I like rollercoasters a lot. There’s something very exhilarating about going fast through a tunnel that’s covered in themed characters or pretending you’re in a space ship when in fact your just outside Stoke-on-Trent. There’s always the slight worry that you might fall out or get stuck, which makes the experience so much more enticing.
What’s more, theme parks around the country have spent time and money building new rides while we’ve been in lockdown. Get ready for a death-defying descent into a crocodile’s belly and get lost in a Black Mirror maze that’ll make you go loopy. You’ll have to wear your mask on most of the rides unless they tell you otherwise – but it’ll still be fun. And for you vertigo sufferers out there… there’s simply no excuse. The new world record at Alton Towers for the most times on a ride has just been set by someone who is terrified of heights.
1. Alton Towers
Alton Towers is obviously number one. It leads the way in the best rides: they have more than 40, including the terrifying Alton Towers Dungeon, Congo River Rapids (bring waterproofs), Thi3teen (the world’s first vertical free-fall drop rollercoaster), Rita (which goes straight to 100kph in just 2.5 seconds with 4.7 G-force) and the 14-loop Smiler, as well as a host of rides for the little ones themed around Postman Pat and In the Night Garden.
There are people who go totally mad for it. Take Sean Evans – the 29-year-old recently broke records by going on Nemesis 64 times in just six hours. That’s A LOT of times. Particularly as you experience 3.5 G-force every time. And particularly because he suffers from vertigo.
Meanwhile, for the kids, there’s a new ride that’s just come to town brought to you by none other than comedian David Walliams. The ride is designed around his famous children’s book Gangsta Granny. It sees punters join Ben and his Granny on a heist to steal the Crown Jewels. I bet you can’t do that 64 times.
Price: From £34
Where: Farley Lane, Alton, Stoke-on-Trent, ST10 4DB
Take Sean Evans – the 29-year-old recently broke records by going on Nemesis 64 times in just six hours.
2. Thorpe Park
A trip to Thorpe Park reminds me a lot of school trips. Not dissimilar to when the gang in Inbetweeners venture there in the yellow car with the red door.
There are so many rides to choose from including: Colossus, the world’s first 10-loop ride; Stealth, which goes from 0 to 80mph in under two seconds; the Saw ride based on the horror film that sees you pass swinging blades and floors of spikes; and the 5G forces of the Samurai. You also have the old classics like dodgems and tug boats if the slower pace is more your thing.
New to town is the Black Mirror-inspired Labyrinth. It’s a hypnotic maze with weird visuals to leave you feeling a little loopy. Be prepared for some mind games…
Price: From £35
Where: Staines Road, Chertsey, KT16 8PN
3. Chessington World of Adventure
Will you stop the curse of the death-defying Croc Drop? Probably not, but you might as well try. The new ride is coming to Chessington World of Adventure and involves a daring plunge of 25 metres into the giant jaws of a crocodile. The crocodile is called Sobek, apparently, and is an ancient Egyptian Crocodile God and protector of the Nile and it’s been possessed by evil spirits. The ride requires you to banish the evil spirits by plunging into the crocodile’s soul and freeing the waters back into the Nile.
Basically you go up and down really fast on what is essentially a massive metal rod in the middle of the park.
The family-friendly park also has loads of other rides to keep you busy (less exhilarating than the first two theme parks). There’s a zoo and the Sealife centre, and you can even go on a mini safari. Soar through the skies on the Vampire ride or enjoy the twists and turns of Dragon’s Fury. A great one for the kids.
Price: From £32
Where: Leatherhead Road, Chessington, KT9 2NE
Croc Drop is coming to Chessington World of Adventure and involves a daring plunge of 25 metres into the giant jaws of a crocodile.
Apparently, every time someone builds a creature out of Lego, the creature is brought to life in an alternative universe. And Legoland has found a portal to it… it’s called Mythica. Mythica is opening on 29 May at Legoland and will include the UK’s first flying theatre ride. Yes, we’re not quite sure what that means either.
Climb aboard two spinning drop tower rides, a water ride and the multi-sensory flying theatre where you swoop and dive through the magical land. There are 13 new models of creatures made from 1.7 million bricks and the designs and names have all had the support and help of children to get the end result.
For the rest of the day, you can admire the insane Lego structures and enjoy a whole host of family-friendly rides.
Price: From £29
Where: Winkfield Road, Windsor, SL4 4AY
5. Drayton Manor
Drayton Manor is home to Europe’s only Thomas Land (Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends), which is the main draw. But new this spring is the Adventure Cove. It’s a nautical-themed area with new rides for all the family. Think barrels, boats, and a lighthouse rescue mission on the white-knuckle ride Stormforce 10, which has dramatic views over the lake.
Hop aboard a nine-person boat and career down the River Rapids ride that goes through a cartoon-style fishing port, past vibrantly painted shacks and seafarers. Then get involved with the new Tidal Towers, where you have to venture across rope bridges and climb up towers, before you whizz down on a series of slides. Parents can relax in the new designated chill-out zones serviced with snacks from the Chicken Hatch eatery. There’s still more rides to be announced, so brace yourself me hearties!
Price: From £25
Where: Fazeley, Mile Oak, Tamworth, B78 3TW
And for parents? There's a really big beer garden.
Scotland’s biggest theme park is home to Scotland’s largest indoor tropical rainforest Amazonia, a crazy golf adventure on Devil’s Island (maybe also Scotland’s largest, we’re not entirely sure), and a brand new outdoor adventure zone.
The adventure zone (which doesn’t sound that adventurous) has a 150-foot long zip-line, bungee trampolines and two climbing walls. All ages can venture across five climbing routes and multiple overhangs. And for parents? There’s a really big beer garden.
Price: From £13.95
Where: Strathclyde Country Park, Motherwell, ML1 3RT
7. Paultons Park
The main attraction at Paultons Park seems to be Peppa Pig. The little pink cartoon has various rides, including Grampy Rabbit’s Sailing Club and George’s Dinosaur Adventure. There are more than 70 rides to choose from, and new to the collection is Tornado Springs.
The new area features eight new rides and experiences including a spinning coaster, a gyro swing ride and a driving school attraction (which comes with teeny tiny cars). The setting is a midwest desert town in the American heyday of the 1950s. Don your cowboy boots and get to it!
Price: From £42.50
Where: Ower, Romsey, SO51 6AL
8. Gulliver’s World
Remember the Clangers? Those funny little whistling creatures that live on the moon? Well, you might be pleased to know that they will be making live appearances at Gulliver’s World theme park. Apparently, Tiny and Small, who are two of the most popular Clangers will be visiting the theme park from 29 May. You can meet them in real life. Yes, it’s very exciting isn’t it?
Very much for kids, this theme park has log flumes, climbing walls and face-painting emporiums. Who doesn’t love face painting?
Price: From £19
Where: Warrington, Cheshire, WA5 9YZ
Okay, so this one shouldn’t really be on the list. But I’m just a little bit obsessed with Margate at the moment. The vintage theme park has a lovely ferris wheel, the Dreamland Drop and your classic dodgems. There’s also Tina Turner’s giant head. Why? Who knows. It’s Margate.
There’s also a host of live acts, DJs and a few seafood restaurants to try out.
Price: From £8.25
Where: 49-51 Marine Terrace, Margate, CT9 1XJ
There's also Tina Turner's giant head. Why? Who knows. It's Margate.