“Why I’ve visited only one UK park this year”

Well the 2014 season is well and truly in full flow which now sees all UK parks open at least weekends and some everyday, so why have I only visited one park in the UK this year?

Well for me, as a thrill seeker, there is simply nothing new being offered by any of the major parks within the UK.

The Merlin parks are all family friendly this year and after seeing some reviews of their operations and investments in 2013/2014, it doesn’t make me want to part with my hard earned cash to visit their attractions.

Is a new CBeebies area at Alton Towers going to make me want to spend nearly £50 on entry? Is an Angry Birds re-theme of Detonator at Thorpe Park with an addition of a new Dodgems track and the re-invention of the 3D cinema going to entice me into spending £48 to see it?

How about a new repaved market square and re-imaged Runaway Train at Chessington?

Well no, not really…..

So what about the other parks and family owned attractions?

Well again, it seems the UK parks are very family friendly this year, with lots of family attractions being installed. There are a plethora of family rides being installed at parks like Paultons Park and Gullivers

Lightwater Valley have moved some of their family attractions out of the woods, in preparation for their holiday village and have moved their park focus to a family orientated point of view. But again, nothing for us thrill seekers.

Even parks like Flamingo Land, which always seem to install attractions for all, have left out thrill seekers this year with their new area re-theme.

Pleasurewood Hills, have bought Flamingo Land’s old Wild Mouse in what can only be described as an uninspired choice.

So are their any thrill rides in any major UK parks this year? Well Drayton Manor are installing a Zamperla Air Race attraction which is classed as a family thrill ride, and with the capacity chosen by the park is going to result in some long queues.

So where does all this leave us thrill seekers? Well to be perfectly honest, we really have to look further afield to some of the seaside parks we have,

We have seen Star Flyer type rides installed at Clacton Pier and TIR Prince in Wales which are welcome news to us thrill seekers.

However apart from that, we only have a new 40mph zip line being installed as a new ride at Wicksteed for us thrill seekers.

We are all collectively looking at Oakwood in hope of a new thrill ride. After Ride Rater exclusively revealed the theme of Oakwoods new themed area to be based on the Legend Of Sleepy Hollow, rumours have been spread about what kind of attraction is to be based in the area.

As of the date of writing, no details have been released, but we all hope that Oakwood can induce some energy into the flagging thrill seekers attitude to UK theme parks.

It seems that, by the vast majority of parks that us thrill seekers have been left in the dark and to either accept their investments or not.

Don’t get me wrong, I love fantastically themed rides which are low on thrills, but we don’t even get that in the UK. I have a soft spot for dark rides, but apart from a handful of these rides, we don’t even do those well.

As mentioned, I personally have only visited one UK park this year and I have no immediate plans to visit any other major park UK, why is this?

Well Europe is only a short tunnel or ferry crossing away and its sometimes even cheaper to visit a vastly superior park in Europe than it is in the UK.

Unfortunately there are many better parks on the continent than what the UK has to offer for the same price and until the UK parks install something for me, they wont be getting my money.

2014 is such a disappointment, lets hope that 2015 is better for us thrill seekers.

Peter Andrews

8 comments

  1. Peter Andrews says:

    Nice to see that I am not the only one who thinks this way. Thanks for the feedback on my thoughts. Funnily enough, the one park that I have been to this year is Blackpool Pleasure Beach. I like what the team at BPB have done. After years of neglect, they have restored, sometimes removed, rides to their past glories. I think that within the next 5 years, we may see a new thrilling flat ride installed alongside a new coaster.

  2. Marc Whitcombe says:

    The lack of thrill rides has been as an issue, but even as someone who enjoys family parks the cost is becoming an issue. I live in Brighton, and did want to do Alton Towers last October, but ended up doing Portaventura instead as flights and two nights in Barcelona didn’t cost that much more than the trains and hotel to do Alton Towers. Even with a good number of parks in day trip distance the cost of trains and entrance mean it doesn’t seem worth it to repeat a park I’ve already done much of the time, I’m better off saving up for my holiday.

  3. Craig ewing says:

    That’s why for the last few years we’ve done Florida or salou for our holidays and used the sun tickets for Alton towers and I can’t see that changing in the next few with Ferrari world opening at port aventura in 2016 and the new Harry potter and falcons fury in orlando this year , I did lik the smiler last year but it’s reliability was awful.

  4. dom says:

    I totally agree. Firstly, i think any Merlin park is a rip-off anyway and secondly, for thrill seekers it is much more viable going over to Europe and visiting a much better park. Cost wise it probably works out about the same as going to one in the UK. It may be a bit more to get there, but its cheaper admission prices.

    Saying that, I do love BPB though. Valhalla has to be the best dark-ride in the UK without a doubt. The Big One is still great – although its a bit of a rough ride now. Maybe it could do with a new element added to freshen it up.

  5. Sam Gregory says:

    BPB? They haven’t installed a new ride for thrillseekers since Infusion, about half a decade ago.

  6. Danny Wright says:

    BPB’s dark rides aren’t exactly what you’d call amazing. Granted the park is superb value for money, I hardly find myself looking to the future based off recent years. I really hope the mumbles of an approaching thrill attraction come true sooner than later.

  7. chelsea bromage says:

    I totally agree with you, i live closer to Alton towers than anywhere else and i used to work there but i still wouldn’t pay the prices to go there when there’s nothing to thrill me anymore, and as for the smiler its a good ride but not worth the amount of money put into it, so yes i totally agree with you on this.x

  8. Dan Woolford says:

    Have you considered BPB? It’s a great park with amazing dark rides and themed ones! It’s also amazing value!