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Best UK theme parks for thrill-seeking families

Looking for a fun-filled day out with the kids? Whether you’re thrill-seekers looking for an epic rollercoaster adventure or are on the hunt for some gentle rides for the whole family, here are the top theme parks to visit in the UK. 

By Lucy Cotterill | Last updated Jul 14, 2022

Best Theme Parks

Theme parks make a great family day out - a chance to embrace your inner child, throw out your inhibitions and experience some high-energy entertainment with your children. We’re lucky enough to be spoilt for choice with high-quality theme parks across the UK, so no matter where you’re based, there's a fun-filled resort within easy reach. 

However, theme park visits don’t come cheap, so we’ve scoured the Mumsnet forums for top recommendations as well as Mumsnetters’ hints, tips and advice to help you really make the most of your visit. 

Whether you’re looking for a theme park suitable for toddlers and preschoolers, a theme park packed full of white knuckle rides and rollercoasters for teens, or a great all-rounder that offers something for the entire family, there are a wide range of options to choose from. 

What are the best family-friendly theme parks in the UK?

1. Alton Towers and CBeebies Land, Staffordshire

Alton Towers and CBeebies Land, Staffordshire

The UK's largest theme park | Check availability

We have been to Alton Towers / CBeebies Land quite a few times!! DD is 9 now so she also gets to experience the bigger rides. CBeebies Land is amazing but you have to pay full "Alton Towers" ticket price -  if you're not bothered about the cost I'd highly recommend it” - recommended by Mumsnet user, Poppythetroll

We love Alton Towers. English October half term is one of their busiest times of the year, so if you go out of that, you should be ok” - tried and tested by Mumsnet user, gluteustothemaximus

With over 40 rides and attractions, Alton Towers, part of the Merlin Entertainment Group, is the UK’s largest theme park resort, spanning a huge 910 acres. 

With 10 rollercoasters to choose from and 20 attractions aimed specifically at young children and their families, Alton Towers has loads on offer that the entire family can enjoy together.  

What to see at Alton Towers

Alton Towers Resort is home to CBeebies Land, a section of the park dedicated to preschoolers and toddlers. Having been through a recent expansion programme, CBeebies Land now includes three new attractions - Hey Duggee’s Big Adventure Badge, Andy’s Adventures Dinosaur Dig and JoJo & Gran Gran At Home, joining the already popular Octonauts rollercoaster, In the Night Garden Magical Boat Ride and Get Set Go Tree Top Adventure.

Alton Towers won’t disappoint the thrill-seekers and adrenaline junkies either, with teens and older children queuing to experience the wide range of record-breaking rollercoasters on offer. 

Whether you want to experience the G-force speeds of Nemesis, Oblivion’s 180ft drop, Smiler’s 14 360° loops or Wickerman - the world’s first immersive rollercoaster experience, Alton Towers has plenty to offer, but be prepared to get your steps in and join the back of a potentially long line to experience the most popular rides. 

Pros

  • Lots of big-name thrill rides 
  • Variety of rides suitable for all ages
  • CBeebies Land dedicated zone for preschoolers and younger children

Cons

  • Queuing time can be significant for the popular rides
  • Food is expensive and quality can be disappointing 
  • The resort itself is huge - it can take a while to walk between rides 

Where to stay

Want to extend your stay? Alton Towers has a number of on-site accommodation options including Alton Towers Hotel, CBeebies Land Hotel (with themed rooms) and the Enchanted Forest - home to woodland lodges, tree houses and budget-friendly wooden star gazing pods. 

