theme-park

The 13 best theme parks in the UK to go to with the kids during the school holidays

Your summer holiday plans, sorted

Harriet Keane

Thinking of what to do over the summer holidays? The perfect way to keep little ones entertained during their time off school is a trip to a theme park. We've compiled a list of the best theme parks here in the UK; from Staffordshire to Blackpool, Cornwall and London. See which attractions made our must-visit list and plan your summer trip... 

1. Alton Towers - Alton, England

From the world’s first 14 loop rollercoaster to the world’s first freefall drop coaster, Alton Towers is home to some of the world’s scariest rides set to frighten even the bravest of thrill-seekers. New additions to the record setting line-up include The Wicker Man, the world’s first wooden roller coaster in 20 years and The Alton Towers Dungeon, a journey through some of Staffordshire's darkest history laced with comedy. Alton Towers also accommodates for the little ones with the singing and dancing CBeebies Land boasting 14 rides, various live shows, and an accompanying hotel. And if that isn’t enough to entice you, if you grab a multipack bag of Seabrooks crisps you can get a 2 for 1 voucher on tickets, valid until the 31 May 2020 - with tickets from £35 online, that's £17.50 each, talk about cheap thrills! See more at altontowers.com.

2. Paultons Park - Romsey, England

The home of Peppa Pig World and dinosaur theme park Lost Kingdom was revealed in 2018 as Trip Advisor's most popular amusement park, and it's easy to see why. Paultons Park has lots to offer the whole family, with over 70 rides and attractions such as Adventure Golf, the Water Kingdom, playgrounds and several beautiful gardens. An advance day ticket costs £29.25, children under 1 metre go free. See more at paultonspark.co.uk

RELATED: Family tried-and-tested - Peppa Pig World

3. Blackpool Pleasure Beach - Blackpool, England

A favourite among visitors to the seaside town of Blackpool, this amusement park has highlights like Nickelodeon Land as well as huge rollercoasters like The Big One and ICON, the UK's first double-launch rollercoaster that launches riders to heights of 88.5ft. Book tickets in advance at blackpoolpleasurebeach.com.

4. The Milky Way Adventure Park - Clovelly, England

Located near Clovelly, North Devon, The Milky Way Adventure Park is a favourite among young families. As well as rides and attractions like the Cosmic Typhoon, Clone Zone, and the Time Warp, the park also has live shows, a soft play room for under fives, as well as the Milky Way Railway. Advance tickets cost £12.95 for adults and children aged 3-17. See more details at themilkyway.co.uk.

5. Crealy Adventure Park & Resort – Exeter, England

Complete with fun rides, a number of indoor play areas, live shows, and Buddy Bear’s Kingdom, there's no shortage of activities for the whole family at Crealy Adventure Park & Resort. Better still, entry costs as little as £87 for a family of five, with infants going free. More information can be found on crealy.co.uk.

6. Sundown Adventureland - Retford, England

Head to Retford for a fun family day out at Sundown Adventureland. Here you'll find the Angry Birds Activity Park, Rocky Mountain Railroad and numerous other rides all designed specifically for children under ten. Entry costs £16 for adults or children over 90cm, while children under 90cms enter for free. See more at sundownadventureland.co.uk.

MORE: 18 best family holiday destinations in Europe

7. Landmark Forest Adventure Park - Carribridge, Scotland

Set within the heart of the Cairngorms National Park, Landmark Forest Adventure Park wins over families who want an action-packed day out. From the Wild Water Coaster to a Skydive experience and Tarzan Trail, there is so much for children and grown-ups to enjoy. Get more details at landmarkpark.co.uk.

8. Brighton Palace Pier - Brighton, England

Tie in a trip to the seaside with a visit to the Brighton Palace Pier, which is filled with rides and attractions for the whole family, including arcade games and traditional fairground rides.

9. Adventure Island - Southend-on-Sea, England

If you're heading for a staycation in Southend, you don't want to miss a day at Adventure Island, which has over 40 rides and attractions. Entry to the park is free, and it instead operates on a ride band system, so you only pay for the rides that fit the level you and your family are comfortable with. Visit adventureisland.co.uk for more information. 

10. Drayton Manor Park - Tamworth, England

Drayton Manor, specifically modelled for younger children, is the home to over 100 rides and attractions with everything from thrill-seeking rollercoasters to crazy golf - but the fun doesn't stop there. With a 15-acre Zoo and its very own Thomas Land boasting over 25 rides and attractions for the little ones, Drayton Manor is the fourth largest amusement park in the UK. Make a splash this summer on Drayton Manor’s two water rides, Stormforce 10 and Splash Canon or experience the immersive 4D cinema equipped with a surprise water spray, air blast, and leg ticklers. Starting from £28 online, with a 4 for £88 deal, Drayton Manor is the ideal trip for family group fun. Find out more on draytonmanor.co.uk.

11. Lightwater Valley - Ripon, Yorkshire 

Lightwater valley offers not only adrenaline-pumping rides, family fun attractions, and daily live shows but also provides stunning views of the Yorkshire valley, if you're brave enough to seek them out. Grab an 85 ft view of Lightwater Valley (upside down) on the 360 rotating pirate ship The Black Pearl or if you prefer views upright, circle 80ft above the trees. Lightwater is also home to Europe's longest roller coaster The Ultimate, a 6-minute ride offering more incredible views, as well as a deep plunge into the forests of Lightwater. Or, if you prefer to stay on the ground, take a ride on Raptor Attack, regarded as one of the best dark rides in the UK. With pricing based on height rather than age, your tiny tots can enter from £10, fairly priced on the rides they can enjoy. For more information visit lightwatervalley.co.uk

12. Flambards - Cornwall

Open all year round and renowned as the West Country’s leading family attraction, Flambards offers more than your average amusement park. As well as boasting thrilling rides such as the sky-plummeting Skycracker and the splash filled Log Flume during the summer, Flambards’ Indoor attractions offer a thrill (even on level ground) during the colder months. From September through the winter months, Flambards adds a historical flair to the classic theme park model, hosting indoor attractions such as The Victorian Village, Britain in the Blitz and Chemist Shop Time Capsule, taking you on a journey back in time in an all-immersive experience through some of England’s most explosive history. Be sure to book online to save 10% off the normal ticket price! Get tickets via flambards.co.uk.

13. Legoland - Windsor, London

When one of the most famous toy brands in the world opens a theme park, you know it's going to promise the magic and fun of a live-action toy store. At Legoland Windsor, all their lovable favourites are brought to life, such as the popular LEGO Ninjago World where the children can test their Ninja skills through a 4D interactive ride and a variety of training camp activities. There is also the infamous Lego City driving school where most of us received our first license to drive (at the age of three-years-old and upwards) and The Dragon Coaster, one of LegoLand’s thrill-seeking rollercoasters which takes you through the caste and treetops alike. Get tickets online at legoland.co.uk from as cheap as £28!