A huge shopping centre may not traditionally be the top of your list when planning summer activities with the kids. However, having one of the largest shopping Malls in the UK here on our doorstep in Kent, you’d be totally missing out if you didn’t pay Bluewater a visit this summer.
In addition to the parks, a nature trail, cinemas, soft play, restaurants that Bluewater has to offer families looking for summer boredom solace, this holiday season there is Kent’s first Urban beach theme park, The Beach at Bluewater.
We were lucky enough to get a sneak preview at the opening night of The Beach at Bluewater so here is a guide to what the event has to offer…
What is The Beach?
The Beach is a Summer theme park that has been designed to celebrate all that is fabulous at the British seaside. A colourful and enchanting place that kids can run around and experience traditional fun fair rides, build sandcastles and even have a little paddle in the water too.
Where is The Beach?
Bluewater shopping centre is close to Dartford in Kent. You can find directions here. Head towards ‘The Village’; there is free parking outside or exit the Mall via The village – you can’t miss the Helter Skelter – head towards it! If you are familiar with Bluewater, The Beach is just outside the lake and park area adjacent to Pizza Express and Zizzi’s.
How much does The Beach cost?
The Beach has a £3 entrance fee for anyone over the age of 3 three. The rides and games are paid for using tokens which cost £1.20 each. Rides range from 2-5 tokens. Child/Family rides are typically 2-3 tokens while the more extreme adult rides are slightly more.
What is there to do at The Beach?
Aside from looking around, taking it all in and playing on the sandy ‘beach’, there are loads of different rides and fair games to play on.
Having a two year old and a five year old, we made most use of the children’s rides, of which there were plenty to keep our two happy. A soft play zone, train rides, aeroplane rides, a traditional carousel and merry go rounds.
The girls also loved having a go on the old school fair games; hook a duck and grab a ball. Overjoyed with their soft toy prizes, we went home laden with goodies (unlike Daddy who failed miserably on the rifle shoot).
Whilst the mouse was fairly gutted to be too little for many of the rides (she’s a tiny two year old) there was certainly plenty to distract her while her sister got busy zorbing, and going on some of the scarier rides (who knew she was such an adrenaline junkie!).
Had we been child-free, there were a few rides we’d have liked to have gone on too – something for every age group, and I know this is the type of place I would have loved to hang out as a teenager.
It’s worth having a look on The Beach at Bluwater website to see what special events are going on within the Beach – there are Mermaids visiting, dancers, Punch and Judy shows going on at certain dates and times. If you’re looking to avoid the busiest times, it’s handy to know that too.
What is there to Eat and Drink at The Beach?
The Beach offers some really cool Beach style refreshments – from classic seaside rock and doughnuts to a Tiki Bar serving Pimms and Pina Coladas. Hot food is available if you want to grab chips and hotdogs, or snacks like popcorn and crepes. The girls loved their ‘Mocktail’ tropical slushy drinks and are already using the funky cups for water back home.
If you don’t fancy the food offerings within the theme park, you couldn’t be in a better place to wander off and find food. Italian, Japanese, Burgers, Chinese…Bluewater has over 60 places to eat so you needn’t worry about going hungry. You can leave and re-enter The Beach with your entrance fee.
You can also take in your own food or food from Bluewater.
The Beach at Bluewater was honestly an incredible thing to see and the kids absolutely loved it. In the interest of giving a parent’s honest view, I’d suggest setting a budget and take enough pennies to make sure the kids get to go on enough rides before you have to prise them away – but this isn’t unusual in any fairground is it?!
What I love about The Beach is that you can distract with the Beach element – take a bucket and spade and a towel! Perhaps think about getting there early and avoid peak times, as I expect it’s going to be a popular summer destination.
The Beach opens to the public today, Saturday 22 July 2017 and is open daily from 12 noon until 9pm until Sunday 3rd September 2017.
Disclosure: We were invited to attend the complementary launch evening of The Beach at Bluewater. All opinions are our own.