This is a list of popular theme parks, amusement parks, leisure parks, water parks, adventure parks and other attractions in the UK.
|Adventure Island||Southend-on-Sea, Essex||Free admission park - IE more like a permanent fairground than an adventure park, but there are plenty of roller-coasters, wet rides and other thrill rides and attractions.|
|Alton Towers||Staffordshire||Popular, and large (500 acres), park with thrill-seekers set in the wooded grounds of a former country house. There are a number of extreme rides like Nemesis, Air and Oblivion - a 200-foot, 4.5G plummet into a hole in the ground! There are also attractions like Barney (the purple dinosaur) for the family and younger visitors. The headline ride is still Rita-Queen of speed (opened 2005), a high-acceleration, high-G roller-coaster.|
|Barry Island Pleasure Park||Barry, South Wales||Free entrance pleasure park (permanent fairground) with amusement arcades and over 50 rides & attractions.|
|Blackgang Chine||Ventnor, Isle of Wight||Attractions and rides in a 40-acre Victorian garden on top of the cliffs at Ventnor. There's a roller-coaster, water-ride, maze, pirate fort and indoor shows.|
|Blackpool Pleasure Beach||Blackpool, Lancs||When does a fairground become a theme park? Not sure, but BPB has certainly crossed the defining line: it's permanent (the oldest ride is almost 100yrs old), it's big (over 40 acres) and it has plenty of attractions (145+). Given the density of attractions it's hardly surprising that, like New York, physical growth has been upward rather than outward, so there are plenty of tall rides like the 230ft Big One roller-coaster ("tallest roller-coaster in Europe") and the 210ft Ice Blast vertical rider. Avalanche looks particularly terrifying! - Ed|
|Brean Leisure Park||Somerset||Calls itself the 'largest fun park in the South West', and is a bit of a mixture of theme par and holiday camp with bars, cabaret entertainment, a golf course, a swimming pool complex and accommodation, plus roller coasters, flumes, dodgems, pony rides and children’s river boat rides.|
|Camelot Theme Park||Chorley, Lancs||As you might expect, a medieval knights & castles theme. With thrill rides, animals, jousting and other attractions|
|Chessington World of Adventures||Chessington, Surrey (inside M25)||Originally (1931) a zoo but the other attractions & rides quickly overtook the animals and in 1986 it became a fully-fledged adventure park (and zoo). Now part of the Merlin group with Alton Towers and Thorpe Park. The park is aimed at families so there is a mixture of rides and attractions for all ages, with 90% of the park's rides and attractions suitable for children under 12.|
|Crealy Adventure Parks||Exeter, Devon; Wadebridge, Cornwall||Two family adventure parks - one in Devon, one in Cornwall - with moderate thrill rides, animals, playgrounds, miniture trains, shows, etc|
|Dickens World||Chatham, Kent||Visitor attraction (opened Easter 2007) themed around the life, work and times of Charles Dickens. It offers visitors the chance to be immersed in the urban streets, sounds and smells of the early 19th century, and get the chance to meet a cast of colourful nice n' nasty Dickens characters. There is Europe's largest dark boat ride, carrying visitors "from the depths of London's sewers to a magical flight across the roof tops of London, with lots of exciting splashes, twists and turns along the way".|
|Diggerland||Cullompton, Devon; Langley Park, Co. Durham; Strood, Kent||More fun than you can shake a bucket at! A thinly disguised outing for dads pretending that they are there for the kids... yeah, right! Play with a range of pedal-powered and engine powered JCB style diggers at three Diggerland sites in Devon, Durham and Kent. A nice review of the Durham park from David Whitely here.|
|Dinosaur Adventure Park||Norfolk||Wooded trail with life sized dinosaurs that can be climbed on ('climb-o-saurus'), and over (assault-o-saurus'). There's a maze, crazy golf, and a secret animal garden including petting barn (rabbits, chickens, etc) in a rather charming walled garden location.|
|Drayton Manor Theme Park||Tamworth, Staffordshire||Drayton Manor (opened in 1950) is part zoo, part adventure park set in 280 acres of woodland. There are over 100 rides and attractions including 12 rides in Thomas Land based on Thomas the Tank Engine, and a number of serious coaster rides such as Shockwave, Europe’s only stand-up roller coaster, Stormforce 10, Europe’s fastest wet knuckle ride, Maelstrom, Europe’s only gyro swing, Apocalypse, the world’s first stand up tower drop and G Force which features a new hip-restraint system and track configuration which leaves passengers hanging from the hip, dangling totally free to experience the ride at speeds of up to 70kph, and up to a maximum height of 23 metres!
Their latest attractions, for 2009 is a 4D cinema. The state-of-the-art 152 seat theatre, features numerous "immersive" special effects including seats that move, slide and rumble in sync with the action on screen, water spray, air blasts, leg ticklers, aroma, low smoke and bubbles released at key moments.
