WWT Slimbridge – Slimbridge Wetland Centre
On Good Friday we drove 3 hours down the M6/M5 from the Wirral to meet the lovely Karen (Stopping at Two) and her family at WWT Slimbridge. They live within twenty minutes of the place so are members and Slimbridge kindly gave us free entry in exchange for this review.
WWT Slimbridge is just outside the village of Slimbridge in Gloucestershire. It’s literally about ten minutes off the M5 but just be aware that on a busy sunny day the small village and the thin canal bridge you have to drive over to get there can cause some congestion as the village struggles to cope with the volume of traffic.
We didn’t do too bad getting in for before 11am and actually only queued for around ten minutes to get our tickets and duck hunt sheets. I think waiting to get in is however a very unusual bank holiday occurrence.
I was immediately impressed on arrival at the large car park ( and overfill car park) with staff to direct you to a free space. A large ramp to the entrance (making it buggy and wheelchair friendly) was actually quite striking.
There was a Giant Duck Hunt on with 9 to find and we were encouraged to take a selfie with the first one.
Once inside the queues that we had found at the entrance seemed to quickly dissipate. Whilst key areas for children felt the busiest, the size of the place meant it didn’t ever feel too crowded. Although we had taken a picnic so didn’t have to test the catering facilities too much.
Each of our 5 children had their own sheet to complete when they saw a plastic duck. Some of these were quite tricky to find, others fairly obvious. It was a really nice idea and we found quite a few.
To be honest though the main show in town for mine was ‘Welly Boot land’. Thankfully Karen (a regular visitor in Winter or Summer, just take a look at her posts) had told me to bring wellies for the girls and a change of clothes. Some parents weren’t so lucky. Wellyboot Land is brilliant. It’s an outdoor play area with streams, fountains, bridges and slides. Designed to get the kids as wet as possible. I saw fully clothed toddlers crawling in the streams and kids with trainers on jumping in large puddles. Our kids thankfully either had wellies on (or had stripped off) as we had spare clothes it wasn’t going to matter if they got drenched.
Top Tip – if visiting take a towel and a spare set of clothes!
We stayed in Welly Boot land for a good hour and a half, sampled the coffee and ate the picnic Karen (well Rich) had kindly packed for us all. It was definitely a hit for us although I saw a few devastated parents who muttered we are going to have to go home now and we’ve only just got here, as there children were sodden!
During the rest of the visit we spotted all the different types of duck and tried to identify them in the guide we’d got at reception. The girls were surprisingly good at this and enjoyed it. We will definitely have to go to our local WWT at Martin Mere as we haven’t actually taken them there yet.
There are loads of different types of flamingos at Slimbridge, some types I hadn’t seen before. Otters too although we didn’t manage to see them, and then at the far end a large adventure playground which was just the right side for mine at 4 and 5, possibly slightly too adventurous for Karen’s 3 year old.
We spent a lovely 4 hours at Slimbridge on a sunny bank holiday and can highly recommend it. In Karen’s experience though it is definitely not just somewhere for a sunny day and in fact on a colder winters day, you may well get the place to yourself. Definitely worth a visit, particularly at only £33 for a family of 4. You can save 10% by booking online.