There are quite a few to choose from in the UK, and the best option for you and yours really depends on the age of your children, your budget, what you all enjoy, and of course, the theme park’s location.
You’re probably already familiar with the big names – Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, Chessington, Flamingo Land, etc – but, err, where exactly in the country can you find them?
Here’s a handy rundown of the UK’s major theme parks, their locations, and what you can do at each.
Where are the UK’s major theme parks?
The UK’s biggest theme park, Alton Towers has more than 40 rides and attractions, including areas for young children as well as thrilling rollercoasters including Nemesis, Oblivion and The Smiler.
Where is Alton Towers? It’s located near the village of Alton in the city of Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.
Can’t quite imagine it on the map? Well, the park isn’t too far away from Crewe, Derby and Nottingham. Nor is it an off-putting drive from many major cities in England.
From Birmingham, it’s one hour, 30 minutes by car. It is one hour, 45 minutes from Manchester, two hours from Liverpool, and more than three hours, 30 minutes up from London or down from Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
Learn more: Alton Towers
Thorpe Park is another large amusement park, known for rollercoasters Stealth and The Swarm. Among other attractions are a ‘world first’ ten-loop rollercoaster Colossus, a ride themed on the horror movie franchise SAW (for grown-ups) and kid-friendly rides.
Where is Thorpe Park? It can be found on Staines Road, near the village of Chertsey in Surrey.
It’s not a million miles away from the Berkshire town of Windsor, Slough or London Heathrow Airport, as well as Hampton Court Palace.
From London, you’ll need one hour, 30 minutes to drive, or from Birmingham two hours, 20 minutes. You’re looking at four hours in the car from Manchester and Liverpool, or over five from Newcastle.
Learn more: Thorpe Park
LEGOLAND is a kid-friendly park for LEGO fanatics, home to plenty of themed rides, impressive displays, the LEGO City Driving School (where kid can earn ‘licences’) and a place to build LEGO called The Brick.
Where is LEGOLAND? LEGOLAND is located on Winklefield Road in the town of Windsor, Berkshire.
It’ll take you one hour, 20 minutes from London by car, or the same amount of time to take a Paddington train to Slough, before hopping on a bus to the park entrance.
From Birmingham, a road trip takes roughly two hours, 20 minutes, and from Manchester or Liverpool around three hours, 45 minutes. Expect an epic five hour drive from Newcastle.
Learn more: LEGOLAND Windsor
Part theme park, part zoo, Flamingo Land combines rollercoasters for grown-ups, fun rides for children and adventure play areas, along with the chance to learn about animals and see (among others) rhinos, lions, tigers, lemurs and penguins.
Where is Flamingo Land? Flamingo Land is in the village of Kirby Misperton, near Malton in North Yorkshire.
To give you an idea of where it sits on the map, Flamingo Land is just outside of North York Moors National Park, with Middlesbrough to the north and York, Leeds and Hull to the south.
By car, it’s just under two hours from Newcastle, while a trip from Manchester takes a further 25 minutes. It’s around three hours from both Liverpool and Birmingham, and if travelling from London you’ll need (at least) four hours, 50 minutes.
Learn more: Flamingo Land
Chessington World of Adventures
Chessington is a theme park with 40 plus attractions, that also offers a zoo, safari-style drives and a sea life centre. As for the rides, expect swing boats, rollercoasters, water rides and the 25-metre Croc Drop ride.
Where is Chessington World of Adventures? It’s there in the name! World of Adventures is located in Chessington, which forms part of Greater London’s Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames.
It’s only half an hour away (by car) from Thorpe Park, and on the map, it’s not too far from Epsom and Wimbledon.
From Central London, the theme park is an hour’s drive. It’s two hours, 30 minutes from Birmingham, or four hours, 20 minutes from Manchester or Liverpool – and finally around six hours in the car if you’re visiting from Newcastle.
Learn more: Chessington World of Adventures
Europe’s longest rollercoaster The Ultimate may be gone, but Lightwater Valley theme park is open and seemingly more focused on fun attractions and rides suitable for younger children.
Where is Lightwater Valley? The theme park can be found in North Stainley, a village just a few miles away from Ripon, North Yorkshire.
Lightwater Valley is near Harrogate, as well as Yorkshire Dales National Park. Despite both being in Yorkshire, it would take one hour, 10 minutes by car to reach Flamingo Land.
From Newcastle, it’s one hour, 25 minutes in the car, or two hours from Manchester – add an extra 30 minutes if driving from Liverpool or 40 minutes from Birmingham. Driving from London, however, will take you at least four hours, 35 minutes in total.
Learn more: Lightwater Valley
There are more than 100 attractions at Drayton Manor, which splits its park into Adventure Cove and Viking themed areas – but perhaps most famously it is home to Thomas the Tank Engine Land.
Where is Drayton Manor? Drayton Manor is in Mile Oak, by the market town of Tamworth in Staffordshire.
Though both are in the same county, Alton Towers is located further north than Drayton Manor, around one hour, 10 minutes away if you’re driving.
It’s very close to Birmingham, just 30 minutes by car. From Manchester or Liverpool, it’s around two hours, 15 minutes, or two hours, 50 minutes from London. Expect a three hours, 40 minutes road trip if you’re driving from Newcastle.
Learn more: Drayton Manor
Peppa Pig World
Little ones will adore Peppa Pig World in Paultons Park, which has nine attractions plus a muddy puddles splash (water) park – and, of course, plenty of opportunities to meet Peppa herself.
Where is Peppa Pig World? Little ones can find the park devoted to Peppa Pig in New Forest National Park, Hampshire, near the village of Ower.
No idea where that it is? It’s super close to Southampton, or a 35-minute drive from either Portsmouth and Bournemouth.
It’s just over two hours from London by car, or two hours, 40 minutes from Birmingham. Driving time is roughly four hours, 40 minutes from Liverpool or Manchester, while you’ll be in the car for over six hours if you attempt the trip from Newcastle.
Learn more: Peppa Pig World
Brean Theme Park
There are 40 plus attractions at Brean Theme Park, including a Magic Mouse rollercoaster, a canoe river, plus the Terror Castle haunted house. If you like spinning and twisting rides, you’re in luck – there are loads, including the Oblivion and Wipeout.
Where is Brean Theme Park? Brean Theme Park is located in the coastal village of Brean in Somerset.
For some perspective, on the map Brean is just south of Weston-super-Mare and is approximately an hour away from Bristol by car, meaning it’s also not too far from Bath.
You’re looking at lengthy driving times from many major cities – including three hours, 30 minute from London, around four hours, 45 minutes from Liverpool and Manchester, or six hour, 20 minutes from Newcastle (at least). Luckily, it’s just two hours, 30 minutes from Birmingham.
Learn more: Brean Theme Park
M&D’s Scotland’s Theme Park
This Scottish theme park has rides for all ages, including the pirate-themed Captain’s Curse and Runaway Mine Train rollercoasters. Expect to find plenty of kids’ rides, adventure golf, bowling, bungee trampolines and other fun activities here, too.
Where is M&D’s Scotland’s Theme Park? M&D’s is located in Strathclyde Country Park, which is just by Motherwell in North Lanarkshire, Scotland.
The theme park is just 20 minutes outside of Glasgow by car, a lengthier trip from Edinburgh at one hour, 15 minutes – or two hours, 35 minutes when travelling up from Newcastle.
A northern journey from Manchester or Liverpool will take you three hours, 35 minutes, or four hours, 45 minutes from Birmingham. But from London? It’d take you a whopping seven hours, 30 minutes.
Learn more: M&D’s Scotland’s Theme Park
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