Good morning all from a very chilly Stoke on Trent, Winter is in full swing and what better way to celebrate Christmas just around the corner than by checking out the Sundown Adventureland Christmas Spectacular.
Sundown Adventureland is a theme park based in Nottinghamshire that targets 10-year-olds and under as its core demographic. You cannot go to the park without a child so when Sundown Adventureland kindly invited us for this review I asked a friend of mine and his young daughter to tag along or I’d still be outside the gates as we speak!
Sundown seems to be a park that flies under the radar and it’s only a park that I knew existed for the first time last year and I’m ever so glad I did because seconds after entering this park it’s clear to see why it’s a hidden gem in the UK theme park scene.
Upon entering Sundown you are greeted with some of the most immersive and beautiful theming I’ve seen at a UK park. This beautiful village entrance opened out into a market square complete with a beautiful Christmas tree. Christmas lights were dotted absolutely everywhere and the buildings looked absolutely beautiful in the day and immediately I was looking forward to seeing them at night time too.
This is the closest theming quality to Disney in the UK that I’ve ever seen, every land throughout the park was beautifully themed and immersive. From a Storybook Land to Toy Town, to Shotgun City where a Wild West town had been meticulously recreated and not just with fancy looking facades, genuine buildings you could walk inside and interact with the even better levels of theming indoors!
Sundown really need to scrap their Under 10’s only policy here because I was absolutely loving it and I hadn’t even stepped foot on one of the park’s many rides yet!
Every year during the Christmas Spectacular Sundown Adventureland opens its Night Before Christmas ride, a dark ride specifically designed to take guests to Santa’s Grotto to meet the big man himself. Yes, a whole ride designed to ferry passengers to a meet and greet, it was blowing my mind before I even stepped inside as it’s such a cool and unique idea but even I wasn’t prepared for the magic that lurked beyond the brand new Four Seasons Arena doors.
Brand new for 2022 the Four Seasons Arena is a big indoor space that will house events and more for the future of Sundown. Inside the Four Seasons Arena is the new entrance to The Night Before Christmas Ride. You hop onboard an upholstered Sleigh and travel through the most beautifully festive Christmas dark ride I’ve ever witnessed.
Not only that but the ride was a trackless dark ride (very expensive) where the ride vehicles follow sensors in the floor to send people around the layout without a physical piece of track anywhere in sight. The ride was manufactured by Garmendale, the same company behind Gangsta Granny the Ride at Alton Towers but even Gangsta Granny has a track. This made me chuckle as a park the size of Alton Towers didn’t even invest in a trackless dark ride experience with their absolutely huge budget yet this beautiful little park in Nottinghamshire splashed the cash on a ride that only opens at Christmas time!
That speaks volumes and walking throughout the park you could tell that the park go the extra mile so long as the experience delivered is the magical one that they have envisioned.
Once the sleigh dropped us off we entered this lovely grotto and entered Santa’s office. Here there are 4 hidden doors each containing its own Santa (sorry kids). This is done to eat up the queue and eat it up it does, the queue was absolutely full when we hopped off the ride but 10 minutes later we were sitting down with the big man himself.
What I did notice is that on the website adults pay £18 for entry whereas the children’s price for Christmas Spectacular is £22. You may be scratching your head as to why the children’s tickets are more expensive so let me explain.
The rides at Sundown Adventureland are very children targeted but during Christmas Spectacular the Santa experience is included in that price meaning the trackless dark ride and the meet and greet with Santa are included, on top of that the Children all receive a gift from Santa included in that £22 so for £4 more, you can’t really grumble.
There are shows that pop up throughout the day but we were too busy exploring the wonderfully themed rides the park has to offer.
From exploring the Rocky Mountain Railroad to hopping onboard a horse and carriage train for a trip through Robin Hood’s Merry Adventure there is a little something for everyone.
The grown-ups can appreciate the beautifully immersive theming and experience whereas the kids can get lost in the magic. I say that but after a few rides myself, I was getting lost in festive cheer and amazement at the level of detail contained within this park. All the staff members were insanely friendly (especially on the Christmas rides) and the ride to Santa’s grotto isn’t the only Christmas-themed dark ride in the dark, oh no.
Santa’s Sleigh Ride is another dark ride at Sundown Adventureland that takes you through a beautifully themed wonderland of animatronics and detailed sets. Some of the most detailed sets I’ve seen on any UK dark ride.
Sundown Adventureland is THE park to visit at Christmas time, with rides catered specifically to the festive event not to mention all the things to see and do throughout the park including the various lands, it truly is beautiful.
I was lost in Robin Hood’s kingdom one minute and exploring a sweet / chocolate-themed castle the next complete with scent pods in every room to replicate gingerbread, allsorts, cakes, sweeties and more. It truly was a little Willy Wonka castle right in the heart of Nottinghamshire.
With 50 acres of magic to explore you can spend a whole day at Sundown Adventureland and never get bored. There are plenty of cafes and places to grab a bite to eat and some indoor play areas as well as outdoor play areas aplenty for the kids. Not to mention an official Angry Birds play area too!
With beautifully themed houses to explore containing animatronics, interactive games and more this really is a park that deserves your time and money this festive season.
Book in advance to avoid disappointment by visiting https://sundownadventureland.co.uk/tickets-prices/
Take a look at our VLOG of this incredible park below: