Adventure Ideas

Any Thrill-O-Matic Ideas Gromit?

Wallace and Gromit Thrill-O-Matic Blackpool
Written by Kirstie Pelling

Any Thrill-O-Matic Ideas Gromit?

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I’ve searched and searched and can’t find it. Maybe it’s just not there. And maybe it doesn’t matter. If there doesn’t appear to be a thread running through this week’s adventure ideas it’s probably because that’s how things are right now; chaotic, rambling and seemingly disconnected. But perhaps that doesn’t matter, for in that madness may be the seed of a great adventure. But if you can connect Gromit, slippers, Bristol, Blackpool, roadtripping, The Balkans, birdwatching and Crete you should probably be writing this blog. Give me a call! 

Slipper action in Blackpool

The other day I slid my foot into a comfy slipper and went for a ride through a dark tunnel. I travelled under a low bridge where dozy sheep bleated above me and evil rabbits plotted below, stopping to nod to a guy with a rictus grin who stared past me into the distance. Yeh, I know, we live in Cumbria. This kind of thing happens all the time.

Wallace and Grommit's Thrill-O-Matic RIde

Wallace and Gromit’s Thrill-O-Matic Ride at Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Thrill-O-Matic Gromit?

But for a change this didn’t occur on the late night emergency Malteser run to Milnthorpe. Instead we were in Blackpool to try out the new £5m Wallace and Gromit ride. Wallace and Gromit’s Thrill-O-Matic is the world’s first theme park ride to be based on their adventures. The Pleasure Beach Resort has refurbished the former Gold Mine, taking you on a dark ride (and I mean dark!) around scenes from the three Aardman Animations films. If you love the films, you’ll probably love this. I enjoyed it, but not quite as much as I did Valhalla, the only water splash ride I’ve ever been on that soaked me from head to toe. Forget the giant slipper, if I ever go again I’m taking a giant bin bag.

Wallace at Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Wallace out with his minders at Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Gromit, unleashed in Bristol

2013 seems to be the year of Wallace and Gromit. Seventy giant hand painted Gromits will form a trail around Bristol landmarks this year in a new project called Gromit Unleashed. The sculptures have been designed by art luminaries such as Cath Kidston and Raymond Briggs.

Meet seventy of these chaps in Bristol

Meet seventy of these chaps in Bristol

Aardman owner Nick Park says he can’t wait to see how Gromit will look decorated by so many different artists, “I love the concept of these art trails and to have ‘Gromit at large’ is slightly scary in a nice way for me, but also an incredible honour.” If you can get down to Bristol this summer  there’s loads going on including a balloon festival, a kite festival and a Shakespeare festival.

Meanwhile Wallace and Gromit will be spearheading a new Visit Britain campaign encouraging staycations, so they’ll be all over the telly too.

All-inclusive in Crete

A staycation might be your idea of hell in a slipper. And with the weather at home so unpredictable I wouldn’t blame you if your thoughts drifted further afield. If you are on a tight budget and haven’t booked anywhere yet, then check out some of the budget operators that offer all- inclusive packages in Europe. And don’t fret, you aren’t chained to the beach if you take an all-inclusive. We recently bolted a week of adventure activities onto our break in the sun. We’ve been thinking about biking South this summer. At one point I’m sure I heard Stuart asking if I thought we could bike to Greece. Which got me thinking about bolting on a week of all inclusive heaven to six weeks of biking. There are some great all inclusive deals out there at the moment like this one at the Heronissos Hotel in Crete. I’m working on him, but I’m not sure if he’ll go for it.

Crete: Anidri beach

Crete: Anidri beach. Image Pat Neary (under CCL Flickr)

Add on Albania

Our plans for the summer are coming along. If we can’t get as far as Greece, we’re thinking we might bike The Balkans; watch this space for details. Whilst doing a bit of research we came across a company called Balkan Road Trip, who run tours in the Balkans including one from from Croatia down to Greece. Sounds easier than biking. From May they’ll be offering a new Albanian add on, exploring the jewels of Albania and Montenegro including the walled city of Kotor, Albania’s capital Tirana, the Turkish town of Berat and the fascinating Roman colony of Butrint. If I can’t get Stuart onto that all inclusive then maybe I can get him on a road trip around the Balkans. A girl can dream can’t she?

Enjoy a visit to Blue Eye Spring in Albania

Enjoy a visit to Blue Eye Spring in Albania

Twitching in the Lake District

But summer’s still a long way off. Closer to home, the RSPB recently published the results of its Big Garden Birdwatch, and they’re not encouraging. Results show that some of the UK’s most threatened and best-loved bird species are continuing to decline. ‘Red list’ starlings hit an all-time low in 2012 and their numbers sunk further in gardens this year. House sparrows dropped too.

But the good news is the Ospreys are back in Bassenthwaite.  And you don’t need to wait for your staycation, or hike up a mountain to see them. You can find out all you need to know and more by heading over to the live stream of the Lake District Osprey Watch. You wouldn’t believe the some of the domestics they have! And their mating rituals are interesting too. If a bloke wants to impress a girl, he simply chucks her a fish.

But then, as I said at the beginning, these kind of things happen all the time in Cumbria.

Disclosure Note: This post is brought to you in part thanks to support from Jet2Holidays

About the author

Kirstie Pelling

Kirstie is the Editor of The Family Adventure Project. A professional writer and poet, she's the creative and journalistic force behind many of the stories and features published here. She's a co-founder and co-director of The Family Adventure Project and also works as the #poetinmotion producing and performing poetry for print, video and live performance.

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We're Kirstie & Stuart. We share an adventurous spirit, a passion for indie travel and 3 kids. The Family Adventure Project is our long term experiment in doing active, adventurous things together. Find out more...

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