’I’m going to start praying to God, and I’m not religious!’
Silver Hedgehog Niece
It is one of our favourite times of the year, a day out with my niece and nephew to celebrate their recent birthdays. Previous years have included day trips to Millennium Point, Iron Bridge, the National Space Centre, Alton Towers and the Monkey Forest After seeing a You Tube video for the UK’s newest coaster ride (operated by Zip World) at a disused colliery in Wales, myself and JJ borrowed the kids for the day and set off to Wales.
Booking Zip World activities is easy. Zip World have multiple sites in Wales, and their website clearly shows all locations and activities (branded ‘adventures’). The booking screens displayed the times and dates available and once selected, payment was taken in full. An email arrived asking us to sign online waivers, having been to a Zip World before, I knew it saved time to complete this before our adventure.
The evening before our trip, Zip World sent me a text recommending that I allow for extra time due to roadworks. Google maps was showing roadworks in Wales close to Zip World, so we added an extra half hour on top of this estimate, just in case.
Getting to Zip World Tower from the middle of Staffordshire is around a three-hour drive. It is a straightforward route along the M5 and M50 and then local A roads. To get to our destination we needed to travel along the Heads of The Valley Road AKA the A465. Currently a long stretch of this road is under reconstruction, meaning reduced speeds and narrow lanes, it took about 25 minutes to pass through them. We arrived half an hour before our time slot, glad we had allowed the extra time in the journey.
Pulling into the large free car park, we could see three buildings in front of us, one housing the coaster, a welcome building, and a restaurant.
We followed a check in sign at the side of the car park that allowed us to walk along a fenced path alongside the car park, however, there was a locked gate at the end of the path, meaning we had to climb through the fence into the car park and head into the welcome centre, luckily it was quiet, so no cars were moving around the car park at this point. The welcome centre held a small collection of Zip World gifts, a check in desk and two kiosks of an indeterminable nature.
As we had completed the waivers online, it was a simple case of providing email address, stepping on scales, and receiving a wristband marked with your weight (for safety reasons). The attendant explained the location of the coasters, the bistro and mentioned they have extra adventures available today and we would receive ten percent off if we wanted to experience any after the coaster.
We visited 11th August 2022 and paid for the ticket ourselves.
Cost of our visit,
Our family day out to Zip World cost us….
Fuel to cover there and back cost £60.00
The coasters cost us £100.00 (4 x£25.00)
The Tower Flyer cost £33.60 for 2 people (inc 10% discount)
Two Phoenix cost 2 X Phoenix £88 (inc 10% discount)
Food and drink in the Bistro £45.95
Total Spend £ 327.55
Considering that theme parks like Alton Towers cost on average £40 per person then it is safe to say that a trip to Zip World Tower is not priced to be a family friendly day out. At around £350 (including service station food enroute) It is a wallet busting day out.
I have thought long and hard at Zip World’s pricing, and at first glance it’s expensive. The coaster alone cost £25.00 per person for only 3 runs. Compare that to Alton Towers that that currently costs £36 – £42 per person (advance payment depending on date) and provides a full days entertainment, so you can see how Zip World seems expensive.
It is clear that Zip World Tower are not aiming for the family day out market, but have their sights firmly set on those who are after a unique experience and adventure and are willing to pay for it. Unfortunately, with high prices comes high expectations, and on our visit to Zip World Tower it highlighted some easily fixable shortcomings with the visitor experience – clearer direction when something goes wrong, some staff could have more a more customer focussed attitude, facilities such as toilets should be 100% clean and working.
Zip World Tower’s strengths are the Zip Line adventures, once on them, the respective staff members were excellent and showed what Zip World Tower was all about. The Zip experiences were just that, a unique exhilarating experience that fully justifies the cost. Where else allows you to fly across lakes?
I realised that not only did this give the kids an amazing life experience but also provides certain bragging rights and that is priceless. Perhaps the staff member was right, and the coaster really is a side show?
Zip World Tower misses out on our ‘Must Visit rating’ but does gain our ‘Recommended’ rating for those wanting a Welsh adventure in the mountains.
Words Garry and JJ
Photos Zip World, JJ and Garry
An office worker by day and blogger by night. Garry is the creator and writer of The Silver Hedgehog. A Sci-Fi geek (don’t mention Terry Pratchett or Isaac Asimov unless you have a spare hour) and avid film fan (noted for watching Titanic 8 times at the cinema 🤩). Enjoys writing reviews and blogs in his spare time, and is waiting for the day he gets paid for it!