Gruffalo River Ride Adventure

The Gruffalo River Ride Adventure…

The Gruffalo and his River Ride Adventure have arrived at Chessington World of Adventures and we were incredibly privileged to be some of the first to board!

It was a moment of mixed emotions because The Gruffalo River Ride replaces the Bubbleworks, a ride which opened in 1990 and sits nostalgically in my heart; probably for all the wrong reasons!

It was always hailed by the kids as the very best ride at Chessington and there were numerous tales of those that had dared to disembark into Professor Bubblework’s laboratory, switch boats or even sink one – it wasn’t uncommon to see people exiting the ride looking like they’d swum through!

Wild Woods Chessington

Entering the Wild Woods which replaces the Transylvania area in the park was really exciting, the whole place looks like it’s been freshened up and is ready for the start of a new season.

With two very excited small people and larger ones too, there was no hesitation and we headed straight for the ride. You’re transported into the world of the Gruffalo as soon as you join the queue. All the walls having been beautifully painted to look exactly like the dark woods from the pages in the book. Just before you enter into the interior area of the ride, your photo is taken against a green screen and I thought these turned out pretty well…

Gruffalo Ride Green screen

Inside the ride, it really feels like you’ve entered the woods with sound effects playing together with music from The Gruffalo film. The walls and ceilings are covered with foliage and the queue takes you across a bridge over the ride before you board your tub boat.

Gruffalo River Ride Interior

Anyone familiar with the old Bubbleworks will recognise these tubs which whilst redecorated are much the same. This is also the case with the course of the ride which starts by dropping down a small ramp into the river which spins you through the Gruffalo story.

You’re shrunk to the size of Mouse to travel through rooms of the ride, each which has been dedicated to a scene from the story. We start surrounded by dandelions beside Fox’s lair; projections of the Gruffalo as mouse describes him appear on the wall and as you float to the next area you’re reminded how the Gruffalo would eat Mouse’s current companion.

roasted fox

Owl’s room is an absolute treat to the senses, it smells divine and a beautiful fountain flows towards the river – above it is a projection of mouse skipping across the stream, just like in the book.

Gruffalo River Ride

Snake’s log-pile is darker and he creeps out the edge just before you spot him again projected on a crystal clear glass screen with Mouse in his grasp.

gruffalo river ride

Around the corner, The Gruffalo sneaks up on you and they’ve been really clever to position the huge model so that he still makes you jump!

Footsteps of the Gruffalo echo around the room as you climb the ramp for the slide which is a fun but by no means frightening drop with a splash into the room below.

gruffalo river ride fountains

Here we were delighted to see the fountains from the original Bubbleworks remain and you float beneath them as the Gruffalo frightens each of the predators back into their lairs.

We exit through a very clever projection of Gruffalo Crumble which appears as though you’re about to be soaked by a fountain, past a satisfied mouse sat in peace to enjoy his nut.

gruffalo river ride

We were so impressed by this magical ride which has really captured every element of the story perfectly. Told with models, sounds, animations and projections there’s a mix of everything and so much to see it’s a wonderful feast for the senses. The ride is perfectly pitched for the younger child, still being exciting and a little bit scary but not too much.

Knowledge of the story offers them familiarity and comfort whilst a few bits are a little bit dark with a Gruffalo to make them jump. The flume at the end is long enough to be exciting but not to fear. Mine were mesmerised throughout and delighted by the fountains they loved the element of adventure and I really think they may have floated around all day if they could.

I think the ride has completely done the Bubbleworks justice adding all new wonder to this part of Chessington World of Adventures and the timeless nature of this story guarantees it’ll delight for years to come.

To celebrate the Gruffalo’s arrival there are now 4 fully-themed Gruffalo rooms at the Chessington Safari Hotel. A stay at the hotel is the perfect treat for a Gruffalo fan and offers reasonable value including two days of park tickets, breakfast, early access to the park and fast track entry to selected rides. For more information and to book a stay or park tickets visit

~We were invited by Chessington to try out the new ride and are very grateful to them for such a fun visit – no payment has been received for this post. ~