Hidden amongst the rolling hills and quaint villages of the northern countryside are some of the country’s most thrilling theme and adventure parks. There are some slightly less thrilling attractions too – for example the unique Diggerland in West Yorkshire which has a vast collection of JCB themed rides and activities – including full size diggers and tractors for kids to try as well as a collection of rides on modified JCB’s and diggers.
In other words, whether you want roller coasters and thrill rides, farms and countryside oddities or countryside adventures and waterparks – there is literally something for everyone. Getting to the North of England could not be easier. By far the quickest is either by flight or train. Newcastle airport is a popular destination for many of the North of England attraction or buy a train ticket to arrive within footsteps for many of the attractions featured in this guide.
Alton Towers is perhaps one of the most famous theme parks in Great Britain. You’ll find it snuggled close to Alton in Staffordshire just a little over an hours drive from Sheffield, and built around the former Alton Towers estate which was once a seat of the Earl of Shrewsbury. The park is absolutely stunning, gigantic and visible for miles around and filled to the brim with roller coasters, dark themed rides (most concentrating on the dark past of the local countryside) and a full waterpark and resort complex. Notable rides include Air – which was the world’s first “flying roller coaster”, Nemesis – which was Europe’s first inverted roller coaster and is consistently voted into the top 10 of the world’s roller coasters and Hex – a walk through haunted / mad house style of ride which is based on the legend of the chained oak.
Lightwater Valley Theme Park
Lightwater Valley is a large 175 acre theme park in North Stainley, North Yorkshire. It’s not as well known as Alton Towers but is famous amongst roller coaster aficionados for being the home of Europe’s longest roller coaster – The Ultimate. It’s a perfect park for young families as it has a large selection of mini rides and adventures – including swan boats, farm animals with tractor rides and all the usual fairground style rides – such as lady bugs, swinging ships and ferris wheels.
You’ll find Go Ape in the lush Dalby Forest in north Yorkshire – tucked away in its own space and filled with high ropes, crossings, tunnels, bridges and exhilarating wind-in-your-face zip wires. Away from the zips and tree top views there’s a forest segway track which takes you through the wild paths of the forest – this is strictly one for those who like an active day out!
The Forbidden Corner
The Forbidden Corner is absolutely unique – a park filled with labyrinth-like tunnels, chambers, follies, art and very English oddities in the heart of Tupgill Park and the Yorkshire Dales. Perhaps in the true spirit of the English, these gardens were originally created for private use – as a somewhat dark, theatrical pleasure garden. These days, The Forbidden Corner is fully open to the public and is consistently voted the best children’s attraction in Yorkshire. This is a park for the explorative, you’ll find yourself lost in passages that lead nowhere, confronted by extraordinary sculptures and tricked by the various attractions of the park. There’s no map provided as the whole park has been constructed as a kind of maze to make your way through.
Flamingo Land is both a theme park and a Zoo – making it a family favourite, which is home to not just sky scraping roller coasters but also more than 1,000 animals – including Siberian Tigers, Zebras, Monkeys, Sea Lions, Reptiles and the park’s famous pink flamingos. Its collection of rides isn’t the must up-to-date but that’s not the focus here – instead you’ll find an eclectic mix of thrill rides and adventure trails all tightly packed into the countryside of north Yorkshire.
If that’s not quite enough to curb your needs then you might want to try the Sector 7 Laser game in York, the Sea Life Marine Sanctuary in Scarborough or the Legoland discovery centre in Manchester.