If you’re looking to limit your budget, you can also opt for offsite accommodation close to the park instead, as recommended by Mumsnetter AnnieAreYouOKHun - “There used to be a couple of nice little b&bs in the village of Alton which may work out cheaper than staying in the hotel and only 5 minutes away”

Top tips for Alton Towers 

  • The first hour of the day is usually the quietest - “Arrive early for 9:30am. Look for rides that are open, as some don’t open until 10:30 onwards” (tip from Mumsnetter, Potterbore)
  • Many guests will prioritise the rides closest to the entrance - “Head straight to the one you most want to do - Smiler and Wickerman are the most popular, so probably one of those first” (advice from Mumsnet user, rbe78)
  • Download the Alton Towers app for up-to-date queue times and ride updates - “We found the queue times incredibly accurate on the app whilst we were there” (tip from Mumsnetter, Definitelytheothersideof40)
  • The closing time marks the moment that the queue shuts - not the ride itself - “If you can time it right, you can usually squeeze in one last ride by getting in the queue just before closing” (a helpful hint from Mumsnet user Retrievemysanity)
  • Wear comfortable shoes - “Under no circumstances use the map to estimate distances, the gardens are huge and you'll end up with angry teens stomping through miles of woodland paths furious that the 'short walk' was a long hike” (recommendation from Mumsnet user, KateMuff)
  • Want to avoid the queues? - "Definitely get fast-track passes if you can stretch to them!" (suggestion from Mumsnetter, FakeTanandProsseco)
  • Look for ticket deals - “Check Kellogg’s boxes, they almost always do 2for1 for Alton Towers” (advice from Mumsnetter, JRMisOdious

Nearest train station: Uttoxeter Station (10 miles)

Merlin Annual Pass
The Merlin Annual Pass is the best thing we’ve ever spent money on IMO

thunderandsunshine01

Merlin Annual Pass

Unlimited entry to LEGOLAND, Alton Towers, Thorpe Park and more
Discounts on food and merch too

Buy an annual pass

2. Drayton Manor Resort and Thomas Land, Staffordshire

Drayton Manor Resort and Thomas Land, Staffordshire

Great for toddlers and preschoolers | Check availability 

We’ve enjoyed several trips to Drayton Manor. There is Thomas Land and a zoo as well as a good selection of bigger rides.” - recommended by Mumsnetter, IggyAce)

It’s the best theme park for little ones I think. Lots of suitable rides, all different types for some good variety. Not a lot of walking involved” - tried and tested by Mumsnet user, mnahmnah

If you find the scale of Alton Towers Resort somewhat daunting, Drayton Manor in Staffordshire offers over 100 rides and attractions on a smaller, far more accessible site. Many Mumsnetters find Drayton Manor better suited to those with young children and experienced shorter queues during their visit.

Drayton Manor Resort is also home to Europe’s only Thomas Land, where toddlers and preschoolers can be transported to the Island of Sodor and enjoy rides and attractions tailored specifically to a younger audience. 

Drayton Manor isn’t just about the rides - the resort also boasts a 15-acre zoo - an educational and fun family attraction home to over 500 animals and species from across the globe.

What to see at Drayton Manor Resort

For those with younger children or toddlers, Thomas Land offers 25 rides and attractions including the Troublesome Trucks Runaway Coaster, Jeremy Jet’s Flying Academy and Flynn’s Fire Rescue. You can even meet Sir Topham Hatt with a range of live-action entertainment on offer during the day. 

For older children, teens and adults who may prefer a faster pace, why not check out Shockwave, Europe’s first-ever stand-up rollercoaster, the leg dangling Maelstrom gyro swing, or embrace your inner Maverick at in-flight aerobatic experience, Air Race? If you haven’t visited recently, the giant spinning wheel of the Thor Disk’o’Coaster is also a new addition for 2022. 

Pros

  • Smaller site easier for younger family members to navigate
  • Queue times tend to be shorter than Alton Towers 
  • Thomas Land site for toddlers and preschoolers 
  • On-site zoo for whole family entertainment

Cons

  • A smaller number of high-speed rollercoasters for teens and adults
  • Maybe less suitable for those looking for a full weekend break 
  • Some areas of the park are looking a bit tired 

Where to stay

Kids will love the Thomas-themed rooms at Drayton Manor Hotel (or the new Viking theme rooms for 2022). There are also a number of offsite hotels nearby including a Premier Inn and a Holiday Inn

We nearly always stay at the Premier Inn at Tamworth. It's got a beefeater restaurant and the food has always been very good. Have also stayed at the Holiday Inn Express there and it was very good too, shower was first class” - recommended by Mumsnetter, Ladylunchalot

