Britain’s best theme parks

Summer is here and what better time to enjoy exhilarating drops and loop-de-loops?

There are plenty of theme parks dotted all around the country, many with varying rides and styles. From high-speed thrills to log flumes, there is an amusement ride to suit everyone’s tastes.

So wave your arms in the air like you just don’t care at one of Britain’s best theme parks!

Alton Towers, Stoke-on-Trent

Opening times: 10am – 4pm weekdays, 10am – 6pm weekends & public holidays

Alton TowersAs one of the two UK’s most well-known theme parks, Alton Towers promises fun and excitement for all of its visitors. With a range of attractions from fast rollercoasters to interactive walk-throughs to Cbeebies Land, this park is perfect for a family day out. Let the adrenaline rush over you in their famous Smiler ride, and feel the heat during the new Wicker Man ride.

Or perhaps if you’re looking for something more child-friendly, why not try Gangster Granny: The Ride, or learn all about the intriguing world of sea creatures at the park’s exclusive Sharkbait Reef by SEA LIFE attraction. They also have plenty of refreshment and snack stalls dotted around the park, as well as places to sit down and enjoy lunch or dinner.

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Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Blackpool

Opening times: 11am – 5pm weekdays, 10am – 5pm weekends & public holidays

Blackpool Pleasure BeachBlackpool Pleasure Beach is one of the UK’s most ride-intensive amusement parks – so if you’re a fan of the fast and furious rides, then this is the place for you. Also, home to the UK’s only Nickelodeon Land, the park is home to rides perfect for the whole family. With plenty of Spongebob and Krusty Krab-themed rides, the kids will be entertained for hours with their large display of attractions and rollercoasters for the whole family.

For the more adventurous, they have their signature rides such as the Big Dipper, a classic wooden rollercoaster, and ICON, the world’s first double-launch coaster with plenty of twists and turns. Why not stay for lunch or dinner at one of their many in-park restaurants, such as the Big Pizza Kitchen or the Ice Lounge, perfect for cold beverages.

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Thorpe Park Resort, Chertsey

Opening times: 10am – 5pm weekdays, 10am – 6/7pm weekends & public holidays

Thorpe ParkAs the second on our list of the iconic UK theme park twosome, Thorpe Park is packed with excitement, intrigue and exhilaration. From roller coasters to water rides, to walk-through experiences, this park located on the Southwest edge of London is perfect for thrill-seekers. Why not try one of their famous coasters such as the Swarm or Nemesis Inferno, with loops and turns guaranteed to blow your hair away.

Or if you’d prefer to keep your feet on the ground, why not try their Black Mirror Labyrinth, based around the popular Netflix show, or perhaps Derren Brown’s Ghost Train, perfect for fans of the paranormal. Why not take the little ones to explore their exclusive Angry Birds Land, including a 4D cinema experience and a ride in their King Pig dodgems. They have plenty of refreshment stalls and restaurants to scoff some lunch, as well as many ice cream scoop shops perfect for a hot day.

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LEGOLAND Windsor Resort, Windsor

Opening times: 10am – 4pm weekdays, 10am – 6pm weekends & public holidays

Legoland WindsorIf you and your little ones love all things LEGO, then you’re in the right place. LEGOLAND is a mixture of thrilling rides and interactive experiences all themed around the famous building brick. Why not try out the Flight of the Sky Lion, the UK’s first-ever flying theatre ride, or perhaps Hydra’s Challenge, a water ride perfect for families, but make sure you wear your poncho! As well as plenty of entertaining rides and activities, there are also many LEGO workshops and building opportunities if your little ones prefer a calming day away.

End the day with a meal at one of their LEGO-themed park cafés or restaurants. With dozens of attractions perfect for all ages, you’ll have no trouble filling your day with excitement at this exclusive theme park.

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Paultons Park and Peppa Pig World, Romsey

Opening times: 10am – 5pm weekdays, 10am – 5:30 weekends & public holidays

Peppa Pig WorldWith over 70 rides and an exclusive Peppa Pig World experience, Paultons Park is a theme park that should be on your list for this summer. With themed areas of the park, such as the Lost Kingdom or Tornado Springs, whatever your choice of amusement ride is there will be something for everyone. Why not try their Storm Chaser ride, spinning and swirling around the tracks, or perhaps the Flight of the Pterosaur, a dinosaur-themed ride that spans over 395 metres.

