Europe’s Longest and Fastest Zip Wire – Zip World Velocity – Wales
At Giftageek we love trying new things, especially thrilling experience days. In August 2017, we took on Europe’s fastest and longest zip wire at Zipworld Bethesda, North Wales. Appropriately named ‘Velocity’, this 500ft high white-knuckle ride can reach speeds up to 100mph, propelling you a mile over Penrhyn Quarry in the Snowdonia region. Interested? Read on for an in-depth review of the whole experience and head cam video or press the button below to book your experience now.BOOK NOW!
On Christmas morning last year we were happily enjoying our over-indulgent AM glass of prosecco when we were presented with a joint present from the in-laws. Inside it contained two small envelopes with ‘Zipworld Experience – Velocity’ printed on. The picture of the zipwire on the front gave a clue as to what was in store and a wide grin appeared on our faces.
Photo: Zip World
However on opening the gift voucher and having a quick google of what Zipworld / Veloctity was, the initial excitement was quickly subsided by nerves and panic at the thought of hurtling over a quarry, only attached to a wire. Below is the introduction video we saw…
The voucher was valid for 12 months so we kept it safe for a few months until we decided to go ahead and get our zip wire experience booked.
Zip World Booking
We found that the booking process for Velocity was relatively simple. Each voucher has a unique code printed on it, which can be used on Zipworld’s online booking portal. This allows you to select your preferred date and will give you an option of available time slots, as well as advising the number of slots still available. This part is important if you have multiple gift vouchers as you must book each voucher individually – ensure you choose a time slot with enough open places remaining.
Once completed, you should receive an email confirmation of your booking reference which should be kept safe until the big day!
Our only minor gripe with the booking process is that, as per above, you must book each person individually using their unique code. It would be good to allow multiple codes to be assigned to a booking in future, but no other issues here.
Please note the booking process may be slightly different if the vouchers are purchased from third parties – our experience was booked directly with Zip World.
Arrival / Check in / Kitting up
August rolled around and it was time to find our way through the very beautiful Snowdonia area to the Zipworld site. Thankfully the advised postcode of LL57 4YG took us directly to the site and was well signposted in the surrounding few miles. There are multiple Zipworld sites around Snowdonia, so ensure you’re definitely heading to the correct one for your experience. On arrival there was a large, free car park which I doubt is ever full.
At reception we were swiftly welcomed and checked in. The friendly receptionist explained the order of events for the morning and after signing the usual health and safety disclaimers, we were asked to take a seat outside for 10-15 minutes until we were called to get kitted up.
This allowed us to walk up to the Velocity viewing gallery which gave us an idea of what was in store for us later in the day and the butterflies rapidly increased after seeing the first people fly past us, over the famous Penrhyn quarry.
Promptly on time, we were then called to the kit stores for a quick safety brief and overview of the kit we would be using over the next few hours. We were then helped into the not-so-flattering kit by the staff.
At this point, we were also invited to enter our helmet numbers into the Velocity camera tracking system, which will generate a little video memento of the day for you, for free, which we thought was a really nice touch. This was created by automated cameras around the site and give you quick snippets of your zipwire ride. Once fully kitted, it was time to go on our practice run, the Little Zipper.
Despite it’s name, the Little Zipper is still one of the longest zipwires in Europe and is just a training run for it’s much bigger brother, Velocity. The idea here is to get you used to the feeling of being suspended, lying horizontally and hopefully relieve some of the nerves for what’s to come.
Thankfully, the Little Zipper did just that! The staff were brilliant at explaining what was happening and being patient with you as you got into position which instantly took away the majority of butterflies and to therefore enjoy the rest of the experience more.
You would think that lying horizontally would feel alien, however I immediately felt safer in this position that the usual seated position used on smaller zip wires, such as at Go Ape sites. The fact that the staff release you takes away the stress of having to let go yourself, which is sometimes the hardest bit.
The Little Zipper, then, was a great introduction but it was time to take on the real show-stopper.
From the bottom of the Little Zipper, we were invited to get into the truck to the top. This was a mini experience in itself as the 15 minute, 432m climb was somewhat bumpy (as you might expect in a quarry!) however certainly good fun.
