Wonderful Wookey: A day of adventure at Wookey Hole Caves
This was our first visit to Wookey Hole Caves in Somerset, but after a successful visit to some show caves in Wales we were positive it would be a hit with the kids. We didn't really know what to expect, but having done some research, I could see that there was plenty to see and do for all ages which is always good because finding attractions that are suitable for both a 7-year-old and a toddler can at times be hard!
Wookey Hole is located in a beautiful part of the UK on the edge of the Mendip Hills and makes for a wonderful and scenic drive. The caves are well signposted and on arrival, there is plenty of free parking and you can even stay on-site in the Wookey Hole Hotel which has plenty of family rooms.
I suggest you book your tickets online as that offers a 20% discount in comparison to what you will pay at the ticket office, which is located inside the cafe and ice-cream store near the entrance. The great thing about a day out to Wookey Hole is that one ticket includes more than 20 attractions, many of which are all-weather making this a place to visit come rain or shine. The main attraction, of course, is the Show Caves and tours for this start every half hour throughout the day and last around 45mins. We decided that we first wanted to explore the site and everything it had to offer and leave the caves until last.
The boys made a beeline to the Monster Mill which is the largest indoor attraction in the West and you could easily spend the best part of a day exploring each room, such as the magical mirror maze or hitting up the vintage penny arcade, letting the kids run wild in the Wizards play castle soft play or taking aim at the Pirate zap zone. There is also a theatre and we managed to catch most of the circus show which was very impressive especially the aerial acrobatics and trapezes artists which had both boys completely memorised.
There are also lots of opportunities to learn more about the caves and take part in some educational activities such as exploring the Cave Museum. It was fascinating to discover that humans have been using the caves for around 45,000 years, after tools from the Palaeolithic period were found as well as evidence of stone and iron age occupation. You can also have a chance at making your own paper in the hand-made paper mill and learn the history of paper-making.
As we headed outside, we spotted the Cave Diving museum. Cave diving has taken place at Wookey Hole since 1935 and we found it fascinating and incredible that explorers dive to such depths in such cramp environments to help map out the caves. As you come out of the museum you head to the outdoor section of Wookey Hole and straight into the Valley of the Dinosaurs which of course was an instant hit with the kids as they ran around spotting more than 20 life-sized dinosaurs and walking underneath the giant King Kong statue which looks out across the valley.
As we had spent a few hours indoors it was great for the kids to have the space to run outside and explore as there is a lovely woodland walk that runs along the river Axe which emerges from the cave. You can follow along down to the Mystic Fairy Garden where you can spot some fairy doors and a hiding Unicorn.
As we had a little more time before the Cave tour started we decided to give a round of Pirate Adventure Golf a go, which again is included in the price of the ticket and was loads of fun. Of course, we didn't stick to the rules per say as the toddler didn't quite get the gist of it but enjoyed it nonetheless especially as the course is well laid, fun and well designed for kids in mind.
So by this point, there was only one thing left to do, the caves. As it was nearing the end of the day we were actually the only ones on the tour which meant it was nice and laid back and gave us the opportunity to ask the guide anything we wanted. My eldest enjoyed learning about the Legend of the Wookey Hole Witch and we were all surprised to find that they age award winning Cheese in the caves as with the temperature being a constant 11 degrees it makes the caves a perfect place to stop cheese drying out during the ageing process. Recently, a new tunnel and chamber have been opened up for the first time to visitors making this cave system one of the largest in Europe. Young children as also welcome to explore the caves although do note you cannot use a pushchair or stroller during the tour due to uneven stairs and a good pair of shoes are also advised.
We left Wookey Holes completely exhausted but with smiles right across all of our faces, the whole day was action packed and there really is something for everyone! It's great to be able to dive into the mythical and mysteriousness that surrounds the caves and explore nature in ways most have never seen before. It really does make for a fantastic family day out!