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Experiencing FEAR at Bristol's Avon Valley

Sunday, 21 October 2018


On Friday, I decided to do something different. I'd put some extra hours at work this week, so I took off at 4pm and headed down to my first Scream Park, Fear at Avon Valley.

What is a Scream Park? Remember that time when you may have been walking in alone in the dark and you'd hear a rustle and try and walk faster to avoid it? Okay, now imagine that but instead of a rustle, it's a a 6ft clown wielding an axe and limping it's way across a fairground towards you, and you'll get the idea. Bristol's Avon Valley boasts 4 incredible mazes, designed to test every fear you've ever had: from clowns to claustrophobia, electrocution to the dark.



The fairground consisted of fire pits, food stalls, a music tent to street performers. As soon as I stepped out onto the field, I felt like I had entered a festival. (Yay.) I met Hannah, the owner of Avon Valley Park, who told me that this was their 5th year, and after years of research in the UK and America, they've opened up the 4th maze this year, House of Clowns. (More on that later...)

After a glass of prosecco, I headed back out into the field. Maybe feeling a little too relaxed, I didn't notice when a man in stripes and holding a weight snuck up behind me. I'm jumpy at the best of times, but my god it shouldn't be human for someone to walk to silently but shout so loud, should it?

Anarchy Live



My first maze of the night was Anarchy Live. I won't give too much away in any of these descriptions, but if I had to sum up this maze in one sentence I'd say it's a combination of a post-apocalyptic tribe and strobe rooms full of unexpected twists and turns. Apparently, this is the first maze built at Avon Valley, and it has everything you'd want from a scary maze: jump scares, strange spaces and brilliant actors.

House of Clowns



Yes, you read the heading correctly. I'm just going to make this clear now - I hate clowns. Absolutely cannot stand them. I hate the way they smile, I hate how they walk, I hate their laugh. I point blank refused to go in. Until Mojichlo started queuing and... I realised I didn't have much of a choice. Be the person who lets their friend go into a clown house alone? I wish I was. I actually loved the first room where an old lady was knitting away. 0 clowns spotted so far. Unfortunately, I couldn't stay and have a cuppa because I had some serious clown butt to kick. I'll be honest, I spent a lot of this maze with my head down, but I'm sure people who are brave enough to do a clown house wide-eyed will tell you they were terrifying. 

Phobia



This was definitely my favourite maze. Phobia confronts a different fear in every room. The dark, claustrophobia, clowns, you name it. This meant for wimps like me, I only spent about 70% of my time in this maze in a state of terror. Wahey. 

X4



X4 was the last on our list, and I'd say the most creative of them all. There are different levels, you are immersed in a storyline straight away, and the actors follow you most of the way through. As an army-boot camp themed maze, there was a lot of shouting and fast-paced paced walking, although this definitely isn't the sort of place you'd want to hang around in anyway!

Overall, the experience has completely opened my eyes to the world of horror. I left every maze feeling a buzz of adrenaline, and a strange sense of accomplishment. Not only had I tried something new, I'd stared in the face of a clown and carried on walking, and that's something to be proud of. I loved the festival feel to the field, and the energy at Avon was high all night long. 

I am definitely not the first to catch onto Scream Parks, and even before it opened the queue snaked all the way around the venue. If you're not a fan of long lines I'd definitely recommend getting a VIP fast track ticket, I doubt you'd be able to get round to every maze in one evening! Have you experienced any horror mazes before? Do you hate clowns too? Let me know in the comments!


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