For anyone who craves an outdoor-adventure this is a must-visit attraction and shouldn’t be missed! Go Ape, Itchen Valley Country Park, Southampton is a fabulous day out for all the family (although unsuitable for under 10’s unless you choose the Junior Go Ape option) and budding climbers will have a ball swinging through the trees like our ancient ancestors! There’s no surprise this attraction in Southampton is rated the UK’s Number 1 tree-top adventure and it’s award winning too (boasting a silver award in the Beautiful South Small Visitor Attraction of the Year). The whole family (mum and dad too) can spend hours exploring the trees, escaping through obstacles, enjoying thrilling zip-wire rides flying across the sky, scuttling through tunnels, clambering over bridges and making like an ape!
It’s not for the faint hearted though – expect thrills and spills – an exciting day and a full body workout! You might want to think about staying overnight after such an awe-inspiring adventure because it’s not relaxing. It’s very physical, extremely active and absolutely incredible in every way. Luckily – if you are planning this as a special day out for all the family there are a number of hotels close to the Itchen Valley Country Park, where you’ll find Go Ape and there’s plenty of different price options to choose from so there’s something for everyone. At £33 for 16+ and £25 for 10 to 16’s entrance price it’s not an inexpensive attraction but if you visit our voucher page you’ll find an excellent 10% discount making it a far more affordable day out.
Planning this day out is crucial because it is an outdoor activity which is why it closes from November to end of January however from February onwards it’s open for business. If you aren’t concerned about the British weather just don some good quality waterproofs including trainers or boots and get stuck in! A couple of other things to note, you must be age 10 plus to take part in the full course, you must be at least 4’7″ height (1.4 metres) and you cannot weigh more than 20.5 stone – all of this is for safety purposes. However – don’t despair if you have younger children because as of February 2016 Junior Go Ape has opened which is ideal for children of a minimum height of 1metre (entrance £18).
So what should you expect on the day? Well first of all allow a good three hours to make the most of your adventure. The Go Ape course is close to River Itchen and features fantastic scenery which you can view from on top of the trees! While it’s challenging, it’s perfectly safe because every team has fully qualified highly experienced instructors so children and adults alike are well looked after – even if you’re not keen on heights you’ll soon forget about it and enjoy the exhilaration of the trees, however if you’d rather avoid the heights altogether there are several walking routes to enjoy through the course. If you are slightly nervous – don’t be because before you set off on your tree-top experience you will receive a thorough and reassuring safety briefing and explanation on how to use the equipment.
When you’re on the course (there are a total of five courses) you’ll build up gradually so it starts off fairly easy getting tougher as you progress. This is a great way to gently instil confidence and there will always be an instructor close by to help you, you can also take the course at your own pace – there’s no rush. Expect to swing through the trees like Tarzan and climb up a large cargo net (which is hard work so take a few deep breaths). You will end up very high up (100 foot!) and even jump from this height onto a rope ladder but you will do it! The zip wires are extremely breathtaking and give you tremendous views as well as an adrenaline rush because they are so fast you literally…zip through! There are plenty of laddered parts of the course, treetop crossings (which get harder with each part of the course) and if you get a little stuck there’s always someone there to help you out.
Even when you are finished there’s plenty to do because the setting is right in the middle of a stunning park and lush woodland. There’s a playground for younger children and a large grassy area which is the perfect spot for a summer’s picnic (although there’s also a café if you prefer) and to take some much needed R&R when you’ve completed the course.
A few great Go Ape top tips:
- Take waterproofs just in case (you can’ never rely on the good old British weather!)
- Wear good climbing shoes/trainers with grip or hiking boots
- Bring plenty of water – swinging through the trees is thirsty work
- You might want some extra energy so bring some tasty energy snacks
- Wear gloves
- Wear old clothes you don’t care about!
- You should have a degree of physical fitness, if you lead a very sedentary lifestyle it might not be the right attraction for you but there is no age limit – there are plenty of people age of all ages enjoying the attraction to the full!
Children and adults will love the inspiring outdoors at Itchen Valley Country Park and at the end of every Go Ape session everyone who has taken part receives a special certificate to remind them of their fun and achievement – and it is an achievement!