Now the day is done, I can tell you that there were plans. Time alone with eldest daughter, who is a fantastic big sister and copes with the PDA challenges very well, is quite rare so I wanted to do something a bit different.
There are many places where Sasha won't, or can't go, and of course many of these are places where Tamsin would love to go. So I planned a special trip into London (even the travel there by train is something that Sasha doesn't ever really want to do) and off we went to visit Shrek's Adventure!
Shrek's Adventure is located on the South Bank, one of my favourite places to be. It's right next door to the Sea Life Aquarium (we reviewed that at the start of summer) and the London Dungeons, and just along from the famous London Eye. I believe there are great value tickets which you can purchase if you want to visit more than one attraction, definitely worth checking that out.
We collected our tickets from the admissions desk, staffed by a jolly crew member with a very long name. We then waited in a queue to get in for about 10 minutes, and after being scanned through were asked to pose in front of a green screen for three different photos (one smiling, one running and one roaring). The reason for this only becomes clear at the end of your trip...
Next stop was a small lift to take us to the departures area (for another photo opportunity) and an introduction to the safety rules by a very theatrical young person who loved using the words 'Shrektacular' and 'Shrekcellent'. Princess Fiona then appeared to give us the background to the story and usher us on to a bus ride. Without giving too much away, the idea was that we were a group of travellers who needed to find Shrek to help us escape. That was because we inadvertently killed a witch on our bus ride there and the evil Rumpelstiltskin was chasing us to gain revenge.
There is some planned audience participation at every stage from here on in, which Tamsin and I loved, and we felt it added to the whole experience. One poor bloke didn't like it so much obviously though and refused to join in when 'selected', but we were quite impressed that the Cinderella actress at the time took it all in her stride and found a different willing volunteer without breaking a sweat.
The 4D bus ride was fantastic, and there are some other special effects as you go through which mean you feel fully immersed in the story throughout.
There is a photo opportunity with Shrek right at the end of the story, and also an area with some further photo opps and a fun Kung Fu kicking game to play. After that, you are shown a magnificent travel album with your original green screen photos in - I have to be honest though, I was amazed at how many people were willing to pay £25 for this! I think the professional photos were available to purchase for £15 - still quite a lot in my mind, but to be expected at this kind of touristy attraction.
The whole experience lasted about an hour; we thoroughly enjoyed it and I reckon I can stop feeling guilty about only taking one girl as Sasha would have hated it. You are effectively 'trapped' as you go through each part of the story, being shepherded along with around 20 other people. The group size was good and there was always room to see what was going on, but some parts of it could be scary for younger children and challenging for those who struggle with attention issues. It's billed as being suitable for children aged 6-12, but there were quite a few toddlers on our tour!
If you buy online in advance, tickets are very reasonable - £18.90 for an adult and £15.30 for a child. It was a great trip out for me and Tamsin, I'd thoroughly recommend it!
Disclosure: we were given tickets in exchange for a review of this attraction; all words and opinions are our own.