Theme parks in England?

Jul 11th, 2006, 01:44 PM
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Theme parks in England?

Hi all! Wondered if it would be worth it to take the kids to a theme park for a day? They love Disneyworld and I realize England doesn't have that but I thought their theme parks mights have some uniquely English touches to their rides/shows that might make it fun...I think my kids are too old for Legoland (the youngest is 7 and oldest is 11)...wondered about the park south of London and Thorpe Park.

Anyone have comments?
ma23peas is offline  
Jul 11th, 2006, 01:51 PM
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I can't help with specific parks in England. Howver, I do recommend visiting a theme park on your Europe trip. We have taken our sons (8 and 10) to theme parks in Germany and Scandinavia. They loved it. Instead of seeing mostly other tourists (as you do at the tourist attraction type places), we enjoyed the opportunity to be around European families.

As for Legoland, unless you have a Lego fanatic (going to Legoland in Denmark was a sort of pilgrimage for my 8yo Lego fan), I'd suggest somewhere else for your kids (due to age).
padams421 is offline  
Jul 11th, 2006, 01:52 PM
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One more thought- if you don't get enough responses here, go to and visit the UK message board. Even though it's a Disney related website, those UK residents who post there can surely help you with UK parks.
padams421 is offline  
Jul 11th, 2006, 02:22 PM
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Try the forum on England; lots of locals with good advice.
Underhill is offline  
Jul 11th, 2006, 02:31 PM
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While traveling in England we met a British family with children ages 12 & 13 or so and they were looking forward to a visit to Cadbury World. This was in the potteries district and the mom had been enjoying shopping there and kids were promised a fun adventure too. I think CW is near Birmingham??
nini is offline  
Jul 11th, 2006, 02:53 PM
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CW is in Bourneville, a suburb of Birmingham and it's all about chocolate! Cadbury is a major manufacturer and you can see chocolate being made and buy some in the factory shop. They have other attractions but choc is the main theme.
Probably one of the best British theme parks is Alton Towers, near Stafford (Midlands) with some good rides. Nearer London are Thorpe Park near Chertsey (Surrey) and Chessington (Surrey) with a zoo and Legoland in Windsor (for younger children). They aren't the sort of places you should go out of the way to see, but I'm sure your children will enjoy.
Remember entrance charge is quite high, with a walk-on price of around £29 (aged 12 and over) plus transport, though there are various discounts available online and 2-for-1 deals etc. See
Alec is offline  
Jul 11th, 2006, 04:16 PM
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Our favorite is Chessington World of Adventures. The previous poster mentioned the zoo there and I always forget about it having animals! It's primarily a theme park with rides to entertain kids and adults of all ages.
highflyer is offline  
Jul 11th, 2006, 07:11 PM
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thanks! Yes, Chessington, that was the one I was considering...I think Thorpe was going to be too far midland for us...we'll be in Oxfordshire the last 5 nights..I thought it'd be easy to spend our last day in London at the theme park before heading to our cottage. I'll go check lastminute and see if it's even open on that Monday...I know sometimes in September they just stay open on weekends. Thanks!!!

We'll definitely hit Cadbury, I think it's only 45 minutes from where we'll be and there's a wildlife reserve near there we'd like to hit as well.
ma23peas is offline  
Jul 11th, 2006, 07:12 PM
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Oh! And thanks for the tip on Disboards...I smiled, because I'm actually a moderator for one of their boards! I didn't even think to check out the UK board, thinking dis is all about Dis!
ma23peas is offline  
Jul 11th, 2006, 08:15 PM
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How about Longleat House, with the wildlife reserve that you can drive through? There are other attractions as well.
Underhill is offline  
Jul 11th, 2006, 10:27 PM
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Gosh, how can you miss the English seaside? A day at Brighton!
Merseyheart is offline  
Jul 11th, 2006, 10:28 PM
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Oh! And thanks for the tip on Disboards...I smiled, because I'm actually a moderator for one of their boards!

i dislike disney anything disney but was far too bored and checked out the disboards. i highly recommend it, if only for its entertainment value. there were several pages of posts concerning a woman's complaints that a child had vomitted at the "british pub" at epcot centre.

had i bothered to register with this strange site i would have pointed out that this actually makes the "pub" a more authentic version of a british pub. obviously,this poster had never been to a british town centre at the weekends.

do check out this makes for great reading.
walkinaround is offline  
Jul 11th, 2006, 11:23 PM
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You'll never get to Bournville from Chippy in 45 mins. 90 if the traffic behaves itself. And watch out for speed cameras.

