6 December 2017

Everything You Need To Know About Enchanted Parks 2017 ... Now That We’ve Been to The Inventors Ball

***REVIEW***
Last night we went were invited along to review to Enchanted Parks 2017 – The Inventors Ball at Saltwell Park, in Gateshead.

It’s a popular after-dark arts adventure in the atmospheric setting of Saltwell Park. The annual event, which sees specially commissioned artists transform Gateshead’s Saltwell Park into a magical and mythical wonderland, will run for six nights in total.

Everything You Need To Know About Enchanted Parks 2017 Now That We’ve Been to The Inventors Ball





Enchanted Parks - NewcastleGateshead



We have been a few times before. The first time in 2011 it was snowy, icy, bitterly cold and our youngest was still in a pushchair. I still remember making dolly mixture kaleidoscope projections onto the external walls of Saltwell Towers though and we all thought it was great.



Everything You Need To Know About Enchanted Parks 2017 Now That We’ve Been to The Inventors Ball




Last time we went, a couple of years ago we found it disappointing, it was also cold, wet and windy – which really didn’t add to the experience. We missed last years so with an invitation to attend on the opening night this year we went along not really knowing what to expect … but we loved it.


Everything You Need To Know About Enchanted Parks 2017 ... Now That We’ve Been to The Inventors Ball


What is Enchanted Parks?

Enchanted Parks is a magical after-dark arts adventure, which sees Gateshead’s famous Victorian park, Saltwell Park, brought to life with visual arts, performance, installation and interactive works in an event for the whole family. Visitors walk around a route that is just over 1 mile. There are 13 light installatiojns, around the park and in comntrast to Lumiere Durham, you walk around a set route, with no turning back, which takes you to each installation and then back to the exit. It is clearly marked and at any areas where you may lose the trail there is a person on hand to point you in the right direction. You don't have to be out by a specific time so it's best to take your time to ensure you don't miss anything along the way.


Everything You Need To Know About Enchanted Parks 2017 Now That We’ve Been to The Inventors Ball

Where is it?

The annual event has returned to Saltwell Park this year. It will run until Sunday 10 December.


Everything You Need To Know About Enchanted Parks 2017 Now That We’ve Been to The Inventors Ball


What time is it on?

It all takes place after dark and tickets are booked for particular timeslots at 15 minute intervals between 4.15pm & 8.15pm. This worked really well and means rather than huge crowds fighting their way around, we had a nice relaxed walk and were able to walk at an appropriate pace for us.


Everything You Need To Know About Enchanted Parks 2017 Now That We’ve Been to The Inventors Ball


Do I need a ticket?

Yes, you will need a ticket to enter the park during the event. This year there are 30,000 tickets, more than ever before, however there are only limited tickets available online from the NewcastleGateshead website and a limited number of tickets are available to buy in person from Gateshead Library across all days.


Everything You Need To Know About Enchanted Parks 2017 Now That We’ve Been to The Inventors Ball

How much does it cost?


Entry for those aged three and under is free but tickets will still have to be booked in order to monitor numbers. Children aged four-plus: £3 and adults (16-plus) £8. There is also a 50p booking fee.


Everything You Need To Know About Enchanted Parks 2017 Now That We’ve Been to The Inventors Ball

How long will a visit take?

We have two boys who are capable of walking pretty fast now and it took us two hours to see all of the installations. This included toilet stops, and a break for Pizza half way around. The app made them want to stop at each installation and they were truly entertained at each one too.


Everything You Need To Know About Enchanted Parks 2017 Now That We’ve Been to The Inventors Ball

How do we get there?

If you can, travel by public transport, especially during the week when the event begins during rush hour. Having said that we did drive, as we headed there straight from school. We parked in the main car park, it will cost you £5 per car but it was close to the event. Many people were parking on the roadside and many buses also pass by Saltwell Park.


Everything You Need To Know About Enchanted Parks 2017 Now That We’ve Been to The Inventors Ball

Are there refreshments?


Yes, we stopped at the Scream for Pizza van, half way around. If you know Saltwell Park you’ll find the pizza van right next to where the children's play areas are inside the park. The pizza was really good, and start at £5 for a 9” pizza, cooked from fresh. Cold drinks are available there too for £1. They accept cash and cards. Saltwell Towers is also selling hot and cold refreshments, but we didn’t go there this time. There are also many deals to be found in Low Fell restaurants too.


Everything You Need To Know About Enchanted Parks 2017 Now That We’ve Been to The Inventors Ball

Are dogs allowed?

No, dogs are not allowed - except for assistance dogs. The art installations can include flames and their changing light effects as well as large groups of people are not ideal for pets.


Everything You Need To Know About Enchanted Parks 2017 Now That We’ve Been to The Inventors Ball


Is there an App?

Yes and it's great. Download it for free before you set off, put in your names and it will create a story for you of your journey around the park. At each installation there is code to find and submit. Once submitted photos of the installations you are at appear. The boys loved finding the codes, even if after a while they could guess them, but they still wanted to find them and complete it. This was a really good new initiative and the map was really easy to follow, and much easier to see on a smartphone than on paper in the dark.


Everything You Need To Know About Enchanted Parks 2017 Now That We’ve Been to The Inventors Ball


Is there a theme?

Yes. This year’s event tells the enchanting story of Ursula Wailes, the eldest daughter of William Wailes and heiress to the Saltwell Towers Estate, who makes a gift of Saltwell Park to the people of Gateshead. After filling the park with incredible inventions, plants from all over the world and wonderful creatures, she captures the imagination of children and adults alike; many reporting that the park itself feels 'alive'.


Unfortunately, her magical and generous donation is thrown back in her face in a most unfair manner. Legend has it that the young heiress closes the park in response to this betrayal and it has remained closed forever since. Now in 2017, residents report strange noises in the park and those houses nearby, with young people in the family, receive a mysterious invitation. 'To the generation of optimists: You are cordially invited to The Inventors' Ball in Saltwell Park'. It is simply signed, UW.


Everything You Need To Know About Enchanted Parks 2017 Now That We’ve Been to The Inventors Ball

What are the best bits?

Because you follow a set trail you can’t miss anything but my favourites have to be the big bunnies (Intrude), the animal orchestra (The Animal Menagerie), Saltwell Towers lightning (Lightning Strikes at Enchanted Parks) the night garden (Nigth Creatures) and the illuminated garden (The Apothecarist's Garden), however all of them are worth stopping to look at.



Everything You Need To Know About Enchanted Parks 2017 Now That We’ve Been to The Inventors Ball





Which is your favourite installation this year?

Deb x

Disclosure: We were invited to review Enchanted Parks and received complimentary tickets in order to do so. All photography is my own.

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