Travel tips | Britain for kids & families | Theme parks in the UK


Scream if you wanna go faster!

Theme parks in Britain are home to some of the biggest and best rides in Europe. What better way to enjoy a day out than getting hurtled through the air at implausible speeds, soaked to the skin, turned upside down (several times) and taken to the brink of oblivion?

Don’t you just love theme parks? Check out some of our best:

Alton Towers, Staffordshire

Alton Towers is a world-class theme park up there with the likes of Disneyland and Universal Studios. Set in 500 acres of countryside, it comes complete with theme park, water park, interactive aquarium, 'extraordinary' golf (as opposed to just plain old 'crazy' golf), a farm, stately home, two hotels, a spa and a history dating back over 3,000 years. Phew!
Ride of your life : Hold onto your eyeballs with Rita - Queen of Speed, which takes off faster than a shuttle with more lift than a plane as it hurtles you from 0-100 kph in an astonishing 2.2 seconds.
Web : Alton Towers

Pleasure Beach Blackpool, Lancashire

This is the stuff memories are made of. Indeed, it's a sad child who's never enjoyed a stick of Blackpool Rock in the shadow of The Big One. No wonder then this historic theme park remains Britain's most popular. Still owned by the same family who opened the park back in 1896, Pleasure Beach Blackpool combines Victorian seaside charm with high-tech rides and spectacular shows and entertainment.
Ride of your life : Infusion tears you through 5 loop-the-loops including 'dangler' loops all the while 'infusing' you with cascading waterfalls and whirlpools.
Web : Pleasure Beach Blackpool

Chessington World of Adventures, near London

Chessington World of Adventures puts the 'theme' in theme park serving up 10 wild and wonderful 'lands' to explore. From Transylvania and the Mystic East to the fantasy worlds of Toytown and Land of the Dragons, it gets your mind and imagination in a spin. And at just 12 miles from London , it's perfect for a thrilling day out if you're anywhere near the capital.
Ride of your life : Rameses Revenge in the Egyptian-themed Forbidden Kingdom will spin you till you can't think straight… and there's very little chance you'll come off this ride dry.
Web : Chessington World of Adventures

Loudoun Castle Theme Park, Ayrshire, Scotland

If you're going to build a theme park in Scotland , where else than in the grounds of an ancient castle ruin with direct family connections to Braveheart himself, William Wallace, and which also happens to be haunted? ! If you can forget this amazing history for a second, the rides are pretty spectacular too, not to mention a host of jar-dropping live stunt shows.
Ride of your life : Feel your throat in your stomach as Barnstormer 'shoot and drop tower' launches you a gut-wrenching 120ft in the air before letting you plummet straight back down to earth again.
Web : Loudoun Castle Theme Park

Blackgang Chine, Isle of Wight

Overlooking the fossil-rich South West Heritage Coast of the Isle of Wight, Blackgang Chine is a theme park like you've never seen before; an eccentric mix of rides, goblins and fairies, dinosaurs and nursery rhyme characters all set within rambling Victorian gardens. The park features in a popular humorous travel book (with a title too rude to mention here) as an 'Uncommonly British Day Out' for its inspired and oddball character.
Ride of your life : Perched on the edge of vertical cliffs, Cliff Hanger takes you out over the sea until you're dangling a terrifying 400ft above the water before dropping you 40ft into oblivion.
Web : Blackgang Chine

Drayton Manor theme park, Staffordshire

Winner of ‘Large Visitor Attraction of the Year’ last year, Drayton Manor is another of the big players. Discover 280 acres of parkland packed with stomach-churning rides and attractions, a 4D cinema, museums, Europe’s only Thomas the Tank Engine Land and even a 15-acre Zoo.
Ride of your life : Apocalypse is the world's first stand-up tower drop which hoists you skyward on a half ton launch shuttle, then puts you at the mercy of gravity as you hurtle towards the ground at over 4Gs.
Web : Drayton Manor


Not your average white-knuckle theme park, LEGOLAND Windsor fires the imagination with hands-on adventures through a mind-boggling world of LEGO engineering meets inspired creativity. The park has over 50 interactive rides so you and your little ones can get stuck into (unstuck into) endless LEGO-formed attractions.
Ride of your life : Twist and turn your way through a dragon’s den on the Dragon coaster taking you inside the beast’s lair past huge Lego models and outside through the trees.
Web : LEGOLAND Windsor

Thorpe Park, Surrey

For heart-stopping thrills and intense forces with a capital G, Thorpe Park is the ultimate theme park for thrill seekers and young adrenaline junkies in the making. Here, it’s all about bigger, badder, faster, higher so the fainthearted should stay at home…or simply relax at one of the many shows, dinners, shops or bars.
Ride of your life : Stealth is Europe's fastest accelerating rollercoaster, which launches at a literally breathtaking 0-80mph in under 2 seconds taking you 250ft in the air.
Web : Thorpe Park

Oakwood Theme Park, Pembrokeshire, Wales

Bang in the middle of the stunning Welsh Valleys on the edge of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Oakwood is the biggest theme park in Wales and one of the country’s most popular attractions. Enjoy the picturesque backdrop as you get wet, wild, thrilled, excited and all-in-a-twist on over 60 rides and attractions.
Ride of your life : Megafobia unites the traditional charm of a wooden rollercoaster with the fear and thrills of a modern high-tech ride. Voted the best ride in the UK and the third best ride in the world by enthusiasts.
Web : Oakwood Theme Park

Paultons Park, New Forest

Take all the things you can think of for an unforgettable day out with the kids – a theme park with rollercoasters and rides, gardens and lakes, animals and birds, museums and animated shows, waterparks and playgrounds – add them to a stunning, wild-pony filled National Park and you’ve got Paultons in the New Forest . Ideal for families and younger thrill seekers.
Ride of your life : Edge is the first (and only) ride of its type in Britain, and quite frankly hard to describe in words. Imagine yourself perched on the edge a giant spinning disk and at the same time whizzing along a rollercoaster rail, and you’ve got something approaching the Edge.
Web : Paultons Park

Crealy Adventure Park, Devon

Devon's theme park - Crealy Adventure Park has six huge realms of fun, magic and adventure for you and your family to explore. The Adventure Realm is home to some of the South West's most exciting rides and more than 75,000 sq ft of indoor play. In the Animal Realm there's a whole host of animals to feet, pet, milk, stroke and cuddle. And don't miss the Action Realm, where you can battle your family with water balloons in Water Wars.
Web : Crealy Adventure Park

Adventure Wonderland, Bournemouth

This Alice in Wonderland-inspired theme park has something for everyone - from the would-be pirates, intrepid explorers and orbiting astronauts, to the mad hatters and plain old fun-lovers. Don't miss the Maze, the largest theme hedged maze in the south, where you can spot your favourite characters from Alice in Wonderland.
Web : Adventure Wonderland

Fantasy Island Theme Park, near Skegness

Take your family to Fantasy Island, Britain's first indoor theme park & family resort. There are white-knuckle thrills, water rides, rollercoasters and much more to keep the whole family entertained. Don't miss the Absolutely Insane ride, where you and your cart are propelled 240ft vertically in the air.
Web : Fantasy Island Theme Park

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