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Chessington World of Adventures

Chessington, Surrey, United Kingdom

Formerly Chessington Zoo, Chessington World of Adventures opened in 1987 as the UK's first theme park, with lands themed to various countries and cultures from around the world.

Opened28 July 1931 (as Chessington Zoo)
July 1987 (as Chessington World of Adventures)
SeasonMarch to early November
OwnerMerlin Entertainments
Attendance510,000 (TEA 2020)  
Websitewww.chessington.com
NearbyThorpe Park (9 miles)
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland (13 miles)
Legoland Windsor (16 miles)
Brighton Palace Pier (38 miles)
Adventure Island (46 miles)
Giant Buddha

Chessington's Giant Buddha has been watching over the theme park since 1987

Chessington World of Adventures opened in 1987 as the UK's first real theme park, with each ride having a backstory and set within distinct themed areas representing various countries from around the world.

However, the site's history goes back much further than that - a mansion built in 1348 became a loyalist stronghold in the English Civil War before it was raised to the ground by Cromwell's forces. The mansion, now known as The Burnt Stub, was rebuilt and used as an inn until the 18th century. Then in 1931, Chessington Zoo, the attraction which morphed into today's theme park, opened on the site.

Today, Chessington World of Adventures provides attractions and animal experiences targeted at young families. There are four rollercoasters, chief among them being Vampire, a swinging coaster originally built by Arrow and designed by the famed John Wardley, who also came up with much of the original concept and master plan for the park. Other highlights include Tiger Rock, a log flume past real life tigers; Dragon's Fury, a spinning rollercoaster (Chessington like their dragons); and Tomb Blaster, an interactive dark ride through an Egyptian tomb.

Sealion Bay

Sealions playing in Sealion Bay

Professor Burp's Bubbleworks was one of Chessington's most famous dark rides. Originally a boat ride through a fizzy pop factory, it was later rethemed under a sponsorship deal with Imperial Leather to become a tour through a duck infested soap factory. In 2016, the Bubbleworks took its last riders, and reopened in 2017 rethemed as the Gruffalo River Adventure. While nothing can match the creativity of the original 1990 version of the Bubbleworks, the Gruffalo gives a nicely themed reboot to what was becoming a tired, worn out, but classic ride in need of some TLC. The success of The Gruffalo was followed up in 2019 with Room on the Broom: A Magical Journey, a walkthrough past several key scenes from the book.

In 2021, the park opened Croc Drop, a family drop tower, and replaced its old Black Buccaneer pirate ship with Blue Barnacle.

The park's animal collection is huge and spread across several themed areas. Lions, tigers and gorillas are among the beasts on view in Trail of the Kings; kids can get up close to their favourite farmland friends in the Children's Zoo area; and a large variety of fish are on display in Chessington's own Sealife Centre. Those in search of adventure can board a Zufari truck for a safari around the African plains in search of giraffes, zebras and rhinos.

In recent years, Chessington has expanded into a multi-day destination with the addition of two on-site animal themed hotels and most recently a summer Glamping option, allowing guests to spend the night in a tent in the heart of the park itself.

Areas

Attractions

Trail of the Kings

Trail of the Kings

Large mammals including Gorillas, Lions and Leopards

Lorikeet Lagoon

Lorikeet Lagoon

Take a pot of nectar with you to feed the friendly lorikeets in this walk through aviary

Sea Life

Sea Life

Marine life and an underwater tunnel

Sea Lion Bay

Sea Lion Bay

Sea Lions

Penguin Bay

Penguin Bay

Home to Chessington's penguin family

Wanyama Village

Wanyama Village

African animals and small creatures

Canopy Capers

Canopy Capers

Walkways, bridges and more to explore

Dragon's Playhouse

Dragon's Playhouse

Indoor soft play area

Shows and Entertainment

Mane Stage

Mane Stage

Outdoor show venue in the centre of the park

Elmer and the Bedtime Story

Elmer and the Bedtime Story

Daily show on the Mane Stage based on the David McKee storybook

Shopping and Games

Adventure Point Gift Shop

Adventure Point Gift Shop

The main park gift shop selling a range of CWOA souvenirs

The Gruffalo Gift Shop

The Gruffalo Gift Shop

Ride themed merchandise featuring The Gruffalo and Vampire

Maharaja's Market

Maharaja's Market

Wild Asia themed gifts, snacks and drinks

Room on the Broom Animated Movie Experience

Room on the Broom Animated Movie Experience

Purchase a video of your family starring in your own Room on the Broom movie

Sea Life Shop

Sea Life Shop

Aquatic toys, books and souvenirs

Croc Drop Shop

Croc Drop Shop

Ride themed merchandise and snacks

Sweet Shop

Sweet Shop

A shop full of sweets, chocolate and other treats

Adventure Games

Adventure Games

Adventure Point games arcade

Tigers Eyes Games Arcade

Tigers Eyes Games Arcade

Games arcade in Land of the Tiger

Explorer License Bureau

Explorer License Bureau

Photos and zoo keeper licences

The Hub and VIP Experiences

The Hub and VIP Experiences

Fastrack tickets and upcharge attraction booking

Food and Drink

Smokehouse BBQ and Bar

Smokehouse BBQ and Bar

Restaurant serving smoked meats and BBQ sides

Pizza Pasta Buffet

Pizza Pasta Buffet

Unlimited pizza and pasta buffet

Vampire's Burger Kitchen

Vampire's Burger Kitchen

Burgers and fries, with indoor seating

Zafari Bar & Grill

Zafari Bar & Grill

Freshly cooked food straight from the grill of the Chessington Safari Hotel

Temple Restaurant and Bar

Temple Restaurant and Bar

Buffet style dining in the Azteca Hotel

Captain's Fish & Chips

Captain's Fish & Chips

Sit down eatery serving freshly cooked fish and chips

Tortilla

Tortilla

Serving burritos and Mexican fast food

Drop'n Chicken

Drop'n Chicken

Fried chicken and burger meals

Dragon's Lair Cafe

Dragon's Lair Cafe

Cafe serving hot drinks and cakes

The Coffee Hut

The Coffee Hut

Coffee and cakes beside the Maine Stage

Tiger Bites

Tiger Bites

Quick snacks in the Land of the Tiger

Dirty Fries

Dirty Fries

Portions of loaded fries served with a variety of toppings

Hot Potatoes and Hot Dogs

Hot Potatoes and Hot Dogs

Hot dogs and baked potatoes on the go at Adventure Point

Tiger Treats

Tiger Treats

Ice creams and donuts underneath Tiger Rock

Donut Express

Donut Express

Donuts and other tasty treats

Ben & Jerry's

Ben & Jerry's

Ice cream

Dragon Delights

Dragon Delights

Hot drinks and ice cream sundaes

ICEE Temple

ICEE Temple

Refreshing slushies and cold drinks

Tuk Tuk Treats

Tuk Tuk Treats

Waffles and ice cream

The Gruffalo Bites

The Gruffalo Bites

Serving snacks on peak days

Dragon's Treats

Dragon's Treats

Drinks, snack and sweets for sale in the Dragon's Fury queueline

The Coffee Truck

The Coffee Truck

Coffee outlet at the picnic area in Mexicana

Donut Shack

Donut Shack

Food stand offering donuts next to the Lodge Entrance

Hydration Station

Hydration Station

Drinks refill station in Adventure Point

Videos

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