Top tips for Drayton Manor Resort

  • Take a picnic - “We made a mistake the first time we went and thought we'd eat at the park - it was extortionate” (money-saving tip from Mumsnet user, mummyh2016)
  • Leave the water rides until last - “Leave the wet roller coaster to the end. We did it first thing and froze for the rest of the day. Our clothes and shoes were soaked!” (advice from Mumsnetter, Jellybellies
  • Think about your timings - "Thomas Land is much quieter in the late afternoon. Either a lot of the younger children have gone home or are having naps in their buggy” (suggestion from Mumsnet user Ricekrispie22

Nearest train station: Tamworth Station (3 miles)

3. Thorpe Park Resort, Surrey

Thorpe Park Resort, Surrey

Perfect for thrill-seekers | Check availability

I went to Thorpe Park for the first time in nearly 10 years recently. We had a damn good day. Yes, the scenery looks a little tired, but the rides are awesome” - rated by Mumsnetter, Caramellatteplease

Thorpe Park is fantastic for those who like white knuckle rides. It's not so great for those who are more timid...you might be better off at Chessington if so” - recommended by Mumsnet user, MrJollyLivesNextDoor

Described as the UK’s most thrilling theme park and certainly not for the faint-hearted,  Thorpe Park Resort is part of the Merlin Entertainment Group and located in Surrey, just 20 miles from Central London.

With over 30 high-impact rides, attractions, and live events taking place throughout the Summer, Thorpe Park is also home to its own beach and paddle pool (with varying opening dates - check before you visit). Mumsnetters believe Thorpe Park is better suited to families with older children (due to some of the height restrictions), as well as teens or those looking for a more fast-paced theme park experience. 

What to see at Thorpe Park Resort

Why not check out Stealth, the UK's fastest roller coaster which reaches speeds of 80mph, or The Swarm, the UK's only winged coaster? If you’re feeling particularly brave, take a tentative seat on SAW - the world's first horror-themed roller coaster with a jaw-dropping 100ft drop. 

Thorpe Park is also home to the UK’s wettest water rides, including Tidal Wave, Storm Surge and the white knuckle Rumba Rapids.

Pros

  • Great choice of water-based rides 
  • Thrilling rollercoasters
  • On-site beach and paddle pool 

Cons

  • On-site accommodation is very compact and small
  • Not many ‘tame’ ride choices for younger guests 

Where to stay

If you want to make a weekend of your visit and prolong the fun, Thorpe Park offers on-site accommodation in their compact nautical-themed cabins. Stay on site and you also get free entry to the park on your 2nd day with fast track entry for the first hour.

Mumsnetters find the cabins on the small side, so if you prefer to stay off-site in more spacious accommodation, “Staines has plenty of chain hotel options including a new Premier Inn”, as suggested by Mumsnetter, Mumofcats5

Top tips for Thorpe Park

  • Download the app - “Download the Thorpe park app before you go so that you can check queue times for each ride” (advice from Mumsnetter, MumintheCity)
  • Don’t forget the swimwear - “They have a really cool beach area with a lido so if nice take swim stuff” (advice from Mumsnet user, Quartz2208)
  • Head to the back of the park first - “Saw and Nemesis Inferno usually have shortest wait times early in the day” (tip from Mumsnet user, Fivemoreminutes1)

Nearest train station: Staines Station (3 miles)

4. LEGOLAND Windsor Resort, Windsor

LEGOLAND Windsor Resort, Windsor

Brilliant for LEGO fans big and small | Check availability

LEGOLAND is amazing for kids, we stayed in the hotel and had the best time. We brought the q-bot tickets so didn’t have the queue much and had the best weekend” - recommended by Mumsnetter, BloodyGoodRep

My 8-year-old absolutely loved it” - recommended by Mumsnet user, spiderlight

Another attraction from the Merlin Entertainment Group, LEGOLAND Windsor is aimed at families with children between the ages of 3 and 12 and boasts 55 rides and attractions as well as two resort hotels on site. 

