What will you do when the lockdown is over and we can mingle once more? Before Covid-19 Malcolm Bradbrook went to The Bear Grylls Adventure and found a paradise of childhood exploration.
Days out with the family to high profile destinations tend to promise two key things – a major dent to the wallet and an overload of sugar. This invite to try out The Bear Grylls Adventure in Birmingham promised a different kind of day, one where my parenthood wouldn’t be judged on my lack of ability to withstand high G Forces as I am whipped around a roller coaster, but on my ability to climb, run, leap and even scramble.
I knew nothing about the destination before the planned day out and my knowledge of the man himself was limited to ‘mad adventurer from telly’ and ‘chap who took over from Peter Duncan as Chief Scout’.
‘In life it requires courage to keep moving forwards when we are scared and that’s why we say at the park that we are here to empower you inside and out’: read our full interview with Bear Grylls
The activities looked hugely promising with offerings including a high ropes trail, escape rooms, climbing, diving, and much more. It presented a clear opportunity to my loss of dad points when I ‘bottled’ many of the more challenging rides at Alton Towers.
My three are the perfect age for this with a daughter at 13, and two sons at 11 and nine and all loving a challenge. We chose the high ropes but the extremely high winds of Storm Dennis put paid to that and we accepted a stint on the climbing walls.
There was a great mix of independence and coaching from the two young instructors and my three were scampering up climbs of different gradients within minutes while my wife and I chose more sedate routes.
Escape Rooms are something we have heard a huge amount about but never tried before and, as the second part of our adventure day, we were eager to get in there.
The two chambers of the escape offered a good challenge to the brain and there was enough physical effort in the mine and desert island that we all remained engaged in the challenge, completing the final bit of the puzzle as the last second ticked up on the clock. I’m pretty sure I am now qualified to take on the John Mcclane role should the new Die Hard movie need casting.
We refuelled in the on-site restaurant watching many people try but fail at the two-minute hang challenge which has the potential to empty your wallet pretty fast if you don’t control the competitive urge. The basic premise is that you have to grip onto and hang from a metal bar for two minutes. It sounds easy but the metal bar spins – something they neglect to tell you on your first attempt – and it is a challenge that eluded everyone we watched.
The final part of the day was repeated attempts at the assault course which is chock full of scramble nets, hurdles, monkey bars and cargo nets. Great fun but impossible to not be exhausted at the end. My eldest son fancied a crack at the 11-year-olds’ record and after six attempts admitted defeat just 1.5 seconds away from glory.
All-in-all, this is a great fun day out. The weather cannot destroy it and who knows, it might spark a serious love for adventure that the great and varied countryside in the United Kingdom can offer every day.
All tickets include free access to the assault course, which can be completed as many times as you like.
High Ropes: £32
Escape Rooms: £24