On the 18th of March 2017, Chessington World Of Adventures unveiled their latest renovation. Changing the classic Bubbleworks into a newly updated Gruffalo themed ride, being the first of it’s kind in the UK. What follows is an honest review of The Gruffalo River Ride.

The Gruffalo River Ride wasn’t as highly anticipated as other new attractions; such as Derren Browns Ghost Train at Thorpe Park. This was mainly down to the long lasting love that theme park enthusiasts had for the classic Bubbleworks ride, which had been around for over two decades. After taking one of the first rides, we can safely say that Chessington have put alot of effort into it.

In all honesty, this ride does not contain the latest technology or something never before seen but it does however contain alot of special effects that when combined make this ride a one of a kind experience. For starters, most of the sections of the ride have a unique smell; created by smell pods which are hidden around the room. These smell pods really improve the experience as, along with the special effects, they help to immerse you in The Gruffalo story.

The Gruffalo River Ride Station | Chessington World Of Adventures
The Gruffalo River Ride Station | Chessington World Of Adventures

Right from the beginning of the ride, the second section, you suddenly feel like you are in the meadows with Mouse. There is a fresh smell of flowers and bright colourful lights start to make you feel like you’re actually outside. With the added sounds of the water lapping around your boat, the whole experience is very relaxing.

As we went round, 5 times in total throughout the whole day, we tried to work out what the smells of each section were. Tell us if you think we were right!

Section No.2 – Fresh Flowers and slight smell of grass.

Section No.3 – Earthy smell of roots and mud.

Section No.4-5 – Slight smell of grass with daisys.

Section No.6-7 – Strong smell of grass as you are low down with Mouse.

Section No.8 – Smell of burnt wood, quite a musty smell.

Section No.9 (Main Fountain Room) – Not really a distinct smell that we could tell.

As you can see alot of thought has clearly been put into the ride and making it as immersive and entertaining for a family as possible.

Chessington knew that the fountains were one of the highlights of Bubbleworks and decided to keep all but the large fountain in the middle running. Instead of the large fountain now, there is a large tree with Owl on it to help continue the story of the Gruffalo. With narration and sound effects throughout the ride, it is a very good experience.

Overall we were very impressed with The Gruffalo River Ride and would highly recommend it to any stubborn Bubbleworks enthusiast. The only improvement we could offer to Chessington is to include the smell of crumble in the final section before disembarking, we feel like it would such a good way to finish the ride!

The Gruffalo River Ride Review
  • 8/10
    Theming - 8/10
  • 9/10
    Length Of Ride - 9/10
  • 8/10
    Special Effects - 8/10
  • 9/10
    Storyline - 9/10
  • 8/10
    Family Friendly - 8/10


Pro’s –
– Very good use of special effects and smell pods
– Family Friendly
– Good length of queue to ride ratio
– Great way to get out of the rain or just relax on a rainy day
– Brings The Gruffalo Story to life!

– Bubbleworks had to be deconstructed to build it
– Main fountain is gone
– No smell of crumble at the end to match audio

User Review
3.83 (6 votes)

BIG thank you to everyone at Chessington World Of Adventures and FrankPR for organising yesterday and making the new ride launch such a success!