Whether you’re after thrills, chills or a big drenching, these theme parks deliver in spades.
If you’re looking for an action-packed weekend, there’s no better way to get the blood pumping than by visiting one of Yorkshire’s incredible theme parks. From Europe’s longest rollercoaster to sheer drop water slides and a floating obstacle course, you can do it all. But which should you try first?
Nestled in the 2,000-acre grounds of a Grade I listed country house, Stockeld Park has been delighting children and adults for over 10 years. You’ll find family-friendly fairytale experiences, adventure playgrounds and even a laser tag arena here, but what really sets this apart from the rest of Yorkshire’s theme parks is its seasonal transformations. From Easter to Summer, Halloween to Christmas, they have different rides and attractions every time you visit.
Want to be spooked in October? Wander through the Enchanted Forest to the Spider’s Lair or try one of their immersive Fright Nights for haunted circuses and zombie attacks. Prefer a more festive outing? Visit from November for their Christmas Adventure – we’re talking ice skating, a ski trail and an illuminated maze. If you get peckish, there’s homemade grub at the Woodland Cafe, with child-friendly toasties alongside fish & chips and lasagne. Or you can choose from 18 different flavours of ice cream at the Lake View Ice Cream Parlour.
Stockeld Park, Wetherby Road, Wetherby, West Yorkshire, LS22 4AN. An all-activities ticket starts from £16 per person or £60 for a family of 4.
There’s something for everyone at Lightwater Valley, with over 35 attractions to check out. They have 7 options for adrenaline junkies – the Eagle’s Claw will see you strapped into a circular ring and swung from side to side, while The Ultimate holds the record for the longest rollercoaster in Europe, a 1.5-mile white-knuckle journey across the park and back.
Of course, it’s not all thrills and spills, there are plenty of rides for the kids too, with carousels, river boats and even the Lightwater Express Train. This miniature railway is the best way to see all the sights and sounds of the park, covering one complete lap in a relaxing 20-minute trip. Need something to eat? You can grab a cup of coffee and bacon sarnie from Tasty Tucker Takeaway by the entrance, or choose from pizza, pies and jacket potatoes at Hungry Harbour half-way round.
Lightwater Valley Theme Park, North Stainley, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 3HT. Prices are based on height, with an adult ticket (over 1.3m) costing £24, 1m-1.3m £16 and Under 1m £10.
Love splashing about in the water? Scarborough’s Alpamare water park might be just the ticket. Set right on the Yorkshire coast, it’s split into nine distinct sections – take your pick between relaxing in their 35-degree outdoor garden pool, experiencing the metre-high wave pool or bombing down their four state-of-the-art water slides. If you’re feeling brave, check out the Black Run – this ultra-steep slide has an 11-metre drop, or the Cresta Run, which mimics a famous ski run by sending you down on a racing mat, head-first.
Away from the slides, the rest of Alpamare has a focus on wellness, from the iodine-infused outdoor infinity pool to soothe aching muscles, to their scenic garden area and top-notch restaurant. There’s a range of healthy meals on offer, with pasta, pizza and a salad bar on ice. Their soon-to-open spa will have a sauna, steam baths and all the usual treatments, but for now, you’ll have to make do with relaxing in their heated swimming pool with a stein of beer.
Alpamare Scarborough, North Bay, 28 Burniston Road, Scarborough, North Yorkshire, YO12 6PH. An adult ticket costs £20, a child ticket costs £16 or a family of 4 ticket costs £64.
If you’re a fan of animals and rollercoasters, check out Flamingo Land. It combines one of Yorkshire’s most popular theme parks with an enormous zoo. Perfect for the whole family, you can see over 140 species of animals, including tigers, giraffes and penguins.
Elsewhere, it’s all about the rides. Mumbo Jumbo is Flamingo Land’s most popular coaster with a 112-degree vertical drop, while Velocity is the UK’s only motorbike launch coaster – it goes from 0-60mph in just 2.8 seconds. Kids are well catered for too, with tractor rides, river rapids and mini rollercoasters. Hungry? There are no less than 14 cafes and restaurants dotted around the park, from a pizzeria to a grill and sports bar.
Flamingo Land, Kirby Misperton, Malton, North Yorkshire, YO17 6UX. Adults and children tickets both cost £40 on the day.
North Yorkshire Water Park
North Yorkshire Water Park is set in the picturesque Wykeham Lakes. Their pièce de résistance is the Aqua Park, a floating inflatable obstacle course that challenges you, Total Wipeout-style, to make it from one end to the other. Split into three stages, you’ll have to tackle climbing walls, balance bars and rollers along the way, before diving into the water at the end. If you were thinking of bringing the kids, they have to be able to swim over 50 metres. Everyone gets a safety briefing, helmet, buoyancy aid and wetsuit.
It’s not all slides and inflatables, there’s a heap of watersports to enjoy at the park too. You can test your balance with stand-up paddle boarding, take a single or tandem kayak around the lake, or even jump in a pedalo and enjoy a relaxing ride on the water. There are showers on site if you need to freshen up afterwards, so bring a towel. And if you’ve worked up an appetite, you can stop at one of the picnic spots around the lake, or visit their cafe where you can grab a sandwich and a smoothie.
North Yorkshire Water Park, Wykeham Lakes, Long Causeway Road, Scarborough, North Yorkshire, YO13 9QU. The Aqua Park costs £15 per person, while paddle-boarding and kayaking start from £14 per hour session. Pedalos are £10 per 30 minutes.