Water slides, dinosaurs and 26 rides: Inside £37 million Gulliver’s Valley theme park

South Yorkshire’s brand new £37 million theme park will be top of the To Do list for many families when it finally opens next month.

By Steve Jones
Thursday, 25th June 2020, 10:56 am

Set in 250 acres of countryside a stones throw from the popular Rother Valley Country Park, just over the border from Sheffield, Gulliver’s Valley boasts 50 attractions for a brilliant family day out or a memorable holiday for those staying longer.

“From bigger rides through to smaller rides, we are caring for that family market,” managing director Julie Dalton said.

“We are all about the family market, everything has been thought out so the whole family can enjoy their visit.”

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A sneak preview of the new Gulliver’s Valley site in Rotherham. Pictured is the T-Rex Tower water slides in the Lost World area. Picture: Chris Etchells

There are 26 rides in total, suitable for a mixture of ages between two and 13, as well as indoor and outdoor areas for youngsters to let off steam while parents relax in one of the many seating areas or two on-site restaurants. For those eating on the go, there are refreshment kiosks dotted around the park.

As part of making the resort Covid-secure, two hand sanitiser stations and have been installed in each area, with sinks also available for children who have sensitive skin. Other safety measures are also in place.

While an opening date is yet to be confirmed, Julie hopes they will be welcoming families by no later than the end of July. Being forced to close their four theme parks across the country has come at a cost of millions, she said.

Outside, kids can enjoy the animal petting farm, Digger Land and Western World, as well as the T-Rex water slides, Dinosaur Rodeo and the park’s biggest ride – the Apache Falls, built in Doncaster.

The Apache Falls in the Western World. Picture: Chris Etchells

Indoors, there's climbing walls, a giant bouncy castle and caving downstairs while upstairs features interactive play areas for younger children, a mini driving school and a refurbished vintage carousel.

Impressively, all the building materials for the park have been put to use, reducing the amount of waste to almost nothing. Julie says sustainability is at the heart of the resort, with second hand furniture restored to provide restaurant seating. The bar from a former RAF NAAFFI has also been refurbished and is now positioned in the reception area where families can buy day tickets, with different options available for different age groups.

For those staying overnight, there’s even a dedicated area for parents to relax with a drink in the evening while children watch a film next door. Bars will serve alcohol until 11pm. The park also hopes to still be able to provide children’s entertainment at night in it’s 400-capacity function zoom, which is where breakfast will be served to overnight guests.

There are 28 family rooms on site for between four and six people, with a magical Cinderella theme in some children’s rooms.

The site should be open by the end of July.

Julie said: ”The prime reason for choosing South Yorkshire was because of the people. What we saw when we came here is it is a really friendly group of people. We think they are going to be able to give world class service.”

The resort will bring plenty of benefits to the county’s economy, too, Julie said. Several South Yorkshire businesses were also hired to complete construction work for the site.

Julie added: “Job generation is massive, just in the first phase we are employing 150 people and that will keep growing and growing.

“People don't stop in one place, either.”

Julie Dalton, managing director of Gulliver’s Theme Park Resorts. Picture: Chris Etchells

Within the next five to six years she estimated the resort will employ 450 people, and partnership discussions with local businesses are underway to maximise the economic benefits for the area.

“If you live in the middle of Sheffield you can come on holiday in 15 minutes with water slides, dinosaurs and fields,” she said.

New rides and attractions will be added every year to continue improving what’s set to be South Yorkshire’s best family tourist attraction.