The Need for Speed: Britain's Top 5 Theme Parks

April 29, 2016

Does your favourite theme park and attraction make our top five? Read on as we visit five of Britain's best and rate our pick of the rides. We're all big kids at heart...

If you aren’t a regular at Britain’s best theme parks, there's a few things you need to remember if you’re planning on queuing for the park’s signature coaster - pull on your brave pants, lay off the Tequila shots the night before and never stuff your face with a burger minutes prior to jumping on.

With summer fast approaching, Brits and visiting tourists swap indoor activities for outdoor fun in the sun (if it decides to make an appearance). We've put together our top five parks and picked our favourite attraction in each. Be warned, some of the rides pack a strong punch of adrenaline, so if you're slipping into your brave pants, best not to wear the white ones.  

Chessington World of Adventures

A giraffe's head and neck.

This animal-themed family park is located in the south-west region of Greater London and boasts over 40 rides and attractions as well as a zoo with more than 1000 animals, a SEA LIFE centre and a number of fascinating shows and events. The rides here aren’t the most pulsating but there are a couple that will have visitors weak at the knees including Vampire and Rameses Revenge (a must on a hot day), which spins thrill seekers upside down before soaking them with water jets. However, perhaps the best thing about Chessington is the Zufari which takes you off-road for a safari-like experience with the resort’s animals – it’s just like being in Africa (kind of).    

Favourite Ride: Zufari
Thrill Rating: 1/5
Fun Factor: 5/5

Oakwood

People dangling from a rollercoaster mid-way through the ride.

Located in Pembrokeshire, Oakwood is the only theme park in Wales and there’s more than enough here for the Welsh to get excited about. While there are many attractions targeted at children, (think merry-go-rounds and snail pace coasters) there's also plenty for big kids. Heart-racing rides include the likes of Speed, which reaches up to 95kph, the flight experience swing Vertigo and water-plunging Drenched. Another of the park’s hugely popular attractions is Megafobia – a wooden rollercoaster which has been previously crowned the best ride in the UK.  

Favourite Ride: Megafobia
Thrill Rating: 3/5
Fun Factor: 4/5

Alton Towers

Scary rollercoaster twisting and spinning people upside down at its highest point.

One of the most popular theme parks in Britain, Alton Towers is located in Staffordshire and if you're visiting on a warm summers day, you'll love the waterpark that resides within this huge complex. However, it’s the thrilling rides which steal the show with the likes of Nemesis, TH13TEEN and the world’s first vertical drop rollercoaster, Oblivion, all producing screams and heart-in-mouth moments from heaps of eager coastees. Even better is the all new Galactica, offering a virtual reality space experience that feels like you are flying. And with a host of ‘lands’ to uncover too, it's easy to spend a whole weekend exploring the magic of Alton Towers.

Favourite Ride: Galactica
Thrill Rating: 2/5
Fun Factor: 5/5

Blackpool Pleasure Beach

View of The Big One rollercoaster at Blackpool's Pleasure Beach theme park from the beach.

Given that Blackpool Pleasure Beach is home to the UK’s tallest and second fastest rollercoaster, it's no surprise it makes the list. There are plenty of rides and attractions here (around 125 to be precise) but if you really don’t like heights, you won’t be keen to jump on The Big One, which stands at 235ft tall. On the bright side, at least you're treated to lovely sea views before the terrifying drop. There’s more than just The Big One for thrill seekers to drool over however - other rides at this coastal theme park include Avalanche, Big Dipper and the world’s first looping coaster suspended over water, Infusion. It turns out there’s a little more to Blackpool than the seaside or fish and chips.

Favourite Ride: The Big One
Thrill Rating: 4/5
Fun Factor: 4/5

Thorpe Park

The Stealth rollercoaster at Thorpe Park with people in the coaster about to take the drop.

Situated in Chertsey only 20 miles from central London, Thorpe Park is packed with all kinds of blood pumping rides. From the UK’s first winged rollercoaster, The Swarm, to the sheer speed of Stealth - the fastest rollercoaster in Britain hitting 0-80mph in under two seconds - there’s more than enough to keep adrenaline junkies entertained. Other popular attractions include stomach-turning SAW, dangling Nemesis Inferno and super-soaking Tidal Wave. Look out for Derren Brown’s Ghost Train too – a new and fully immersive psychological experience coming to Thorpe Park in May.    

Favourite Ride: The Swarm
Thrill Rating: 4/5
Fun Factor: 4/5

Ben Leach Ben's longest trip involved 15 months of backpacking around Australia and Southeast Asia, and now he shares his experiences with Travioor from London. Luckily, after spending so long staring at cheesy sunsets, drinking too much Goon and eating his weight in Pad Thai, he can still manage to put a few words together.