Friday, June 26, 2020

News: Financial support extended for Gulliver's Valley following postponed opening


With the opening of a new theme park in Rotherham postponed, the Sheffield City Region (SCR) Combined Authority has extended the payment terms for a £1.1m loan to Gulliver's.

The family firm has been on a rollercoaster ride of its own in the last few months. As the transformational image shows, the £7.5m first phase of Gulliver's Valley was almost complete and ready to open in the Spring but the Coronavirus outbreak meant that the opening of the year round destination aimed at 2 - 13 year olds on land next to Rother Valley Country Park was postponed.

With the changes to Government regulations, Gulliver's Valley is now expected to open in July.

When construction began in 2018, the Combined Authority agreed a £1.5m financial package to support Gulliver's in their investment which is creating hundreds of jobs.

This month it was confirmed that three businesses had had their loans extended having been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic - Doncaster Sheffield Airport, Yorkshire Wildlife Park and Gulliver’s Valley.

A £400,000 grant from the Sheffield City Region Infrastructure Fund (SCRIF), and a £1.1m loan was approved for Gulliver's Valley. Meeting minutes show that "There have been no changes to the amount of debt to be repaid or the outcomes to be delivered by these companies as a result of these decisions. It is merely a deferral of the repayment dates."

This would mean that, having been unable to open and generate income, Gulliver's will be given more time to repay the loan.


Following on from theme parks in Warrington, Matlock Bath and Milton Keynes, Gulliver's Valley will be home to more than 50 rides and attractions including an indoor climbing centre, an indoor play area, and a Lost Jurassic World area. In addition, a variety of accommodation will be available, including unicorn and princess suites, alongside Western Cabins and Lost World Lodges.

Proposals have also been approved to introduce more accommodation options from day one of opening. On land to the rear of the Castle Hotel, which is shown in the approved masterplan to be used for two additional wings of the Castle Hotel and as car park, the proposal is for the temporary provision of 31 caravan units and eight glamping units.

An update from Gulliver's said: "At each of our resorts we are working behind the scenes to make sure new social distancing measures are fully implemented. Over the next few weeks, we'll be able to provide you with more information on how our theme parks, accommodation and attractions will be adapted. The safety and well-being of our guests and team members will always remain our top priority. Although areas of our resorts may look slightly different when we reopen, our dedication to providing incredible family experiences has not changed. We know that days out and short breaks will be more meaningful than ever and we are determined to make them happen.

"2020 was always destined to be a special year for Gulliver's with the opening of our brand-new theme park resort in South Yorkshire. We're incredibly proud of the work our team have done over the past few years, taking fantastic ideas and bringing them to life.

"We're looking forward to opening the doors for the very first time at Gulliver's Valley and reopening our resorts at Warrington, Milton Keynes and Matlock Bath."

Gulliver's World Warrington and Gulliver's Land Milton Keynes will reopen on Saturday July 4. The company has also introduced "T-Rex Treks" - social distanced one hour Jurassic family experiences.

Bookings will soon be available online for Gulliver's Valley. The company is also extending its annual passes for a further six months.

Gulliver's Valley website

Images: Gulliver's / Facebook


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