Are you ready for an action-packed day? Here are 18 thrilling theme parks in the UK that offer a super exciting day out for the whole family. Which one is your favourite for a wild adventure?
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From giant coasters to whirling tea cups, splashtastic water rides to your favourite TV characters, our pick of theme parks are definitely worth a visit.
From the famous parks to some hidden gems, buckle up as we take you on a thrilling ride through the best theme parks in the UK!
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Exciting Theme Parks in the UK
LEGOLAND Windsor, Berkshire
You don’t have to be a lover of the small plastic bricks to have a good time here. In fact, even if you’ve trodden on them in bare feet more times than you care to remember, we think you’ll find something to love at LEGOLAND, with over 55 rides to choose from and plenty to see and do.
While the rides aren’t made out of billions of tiny bricks, pretty much everything else is, like the LEGO® Reef where you can design your very own cubed creatures to explore a digital landscape beneath the waves. You can even fill their fishy bellies with interactive buttons.
Then, of course, there’s Miniland which takes you on a tiny tour of the world. From Australia to Russia, leave no brick unturned. Car mad kids can even get their first “driving licence” in the LEGOLAND driving school.
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Alton Towers, Staffordshire
As the largest of the theme parks in the UK, Alton Towers covers the bases for all ages. Spanning more than 500 acres, it certainly won’t disappoint if its thrills and an action-packed family day out you are after.
Tiny tots and younger children can play in CBeebies Land, where they can see Furchester Hotel Live or take a ride on the Go Jetters Vroomster Zoom. After a busy day exploring the park, you can even calm down with Iggle Piggle on the In the Night Garden Magical Boat Ride.
Older children, teens and daring parents will love the exhilarating rides and new attractions like Wicker Man, and for the boldest of thrill seekers, there’s classic rides like Rita and Oblivion.
Imaginatively themed accommodation can be found on site so you can make more than a day of it, and experience twice the fun!
Thorpe Park, Surrey
With over 30 thrilling rides, attractions and live events, Thorpe Park Resort is an island like no other and the UK’s must-visit destination to share endless fun with family and friends.
Thorpe Park provides equally brilliant thrills for old and young alike. Ages 4+ can laugh through Angry Birds 4D, with immersive special effects. Big kids can brave The Swarm or the jaw dropping Saw. And if you want more? Take on Stealth, one of Europe’s fastest rollercoasters, accelerating from 0 to 80mph in under 2 seconds!
If it’s a scarefest you love, then there’s also the incredible Derren Brown’s Ghost Train: Rise of the Demon, which will make you question where reality stops and the story begins. If all of that is more white-knuckle than you can handle, there is also has a fabulous water play area, Amity Beach, open in the summer months (which is universally popular with toddlers) and a whole section of rides for smaller children.
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Drayton Manor, Staffordshire
Drayton Manor is more than just a theme park – alongside world class rides, there’s a zoo with over 100 animals, a dinosaur park and a crazy golf course.
If you have older children then hit the thrill rides, ranging from G-Force to Apocalypse: the world’s first DROP-down tower ride.
If height restrictions are going to be problematic, then we surely couldn’t forget to mention that it’s home to Thomas Land with 25 rides and attractions based on the beloved tank engine. It’ll be heaven for train-loving tykes with Toby’s Tram Express, Flynn’s Fire Rescue and loads more. Parents of train obsessed little ones often visit for that alone. So it’s all aboard to a theme park that is certain to delight the entire family for a fantastic day out.
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Flamingo Land, Malton, North Yorkshire
Don’t be fooled by the name – there’s a lot more at Flamingo Land than the infamous pink birds themselves. The wide range of wild animals here includes lions, tigers and baboons, but the number of rides is equally impressive.
With a focus on family rides, there are also extreme experiences for the more adventurous or older teens too. Feel like you’re flying on Hero, or test your prehistoric limits on Pterodactyl. Don’t miss Kumali, the park’s sensational showpiece looping suspended coaster. And for visitors with nerves of steel, experience Cliff Hanger, a missile launch combined with the thrill of base-jumping, all in one spectacular ride.
If something more sedate is required there’s the Peter Rabbit Adventure – where you and your little ones might even run into Peter and Lily too!
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Chessington World of Adventures, Surrey
Where else could you climb high in the treetops, meet endangered animals, ride rollercoasters AND explore the deep dark wood with the Gruffalo? Chessington World of Adventures is truly one in a million!
