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Theme parks hold a magical attraction for kids (and grown-up kids!) but there’s a whole world of fantasy beyond Disney, Alton Towers and the other tried-and-tested parks. Hold on tight, because Namrata Bhawnani has found the world's most wonderful and off-beat alternative theme parks for families.

Black_Mamba_phantasialand-germany

Black Mamba. Photo: Phantasialand

1/7 Phantasialand, Germany

At Phantasialand, six themed islands are home to awesome attractions for all ages, with rides ranging from gentle to truly stomach churning. There are rollercoasters, live shows and even a Mystery Castle to explore. Taron is the fastest multi-launch coaster in the world, while RAIK is the world's longest family boomerang. Other highlights include the Black Mamba roller coaster, Winja's Fear & Force and Maus au Chocolat, a ride with 3D effects.

In the later months of the year, Phantasialand creates a winter wonderland with illuminations and Christmas market. For accommodation, check into Ling Bao, the park’s four-star theme hotel.

Where: Brühl, about 20km from Cologne

When: Open late March to early November, and late November to early January

Price: Day tickets for adults cost £40.65 and £32 for children (aged 4–11). Children under four enter free

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