Merseyheart, if I remember rightly, is a very sensible lady, choosing to be born in the world's greatest city. Consequently, she has the world's most sensible prejudice. Seaside resorts are a million times more fun than theme parks, and you can get to most of them by train: Brighton's a highly reliable hour from central London. Don't even think of driving.

And if you want a bit of culture thrown in, Brighton Museum is the world's most likeable (and free). How can anyone not enjoy a museum with a gallery devoted to the Dirty Weekend?
flanneruk is offline  
Jul 12th, 2006, 01:04 AM
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I can't believe no one has mentioned the biggest theme park of the lot - Alton Towers. Not pnly does it have en extensive theme park, but it's also in the grounds of an old stately home, with extensive gardens etc, so even the adults can be amused.

I realise it's not near London, but it's not that far either - certainly doable as a day trip from Oxfordshire. I thought it was paradise when I was a child....
Kate is offline  
Jul 12th, 2006, 02:11 AM
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Thorpe Park has my kids' votes. They really enjoy a day out there. Two of them have been to Alton Towers as well, but don't think it is that much better than Thorpe Park.

Easiest for you to get to from Chipping Norton is Drayton Manor Park, which has lots of rides, a nice clean zoo, great reptile house, and Dinosaurland. Rides for all ages, thrill rides, wet rides, a little train out to the farm or a boat ride on the lake when you want to sit down, and it's a fun day out, just an easy run up the M42.
julia_t is offline  
Jul 12th, 2006, 07:41 PM
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Yes! Alton Towers! I actually was planning on hooking up there for 2 nights (originally planned 2 nights London, 2 nights Hadrian's Wall, 2 nights get my drift...before I wised up and decided with 3 kids and their first trip abroad we best stay put for 5 days atleast and see whatever we can from there)..but I sooo wanted to stay in their Chocolate Suite at their on site looked like a BLAST!
I think because of budgets thought, I might just have to forego the thought of theme parks...bless my kids hearts we have had to move 4x in 8 each time we moved (relocated with careers) we promised them trips to we've done 4 Disney trips in 8 years and to be honest...for the money I'd rather pay for a private lesson with a falconry centre! With five in our family a day out at some of these parks will run over $200 US...I've already committed to the Buckingham palace tour/mews, and Mary we're trying to do bare bones budgeting for the rest...all these free museums are making me happy!

And the disboards are quite fun...they have their own UK team and they're very helpful and so friendly. I'm actually a moderator on the weight loss board (lost 60 pounds with their help! Still have about 30 to go to be at my wedding weight but not bad.

Thanks all for your help...I really think the kids will enjoy not going to a theme park and eating up the unique qualities of the UK....thanks! Sometimes we just can't get out of the theme park mentality having relied on it to solve all our trip planning needs...nothing like booking Disney for 7 days and knowing each day you're headed for a park and back...
ma23peas is offline  
Jul 12th, 2006, 07:53 PM
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My (then) teenaged son enjoyed Alton Towers. We reached it by bus from Nottingham. I wasn't a long ride at all.
basingstoke1 is offline  
Jul 12th, 2006, 08:25 PM
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Alton Towers is a good distance from London and I have not been there.

I did take the kids to Chessington World of Adventures and Thorpe Park when they were young and we home exchanged outside of London. Thorpe Park was more geared for younger children.

I keep saying I am going to write a guidebook to the theme parks of Europe. When you travel with kids, you inevitably end up at one if you are overseas for more than a couple of weeks.

In addition to the two mentioned, I have been to Europa Park Rust (betw. Basel and Strasbourg), Parc Asterix (north of Paris), Futuroscope (near Poitiers in France), and, of course Disney outside Paris.

One of the joys of having GROWN children is that you do not have to visit these places anymore. I would, however, highly recommend Futuroscope--more like some of the attractions at Epcot with tons of special effects. That one is good for children of all ages. I thought it was much more interesting than riding Dumbo at Disney for the 35th time.
FauxSteMarie is offline  
Jul 13th, 2006, 03:32 AM
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Isn't all of southern England a theme park nowadays?
hiddeneurope is offline  
Aug 29th, 2006, 09:48 AM
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Hi Tara...

I posted the following on the Educational Travel forum, which doesn't seem to be there now. Apologies if you've already seen this, but if not I hope it's of some help to you.

Here's hoping you have a really great trip to the UK.
julia_t is offline  

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