I hope you’re doing well? This year for my boyfriend, Haydn’s birthday I treated him to a night away in Wales with tickets to visit Zip World. We had both wanted to do Bounce Below for a while since a trampoline park in a cave sounded like the coolest place ever (spoilers it was) and I decided to also add the Caverns experience since it was different to anything we had both ever done before and sounded equally thrilling.
We drove down on the Saturday morning – we had a lie-in and set off around 11 since we hadn’t really made any solid plans for that day, Zip World was booked for the Sunday. It was actually Haydn’s barber who suggested we stop in Chester and I’m so glad we decided to make a pit stop here as it was actually a beautiful city.
We wandered around the quaint little streets taking in the Cathedral, City Walls and traditional Tudor Architecture whilst of course, taking advantage of the great variety of shops. I didn’t spend a whole lot; just a little something for my mum’s birthday and a new handbag and some hairbands brought on a gift card in H&M. The best moment was definitely when a nearby busker played Here Comes The Sun by The Beatles on guitar as Haydn and I were wandering onto the street – it felt like we were in a movie! Top Tip if you ever do decide to visit Chester park in the markets car park since it’s really cheap and if you walk through the markets there’s a machine where you can scan your parking ticket and get a pound off; we were there just under three hours and it cost us next to nothing
We didn’t get a chance to do Chester Zoo but I’ve added that to our Date Jar since I think a weekend of animals and shopping in Chester could be really nice. I think I enjoyed this city so much as it reminded me of York which is potentially my favourite English city I’ve visited. Little cobbled street, unique historical architecture and a fantastic range of shops – what’s not to love?
After we had finished exploring Chester we had just a short 2 hour drive to the Airbnb we were staying in for the night. Haydn really enjoyed the drive since there were long tunnels through the mountain; they reminded me of one’s similar I had passed through whilst on a road trip with my Dad and his side of the family in Switzerland back in 2008. The contrast of winding mountainous roads on one side with the rolling ocean waves on the other was also fairly enjoyable. The drive went by quickly and soon we were in our lovely Airbnb. It was tricky trying to find somewhere to eat as there didn’t seem to be any local restaurants nearby, in the end, we settled for a pub a few miles from us. It was crowded and served very average food but we didn’t really mind since the novelty for us was visiting Wales as a whole and not enjoying the local cuisine. Haydn and I decided to swing by Co-op on the way back to our Airbnb to pick up some desserts which then promptly put us in a sleep coma before bed.
We had to be up fairly early the next day since the recommended arrival time for our first activity was 9:30am. We were up and ready before 8 – I was spurred on to get ready quickly since the most enormous spider I had ever seen made itself known in the bedroom. It crawled up from behind my side of the bed and then made its way across the wall and settled in the corner; I don’t even want to think about how close it had been to me all night. Since we needed to eat before heading into the mountains we decided to go for a McDonald’s breakfast which was an excellent decision! We both had a Sausage Egg McMuffin and I got a hot chocolate for the drive. Driving to Zip World meant heading through the mountains and forest. The drive was so pretty and it’s actually inspired us to take more road trips in the future. We arrived at Zip World with plenty of time to spare which wasn’t a problem. We checked in and then sat in the car to eat some snacks before Caverns, our first activity.
There are lockers available but they cost £1 per use which was a little bit annoying as I initially locked my jacket in there before heading to the waiting room for our activity and reading that the caves can be quite cold so warm clothing is advised. Granted I probably should have done more research on what to wear but it was still a little annoying that unlocking and relocking the locker we had chosen to store some water in cost £2. I do think it is a little cheeky that they charge for this since the Caverns activity costs quite a bit to do in the first place. Anyways, I got my jacket back out and paid to relock it; which I’m glad I did because I do think my initial thin T-shirt would have left me cold.
Caverns was amazing and definitely my favourite activity of the two that we did that day. The training was fairly straightforward, it seemed like a lot to take in but once you started doing it for yourself it all made sense and was easy to follow. We spent about half an hour or so working on the training course and were then set free to explore the cave. This part was such an adrenaline rush! There are 11 zip lines and different types of stepping stones, pathways and bridges to help you move around the cave. At some points, you are literally climbing across a cave wall connected with just one harness. It was a little bit scary but that’s what I enjoyed about it. The zips were definitely the best bit as it just felt so crazy to be zooming from one side of the cave to the other.
The caves are quite dark and often just have LED light projecting colour in certain areas. You weave between the section where Bounce Below takes place and in these segments, there is music playing. I enjoyed all the areas but some of my favourites were the quiet ones where it was just Haydn and I working our way around the course. I’m so glad this was worth the money and even more pleased that Haydn really enjoyed himself after all this was a Birthday present for him!
We completed the cave course in about 2 hours and so we were down in the cave for about 2 and a half hours total. Once back out of the cave we had plenty of time to grab some lunch before heading back for Bounce Below at 2pm. The onsite café had an average variety of snacks at high prices but since we hadn’t prepared our own packed lunches we paid the prices. We both got a sandwich for £4.20 each and I got a scone, cream and jam as a little extra snack. There wasn’t a water fountain outside of the cave which I thought was a little strange but the ice cream and confections stand around the reception area were happy to fill my bottle for me.
Bounce Below was our final activity for the day. I didn’t get as tired during Caverns as I had expected so after lunch we felt plenty ready to put on our hard hats and star exploring. Spoiler alert – it was the most exhausting hour of my life. The trampoline park is made up of several layers of huge nets suspended at different levels. There were then slides, stairs, ladders and bridges to get between them all. The big nets are hard to jump on in many places as they are so large they sort of absorb your energy instead of propelling you upwards. In busy nets where lots of people are bouncing, it can easily get chaotic; I didn’t particularly like these boisterous areas which made me feel like I could lose my footing at any moment.
However, Haydn enjoyed it all and together we loved the slides! You can use mats so you don’t get any friction burns when using the slides and honestly playing like kid in a giant play area was a really good laugh. Since this really was hard work just one hour was plenty – my legs ached so much afterwards and I didn’t envy Haydn who had to make the 3 hour drive home. Even though Bounce Below had been fun I don’t think it’s something I’d do again since the nets can easily get quite rough but equally the quiet ones are hard to jump on since they absorb so much energy.
Overall, we had a fantastic time in Wales and really enjoyed Zip World. The price of Caverns is defiantly worth it and since booking the two activities together meant we got a discount I also think that Bounce Below was worth the price. However, I think I’d have been a little disappointed with our day out if I had only booked Bounce Below; not just because of the price but also because I didn’t massively enjoy myself. I’m not sure how Haydn feels about it but obviously, as this was a birthday gift he didn’t pay for it so will be a little more biased. Have you ever visited Zip World? Let me know your thoughts below!