At the top of Velocity, we were greeted with amazing views of Penrhyn Quarry (which at one point was the largest slate quarry in the World) and the surrounding Snowdonia area including the coasts of Anglesey. We were very lucky it was such a beautiful day and really enjoyed our brief stop at the top.
We watched the other pairs descend, two at a time, complete with some colourful language and inhuman screams as they left the base station, it was finally our turn to experience Velocity!
The “Little Zipper” did it’s job in preparing us for the Zip world staffs instructions at the top as they lowered us into the harness. After a seemingly agonising wait, they radioed down to the landing station to confirm everything was good to go. “Safety off. 3. 2. 1. Enjoy!”.
Once again the initial fear and realisation of what we were doing quickly evaporated as we began picking up pace out of the station and felt amazingly secure, leaving you to enjoy the incredible sensation of flying (or as close as you may get!).
The sheer sense of speed is immense as you approach the start of the lake and the feeling of freedom as you soar over the top of the quarry is second to none. While Velocity only lasts around a minute, it does feel like you’re flying for quite some time and enough to appreciate the pure craziness of human nature for constructing something as incredible as this!
As you come into the landing station, a helpful staff member will be there to slow you down and pull you on to the platform, which for us, was with a gigantic smile on our faces! The headcam video at the top of the page should help you visualise all of this and hopefully inspire you to Velocity a go yourself! Now on to the more practical side..
Zip World Velocity Cost
The usual cost of Velocity is £70 – however this may sometimes be discounted through experience day sites such as Buyagift or Red Letter Days.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime type experience and therefore is difficult to say definitively whether it offers ‘value’ as there is nothing quite like it. It would obviously be nice to get two runs for the price but even one doesn’t feel too expensive.
Optional Head Cam Hire
On check in we were offered the opportunity to hire a Garmin-sponsored Zipworld Headcam for £22. The cost for this does seem a little steep in our opinion given that there is probably only 2-3 minutes of really interesting footage that you may want to record and watch back. A price of £10-£15 may have felt a bit more reasonable.
I would also note that the Zipworld staff are more than happy for you to use your own Go-Pro or equivalent head cam, assuming you have the correct helmet mountings or chest mounts with you.
At an experience day like this, safety is obviously of the utmost importance. I’m pleased to say that at all points throughout the day at Zip World we felt amazingly safe and well looked after by attentive, safety conscious staff who obviously cared about their customers. The kit provided to wear also seemed in decent condition and well looked after.
Artists impression of new ‘Adventure Terminal’ opening late 2017. Image: Zipworld.co.uk
As well as the large car park, there is a small catering presence serving hot/cold drinks and burger type snacks. There is also brilliant viewing platform which looks out onto the quarry and can see all the action as well as providing picnic benches. Toilet facilities are also provided.
The facilities will get even better later in 2017 when the new ‘Zip World Adventure Terminal’ will open, including a much larger cafe, indoor viewing area and even a gourmet restaurant.
Zip World Velocity Facts
Address: Zip World Penrhyn Quarry, Bethesda
Postcode: LL57 4YG
Weight Limit: 30kg Min / 120kg Max
Height Limit: 1.2m Min (4ft) / 2.1m Max (6.88ft)
Ride Length: 1560m – Approx 1 mile.
Ride Height: 432m start.
Max Approx speed: 165km/h / 102 mph.
What to wear: Waterproof clothing and gloves recommended. Trainers or walking boots – no flip flops, sandals or open-toed shoes. Long hair must be tied back. Check before arrival if unsure.
We had a really great morning at Zip World and have recommended the experience to all of our friends and family. Nothing I have done in the past has given the feeling of flying quite like Velocity did!
The site was well organised, efficient and safe from arrival, through to kitting up and the actual zip lining experience which is incredibly important to you enjoying the “flight”.
The facilities provided are decent and will be further improved when the new building and viewing gallery is opened in the coming months.
Therefore we are happy to give Zip World Bethesda a Giftageek RECOMMENDED rating. Click here to return to the Giftageek homepage.
Are you planning a trip or done Velocity in the past? Need any more details? Let us know in the comments!
All details are correct at the time of writing. Giftageek cannot be held responsible for any of the details above changing.BOOK NOW!