A ticket to Chessington gets you access to not one, not three, but 10 lands – including a Zoo, the Sea Life Centre, The Gruffalo Arena and the Pirate Cove. If you are looking for a thrill you won’t be disappointed. Try Rameses Revenge, the Vampire ride or whizz through the trees on the monkey swing.
While we couldn’t possibly list every activity on offer, make sure you dip into the sea life centre or fly high on a Go Ape course. Then, last but not least, say hello to those stunning residents at Tiger Rock. There’s sure to be something here that captures the imagination of every age.
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Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Lancashire
Described as Europe’s most “ride-intensive” theme park, Blackpool Pleasure Beach includes the continent’s tallest rollercoaster – The Big One – which reaches top speeds of 87mph. If anything can top that, it’s ‘ICON’, the UK’s first double launch coaster which will have you experience acceleration four times that felt in a Lamborghini Gallardo!
There is a crazy golf course, a bowling alley and you can enjoy some good old-fashioned fun on The Big Dipper (entirely made of wood). Rainy days are not a problem either as you can while away the hours in the arcade finding a good use for 2ps and take in year-round shows.
There’s plenty for the little ones too, with Nickelodeon World taking up a quarter of the park map. With attractions featuring Sponge Bob, Dora the Explorer and the popular pups of Paw Patrol there’ll be big smiles all round.
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Diggerland, Kent, Devon, Yorkshire & Durham
Diggerland knows that heavy machinery holds a special place in the hearts of young children and adults alike! These excellent excavator theme parks at four locations across the UK mean you can get into the driving seat and take a whirl on construction-based rides.
Jump in the driving seat of actual diggers, dumpers and other full-sized construction machinery. There are also a whopping 20 different rides, including a mini digger searching for buried treasure. For super speed and size, get hoisted on high by the Spindizzy, or take on the stomach-churning, Groundshuttle. From the top of your enormous, 50 ft. perch in the Skyshuttle, take in spectacular views across Kent, the River Medway of Rochester and its historic castles. Then, once you’ve got your feet firmly back on the ground, let loose on dodgems, go-karts and a soft play.
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Gulliver’s World, Derbyshire
This UK theme park is geared less towards adventurous teens and more towards children ages 2 to 12, but that doesn’t limit the number of thrilling rides on offer, such as the Switchback rollercoaster and the Log Flume, all set against the stunning background of the Derbyshire countryside.
Gulliver’s Kingdom has over 80 rides, attractions and shows to see each day. Older kids will love the excitement of the dodgems, log flumes and tree-tops swings; while the younger ones can play around in the Clown School or while away the hours in Toys Land, which is perfect for under-5s.
If it’s prehistoric beasts your little ones are after, then get ready for a truly Jurassic experience. The Lost World of Living Dinosaurs is perfect for dino-fans, with more than 13 animatronic dinosaurs for you to find. As a budget friendly bonus you’re welcome to bring along your own picnic, and parking is completely free.
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M&D’s, Motherwell, North Lanarkshire, Scotland
Scotland’s favourite theme park, M&D’s, is found in the beautiful scenery of Strathclyde Country Park. As well as the array of rides and attractions (over 20 are for kids only), like the Giant Condor, Runaway Mine Train and Monster Machines, you can also discover AMAZONIA, Scotland’s only indoor tropical rainforest packed with exotic animals, birds and creepy crawlies!
This attraction is perfect whatever the weather, giving you plenty of opportunity to take advantage of the great soft play, ‘glow in the dark’ indoor bowling, Game Zone with the very latest amusements and games, bars, and restaurants.
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Paultons Family Theme Park
The home of Peppa Pig World and dinosaur theme park Lost Kingdom was revealed to be the UK’s most popular amusement park, and it’s easy to see why. Paultons Park has lots to offer the whole family, with over 70 rides and attractions such as Adventure Golf, the Water Kingdom, playgrounds and several beautiful gardens.
Paulton’s just had to make it onto our round up of the best theme parks in the UK for families, not least because it’s home to Peppa Pig. Spin, whirl and twirl through different rides and even come face to face with the famous character and her little brother, George, and their animal friends like Danny Dog and Rebecca Rabbit. Peppa is just one part of the attractions though, with 70 other rides, games and sports to explore there’s something for everyone.
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Smaller Theme Parks in the UK
Somewhat lesser known but no less fun – why not try the thrills and spills of some of the smaller theme parks in the UK?
Oakwood Theme Park is Wales’ biggest family adventure and located in Pembrokeshire, West Wales. The park now incorporates four large thrill rides – Megafobia, Vertigo, Drenched and Speed – as well as a section dedicated to the magical adventures of Peter Pan in Neverland.
