Vampire at Chessington World of Adventures is a fantastic ride – fast and exhilarating but with a height restriction of just 1.1 metres, making it great for rollercoaster fans who haven’t quite reached the magic height of 1.4 metres required for most thrill rides. A suspended coaster, meaning that seats hang down under the track and your legs dangle beneath you, it’s designed to make you feel like a bat swooping through the treetops – and it succeeds.
Vampire is in Transylvania – a spookily themed area that makes Chessington a natural choice for a Halloween break. Of course, the whole park goes to town for ‘Howl’o’ween’, which lasts all of October half term. Rides are open late into the evenings, so you can experience them in the dark, and there are extra attractions including the Curse of the Lost Tomb, an interactive maze with costumed actors jumping out at you (recommended for those nine and up), and Trick or Treat Wood for younger kids. Those who come dressed up in the Halloween spirit might also win a prize in the fancy-dress competition.
We stayed in the Chessington Azteca Hotel, the newer of the two on-site hotels (a summer glamping site has since been added to the accommodation options here). The hotels share facilities including a swimming pool and animal-themed splash play area, and each has a themed restaurant, although you can book whichever you like. We preferred the African-themed Zafari to the Azteca’s Temple buffet restaurant, although the latter is fine for breakfast – not least because of its leaf-cutter ants embedded tubes in the walls and its piranha tanks.
Our Temple Treasure room was fun, with a cosy kids' bunk area sleeping three, with its own TV and a safe with a code that we need to crack to access the treats within, plus a double bedroom for us. Guests at this and the Chessington Safari Hotel get Fastrack entry to a variety of rides for the first hour of the day on Saturdays, Sundays and throughout school holidays.
We loved Halloween at Chessington. It was disappointing that a couple of our favourite rides were closed, especially the brilliant Tomb Blaster, and that some were not covered by our Fastrack pass (there are several different versions) – we’ve still not been on Dragon’s Fury due to the queues every time we visit. But there's always something great to do here – the AMAZU Treetop Adventure trail through enclosures of real-life monkeys was new since our previous visit, and there's the zoo and the SEA LIFE centre in addition to all the rides, making Chessington much more than just a themepark.
Read more about short breaks at Chessington World of Adventures.