A haven for LEGO fans, LEGOLAND also features character meet and greets with the awesome LEGO NINJAGO heroes and Ollie the Dragon, as well as live shows and 4D movie experiences.

What to see at LEGOLAND Windsor Resort

There really is something for everyone at LEGOLAND. From the 40 million LEGO bricks that make up the amazing model scenes and landmarks from around the world in MiniLand to the thrilling Dragon rollercoaster and NINJAGO 4D interactive family ride, you can easily spend a weekend exploring. 

If it’s been a while since your last visit, The Magical Forest is new for 2022 - an augmented reality walk-through experience for the whole family to explore.

Pros

  • Rides and attractions the whole family can enjoy together 
  • Familiar LEGO characters and themes 
  • Rental options for ‘Scooterbug’ pushchairs are helpful for little legs

Cons

  • The park can get very busy during peak season
  • Queue times can be significant 

Where to stay 

There are two hotels at LEGOLAND Windsor: the LEGOLAND Resort Hotel and the LEGOLAND Castle Hotel both offer premium and themed rooms. If you stay in a resort hotel, you’ll also get entry to a LEGO pirate-themed indoor water play area, swimming pool and evening entertainment.

If your budget doesn’t stretch that far, there are also lots of local hotels within a short distance of the resort. “You don’t need to stay in the resort hotel - there are far cheaper ones nearby”, as suggested by Mumsnetter, noblegiraffe.

Top tips for LEGOLAND Windsor Resort 

  • Consider Fast Passes - “The best thing we did was pay extra for the fast pass system. It was so nice being able to skip the queues!” (tip from Mumsnetter, JuneFromBethesda
  • Plan your visit - “Study the map beforehand and plan which rides you want to go on so you don't waste time in the park deciding. The LEGOLAND app is fab for finding out waiting times” (advice from Mumsnet user, AndAllOurYesterdays)
  • Take your own food - “The cafe queues are ginormous. Bring a picnic. Eat it in the bigger queues” (suggestion from Mumsnetter, BikeRunSki) 
  • Take spending money - “Be prepared for the gift shop!!” (advice from Mumsnetter, Emmathedilemma)
  • Pay for your parking in advance - "So you can just scan your ticket on the way out, rather than having to queue to pay” (advice from Mumsnet user, Fivemoreminutes1)
  • Stay later -  “5-7 pm were the golden hours. People start to leave and it gets much quieter. There were several rides where the queue was under 10 minutes” (tip from Mumsnetter, AmazinglyGraceless

Nearest train station: Windsor & Eton Central (2.5 miles)

5. Paultons Park/Peppa Pig World, Southampton

Paulton’s Park/Peppa Pig World, Southampton

Perfect for Peppa fans | Check availability

Paultons (Peppa Pig World) is excellent and has two rather good outdoor splash zones!” - recommended by Mumsnetter, Goodweatherforsnails

Paultons is great. It's smaller than some of the others and never seems as busy. There's a good range of rides but also a splash park, a little zoo and of course Peppa Pig!” - rated by Mumsnet user, MadeinBelfast

Paultons Park is the UK’s best-rated theme park on Google, with over 70 rides and attractions including rollercoasters, water rides and rides suitable for the whole family.

As well as the fab attractions found at the main Paulton’s Park, tickets also include entry to the world’s largest Peppa Pig World, offering nine rides tailored to toddlers and preschoolers. Little ones will love the opportunity to meet and greet their favourite characters from the series, including Peppa and George. Children under one metre are admitted free of charge. 

What to see at Paultons Park

For preschoolers, Peppa Pig World has nine rides including Peppa’s Big Balloon Ride, Grandpa Pig’s Little Train and Grampy Rabbit’s Sailing Club where you can cruise along the water to Pirate Island. Little ones will love ‘jumping in muddy puddles’ at the water splash Park and burning off some energy at Mr Potato’s Adventure Playground.

For the thrill-seekers, Paulton’s main park doesn’t disappoint, with exhilarating rides such as Storm Chaser, and the mighty Cyclonator, which spins and swings at a height of 25 metres! Fans of high-energy water rides will also love riding the Raging River Log Flume and the rapids of Buffalo Falls. 

