For some frivolous fun on a wet afternoon in the capital, Shrek’s Adventure! offers the kind of easy escapism and interaction only enthusiastic actors dressed as fairytale characters can provide.
As confusing as it might be for adults unfamiliar with the Shrek films to be travelling to a Far Far Away land in search of a big green man, our six-year-old twins had no problem adapting to the scenario of this unusual walk-and-ride attraction.
As soon as Joe and Nina went into the attraction they were captivated by Princess Fiona and the other characters who passed clues to our group to find Shrek, invariably passing an item to one of the children to deliver to the next person we met.
Adults too were urged to engage with the actors, with plenty of gags for the older audience.
There is no doubt, however, that the best part of the experience is the 4D magic bus ride with Donkey as your guide. When the red double-decker bus lurched and leapt from side to side (or appeared to), we all screamed and shrieked.
Scary witches on broomsticks appeared in the sky beside us as we rose above the chimney tops and into the clouds in a fantastically realistic fantasy ride, seeing the likes of Po from Kung Fu Panda on our way.
When our bus arrived with a bump in Shrek’s Swamp, we were told we had crash-landed on Rumpelstiltskin’s favourite witch. It became clear our aim was to find Shrek before Rumpelstiltskin found us. The race was on.
The attraction involved a series of encounters, from a rather dishevelled Cinderella (back to her cleaning day job!) and a dozy Sleeping Beauty to the landlord of The Poison Apple pub, and a short game show entitled the Wheel of Torture.
For clients with children under the age of six, this ride may be too dark and spooky. We saw at least two tearful toddlers, particularly in the Mirror Maze, where even the adults struggled to find the exit.
When we did get out we stumbled upon the madcap Muffin Man who told us how to cook up a magic spell.Without wanting to spoil the ending, just when we thought we were almost there we found ourselves in jail, where some good old-fashioned tricks made it feel like we were sharing our seats with something small, furry and long-tailed. Eek!
The final highlight for Joe and Nina was to meet Shrek himself, who happily posed for some photos with us all. In the words of our guide, it was simply Shrek-tacular.
A word of warning, however, for your customers: the photo book given to your child at the end is not free (it’s £25) or you can buy individual photos.
The attraction, which opened last summer on London’s South Bank within a stone’s throw of the London Eye, The London Dungeon and a string of riverside restaurants, provides plenty of variety and interaction to fill 75 minutes and makes a worthwhile add-on to any London short break with children.
SuperBreak offers one night at the three-star Royal National Hotel for a family of four including breakfast for the adults and tickets to Shrek’s Adventure!, from £203 on April 16. superbreak.com/agents
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