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Giant Swing at Hangloose Adventure Bluewater opens as we try out Europe's biggest swing

Europe's biggest swing – which features a 46-metre drop over chalk cliffs and reaches speeds of 80mph– opened at Bluewater today.

So we sent reporter Alex Langridge down to the Greenhithe shopping centre, near Dartford, to give it a go.

As soon as the email dropped in inviting me to go along to the opening day of Hangloose's Giant Swing I immediately replied with a yes.

I love anything that gives you a quick adrenaline rush but as the weeks went by and the launch day crept closer a sense of dread started to hang over me.

I chose not to watch the video explaining the ride beforehand and decided to go in not really knowing what to expect.

All I knew was the swing would drop 46 metres and I needed to be at Bluewater by 12pm.

I made my way to the Hangloose reception and was walked to the attraction area where I was joined by five other people, put into a harness and explained how the ride would work.

We would be attached to the swing securely and were told to hold onto the metal bar in front of us and to not let go until after the swing had dropped – not easy when your hands are sweating as much as mine were.

It would then pull us up towards the 52 metre cliff side stopping at half way before reaching 46 metres where it would drop.

I wear glasses so was given a pair of goggles to make sure they didn't drop into the lake below and was then secured into position. The instructors then started to pull us up.

By the time we got halfway we all thought that was it but was then pulled up again so we could see the stunning views of the cliff and lake which made me almost forget I was in Bluewater until I saw House of Fraser in the distance.

When at the top, I heard someone shout "3...2...1..." but there was a slight pause and then we dropped and swung. And it was terrifying.

It happens so fast that you almost can't even really take in what happens apart from feeling the sensation of falling and you cannot stop the screams escaping.

I must say it is also one of the best attractions I have been on and definitely an exhilarating three minutes. The adrenaline rush afterwards makes you want to go again – which I did and even then wanted to go a third time.

Reporter Alex Langridge went on the newest attraction
Reporter Alex Langridge went on the newest attraction
The Giant Swing opened today. Picture: John Nguyen/PA Wire
The Giant Swing opened today. Picture: John Nguyen/PA Wire

The Giant Swing opened today and comes after Skywire – England's longest zip wire – opened in June last year and will be joined by the UK's only outdoor sky dive machine which will be opening later this summer.

Chris Lane, site manager at Hangloose, said: "It is a unique experience like nothing else. We have had a bit of a soft launch and the reactions have been overwhelming great.

"Lots of scared people obviously but once they get off it there are lots of smiles, everyone seems to want to do it again and are ready to get straight back on and give it another go.

"It is terrifying and has that adrenaline rush but it is all perceived danger. It is super, super safe. It is a really unique activity.

"The cables can take 12 tonnes each and there are four of them holding the swing up. When it gets to the top there are a further six cables that do all the rigging so we can hang cars off here and we are putting less than half a ton of people on here.

"It is way, way over engineered and plenty of head room for safety."

Centre director at Bluewater James Waugh added: "We are absolutely delighted. I did it this morning and it was terrifying but great fun.

"Bluewater is all about having an exhilarating day out. It has retail and restaurants which everyone is familiar with but we have a huge outside space and we want to use that.

"We have always had this and people locally are very familiar with what we have outside. It is not just about shopping.

It drops from 46 metres and reaches speeds of 80mph. Picture: John Nguyen/PA Wire
It drops from 46 metres and reaches speeds of 80mph. Picture: John Nguyen/PA Wire

"It is about spending the day so this gives people the opportunity, even if they just spend their time here and enjoy what we have outside, that is another reason to come to Bluewater."

Tickets start from £40.

Skywire has attracted more than 30,000 flyers in its first year with people travelling from all corners of the country and overseas including Europe, Africa and the USA.

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