Pros

  • Peppa Pig World is ideal for preschoolers and toddlers.
  • Main park attractions in addition offer rides and attractions suitable for the whole family

Cons

  • Not all toddlers are Peppa Pig fans and the rides for younger children in the main park are a bit more limited. 
  • Location can be harder to get to due to motorway congestion - consider the travel time with little ones unless you’re very local! 

Where to stay 

While there isn't on-site accommodation at Paultons Park, the theme park partners with a range of local hotels including the Holiday Inn Eastleigh, Holiday Inn Express M27 and Jurys Inn Southampton. When you book a Paultons Park Short Break, you can also benefit from two days of park entry for the price of one.

There is a Premier Inn about 1/4 of a mile away, or plenty of b and bs and campsites in the New Forest nearby” (advice from Mumsnetter, ChocOrange1)

Top tips for Paultons Park 

  • Choose your visit times carefully  - “Get there 20/30 mins before opening time, they often open the park gates so you can get in early and then you queue behind a rope or gate and be first in the queue - that way you can get a few rides down before the majority turn up. Look for midweek out-of-school holidays if you can, as it's much quieter” (advice from Mumsnetter, Purpleboy)
  • Don’t forget the swimwear - “There's a decent size splash park when you go to Paultons side of the park & a small one in PPW, so bring some cossies & towels” (tip from Mumsnetter, Moveoverhogger
  • Don’t overlook the main park - “There are plenty of rides outside PPW that are great and have smaller queues” (advice from Mumsnet user, speadyourwingsandflyaway)
  • Peppa Pig World is quieter in the afternoon - “If you can resist, wait until the afternoon to go on the main rides such as Miss Rabbit’s Helicopter Flight, Peppa Pig’s Balloon Ride and Windy Castle - there will be less queuing as it gets noticeably quieter around 3 pm” (recommendation from Mumsnetter, RiceKrispie22)

Nearest train station: Southampton Central (8 miles), Southampton Airport Parkway (10 miles) 

6. Gulliver's Resort, Warrington

Gullivers Resort, Warrington

Great for kids of all ages | Check availability

"We've taken DS there quite a few times and he's always enjoyed it. There's a wide range of rides from quite tame to exciting rollercoasters and playgrounds with fun equipment in too. It's always popular with kids, even though it's quite low-tech” - rated by Mumsnet user, TheNoodlesIncident

Ooh I bloody love Gulliver's” - recommended by Mumsnetter, Bellend101

Gulliver’s Resort in Warrington is a family-friendly theme park designed for children aged 2 - 13. With six themed areas including Safari Kingdom and The Lost World, Gulliver's has over 25 rides and a whole host of attractions and outdoor play areas that will keep children of all ages occupied for hours. 

What to see at Gulliver's Resort Warrington

Guests will love checking out The Antelope, Gulliver's' iconic wooden rollercoaster, the gravity-defying Desperado Drop and getting drenched on the ultimate water ride, Apache Falls. 

Pros

  • Lots of outdoor play areas for younger children
  • Six themed areas with a large number of family rides. 

Cons

  • Food is overpriced 
  • Mumsnetters experienced a lot of ride closures 
  • Less ‘thrilling’ rides/rollercoasters than some parks 

Where to stay 

Those wishing to extend their visit to Gulliver’s can check in to the Gulliver’s Hotel and Lodgings, which features a choice of unicorn, dinosaur and pirate-themed rooms at the hotel, or Western Lodges which can comfortably sleep up to six people 

Warrington Gulliver's has a hotel with really good family rooms which topped off our day really nicely” (recommended by Musmnetter, CharlotteFlax)

Top tips for Gulliver's Resort Warrington

  • Take your own food - “Definitely take a picnic!” (advice from Mumsnetter, IHateCoronavirus)
  • Take a change of clothes - “You will get soaked on the water ride Apache Falls.” (tip from Mumsnet user, PJDay41)
  • See past the somewhat dated aesthetic - “I think part of Gulliver's magic is there really isn't ever much of a queue so you do get to do a lot. I find the datedness and slightly unPC attractions rather nostalgic myself!” (advice from Mumsnet user, selfidentifyinggiraffe

