As a general rule I would argue that caves in their own right are not usually classed as ‘fun’. Educational maybe, but not so much fun … Not unless zipwires, trampolines and neon lights are introduced. Once those 3 ingredients are added, their enjoyment levels rise rapidly.
Praise be to Bounce Below and Zip World, North Wales’ answer to making caves exciting again!
My relationship with Welsh caves
When I think back to the time I spent in Welsh caves as a youngster, with mum and dad , such memories are not overly positive.
As ungrateful as it now sounds, back when I was 10 years old (or so), learning about stalegmigjts and stalegmigjts was not overly high on my summer wish list.
Don’t get me know, my parents took my sister and I on some fabulous holidays when we were young, but a week down a cold and wet Welsh cave/mine doesn’t exactly break break into the top 10 memories, let alone sit atop the list. Disney in Florida takes that mantle.
Bounce Below and Zip Below
So to North Wales and the Bounce Below / Zip World activity centre. A former slate mine which was converted to a bounce and zip wonderland in 2015, the centre is now considered as something Carlsberg might have dreamt up, probably the best in the world! After all it is (at time of writing) sitting pretty at #1 on TripAdvisor
Now the fact that my first attempt to take on Bounce Below failed due the centre having no available slots , is a testament to just how incredible the centre is, and how much fun. Owing to the number of activities and their enjoyment, you could literally spend an entire day here!
Above ground you have a number of crazy zip lines, but it’s below ground that I’ll be focussing on today, as the two sub level activities are the ones that I was lucky enough to try my hand at last month (Oct 2015).
“Imagine giant trampolines, walkways, slides and tunnels all made from netting. Now picture this suspended in a slate cavern hidden underground and you’ll have the right idea.”
Bounce Below is the first of its kind, the world’s first subterranean playground. It kind of looks like a giant, multicoloured, florescent spiders web, but it’s a whole lot more fun than a spiders web.
The webs … I mean nets, that turn the former 176-year old cavern, into a playground that is twice the size of St Paul’s Cathedral, create what is effectively a giant trampoline, linked together by walkways, tunnels and slides.
It’s fun for all the family (there is a smaller version for mini people), and with sessions lasting a whole hour, it’s actually a great workout. Expect to exit exhausted, but having had a bucket load of fun!
This is a pretty unique activity, and definitely makes caves more exciting in my book.
Zip World Caverns
“Zip World Caverns is home to a series of exhilarating underground zip lines, rope bridges, obstacles and tunnels. It has been built in vast caverns that were first excavated nearly 200 years ago and have remained largely unchanged. “
If giant underground trampolines aren’t your thing (they should be!), how about the world’s largest fully underground zip line course?
Set in the same florescent, cavernous backdrop as Bounce Below, Zip World Caverns offers you the chance to scale the giant cavern walls (securely!), and then zip line from one to the other, all of your own accord and within your own time.
Before being let loose in the caverns, you are of course given extensive training around the equipment required, and which you yourself operate, but once you get the hang of it there’s pretty much no stopping you.
See for yourself by watching the video below, it might just tempt you to make the journey to North Wales for such an adventure.
There’s more above ground
So far I’ve only retailed you stories of what took place below the earth’s surface, because that is what I experienced. As mentioned previous though, there is more happening above ground too because it’s a zip line adventure you don’t want to miss in your life!
- Velocity – the longest zip line in Europe and the fastest in the world. This is a mile long zip line that provides riders with a birds-eye view of the historic quarry and the spectacular North Wales coastline and beyond.
- Titan – the largest Zip Zone in Europe and the first 4 person zip line in Europe. The experience of riding Titan take place over three zip lines – Anarchy, Bedlam and Chaos! Each rider travels over 2,000m. The total length of the zip lines is over 8,000m.
In 2016 I hope to experience both of these, and of course film and blog about them, so watch out for those posts coming soon (ish).
*Velocity is located on a separate site around 45 minutes drive from the rest of Bounce Below and Zip World.
The price below are correct at the time of writing (Nov 2015), but please check the respective websites for the most up to date pricing, and for the various family deal tickets and combo tickets that are set to become available in 2016.
My Bounce and Zip below experience formed a part of a press trip entitled #AdventureWales, which I was invited to attend by Visit Wales.
While Visit Wales covered the cost of my Bounce and Zip experience, they did not request a favourable review and all of the opinions included in this article are my own.