If you are up for an adventure we would recommend Hidden Valley, an extraordinary place with missions to conquer, trails to follow and magical secret gardens. It’s a hidden gem with great entertainment for the whole family. There is plenty to see and do with indoor and outdoor missions, play areas, a maze, a hobbit house, a miniature railway with a ride on train and a restaurant.
They recommend that you wear suitable gear for the weather and for walking, as you will be doing a lot of it and the majority of the trails are outdoors. It’s best to have a minimum group of four and the more brains in your team the better! Some of the trails can be challenging for younger children (more details below), so it’s good to have a mixture of adults and children in your group.
This trail is an outdoor adventure scrambling over grassy banks and through forestry to find the clues that you need. Follow a rope and note down the names of the mystery characters, the secret letters and magic numbers hidden on each label you come across. If you can name all the mystery characters, rearrange the letters to form a word and add up all the numbers to get the correct total, then you will be rewarded with a limited edition Hidden Valley Indiana Badge! This trail is ideal for little ones as they can have a good run around and easily pick out the labels. Top tip: Make sure you bring a pen or pencil along with you.
Sherlock Holmes Trail
The Sherlock Holmes trail takes you all over the park, so you better be prepared to do a lot of walking. You need to get your thinking caps on too as this brain-boggling trail has all sorts of weird and wonderful clues and places to discover. On your travels, you may encounter a train signal box, a hobbit house, a maze, a telephone box and much more! This trail is made up of 15 challenging clues and each one leads onto the other. Each clue also contains a number, which you will need add up as you go. Top tip: It’s best to do them in order or else you may get confused. This trail is a bit more difficult and is better suited to older children and adults, but there is plenty to see on the way around to keep little ones preoccupied.
Moriarty’s Missions in the Forbidden Mansion
The Forbidden Mansion is a bizarre place with secret doors and passageways, Alice in Wonderland style corridors, an upside-down room and much more. Make your way up the grand staircase and experience the visual trickery whilst you try to solve Moriatry’s missions. Inside the mansion, you will find six tough challenges that will test your reflexes and really make you think. Upon arrival, you will be given a card that allows you to access the missions. Pop your card into each one that you come across and start the task. Just remember you are on a time limit and the aim is to complete all six. Top tip: Read the instructions carefully and pick a person/people best suited to the task before you start the mission.
Then you can head over the reception area where you can enter your answers from the trails and card from your mission and watch the display light up in front of you to find out how well you did. Ask a member of staff about the ones you didn’t get and they will let you know where you went wrong. Also be sure to ask before you leave when they are updating the trails/missions so that you can go back and have another go!
Instagram pictures by jessiferhill
Hop aboard the ride on train that takes a mile-long ride through the scenic landscapes of the park. This miniature railway travels under bridges, past deep forest and even through a snaking tunnel. Board the train by the Mansion House on their diesel locomotive ‘Albert No 1’. The train leaves the platform every hour and is free, so you can ride as many times as you like!
The restaurant is open every day during normal opening hours and hot food is served from 12pm until 2pm. You’ll find a delicious choice of light refreshments, freshly-made sandwiches and hot meals, as well as homemade cakes, yummy cream teas and hot and cold drinks. Entry to the restaurant is free, so if you are passing why not break up a journey and pop in for a bite to eat?
Hidden Valley is open 10am-5pm from March to September and October half term. Tickets cost £9.95 for adults, £8.95 for children (4-15 years) and under 3’s go free. Dogs are also welcome to join you in all the outside trail areas.
They also do Murder Mystery events where a scrumptious buffet will be served and a professionally staged murder mystery will be performed right in front of you. Listen and observe or question and interact with characters if you wish, but keep an eye on their true motives. A murder will occur and you the cunning detective will be shown the murder scene and have to try to solve it. Tickets cost £25 for adults and £12.50 for children (12yrs or under). To book contact them on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01566 86463.