Clare Lush - Author of My Tunbridge WellsWe visited Groombridge Place on Saturday (22 October 2016) to watch Grimm’s Scary Fairy Tales and to experience the Enchanted Forest in the lead up to Halloween…

Located just a few minute’s drive from Royal Tunbridge Wells, the village of Groombridge is perfectly picturesque. Driving down through the village, the grand entrance to Groombridge Place is on the left hand side before coming to a little junction. Be careful of the slightly hidden ramps on the driveway leading up to the carpark!

The entrance was decorated with ghoulish goblins and ghosts as well as pumpkins around the main courtyard and cafe. 

Face painting was available though neither of my boys (aged almost 2 and 5) are interested in getting their faces transformed, so we quickly moved on to the grassy area next to the Golden Yew Maize. We sampled a little something from the Champagne Bar (how brilliant is that?) while waiting for the canal boat to take us down to the forest.

Boat trip at Groombridge Place C Lush
Photo: Groombridge Place boat trip by Clare Lush-Mansell

It’s probably a 10-15 minute walk from Peacock Cafe to Crusoe’s World, the heart of the Enchanted Forest and an amazing place with two central tree houses, linked together with rope bridges and a viewing tower to keep the children entertained.

Performances were taking place throughout the day including the story of Little Red Riding Hood, Granny and the Wolf along with Snow White and The Huntsman.  The main show which takes place daily (12pm and 3.30pm) up until 30th October is The Revenge of Reaper & Raven. The highlight of our afternoon!

We decided to take the canal boat cruise down to Crusoe’s World which was great fun - we stopped along the way to spot some ‘crocodiles’ on the riverbank, as well as a ‘snake’ hanging from the tree. Our delightful driver gave us running commentary along the way, with a few nuggets of information about the wildlife too.

Upon arrival at Crusoe’s World, we watched part of Snow White’s performance and decided it would be best to go for a stroll around the forest before returning there for the main show. There are all sorts of things to discover along the pathways of the Enchanted Forest and our first stop was the playground just beyond Crusoe’s World. 

The Enchanted Forest at Halloween, Groombridge Place C Lush
Photo: The Enchanted Forest at Halloween, Groombridge Place by Clare Lush-Mansell

The swings have been sectioned off and are no longer in use (maybe because it’s a bit muddy?) but the boys enjoyed playing in the little fortress overlooking the woods. The giant tree swing was a hit too, as was Grom’s Village where the little elves apparently live…

I can see why this is called The Enchanted Forest as it’s definitely got a unique charm to it with lots of little hidden gems along the way. Teepee Village was another interesting spot and my eldest son had plenty of questions to ask about how the teepees got there. The double spiral and the wishing pool all added to the mystique too!

We made our way back down to Crusoe’s World to watch The Revenge of Reaper & Raven and to be completely honest, I wasn’t sure whether the boys would be scared or intrigued!  We joined the audience for the 45 minute performance - a funny yet occasionally alarming show which was both entertaining and suitably scary for the boys to watch.

My two year old watched some of it, but he was more interested in running around on the elevated area with a lovely little girl who he had befriended during the show. My eldest boy watched it all and although he needed a reassuring pat now and then, he really enjoyed it!

Groombridge's Enchanted Forest by Clare Lush
Photo: Halloween performance at the Enchanted Forest, Groombridge Place by Clare Lush-Mansell

I was surprised and impressed with the level of talent during the main show - the actors from Brymack Entertainment are true professionals and carried out an original performance full of humour, songs, dance and much more than I expected from a  family day out in the forest!

The setting is breathtaking and was a super start to our Halloween half term.  Try to spot the ‘spirit’ faces on many of the trees on the way back to the entrance too. Fancy dress is encouraged and both the gardens and enchanted forest are suitable for pushchairs.

If you are looking for something even scarier, check out the ‘Scream’ sessions taking place at Groombridge Place for Adults and Teenagers (over 14) on 28th and 29th October from 6.30pm to 9.30pm.

All in all, we had a ‘fang-tastic’ time at Groombridge Place and look forward to returning again…


My Tunbridge Wells logoClare Lush-Mansell is a lovely local who created and writes My Tunbridge Wells.


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