Nearest train station: Warrington Central (3 miles) or Warrington Bank Quay (3 miles)

7. Chessington World of Adventures, Chessington

Chessington World of Adventures, Chessington

Great for non-ride attractions | Check availability

At Chessington, there’s the zoo and SEA LIFE Centre too, so it’s not just queuing for rides all day. We love the Gruffalo River ride” - recommended by Mumsnetter, RiceKrispie22)

There are loads of cute little rides for little ones with very short queues. The zoo is good too. Take a picnic!” - rated by Mumsnet user, KindergartenKop

With 11 themed lands, exciting rides & rollercoasters, Chessington World of Adventures not only features over 40 rides and attractions for the whole family to enjoy, but loads of non-ride entertainment too, including over 1000 animals in their on-site Zoo, SEA LIFE aquarium and high energy Go Ape assault course.

What to see at Chessington World of Adventures

Younger children and families who are fans of Julia Donaldson’s classic children's books will love the Gruffalo River Ride Adventure and Room on the Broom - a Magical Journey. 

If you can handle the dips and dives and dizzy-inducing heights, thrill-seekers will love the Dragon’s Fury rollercoaster which offers a different experience every time you ride depending on where you sit. Alternatively, try and spot the tigers as you zoom around the 90-metre track of the Kobra which reaches speeds of 43 miles per hour. 

Pros

  • Character rides are ideal for younger guests
  • Lots of non-ride entertainment to explore without queuing 
  • Fun glamping accommodation on site

Cons

  • Not as many high-thrill rollercoasters as some of the bigger parks 

Where to stay 

If you wish to extend your stay, why not stay the night at one of the themed rooms in the Azteca and Safari resort hotel, with a delicious breakfast included. Alternatively, glamp in style at the onsite WILD Explorer Glamping site. All tents include a double bed and two singles, wooden floors and WiFi connections to provide the comfort of a hotel room under the stars. 

If you prefer to stay off site, Chessington has a range of partner hotels including the Marriott Lingfield and the Holiday Inn Guildford

Top tips for Chessington World of Adventures

  • Take your own food - “Lunches and snacks for two kids was ridiculously expensive” (advice from Mumsnetter, FizzyPink)
  • Download the app for queue times and ride updates - “The app said queues for bigger rides were 60 to 75 minutes but I think it was actually shorter than predicted for most.” (tip from Mumsnet user, KitKatrastrophe) 
  • Check the height restrictions before you go - “Look at the website and the height restrictions for certain rides. There are a few with a 120cm restriction” (suggestion from Musmnetter, KindergartonKop)
  • Consider visiting times -  “The on-site hotel often does really good deals outside holiday times” (advice from Mumsnetter, wanttokickoffbutcant)

Nearest train station: Chessington South Station (1 mile)

8. Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Blackpool

Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Blackpool

Iconic coastal fun | Check availability

I love Blackpool Pleasure Beach - loads of rides and well worth the money! Lots of brilliant rollercoasters too as well as smaller rides!” - recommended by Mumsnetter, Iwasjustasking

It was great fun, the queues are mainly undercover so you don't get sunburned or rained on. And ICON was amazing!” - rated by Mumsnet user, CoffeeThrowTrampBitch

Blackpool Pleasure Beach is an iconic seaside amusement park that offers a wide range of rides and entertainment for kids (and big kids) alike! 

Home to the UK’s only Nickelodeon Land, the Blackpool skyline has become famous for the backdrop of The Big One - the rollercoaster that has had thrill-seekers and coaster fans flocking to Blackpool to tick it off their bucket list since its launch in 1994.

What to see at Blackpool Pleasure Beach

If you’re visiting Blackpool Pleasure Beach, you simply can’t leave without braving the iconic ‘Big One’ - the UK’s tallest rollercoaster standing 235 feet tall and reaching speeds of up to 85 miles per hour. A more recent addition is ICON, the UK's first double-launch rollercoaster that launches riders to an impressive 88.5 feet! 

