The Enchanted Forest

On Sunday we took the children to The Enchanted forest. No Jokes. It’s just down off the M25. Sadly it wasn’t hugely enchanted, but it was still very fun.
Ferried there by my good friend Mr Belgium, we sailed past places with peculiar names like Bean and Bird in Hand street – it made the 45 minute journey more than worth it even before we got to the magical woods.

Upon arriving at Groombridge I realised that I’d made that age old mistake of not planning in advance. Bad mummy. Not only did we have to pay full price for tickets, but it was also a ‘peak day’ which meant extra tickets prices and LOADS more people than would have usually been there.
The ‘peak day’ in question was Wings Wheels and Wartime, basically an excuse for hundreds of car enthusiasts to get dressed up and show off their shiny vintage cars. Amusingly there was also a turn out from the Harley Davidson contingent. I can’t tell you how I laughed watching bikers swinging from trees, but not loudly enough that they heard me, obviously.

Crusoe's WorldFirst up was a rather long walk along the river to get to Crusoe’s World. This was ah-may-zing. Worth the price of the ticket just to watch the kids climbing like monkeys all over this giant tree house thing. I even managed to rein in my over-protective mummy instincts to really let them run free and enjoys themselves. Apparently the whole structure is a recreation of the TV show Crusoe and uses actual props and artifacts shipped all the way from Africa. Impressive.

Next came another long walk through Dragons nest, Mystic pool, Castle village and the Celtic forest. I’ll warn you in advance that there is ALOT of walking to be had at Goodridge. Upside? Kids slept like the dead that night.

Follow the map round (and uphill, urgh) to the Romany Camp, Fort, Teepee and Swing Walk. Sadly this is where I realised that my camera hadn’t actually been working properly, which is a pain in the ass because not only did I not get loads of cool shots of me and the kids acting like idiots, but this was also where the deer hang out. I got so close to a mother feeding her baby deer that I could almost touch, made my breath catch in my throat I can tell you.

ZeedonkAfter chilling in the Fort (and mummy catching her breath, and oh god did I need to catch it) we made our way towards the Zeedonk, anticipation quickening our tired steps. He was pretty cool, but who’s idea was it to cross breed a donkey and a zebra, really? Humans are just sick.

At this point (almost 4 hours later) children were getting tired and grumpy, mummy was getting tired and grumpy, and the men were in desperate need of a beer. We settled for ice cream, but ended up queuing almost 15 minutes for the pleasure. Probably the only complaint of the day. That and the heat anyway, but can’t blame Groombridge for that.

Other things I couldn’t be bothered to type up were the Dark walk and the Swing Walk, various formal gardens, a fancy house that was the setting for the Pride and Prejudice film, canal boat, vineyard, and birds of prey. And probably loads of other things that we didn’t manage to see because this place really is huge. Definitely one of those places you can visit a few times during the summer and not get bored. Verdict? Great for kids of all ages and adults alike. Take loads of drinks (and a picnic) and be prepared to walk for miles – but its totally worth it.

Image credit: all images borrowed from the interwebs. Thanks Google.