Here at KidRated, we love a bit of thrill-seeking and theme parks are the perfect place to get that instant adrenalin rush. If you are scared of roller-coasters – fear not – there are gentle rides too.
Are you ready to brave the ten loops of Colossus or the rotating blades of Saw? Or would you prefer the family get soaked on Tidal Wave’s gigantic drop? Maybe you like taking it easy on the Teacups or the Flying Fish?
Surrounded by water, Thorpe Park is an adventure island chock full of thrills for the whole family. In the summer head to the beach and water park for a full day of aqua fun. Watch our Mum Report for more information.
Whatever level adrenaline rush you seek, Thorpe Park can provide it. You can travel by rail from Waterloo Station to Staines where an express bus will take you straight to the park. (Note that this bus does not accept Oyster cards – tickets must be purchased in advance or by cash from the driver).
Alton Towers remains one of Britain’s most loved theme parks, with plenty of rides for all ages, terrific live shows and weird and wonderful costume characters. It’s divided into 10 different themed areas. These include the themes of a post-apocalyptic world, a haunted wood, a children’s magical garden and an African village.
There are loads of things to see, including the new CBeebies Land. One of their newest attractions is the sensory experience Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, which opened in 2012. You’ll experience such effects as smells, wind, snow and moving seats! Alton Towers is also a great place for a weekend break.
Chessington World of Adventures lies just off the A3 15 miles out of London, in Surrey, and has over 40 rides within ten themed lands.
There’s an abundance to chose from at Chessington. You can go on a magical journey with the characters from Room on the Broom and face the Dragon to help the Witch and her Cat. Then, venture into the deep, dark woods to meet the Gruffalo, as you float down the lazy river on The Gruffalo River Ride Adventure.
There’s a great zoo (with over 1000 exotic animals), sea life centre and daily shows. Don’t miss the penguins perform! There are loads of restaurants too, and even a themed hotel so spread the fun over 2 days.
The Legoland® Windsor Resort is possibly the most colourful of theme parks and will appeal to Lego lovers of all ages. The resort has over 55 rides and attractions which will no doubt build (ahem!) excitement even before you arrive.
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.
They have 4-D screenings, as well as puppet shows, stunt shows involving pirates splashing into water and Lego building competitions. This is a fun day out but make sure you read Making the Most of Your Money at Legoland Windsor to make sure you’re guaranteed a great time.
Diggerland is a great place for the family to try out real, full-size construction machinery. There are numerous locations dotted around the country, and it’s a fully unique experience.
You can have a go on a 6 tonne Digger, drive a JCB and much more. There’s even a mini digger on the hunt for buried treasure or tenpin bowling with a twist: taking control of a full-size Komatsu PC14 and attempting to knock over skittles with a mini wrecking ball! It’s the best way to bowl. There are indoor and outdoor play areas for younger kids to let off steam while parents can relax. You dig?
Drayton Manor is just outside Birmingham and has some of the scariest rides in the country as well as a hotel and Thomas Land which is devoted to everyone’s favourite tank engine and great for younger kids.
Explore a 15-acre conservation zoo too. It’s home to over 100 curious creatures and animal enthusiasts aged between 8 and 12 can take part in Zoo Club by feeding monkeys, mucking out tapir enclosures or making a mealworm sandcastle for the meerkats. Then if you still haven’t had your fill, play a round of crazy golf or visit the Dino Trail and see how many prehistoric pals you can name.