7 UK theme parks you need to take your kids to before they grow up
Many UK theme parks have reopened and that’s not just good news for older kids and teens. With fun toddler-friendly rides and attractions, dozens of UK theme parks now have plenty going on to please pre-schoolers. Take a look at this year’s top five parks designed for tiny thrill-seekers.
Paultons Park, The New Forest, Hampshire
This family-friendly UK theme park has all the ingredients for a fun day out. With over 70 different rides, plenty of water play, cute penguins, a real-life bug emporium, not to mention some lifelike animatronic dinosaurs, Paultons Park has got it all covered. But perhaps the biggest pull for pre-schoolers has to be the world’s first and biggest Peppa Pig World. Watch your little ones’ faces light up as they see their favourite TV show brought to life through perfectly age-appropriate rides, including The Queen’s Flying Coach Ride, Grampy Rabbit’s Sailing Club and Daddy Pig’s Car Ride. There’s even the chance to meet Peppa Pig and her friends, as well have a splash in Muddy Puddles, a fun, mini water playground.
LEGOLAND® Windsor, Berkshire
It’s no surprise that LEGOLAND® Windsor is one of the best loved UK theme parks for younger kids. Little LEGO fans will be in heaven as they explore a world created from the famous building bricks. Take a walk through Miniland and be amazed by iconic landmarks, like Big Ben and the London Eye, immortalised in over 42 million bricks – some serious inspiration for the next LEGO® building project with the kids! Put your ninja skills to test at the LEGO NINJAGO World on an exciting 4D interactive family ride. Prep to get wet on the Viking’s River Splash ride. Pan for gold at Pirate Shores. Then head out on an underwater adventure with the Atlantis Submarine Voyage. There’s so much going on here, you might struggle to fit it all into one day, so why not treat yourself to a night in one of the on-site LEGOLAND Hotels?
Alton Towers Resort, Alton, Staffordshire
Alton Towers is top pick of the UK theme parks for teens thanks to its impressive, white-knuckle rollercoaster rides. But there’s plenty here to impress younger kids too. CBeebies Land is packed with rides, hands-on fun and live shows: join Iggle Piggle and friends on a magical In The Night Garden Boat Ride; become part of the Go Jetters team on the Vroomster ride; help Postman Pat on his rounds; explore the Something Special Sensory Garden; then share a picnic with Bing and Flop. Children won’t believe their eyes as they meet their favourite characters, and chances are you might even get a little star-struck too!
Drayton Manor Theme Park, Tamworth, Staffordshire
If you want value for money UK theme parks pick Drayton Manor for white-knucklers and a 15-acre zoo. It’s like two days out in one and as well as all the usual rides for older thrill-seekers, there’s plenty to entertain younger kids too. Thomas Land is a must-visit for fans of Thomas the Tank Engine, packed with themed rides, a fun adventure play area and the chance to drive your own tractor in Terence’s Driving School. Make sure you book into one of the Thomas and Friends live shows and take a ride aboard your favourite tank engine, for the full Thomas experience.
Gulliver’s World, Warrington
There are several Gulliver’s Theme Park Resorts, but Gulliver’s World in Warrington is designed for kids aged between 2 and 13. All rides and attractions are family-friendly and the entire park’s relaxed and perfect for younger kids. You can expect plenty of crowd-pleaser rides like log flumes, dodgems and runaway train rollercoasters, as well as amazing indoor water play parks, battle-it-out NERF Zones and an interactive Jurassic adventure at the Lost World of the Living Dinosaurs.
Diggerland: Kent, Devon, Durham and Yorkshire
The only UK theme parks for kids obsessed with all things digger-related, Diggerland scoops up mini-fans in Kent, Devon, Durham and Yorkshire. Whichever park you pick there’s the chance to ride, drive and operate real diggers, dumper trucks and mini Land Rovers and tractors, as well as lots of fun digger-themed rides – although they are height-dependant, so worth checking the website first to see what attractions are suitable for your little ones. It’s not just the kids who’ll have fun here – grown-ups can also try their hand at operating a full-size digger – that alone is worth a day out.
Chessington World of Adventures, Surrey
One of the best UK theme parks to tick several fun boxes, Chessington has over 40 rides and attractions, a zoo and a Sea Life centre. Pre-schoolers will love the Gruffalo River Ride Adventure, where their favourite story will come to life as they float down the lazy river. And if they haven’t had their fill of all things Gruffalo, The Gruffalo Arena is the place to go for a chance to meet their favourite characters, watch the film and join in some Gruffalo-themed activities. There’s plenty of other age-appropriate rides to try out, but make sure you save enough time to explore the zoo and the amazing aquarium, featuring an impressive walkthrough ocean tunnel.
Looking for more fun stuff to do with younger kids? Check out our family friendly festivals to book this summer And remember to follow Family Traveller on Instagram and Facebook for travel news and ideas – or just to say ‘hi’.