Younger guests will love exploring the 12 child-friendly rides in Nickelodeon Land, including Sponge Bob’s Splash Bash, Dora’s World Voyage and Blue Flyer - an ideal first rollercoaster for younger guests. 

Pros

  • Meet and greet opportunities at Nickelodeon Land
  • Iconic ‘must experience’ rides for thrill-seekers 

Cons

  • Can be very busy during the school holidays 
  • Queue times for the popular rides can be substantial 
  • Some of the rides look a bit dated

Where to stay 

Blackpool Pleasure Beach has two partner hotels - The Big Blue Hotel and BLVD Hotel, both of which offer stay-and-play packages when booked in advance. 

Top tips for Blackpool Pleasure Beach 

  • Trade-in your Clubcard points -We used Tesco Clubcard points tripled up to save a fair bit off the tickets” (money-saving tip from Musmnetter, humpyhump
  • Wait till late in the day - “It went really quiet after 6.30 and we only waited 20 mins each for the new one Icon, The Big One & Revolution” (advice from Mumsnet user, SassenachWitch)
  • Go out of season - ​​”We went end of April weather was lovely, queues were tiny had a great time” (suggestion from Mumsnetter, headache

Nearest train station: Blackpool Pleasure Beach (0.5 miles), Blackpool North Station (2.5 miles)

9. Flamingo Land Resort, Yorkshire

Flamingo Land Resort, Yorkshire

Award-winning theme park and zoo | Check availability

We went to Flamingo Land in October with a 3 year old and a 6 year old. We had a great time. Staff were friendly, the vast majority of rides were open and tall ds (the eldest) was big enough for most rides” - recommended by Mumsnetter, Dinosauratemydaffodils

Flamingo Land is hands down the best for 6 and 4 year olds. It has a mini-zoo as well as rides. We loved the giraffes and flamingos” - rated by Mumsnet user, PeekabooAtTheZoo

Flamingo World is Yorkshire’s award-winning theme park and zoo attraction with the second largest number of rollercoasters of any UK theme park (Blackpool Pleasure Beach has the most) and an impressive 52 rides and attractions to discover. 

What to see at Flamingo Land

Younger guests will love exploring the sensory delights of the Peter Rabbit Adventure area, as well as experiencing rides tailored to a younger audience such as the Dino Roller and HeliToys. 

For adrenaline junkies, Flamingo Land really comes into its own with an impressive repertoire of rollercoasters, including the 360° turns of the Navigator, the Kumali suspended coaster, Mumbo Jumbo’s 112° vertical drop and Cliff Hanger - one of Europe’s tallest vertical drop rides standing at 185ft tall. 

If you haven’t visited for a while, you’ll also want to check out the Sik rollercoaster, new for 2022, featuring five different types of inversion, this is sure to get your pulse racing with an enormous 25-metre loop, Cobra Roll, Corkscrew and heart-line rolls! Phew! 

Pros

  • Loads of white knuckle rollercoasters 
  • Selection of rides tailored to a younger audience

Cons

  • Not many ‘middle of the road’ rides for juniors 
  • Queues can be substantial during peak season 

Where to stay 

There are a range of caravan and lodge-style self-catering accommodation choices at Flamingo Land, or you can take a tent and pitch at the campsite for a more budget-friendly option. 

Top tips for Flamingo Land 

  • Don’t forget the zoo - “The zoo was fab and was our main reason to go” - (recommended by Mumsnet user, OrangeBananaFish

Nearest train station: Malton (8 miles)

10. Landmark Forest Adventure Park, Scottish Highlands

Landmark Forest Adventure Park, Scotland

Scotland's best theme park | Check availability

Landmark is great! Take warm clothes and a change though” - recommended by Mumsnetter, Phineyj

If you have transport and can get up to Carrbridge there is Landmark Forest Adventure Park it's amazing we were there last week kids loved it you can spend the whole day there” - recommended by Mumsnet user, berryhead2013

If you’re based in Scotland or fancy a unique theme park experience, head to Landmark Forest Adventure Park in Carrbridge, Invernessshire which has over 20 attractions to explore. 

