Review of new Shrek’s Adventure! in London

There’s a point during this new attraction on the South Bank when visitors are invited to ‘reveal their inner ogre’. I admit I had probably peaked already, when told at the entrance that I couldn’t come in with my daughter’s tiny suitcase (Miss Gallivant had spent the previous night on a sleepover with her cousin). ‘It’s security, see?’ the lady on the door said. ‘Well is there anywhere I can leave it?’ I enquired. ‘There are lockers at Waterloo Station’ she said. ‘Grrrrr’. So, after a hot and sweaty 20 minutes walking there and back (and paying £6 for the pleasure of leaving it at the station) I was back. Tip number one – don’t bring a big bag!

Tickets are timed but there’s a 15 minute ‘window’. By the time I returned we were at the back of a long queue of people. Although our tickets said 2pm, we didn’t get to properly start the attraction until 3pm. So, tip number two – get there a bit early.

The adventure starts with a simulated 4D magic bus ride, flying over London and then on to the Kingdom of Far Far Away, passing characters from the film as well as from other Dreamworks productions – Madagscar and Kung Fu Panda, for example. The animation and effects are truly stunning and this was our favourite part of the whole experience. All I heard from Miss Gallivant were ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’.

After getting off the bus you walk as a group through a series of sets – 10 in all – including Shrek’s swamp, a fortune teller’s house, a bar and a bakery. Live actors involve guests in the action-packed story, with lots of jollity and jokes. Smells are used to good effect, from the disgusting odour of the swamp to the sweet waft of gingerbread at the bakery.

There’s a loose storyline, simple enough for even the youngest children to understand, and members of the group are picked out to take clues from one set to the next. The basic premise is that you all have managed to run over Rumpelstiltskin’s favourite witch in your bus and now he is after you! You all end up in a dungeon where – no surprises here – Shrek saves the day.

I’d say it’s most suitable for kids from around 5-12. A few younger ones in our group were a little scared by the darker bits of the tour. Master Gallivant, at the age of 14, totally turned his nose up in disgust when I had suggested he come along, and I do think he, by contrast, would have found it a little tame. That said, there was an extremely large hairy biker on our tour who seemed to be riveted!

You are not allowed to take photos during the tour, although official photographers snap away at various points. A nice touch is that you can take your own piccies with some of the characters at the end, meaning you don’t have to succumb to the expensive photobook on offer. They do, however, rather brazenly thrust this into your children’s hands which is a clever marketing ploy and, I am sure, difficult for many parents to resist. My kids are used to me being cheap so Miss Gallivant didn’t push her luck!

Tickets are pretty expensive – cheapest if you book online at £23.40 per adult, £18.72 per child. After the queuing, the whole thing took us just under an hour, so I’m not sure that it’s great value for money – it would be good if they offered family tickets. Miss Gallivant and Cousin Gallivant did have a ball, though, and were buzzing about it for ages afterwards. Visit www.shreksadventure.com for details

 

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