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For a fast adrenaline fix, or family fun with the children, head to one of our homegrown theme parks this summer.
If rollercoasters aren't your bag, fear not – most also offer more sedate attractions. From animals and aquariums to monorails and mini-golf, take your pick.
This is our round-up of the most thrilling theme parks around Britain. All you need do is bring the noise – scream if you want to go faster!
A healthy mix of rides for all ages. For big kids, highlights include Oblivion with its 200ft drop, Nemesis, Air, The Blade, Ripsaw, Rita Queen of Speed, Sonic Spinball and Congo River Rapids.
Sadly, after carrying 43.5 million people, the iconic Corkscrew's
30-year rollercoaster ride through history came to a sharp end in 2008. Other highlights include a 4D cinema, a pirate-themed aquarium, live shows, the tranquil skyride and a terrifying scare maze called The Sanctuary. Extend your visit by staying at the Alton Towers Hotel, and tackle the waterpark while you're there.
As well as the legendary 'Thomas Land', where you can take a trip in the Troublesome Trucks or ride Cranky the Crane, there are plenty of thrill rides for grown-ups. Drayton Manor boasts Europe's only stand-up rollercoaster – Shockwave – which has a top speed of 84 km per hour, as well as the world's first stand-up tower drop – Apocalypse. Other white-knuckle rides include G-Force, Apocalypse, Maelstrom, Pandemonium and Stormforce 10. There's also a zoo – home to more than 100 species from around the world including 12 rare breeds – a farm, and a dinosaur park.
If you’re lucky enough to avoid the rain, then Rameses Revenge will certainly give you a good soaking. And don't think we're joking – at one point you're suspended upside down above water fountains. Take waterproofs or a change of clothes! Thrillseekers will also love the Vampire ride, the Rattlesnake, Dragon's Fury, and the Runaway Train.
There are also plenty of rides for younger visitors, as well as a zoo with more than 1,000 animals, 10 themed lands of rides, a Sea Life centre, a huge soft-play area and the Madagascar Live stage show. New for 2013 is the Zufari experience.
We couldn't write about Blackpool without mentioning the big one – and by that we mean the Pepsi Max Big One. This rollercoaster is literally on the seafront and the views are amazing – not that you hang around to enjoy them for very long. The Big One holds the crown as the UK's tallest and fastest rollercoaster.
Brave 'Europe's first 360-degree rollercoaster', in the shape of Revolution. Fusion features five incredible loops plus a double line twist on a suspended looping coaster. For something a little more sedate, watch the fountains dance from the comfort of the onsite restaurant.
There are three Gulliver's theme parks in the UK – all designed especially for younger children. Offering 'big fun for little people', all three parks are geared towards children between the ages of two and 13. They feature a wealth of undercover attractions, soft-play areas, and thrilling rides. Gulliver's World, in Warrington, is home to the UK's oldest wooden rollercoaster – the Antelope. Choose from Gulliver's World, in Warrington, Cheshire, Gulliver's Land, in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, and Gulliver's Kingdom, in Matlock Bath, Derbyshire.
Legoland is one of the best theme parks in the UK for younger thrillseekers, but there's enough to keep the whole family happy. In 2012, Legoland Resort Windsor unveiled Atlantis Submarine Voyage, Star Wars Miniland and the Legoland Hotel. This year you can explore all of these as well as classic rides including The Dragon coaster, Dragon’s Apprentice, Vikings’ River Splash, Spinning Spider, Pirate Falls, Laser Raisers and Squid Surfer. There are plenty of picnic spots, plus a huge outdoor adventure play fort and live action shows – fun for children, toddlers, and big kids. From 18 May, explore the brand new Duplo Valley with even more water and even more fun – including Splash Safari, Drench Towers and Raft River Racers.
The only theme park in Scotland to boast five white-knuckle rollercoasters – The Tsunami, Tornado, Express, The Runaway Mine Train and The Big Apple – as well as more than 20 rides for children. There's also 10-pin bowling on site, along with pool and snooker, bingo, adventure golf, an indoor tropical rainforest complete with creepy crawlies, an amusement arcade, a soft-play area, regular car-boot sales and a hotel.
Home to some of the UK's most challenging white-knuckle rides, this is no longer a destination for younger visitors. Are you brave enough to tackle Swarm, Colossus, Stealth, Nemesis Inferno, Rush, the Slammer, Detonator, Vortex or the Samurai? SAW boasts a 'beyond vertical' 100-degree, 100ft drop to really get your adrenaline pumping. And the 'SAW Alive Horror Maze' is a terrifying live action maze featuring six iconic scenes from the 'SAW' horror films. Not for the faint of heart. New for 2013 is the crash pad – compact onsite accommodation – so you can extend the fun.
Nestled in the New Forest, not far from the south coast, this is another British theme park that's ideal for younger adventurers. The home of the famous Peppa Pig World and a new 4D cinema, Paultons also has a raft of thrilling rides for braver adventurers to tackle. Choose from Magma, Edge, the Cobra, Kontiki, water rides and many more.
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It pays to know what you want to do, and a rough order of when you want to do things, so you can make the most of the attractions at the theme park.
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(24 October 2013)