Whether you fancy walking among life-sized dinosaurs, getting soaked on one of three water coasters or getting lost in the Lost Labyrinth maze, there really is something for everyone. 

What to see at Landmark Forest Adventure Park

From the butterfly sanctuary where you can get up close to tropical flora and fauna, to getting drenched on one of the three Wild Water Coasters - The Falcon, Wildcat and Otter - you can pick the level of fear factor based on the age (and bravery!) of your guests. For the ultimate test, can your nerves handle the Skydive and take a 35ft leap of faith?! 

For wholesome family fun, you also can’t beat the mind boggling photo opportunities at Wonderwood - where everything isn’t quite as it seems! 

Pros

  • All-round family fun in a fantastic forest setting 
  • Range of unique experiences and attractions for the whole family

Cons

  • No traditional ‘thrill’ style rollercoasters 

Where to stay 

While Landmark doesn't have its own on-site accommodation, they do recommend a number of partner hotels including the Travelodge Fairways Inverness, or for longer stays, the Faskally Caravan Park - a great central location for exploring everything Scotland has to offer. 

Top tips for Landmark Forest Adventure Park 

Nearest train station: Carrbridge, on the same line as Inverness and Aviemore (1 mile)

Tips for visiting theme parks with kids 

As well as the park-specific hints and tips, Mumsnetters also recommended you consider the following when making your choice of theme park: 

  • Consider Non-ride entertainment 

My children can't stand the queues, so I would say visit somewhere with plenty of non-ride entertainment. Legoland has the mini-land and two play areas. Chessington has the zoo” (as suggested by aptly named Mumsnetter, Rollercoaster1920

  • Consider Fast Track Passes for the larger theme parks 

It is worth using fast passes strategically if you want to cross off a few big rides, it breaks up the queueing. They often sell out beforehand though, so its worth booking them in advance or doing it the second you get through the gates if not” (tip from Mumsnet user, RelentlessForwardProgress)

Fast passes were a godsend - it meant they were able to get on everything they wanted by bypassing queues for some and spending time queueing for others.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user, PumpkinTopf)

  • Download the apps 

The app was helpful in getting about and planning your day (though the wait times were often an underestimate)” (advice from Mumsnetter, Cowbag1)

Which UK theme park is best for kids?

For families with young children, we can’t fault Paultons Park, which offers both the dedicated Peppa Pig World for younger guests and some impressive rides and attractions for the whole family in the main area of park.

If you choose your visit times wisely, this smaller site can be explored throughout the day without spending too long standing around in the queues. 

Which UK theme park has the most rides?

If you want to be spoilt for choice when it comes to rides and attractions, Alton Towers is the biggest theme park on our list, offering the largest variety of rides on one site. That said, the plot is spread over a large area and queues can be quite substantial during peak season, so one day will barely make a dent in the list. 

If you really want to experience everything Alton Towers has to offer, you’re going to need to make it a weekend break

What’s the best theme park in the UK?

The best theme park in the UK will ultimately depend on your personal circumstances, including your location, the age of your children, and the type of rides you want to experience. 

While Alton Towers certainly offers the most choice for those in a central location, the best-rated theme park both in the Mumsnet community and through online reviews is Paultons Park. That said, the long commute to Southampton for those living North of the Midlands and the constant dulcet tones of Peppa Pig may be enough to put some people off! 

How we chose our recommendations

The Mumsnet community love nothing more than a fun-filled day out with their kids.  When it comes to declaring the UK’s best theme parks, Mumsnetters certainly know a thing or two about the best rides and attractions, how to make the most of your experience and of course, the places you might want to avoid.

First up, we scoured the Mumsnet forums to get real-life reviews of popular theme parks across the UK, taking into account feedback on the best rides and how suited each venue is to a particular age group.

We also want to ensure the venues we’re recommending have good feedback across the board so we took into account consumer reviews on TripAdvisor and Google, as well as considering award-winning venues that offer something a little different from the rest.

With these things in mind, here are our recommendations for the 10 best theme parks to visit in the UK.

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.

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