So, there’s a tonne of theme parks in the UK, there’s even theme parks within theme parks if you look at Nickelodeon Land at Blackpool Pleasure Beach and I suspect they’re all great but, I haven’t been to anywhere near all of them. In fact, I’ve been to three theme parks in the UK and one of those I’ve been to three times!
So, a little bit of history for you. I enjoy history so I looked into when theme parks started and apparently they’re an evolution from three earlier traditions, the oldest one being the periodic fair of the Middle Ages and the earliest one of those being the Bartholomew Fair which began right here in England in 1133.
The modern amusement park however is an evolution of earlier seaside pleasure resorts that had become hugely popular with the public for day-trips or weekend holidays in places like Blackpool. Due to this influx of people, Blackpool began to grow in popularity and this led to the development of one of, if not the first amusement parks in the UK.
Blackpool Pleasure Beach is a theme park that I’ve been to only once about 12 months or so after Nickelodeon Land opened in about May 2012. I enjoyed it there, without a doubt. It’s a theme park, who doesn’t love theme parks? However, I felt that the rides, aside from The Big One and Valhalla, left a lot to be desired but, I think I’m biased toward the theme park I have frequented regularly over the past few years: Alton Towers.
I love this place. I absolutely bloody love it! Alton Towers is without a doubt my favourite theme park, I must disclose now, I’ve only ever been to three in my life and they were all in this country so there’s likely some damn good ones out there somewhere but I just have no idea what they’re like. Alton Towers though, in my opinion, it has a bit of everything for everyone.
I was last at Alton Towers last summer, toward the end of May and I loved it. Thankfully I got in there before all the press swarmed the park after the tragic Smiler accident. The rides at the park cater to everyone from thrill seekers to families, especially families with CBeebies Land having opened in 2014.
My absolute favourite ride at Alton Towers, without a doubt was Air but that shut down temporarily and has been re-themed and is now known as Galactica. It’s essentially the same ride still but you now ride around with a Samsung VR headset on and it feels like you’re flying through space. It’s meant to be absolutely amazing but I haven’t been since it opened.
My last visit was my third time to Alton Towers and it just cemented it as my absolute favourite theme park to go to in this country, without a shadow o f a doubt. But that’s not to say that the third and final theme park I’ve visited wasn’t any good…
This was equally as awesome as Alton Towers when I went in June this year but, for me it was just too much of a drive away. That is literally the only reason I vote it down as I’m based up in the North of England and for that matter, Alton Towers is much easier to get to and have a good day out. Thorpe Park was an overnight stay which was a bit much.
The rides at Thorpe Park were equally as good as Alton Towers though. One that I particularly enjoyed was Stealth. The ride sends you from 0 – 80 mph in under 2 seconds and at the same time as this you get fired 205ft up into the air. However, my absolute favourite ride at Thorpe Park was the new Derren Brown Ghost Train. This ride is a one-of-a-kind experience and is nothing like any other ghost train that you’ll have ever been on.
Situated in an abandoned warehouse in the centre of Thorpe Park, the ghost train is an immersive psychological attraction that has been specifically designed by Derren Brown in order to manipulate the human mind. It certainly messed with mine! I won’t say too much else though as I don’t want to ruin the surprise for anyone reading this and thinking about going themselves however, if you’re intrigued, check out this page on the Thorpe Park website.