If your little ones love Peppa Pig, why not bring them to meet Peppa herself among many other themed rides perfect for families. The park also has an animal exhibition, showcasing many species of birds, mammals, reptiles and fish. There are also plenty of dine-in or takeaway food options around the park to fill those adventurous appetites!

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Chessington World of Adventures, Chessington

Opening times: 10am – 5pm on weekdays, 10am – 6pm on weekends & public holidays

Chessington World of AdventuresChessington World of Adventures is just what it says – adventurous. With varying experiences and attractions based around the animal kingdom fit for every type of visitor, this could arguably be one of the best theme parks for families. Check out their exclusive Zufari: Ride into Africa experience, an off-track journey with giraffes, rhinos and flamingos at your fingertips. Or perhaps try out their more thrill-seeker-themed rides, including the hanging Vampire ride, or their new experience, Croc Drop.

If you’re looking to cool off, why not try their range of water rides including Tiger Rock, a log flume surrounded by tigers, and The Gruffalo River Ride, a journey along with the famous story of the Gruffalo and the mouse. They have plenty of shops and restaurants, with animal-themed food and plushies perfect for little ones.

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Drayton Manor Theme Park, Tamworth

Opening times: 10:30am – 4:30pm weekdays, 10:30am – 5pm during public holidays & weekends

Drayton ManorWith a 15-acre zoo and home to Europe’s only Thomas the Tank Engine Land, Drayton Manor is perfect for families and young ones. With over 100 rides and attractions, there will be plenty of things to do to suit everyone. Try out some of their faster thrill-seeker rides such as Apocalypse, a tall dropping coaster not for the faint of heart, or perhaps the Shockwave, Europe’s first stand-up roller coaster!

If you enjoy fast rides but maybe aren’t ready for the bigger ones yet, why not try the Troublesome Trucks Runaway Coaster, a small train coaster themed around Thomas Land. There are also plenty of attractions that let your feet remain on the ground, such as Emily’s Adventure Play Area, the Thomas Exhibition, and James and the Red Balloon. Drayton Manor also offers a wide range of beverages and food choices, with sit-in or takeaway options.

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Oakwood Theme Park, Pembrokeshire

Opening times: 10am – 5pm

Oakwood Theme Park WalesAs arguably the most popular theme park in Wales, Oakwood Theme Park is located in the woodlands of Pembrokeshire. With plenty of impressive rides and attractions throughout the park, there is no doubt that this park should be on your bucket list for this summer. Why not try out their iconic ride Megafobia, one of the UK’s best wooden roller coasters, or perhaps the rollercoaster Speed, the fastest ride in the whole of Wales, to name a few. They also have the live-action scary maze Witch Hunt, perfect if you still want to experience thrills from the safety of the ground.

Rest assured they also have plenty of rides for the little ones, including play areas and water rides perfect for the whole family. They also have several places to eat around the park, as well as picnic bench areas if you want to bring your lunch with you.

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Crealy Theme Park and Resort, Exeter

Opening times: 10am – 5pm

Crealy Theme ParkCrealy is well known for its popularity with family holidays, making it the perfect place to visit this summer. With plenty of rides and attractions with varying themes, there will be something for everyone. Why not give their star ride The Twister a go, with its winding track and spinning car. If you want thrills but aren’t a fan of the spinning, try the Maximus Rollercoaster, a Roman-themed coaster simulating a bumpy train ride perfect for all ages.

They also have plenty of rides for the younger ones, including an indoor play area with its own rides, and a water park area opening in May with plenty of water to splash around is guaranteed to get you soaked! The park also has plenty of eateries, with somewhere to fill those busy bellies.

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Gulliver’s World, Warrington

Opening times: 10:30am – 4pm weekdays, 10:30am – 5pm on weekends & public holidays

Gullivers World Theme ParkWith over 4 sites across the UK, the Gullivers Theme Park Resort in Warrington is for sure the best out of the parks. With the most attractions and excitement, and perfect rides for the little ones, this park has to be on your summer bucket list. Why not try out their Antelope Wooden Coaster, full of dips and turns, or perhaps have a go on their Desperado Drop, not for those with a fear of heights! They also have plenty of both entertaining and educational rides for little ones, including Smugglers Boating School and a dino safari, teaching little ones the history behind the dinosaurs.

If you’re someone who prefers to stay away from rides, they have just as many attractions and play areas worth visiting such as the Pirate Play Area and Cape Canyon Crazy Golf. The park also has plenty of food and drink stalls, perfect for grabbing a bite to eat on the way to a ride or even sitting down for some lunch.

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