Take a trip on a magical London Bus and head to the Land of Far Far Away in this immersive and interactive adventure in the heart of the capital.
London’s South Bank is a tourist attraction it its own right. As well as views across the River Thames to St Paul’s Cathedral and the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, there are all manner of attractions for the visitor – from buskers and living statues to art installations and plenty of places to eat. Then, there’s the Coca-Cola London Eye, SEA LIFE London Aquarium – and its latest attraction, DreamWorks Tours Shrek’s Adventure London.
Shrek’s Adventure London is a new collaboration between Merlin Entertainments and DreamWorks Animation, in which visitors embark on a live and interactive tour featuring Shrek, Fiona, Donkey, Puss in Boots and many other film favourites. Shrek’s Adventure London is a ride on/walk-through adventure. You stick with your group throughout the experience, which lasts around 90 minutes.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by cast members who had the same kind of chirpy all-American charm that you would expect on a visit to the theme parks of Orlando. Up we went in a lift, where ‘Gingey’ the gingerbread man appeared above us. The same attention to detail that is seen in the big theme parks of America is at work at Shrek’s Adventure London. As we head into the Land of Far Far Away, there are clever signs, in-jokes and tiny features that Shrek fans will appreciate. Our first encounter with a real-life character was in the depot as we wait for our bus. We’re surrounded by London buses and again, the attention to detail is astounding – look out for the fairies on the radiator grille, which you will see fly away as you start your ride. Princess Fiona welcomes you here. The humour at Shrek’s Adventure London is definitely of the pantomime variety. The characters throughout encourage everyone to take part, sing along and shout out.
Next, we climbed aboard the 4D bus ride. The bus itself was created using a miniature bus model, scanned into a computer and printed piece by piece with a state of the art 3D printer, before being carefully painted and pieced together by a talented team of artists. This 4D experience is totally immersive – you’ll fly over the Coca-Cola London Eye in the bus driven by Donkey to the Land of Far Far Away. Meanwhile, look out for characters such as the dragons from How To Train Your Dragon and Kung Fu Panda – before you bump into Rumpelstiltskin’s witches – literally. According to the organisers, the attraction is aimed at children aged six to 12 and while it is lots of fun, the story can be rather dark in places. First stop is Shrek’s Swamp – complete with his toilet. Be aware, you get to experience the sights, sounds – and smells – during this adventure.
At each location, a member of the group is given something that will help make the potion that will help us find our way home – a gold tooth, a hairball from Puss in Boots and more. In the Wheel of Fortune room, we have to answer questions by pressing the A or B buttons so that poor Pinocchio won’t get sawn up. The smallest characters in the attraction are the Three Blind Mice. Look out for them below the Rickety Bridge. My favourite character was Doris the barmaid – one of the Ugly Sisters in the Poison Apple Pub. This is where you meet Puss in Boots (albeit a 3D projection) and where one of the witches finally appears. We had to make a hasty exit from there to the Muffin Man’s house – which smelled deliciously of baked goods.
No photography is allowed during the tour, but once you’ve escaped, you are free to get a selfie with Shrek himself before heading into an area filled with life-size models of DreamWorks favourites, including Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon, Kung Fu Panda characters and more. It would have been nice to see a few real-life characters here to really round off the experience. The end of the tour culminates in a room where you get to see your travel journal – a nicely presented book featuring the photos taken at the beginning of the tour. It’s not cheap at £25, but includes four photos. A single photo costs £15. Lasting 90 minutes, Shrek’s Adventure London is not an all-day destination, but with the addition of the Coca-Cola London Eye, SEA LIFE London Aquarium and the London Dungeon, this does make a nice addition to a day trip.
Given the age range, the most obvious thing to include would be the London Dungeon as an alternative option for adult groups or those with teenagers, while younger families can have fun at Shrek’s Adventure London. Tour times are the same for both attractions.
Shrek’s Adventure London is located at Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7PB and is open from 1000hrs to 1700hrs (1000hrs to 1800hrs on Saturdays).
Groups of 10-plus receive a 10% discount. Adults cost from £23.40 and children from £18.72. It is also possible to buy combined tickets with the Coca-Cola London Eye, SEA LIFE Aquarium and Madame Tussauds.
For more information visit www.shreksadventure.com.
Two wheelchair users are permitted per hour. The Magic Bus Ride may not be accessible to all. Buggies are not allowed in the attraction.