Drayton Manor Theme Park won the Gold Award for Large Visitor Attraction of the Year at the 2008 Heart of England Excellence in Tourism Awards.
|Fantasy Island||Skegness, Lincolnshire||Britain's first themed indoor family resort and amusement park offering white knuckle thrills, roller coasters, water rides, etc.|
|Flambards Experience, The||Helston, Cornwall||A sort of living museum of Victoriana, aircraft, and Britain in the Blitz, plus some rides and attarctions.|
|Flamingo Land||Scarborough, N Yorks||Adventure park and large (1,000+ animals) zoo with some (8) serious white-knuckle rides plus gentle play areas, attractions and rides for younger children.|
|Gulliver's Kingdom||Matlock, Warrington, & Milton Keynes||Three parks in Matlock, Warrington, & Milton Keynes, aimed at families with younger children, offering a wide selection of rides and attractions including roller-coasters, wet rides, pirate ships, carousels, etc|
|Loudoun Castle||Galston, Ayrshire||Family theme park with some thrill rides, petting farm, playgrounds, live shows, etc.|
|Legoland UK||Windsor, England||Increasingly popular with families. There are plenty of rides and shows as well as extraordinary LEGO models & landscapes. Legoland Holidays (£) (a HolidayExtras brand) operate shortbreaks with ticketing to Legoland Windsor and Legoland Germany.|
|Oakwood Theme Park||Haverfordwest, South Wales||Family theme park with water slides, a wooden rollercoaster, mini-railway, adventure playgrounds, etc.... and now: Speed! A state-of-the-art ride that's proving a hit with the roller-coaster cognoscenti.|
|Paultons Leisure Park||New Forest, Hampshire||Over 50 different attractions and rides including thrill & gentle rides, dinosaurs, museums, animated shows, play areas, exotic birds, etc|
|Pleasureland||Southport, Lancs||More than 100 rides and attractions including King Solomon’s Mines, a classic wooden roller coaster that has (July 05) joined its big brother The Cyclone and three steel roller coasters, TRAUMAtizer (the tallest, fastest suspended looping coaster in the UK), The Wild Cat, and The Big Apple. Sultans Tower is an area of the park devoted to children’s rides - having the only operational Bowl Slide in the UK. There's a comprehensive description of what has happened to Pleasureland on Wikipedia.|
|Pleasure wood Hills||Lowestoft, Suffolk||Family fun park with a log flume, swinging pirate ship, water-slide, roller-coaster and other thrill rides, plus a circus show and other attractions and playgrounds. PH was recently taken over by the French owners of Parc Asterix and has undergone a makeover for 2005.|
|Thorpe Park||Chertsey, Surrey||Built in a series of gravel pits, Thorpe Park has been landscaped with the emphasis on water rides and is firmly aimed at families with children over 12yrs. One of the Tussauds group of parks (See Chessington & Alton Towers) benefitting from a continuous investment programme which results in major new rides and attractions each year, including eleven state-of-the-art roller-coasters and thrill rides. It's latest ride (March 06), Stealth, is the "fastest rollercoaster in Europe2. It accelerates riders up to 80mph in 2.3 seconds as they climb up a 205 ft track where they pause weightless before plummeting back down the vertical drop on the other side. (An experience so attractive they had to turn away hundreds of visitors eager to try it and close the park gates on Easter Bank Holiday because it was overcrowded!)|
|Twin Lakes Park||Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire||Knights and castles are the common theme here, with a few pirates thrown in for good measure. There's a farm, falconery centre and a plenty of playgound space indoors and out.|
|Wonderland||Telford, Shropshire||Alice in Wonderland/fairytale themed park set in 450-acres (Telford Town Park). There are gentle rides, mazes, crazy golf, etc. (Holland's Efteling park started out like this half a century ago with some fairytale dioramas in a municipal park, and is now probably the best theme park in the world. Let's see if Telford can do the same! Ed.)|
|Woodlands Leisure Park||Dartmouth, Devon||Water chutes, animal centre, falconery shows, playgrounds and all-weather attractions on a 60-acre site. Sister park to Twin Lakes (above).|
- There's been some consolidation in the theme park industry. The Tussauds group, which used to be the big boy in the playground, is now just a part of the Merlin Entertainments Group.
So, whether you visit Alton Towers, Chessington World of Adventure, Thorpe Park, the London Eye, Legoland, Madame Tussauds, Warwick Castle, the Dungeons (London, Edinburgh, York, Hamburg, Amsterdam), Gardaland in Italy, Heide Park in Germany, or any of the 26 Sea Life attractions around the UK & Europe... it's all the same company!
The upside: There is a Merlin Entertainments annual pass to all their UK attractions from £96.