The new multimillion-pound Gulliver’s Valley Theme Park in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, is set to open its doors to the public for the first time, on Saturday 11 July.
The park, which becomes the fourth site in the Gulliver’s Theme Park Resorts family, was forced to postpone its planned opening earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A number of additional safety measures have since been made to the park in response to the pandemic, including temperature checks on arrival, mandatory advanced booking, contactless entry, social distancing measures and a food pre-ordering system.
The park will also be operating on a limited capacity, with pre-booked slots only, to adhere to the government’s social distancing guidelines.
Julie Dalton, managing director of the family-run Gulliver’s Theme Park Resorts, said: “We are so excited to be finally opening Gulliver’s Valley to the public.
“The last few months have been tough to say the least – when we started work on the park, we didn’t ever expect to be faced with a global pandemic, but I am proud to say our team has risen to the challenge and worked hard to enable us to open, just one month later than we initially planned.
“Of course, the health and wellbeing of our visitors and our employees really is top priority and so we have made a number of changes to the park to reflect this, so that everyone feels comfortable and reassured whilst enjoying a fun and enjoyable day out.”
Aimed at children between the ages of two and 13-years-old, the new Gulliver’s Valley houses a host of rides and attractions, including an Apache Falls ride, full-size diggers, the Ghostly Galleon pirate ship and a Lost Jurassic World area.
Accommodation options are also available, including Unicorn and Princess Suites alongside Western Cabins and Lost World Lodges, with sleepover adventures on offer.
Due to the ongoing pandemic and social distancing requirements, some parts of the park, including the indoor soft play area, will open at a later date.
Julie added: “Despite the difficult period we’re all living in, we’re thrilled with how Gulliver’s Valley has come together so far.
“We have had to adapt accordingly to this new state of normal and that has meant a few areas of the park will need to open later than we’d hoped while we await further Government guidance, but we truly believe the magic of Gulliver’s is needed now more than ever and we can’t wait to welcome our first customers in very soon.”
The Leader of Rotherham Council, Councillor Chris Read, said: “The site at Pit House West for too long stood vacant, so it is brilliant to see the fabulous Gulliver’s Valley project realised in bricks and mortar, jobs and opportunities. It is an exciting development which will attract many thousands of visitors to our borough and is an exemplar of the kind of business that we would want our area to be known for.
“The park will also be a catalyst for economic growth and I particularly welcome Julie Dalton’s commitment to use local suppliers and staff. It’s a great example of the kind of local economic project, maximising social value for our area, that we want to see more of.
“A number of local suppliers have been used by Gulliver’s to help transform the former pit site and more than 1000 Yorkshire trees have been planted there. Of course, this is only the first stage of the long-term plan to build an attraction of truly national significance.
“Local families, and those from further afield, will be able to visit a first-class attraction and we can’t wait to see the doors open and the first visitors take in the new surroundings and have some fun.”
The Gulliver’s story began back in 1978, when Ray and Hilary Phillips created a model village on the hillside of Matlock Bath for young children to enjoy and, in turn, unwittingly went on to create some of the UK’s most successful theme park resorts.
The company remains in the same family to this day with Julie Dalton, Ray and Hilary’s daughter, now managing director of Gulliver’s and her brother Nick, development director, who is also heavily involved in the day to day running of the business.
Tickets must be purchased in advance, walk ins will not be granted entry to the park.