Family days out: Chessington World of Adventures

Linda McKeown with her family at Chessington World of Adventures
Linda McKeown with her family at Chessington World of Adventures

A great adventure awaits at Chessington!

With plenty of rides, a zoo and Sealife Centre, there is plenty to entertain the family at Chessington World of Adventures.

As the journey for us was at least a two-hour drive, we decided to travel down the day before our visit and stay in the onsite hotel – The Holiday Inn.

The hotel was an amazing start to our adventure as we had a fantastic view from our room of the Wanyama Village where we could see zebras and giraffes roaming around. As it was a sunny evening, we ventured outside for a walk to get a feel for our surroundings, ready for our adventure the next day.

Our room was perfect for our family of five. A double bed for us (mum and dad), travel cot for our one-year-old and our oldest two had their own ‘private’ bedroom, complete with TV. And it was all in one large open plan family room.

The next morning we were up bright and early and after filling up on the self-serve breakfast, we headed to the park. The children were excited about the day ahead and the sunshine even came out to play too, so that was a bonus!

First off we headed towards the Adventurers’ Services where we collected our Parent Swap Pass (which lets parents queue just once on height restricted rides) and to also get the kids’ heights checked. Kai was over 1.3 metres tall so didn’t need a wristband stating his height as he could go on pretty much anything. Ella was 1.1metres tall so was given a wristband confirming this. Getting their height verified helps stop you being turned away in the queue if the person checking height thinks they’re not quite tall enough (a great service for us as Ella was spot on 1.1m and we did have a few queries. But once they saw the wristband, they knew her height had been already officially checked).

Chessington is a maze of rides and animals with 12 different areas to explore. From the Land of the Dragons to Pirates Cove to the Forbidden Kingdom, there’s plenty to keep the whole family entertained.

As it was mid-week, queues for rides was minimal but our Parent Swap Pass did come in handy for a few rides, including the Vampire (scary by name, scary by nature!) which is a hanging rollercoaster which whizzed through the air and zipped round corners at such a fast pace that there were squeals all round. Ella was just tall enough to go on it and I was so proud of her for going on – especially as she is only four! It was such great fun that as soon as I got off, the hubby went on straight away with Kai using the Parent Swap Pass.

And that’s how the whole day went – one mini adventure after another. We covered all the ride areas first and left the zoo and Sealife Centre until near the end of the day where we saw plenty of tigers, gorillas, leopards and lions in the zoo, as well as lots of underwater creatures in the Sea Life centre. Oh and don’t forget to go on Zufari – it’s a brand new feature for this year which includes a ride around in a jeep through grazing giraffes, white rhinos and zebras!

There is so much to do here and it was perfect for all of us. We just wished we could of stayed in the hotel again that night and come back for more adventure the next day – but instead we had to start our journey back home. It’s worth noting that a two-day park ticket is only about £6 dearer that the one-day ticket, so it’s definitely something we’ll think about next time we visit.

Parent swap pass

This is a fantastic perk to take advantage of when you’re here. Basically, having this pass allows both parents to enjoy the height-restricted rides. Just pick up your Parent Swap Pass from Adventurers’ Services (AS) to ensure that you only have to queue once (selected rides only).

Entry tickets

At the gate prices for a one-day ticket are £43.20 for adult (age 12 and above) and £33.60 for children under 12 and taller than 0.9 metres. Children under 0.9 metres go free!

Book online and in advance and you can save money on your ticket prices. For example, book your tickets at least seven days in advance and you can save up to 25 per cent.

Ticket prices include the theme park, zoo and Sea Life centre. Parking is £2 per day.

Hot tip!

Keep a look out for promotional packs of breakfast cereals which are currently offering free adult entry to Chessington (as well as other theme parks and attractions) when you buy a child ticket. There are also lots of 2 for 1 vouchers being distributed (with a purchase) in places such as WH Smith and petrol stations. Perfect ways to save the pennies!

Opening times

The Park is open 10am-5pm from now until 21st July and 10am-6pm during the summer school holidays. For more information on opening times throughout the rest of the year, visit

How to get there

Chessington is situated on the A243 – two miles from the A3 and M25 (junction 9 or 10).