UK Theme Parks

The U.K's top three theme parks are a G-force to be reckoned with, not least because two of them boast the scariest 'coasters' in Europe. Remember the chiller thriller movie 'Saw'? They based a ride on that. A ride which allegedly has a similarly chilling stigma attached to it - the resident ghost. Yet it still enjoys in excess of 1.2 million visitors a year at Chertsey's adventure-playground, Thorpe Park.

Of course, England and Scotland do have a few tamer theme parks, ideal for the vertically challenged and kids. There's Flamingo Land in North Yorkshire which incorporates a holiday village, wildlife park and playground, set among 375 acres of lush green parkland, and Legoland near Windsor Castle for those with the kids, or a big kid mentality.

 - flckr - steve p2008Drayton Manor, Staffordshire, England
Kicking off the best of what Middle England has to offer is Drayton Manor - near Tamworth, Staffordshire; one of the U.K's only fully owned family theme parks that combines white-knuckle thrills, with wildlife appreciation - a reserve and zoo.

Drayton Manor's 'Thrill Rides' are fast becoming rivals to the likes of Oblivion and Air at nearby Alton Towers. At 54 metres (thats 177 feet), the ominously named Apocalypse doesn't sound like a death-drop, but with a speed of 22 metres per second, you'll wonder where you left your stomach.


Spinball Whizzer (Alton Towers) - flckr - gnislewAlton Towers, Staffordshire, England
Alton Towers, also based in Staffordshire is probably the highest contender for scariest rides in the U.K, predominantly because, most of the rides here have been around a fair bit longer. Opened in 1998, Oblivion took the world by storm as one of the first subterranean drop roller-coasters, and with a 65 foot drop, is still the first port of call for many first-timers. Legendary 'Air' still dominates the 'Forbidden Valley' - the up-side down flying sensation, combined with no foot-rests and two inversions, makes it almost death-defying. The world's first psychocoaster 'Thirteen' might just finish you off with it's computer-synthesized free-fall experience.


M&DM & D's Scotland Theme Park, Motherwell, Strathclyde
Beset within 20 acres of lush green park land, M & D's Scotland Theme Park is somewhat tamer than the big guns, but no less of a frenzied adventure for adults and children alike. Thrill rides such as Tsunami promise breakneck speeds of 65 kp; inverted tracks, and a plethora of corkscrews and drops to get your heart pounding. The two-person ride affectionately dubbed 'Bungee' is a sky-catapulting sphere that hits 50 metre highs in 1.2 seconds, and M & D's encourage visitors to bring a change of underwear. Of course, if you can't handle the adrenaline rush, the Cosmic Bowl bowling alley, or Devil's Island 18-Hole Golf Strip present a relaxed, yet fun alternative.


Oakwood ParkOakwood Park, Pembrokeshire, Wales
What started out as a relatively small 'fun park' complete with BMX track, boating lake and 3-D cinema, has now become a super-park attracting over 400,000 visitors each year. Serving up a kooky collective of white-knuckle adventure rides such as the authentically rickety 'Megafobia' wooden roller-coaster; big drop 'Hydro' with it's 45-foot in-your-face wave, and vertical monster 'Speed' which catapults you towards the earth at over 95 kph.  For the less courageous, 'Snake River' with it's two main dinghys presents a maze-like water slide, with a soaking surprise around the bend, while the 'Bobsleigh' beckons you for a 'Cool Runnings' experience you won't forget.



AT 15:21


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