With over 35 rides and attractions spread over 90 acres of spectacular countryside, there is something to offer the whole family. Whether you are looking for young adventure, family adventure or adrenaline adventure, you will have an amazing fun-filled day out!
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Lightwater Valley, North Yorkshire
Lightwater Valley classes its rides and experiences into Mini (age 1-5), Mega (5-9) and Ultimate Adventures (for those over 1.2 metres), enabling you to tailor your day to the ages and interests in your family perfectly.
One of the main reasons families pay a visit to the Valley is for the rides, from the splashtastic Wild River Rapids to the swashbuckling Skull Rock. With over 35 to choose from, you won’t be disappointed. Whether you fancy a thrill ride on flying swings, meeting modern-day dinosaurs, or simply enjoying a lazy day aboard the Eagle’s Creek Farm tractor, you can do the lot and more.
There’s more than enough to keep little ones busy too, like the Lightwater Express train, a tractor ride, as well as indoor AND outdoor play areas. If they are animal lovers, be sure to take them to one of the flying displays or to meet an adorable family of prairie dogs. In fact, with 50 raptors, mammals and reptiles, you’ll need a full day to see them all.
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Twinlakes Park, Leicestershire
Water is one of the key attractions of this theme park, with boating lakes and the longest beach in the Midlands! Twinlakes Park is the ideal attraction for families with kids – in fact, it’s 3 attractions in one: theme park, water park and animal farm!
The park has over 100 acres of family rides and attractions across 7 different zones, including the Labyrinth Venture Zone where you can scale the heights of Gladiators Galleon or The Icarus Sky Flyer! Smaller ones will love the Mercury Mini Coaster or enter the Labyrinth itself for a host of twisty, family fun. And of course, for the perfect day in the sun, have a splash at Dragon Water Park!
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The Milky Way Adventure Park, Clovelly
Located near Clovelly, North Devon, The Milky Way Adventure Park is a favourite among young families. As well as rides and attractions like the Cosmic Typhoon, Clone Zone, and the Time Warp, the park also has live shows, as well as the Milky Way Railway.
With three dedicated areas of soft play, pre-schoolers will have plenty to keep them busy like jumping pillows, ball pits and a padded balloon room, while The Time Warp is perfect for slightly older kids with three storeys of death slides – as well as being open to grown-ups too.
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Crealy Adventure Park & Resort, Exeter
Voted ‘Family Attraction of the Year’ seven years running, Crealy Adventure Park & Resort is lots of fun. Complete with rides, a number of indoor play areas, live shows, and Buddy Bear’s Kingdom, there’s lots to see and do.
With 60 jaw-dropping rides and attractions, including the drench-inducing Tidal Wave, The Twister or if you dare the ultimate thriller: Maximus. Let your little ones explore over 75,000 sq. ft. of indoor soft play, then introduce them to the unusual locals… from the creepy crawlies at Bugz Unlimited, to everyone’s favourite furry residents at Meerkat Manor.
Sundown Adventureland, Nottinghamshire
Sometimes taking younger kids to the bigger theme parks can feel like a waste of time and money, as you walk past yet another ride they aren’t quite tall enough for. That’s what makes Sundown Adventureland so special, as you’ll find the Angry Birds Activity Park, Rocky Mountain Railroad, River Barrel Ride and numerous other rides all designed specifically for children under ten.
Next stop would be Toy Town, or perhaps pop on the eye patch for the Pirate Adventure, docking in Smugglers Cove. Make sure you save energy and time for Crash Landings, the four-storey indoor play area! For a quieter time, take little ones to the storybook village or tune in at the sing-along show! Children under 90cms enter for free.
Landmark Forest Adventure Park, Carribridge, Scotland
Set within the heart of the Cairngorms National Park, Landmark Forest Adventure Park wins over families who want an action-packed day out. From the Wild Water Coaster to a Skydive experience and Tarzan Trail, there is so much for children and grown-ups to enjoy.
Of course, kids will run straight for the rides which include a runaway timber train, ‘Skydive’ and the Wild Water Coasters – home to three flumes of varying steepness, depending on how brave you’re feeling!
The park also boasts the world’s only ‘Bamboozeleum’ which, as well as an array of intriguing exhibits and special effects, is an educational experience. It’s stuffed with puzzles for families to solve together for a curiously thrilling day out.
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What are your favourite theme parks in the UK? Leave a comment below and let us know – we’d love to hear from you!