arrived today Sheffield’s Tobias Weller - nicknamed Captain Tobias in honour of the fundraising marathon he completed using his walker - was given a private tour along with fellow Paces pupil Lenny Street.

Both boys - awe-struck by the park’s rides and attractions - raced ahead of their parents and roared with excitement at animatronic dinosaurs near the Lost World section.

There are 26 rides and attractions at Gulliver’s Valley - from Ferris wheels and flumes to diggers, pirates ships and vertical drops.

Pictured are Sandra Jubb, Tina Corran, Abi, nine, and Thomas, 10. Picture: Chris Etchells

However the huge indoor Dragon’s Lair - complete with climbing walls, roller skating, caving and enormous bouncy castle - remains closed pending further Government guidance.

The theme park also filled 15 of its 28 family rooms - though for just one night to begin with.

Speaking about the opening today managing director Julie Dalton admitted ‘opening a theme park in the midst of a pandemic has involved a bit of preparation’.

She said: “We only found out we could open about three weeks ago so it’s been a challenge.

'Captain' Tobias Weller with Paces friend Lenny Street during a private tour of the park

“There is a huge chunk in the indoor area which we can’t open yet and we’re keeping the 500 maximum limit at the beginning.

“At the moment we’re learning so we’ll see how much we can increase the numbers.”

“But we’re had some great feedback so far.”

David Taylor, who brought his daughter Kirsty Taylor and granddaughter Naomi, 4, described the park as ‘excellent’.

He said: “We’ve been on nearly everything and we would definitely bring her (Naomi) again.

“She loves it and there’s a lot more here than we expected.

“When you go on the Ferris wheel you get a great view and you see the extent of the place - it’s quite encompassing.”

Another youngster named Kira, aged 10, who had just come off a very wet flume ride, said: “I think this is a really good place - I really enjoyed the water slide but I feel like the Lost World will be my favourite because I’ve just finished the game at home.”

As well as the rides and attractions Gulliver’s Valley has two restaurants while the accommodation sections include eight rooms in the castle area - with three bunk beds, double bed and en-suite bathrooms.

While there are 20 child-oriented chalets featuring miniature stairs ascending to a fun, low-ceiling open cabin-like room with two beds for the little ones.