Guide to UK theme parks


Alton Towers. Photo by rogerbarker2 (Flickr)

We reckon it's always theme park season. And why would you say not, for it's always timefor rollercoasters, water rides, treetop adventures and dodgems at the theme parks around the country.

Take your pick from Peppa Pig World in HampshireLegoland in BerkshireM&D's in MotherwellDrayton Manor in Staffordshire and loads more up and down the land.

And then make a week of it with a stay nearby. Read on for our roundup of the five best theme parks, complete with nearby accommodation options:

Alton Towers, Staffordshire

Probably the best-known theme park around, with rides including Nemesis, Oblivion, Air and Rita. There's also the Alton Towers Waterpark, with  hundreds of water features and a water coaster, Extraordinary Golf with two themed nine-hole courses, and the Alton Towers spa with steam room and sauna. 

Stay: Take your pick from Derbyshire or Staffordshire to stay near Alton Towers – try the family-friendly Callow Top Holiday Park, or canter the kids around Beaver Hall Equestrian Centre at Leek. 

Chessington World of Adventures, Surrey

A good choice for families with younger kids, with 90 per cent of the rides here suitable for under 12s. Try the Vampire, Tomb Blaster, Dragon's Fury or Rameses Revenge Plus, or get wide-eyed at the live show Madagascar Live! The park also has Chessington Zoo, including the Sea Life Centre and the Wanyama Village & Reserve with zebra and oryx. 

Stay: We have several sites in SurreyEtherley Farm at Dorking is 13 miles from the theme park and sells organic meat for the camping barbie; for glampers, there are fully furnished bell tents at Lingfield's peaceful and safe Southern Bells

Oakwood Theme Park, Pembrokeshire

Take a ride on Speed, Vertigo, Bounce, Drenched and Megafobia, go to the Fun Factory or try the Bunny Rabbit Ride at Kidzworld, or go for the Treetops Coaster, Snake River Falls or Pirate Ship in the Family Fun area. If that's too much adrenaline, there's also a boating lake, Brer Rabbit's Burrow, gold panning and mini golf.

Stay: From our sites in Pembrokeshire, Grondre Holiday Park at Narberth has pool, wifi and a pub on site, while for more Mongolian comfort try Gwaun View Yurts at Fishguard.

Woodlands Family Theme Park, Devon

Sixty acres of park with indoor centres, outdoor rides, zoo, farm, falconry centre and a wildlife sanctuary. There are several different themed zones – try the Sea Monster Zone, Ninja Zone, Action Zone or Toddlers' Zone – or you can also take in the events including a vintage and classic car rally for Father's Day. 

Stay: The quiet Mount Farms Touring Park is family run and just four miles away from the park. It's at Kingsbridge, where you can also park yourself at Parkland Caravan and Camping Site, or extend the theme park day to a Devon seaside break with a stay in a holiday home at Dawlish's Lady's Mile Holiday Park

Fantasy Island, Ingoldmells, Lincolnshire

A free entry park – just pay per ride or buy an unlimited-ride wristband. Try the extreme rides the Odyssey, Volcano or Beast, take a spin on the dodgems or the Twister in the family zone, or let the kids loose on one of the specially designed nine rides for younger people. There's also go karting, a soft play area, amusement arcade and bouncy castles. 

Stay: Book a pitch at Birchwood Fishing and Camping near Skegness, stay further afield in Lincolnshire, to combine the theme park trip with some angling at Caistor Lakes Leisure Park or relax in the lakeside spa at Tattershall Lakes Country Park.