A great believer in exploring the off beat, non-touristy things hidden inside every city.
Published July 2nd 2016
Get into the swing of things
Pay to monkey around ... okay, I'll confess- that's really not my thing. But having had a swing at it (literally and metaphorically!) during my Office Away Day, I knew that the two young monkeys at home (aka my 11 and 8 year old daughters) would simply love this. And I was right indeed! We went to the Go Ape centre at Sherwood Pines in the recently gone Half-term break.
For those who don't yet know the ropes (ye, pun intended here!), Go Ape is a rather recent innovative concept of getting folks to attempt a graded adventure trail up in the trees. It comprises zip wires, tight rope walks et al (all whilst being harnessed to a safety wire- so you never really fall). The children's version is pretty similar except slightly easier in terms of the difficulty of each challenge. The staff are always on hand, encouraging, giving tips, watching over you and in the rare case of someone just not able to surmount a particular stretch, they will help hoist the person to the same (a rather ignominious option, but there nevertheless to bail someone out if they're really struggling!).
Our little monkey treads gingerly on her first go as she learns the ropes
A Go Ape adult adventure trail would approximately run for 1.5 to 2 hours (give or take time for breaks, getting your breath back). A children's trail would be lesser than this but if you've booked for an hour, and there is not much crowd, the staff are quite happy to let you do it again and again till you finish an hour.
It is the latest trend in terms of Corporate days out (we've already done it twice from work), picnics, kids birthday parties and the like. The locations range from Battersea park right in the middle of bustling London city to places out in the heart of the countryside like Crawley, Sherwood etc (check website for other venues).
I remember watching the first Jungle Book animated version as a child. I find it quite amusing that we are now finding it fun (and don't mind paying) to do exactly what King Louis (of the Monkey Kings) says he can already do with aplomb and that all HE wants is to.....'be just like the other men' as he's 'tired of monkeyin' around!' . Funny old world that we live in, isn't it?