Our day at Go Ape Dalkeith Country Park was an adrenaline-fueled experience like no other! The Treetop Challenge is designed to cater to different thrill levels, making it perfect for families with older children. This is our review of Go Ape at Dalkeith Country Park.
What is Go Ape?
Go Ape is an outdoor adventure attraction designed for all the family, with sites across the UK. They have courses designed to accommodate all ages and skill levels including their Treetop Adventure, the Treetop Adventure Plus and the Treetop Challenge.
Go Ape at Dalkeith Country Park
Go Ape at Dalkeith Country Park is their third location in Scotland, joining the GoApe courses in Aberfoyle in Stirling and Glentress in Peebles. If you are visiting Edinburgh with kids, this is well worth the trip outside of the city and a visit to Dalkeith Country Park is one of the favourite days out for the girls when we go back to Edinburgh.
There are three high rope adventure courses at Go Ape Dalkeith Country Park from their entry level Treetop Adventure to the most advanced Treetop Challenge. What we love about this location is their 8 awesome zip wires, some of which cross the River Esk.
Having successfully completed the Go Ape junior Treetop Adventure course on previous visits, which although designed for kids aged 6+ they are still pretty challenging with wobbly crossings, obstacles and zip lines to complete, they wanted a more challenging adventure.
This time they coaxed Ian and I to join them so they could try the more advanced Treetop Challenge course. Unlike any of their other Scottish locations, Go Ape in Dalkeith Country Park uses a continuous safety belt system which means that anyone over the height of 1.4m can take part in this advanced course, so it’s perfect for adventure seeking kids like ours.
Booking and Arrival
We booked onto the Treetop Challenge and having never done a high ropes activity I was intrigued and given that I’m not a fan of heights, I was also slightly terrified of what was in store for me.
Before starting the challenge, we were advised to leave our belongings, such as bags, car keys, and glasses, with the friendly staff at the check-in desk, which was a wise decision – more on that later.
We started our Go Ape Dalkeith Country Park adventure meeting the Go Ape team to get kitted out in our safety equipment before taking us through a safety briefing on the miniature training course.
All of the staff here were really welcoming and friendly, sharing their expert knowledge of what we needed to do to stay safe around the course, from how to use the trolley, which clips onto the steel line around the course to the use of the carabiner, which clips on in front of this.
The safety trail was enough for me as I quickly realised that once I was up in the trees there was only one way back down and decided to stay firmly on the ground rather than go into the treetops with the rest of the family.
Ian and the girls however couldn’t wait to start their Go Ape adventure, which was good news for the girls as they needed a participating adult to supervise them on the course as Holly was under 13 years old.
If you do decide that after the miniature training course that Go Ape is not for you like I did then you do get a full refund which I thought was really customer friendly.
There were four loops to complete on their Treetop Challenge, with various obstacles to overcome along the way from sky high platforms, butterfly inducing crossings to master and hair raising zips over the river.
The wet weather also made the course more challenging, but Go Ape remains open in all weathers, except when it is icy, stormy, in high winds or during lightning.
With the first course completed, I could see the sense of accomplishment on each of their faces and they were eager to do the next level, which was even more challenging.
“It’s much harder than what I thought it would be” Ian said to me after he completed the first course, “the girls make it look so easy” he added. I can see what he meant, there were platforms wrapped around trees, nets to climb across and high ropes between the tree canopy to walk across.
Watching Ian, Chloe and Holly zip-line across the River Esk and navigate the Treetop Challenge required some serious core strength and agility. I was proud of their determination throughout, as it’s really physically demanding.
The zipwires were the highlight of the experience, jumping off the edge of a platform and soaring high above the trees and a fast-flowing river below takes some courage. Unfortunately, my husband lost his glasses during a speedy landing on one of the platforms. So, be cautious and secure your belongings before taking on the course.
With their dad retiring off the course to look for the lost glasses, the girls completed their adventure on the most challenging Treetop Adventure plus course. To our surprise one of the staff zip lined over the river and found Ian’s glasses unscathed in the dense woodland below which we couldn’t believe!
The courses are expertly designed, with each one getting more difficult that really pushes your endurance and courage during your 2 hour Go Ape experience.
Though I didn’t participate, witnessing their nervousness, excitement and triumphs was just as rewarding. The experience created unforgettable memories and I really recommend giving this a go if you get a chance. The girls had brilliant fun and thoroughly enjoyed Treetop Challenge, something they will definitely be wanting to do again when we are next in Edinburgh.
What should I wear?
I suggest clothing that is comfortable and you don’t mind getting dirty – also don’t make the mistake we made, if it’s raining bring waterproof clothes with you. You will also need the correct footwear, flat shoes with good grips especially when its wet – so no fit flops or sandals. If you have long hair this also needs to be tied back.
Costs and Booking
Treetop Challenge – There are sky-scraping platforms in the trees, rope nets, high wires and thrilling high-speed zips over a river.
Suitable for adults and families with children over 1.4m tall. From £35.00. It’s also worth checking the GoApe website for offers, as they often run promotions which provide additional discounts.
Dalkeith Country Park
After our Go Ape adventure, we went for lunch at the award-winning Kitchen restaurant, part of the Restoration Yard at Dalkeith Country Park. This is a really popular dining venue and I would highly recommend that you make a reservation.
The Duke of Buccleuch, has invested a staggering £8.9 million to transform Dalkeith Country park into one of the leading family attractions in Scotland. Home to Dalkeith Palace, built in 1711 and regarded as one of the grandest classical houses in Scotland there is also an upmarket retail store, gourmet food hall, café and restaurant set in the beautiful Tuscan-inspired courtyard, named Restoration Yard.
For families with younger children, there is also the wooden adventure playground named Fort Douglas with its turreted treehouses, suspension bridges, slides, climbing walls and secret tunnels- this was always a big hit with the girls during our previous visits to the country park when they were younger.
The glass-walled restaurant space situated in the park’s restored 18th century stables provided a gorgeous setting for our lunch, with views out towards Fort Douglas and Orangerie.
I opted for the Full Restoration breakfast while Ian chose the homemade beef burger and chips – both of which were excellent. The girls enjoyed their choices from the kids’ menu (pizza for Chloe and cheeseburger for Holly), and it was good value for money at £6.50 per children’s meal.
Where is Dalkeith Country Park ?
Dalkeith Country Park is a beautiful location and one of the most unique settings for a Go Ape course. Set in a wonderful 1000-acre country estate, just a few miles from Edinburgh located just five minutes off the Edinburgh Bypass. You can also catch the train from Edinburgh Waverley station to Eskbank Station, which is a 25-minute walk from Dalkeith Country Park.
Go Ape at Dalkeith Country Park was an amazing day out for the whole family. I may not have taken part in the Treetop Challenge, but I thoroughly enjoyed witnessing Ian and the girls conquer the course.
And the adventure didn’t end there – the delicious meal in the stunning setting at Restoration Yard made it a perfect ending to an unforgettable day.
I highly recommend a visit to Dalkeith Country Park when visiting Edinburgh and central Scotland, there is so much here for all the family to enjoy and it keeps getting bigger and better each year!