Fed up with paying well over £100 for your family to visit a theme park? Well, we’ve found some brilliant parks across the UK where a family of 4 can pay between £40 and £60 for a fab day out.
Fed up with paying well over £100 for your family to visit a theme park? Well, we’ve found some brilliant parks across the UK where a family of 4 can pay as little as £33 for a fab day out.
– All parks have cafés and restaurants, but to save money, take packed lunches and a little pocket money for treats like ice creams.
– Remember to check and confirm opening times before you travel, as park times vary during the year.
– Check height/age restrictions for rides in advance and make sure the park has enough rides to cater for all of your children, whatever their age/height.
– Prices correct April 2013 and are based on online tickets for a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 children). Note prices are subject to change at any time so check the website at time of booking.
– Some parks offer free entry to children under a certain age/height e.g. under 3s, so it can be cheaper to buy individual tickets rather than family ones.
Pictured: M&D’s Theme Park, Scotland
Feature by Meera Dattani
Cost: £51.75 online (£55.25 on the day) for any 4 people (standard package). Extra charges for white-knuckle rides and single deals also available.
Open: Opening times vary from weekends-only in March to daily in July and August. Theme parks rides are closed from November to February. Indoor entertainment complex and Amazonia are open year-round. Check at scotlandsthemepark.com.
What's there: Scotland's biggest theme park in Motherwell has more than 40 rides and attractions with 5 rollercoasters, 2 water rides and lots of thrill rides. 2 of the best rides are the Tsunami - Scotland's only inverted rollercoaster, and the park's largest ride, Tornado, with its two 360-degree loops. Younger children are catered for too with the Runaway Mine train. It's also hoe to the Amazonia indoor tropical rainforest attraction, mini golf, Glow in the Dark indoor bowling and a huge soft play area.
Buy tickets online at scotlandsthemepark.com
Check for special offers
ost: Ground passes are free. Theme park costs £13 per adult; £17 per child; and £60 for a family of 4 - online prices have been frozen for 2013.
Open: The park and grounds are open daily (vehicle gates closed on Christmas Day). Ride opening times vary from weekends and half-terms only to daily in July and August with limited/no rides in November and December. Check at wicksteedpark.co.uk.
What's there: Founded 90 years ago by Charles Wicksteed, the inventor of the slide and swing, this is the UK's oldest public park and has Europe's largest free playground set within a Grade II-listed park and garden. The Fairground and Arena areas are home to rides such as Clarence the Coaster (new in 2012), Pirate Ship, Rocky River Falls log flume, the Clown rollercoaster and speedy Le-Mans-style twin-seater racing cars. Little ones will love the Honey Pot Bears ride and Ladybird rollercoaster. There's also an indoor ice rink and railway.
Buy tickets online at wicksteedpark.co.uk
Cost: £59 for a family of 4 when booked online (and you can book as late as 2 hours before your visit)
Open: Open from March until Bonfire Night with daily openings in June, July and August. Opening times vary especially off-peak so check at oakwoodthemepark.co.uk.
What's there: There are 7 new rides for 2013 including a pirate-themed water ride with a huge 12-metre-tall sculpted
skull with a flume cascading from one of the eye sockets! Other newcomers include a junior coaster, London taxi ride and new play areas. Other great rides include the speedy wooden Megafobia rollercoaster and the 'wet and wild' Drenched ride, which hurtles you 100 feet up into the air before hurtling you 88mph into the pool below! For younger ones, there's the Treetop Coaster, Bobsleigh, Plane Crazy and more. Catch the firework displays on selected summer nights.
Buy tickets online at oakwoodthemepark.co.uk
Cost: Wheelgate: £12.49 per person over 108cm, toddler (95-108cm) £7.35 - £39.68 for a family of 4 Twinlakes: £16.25pp over 108cm, toddler (95-108cm) £8.49 per little person - £49.48 for a family of 4
Open: Both parks are open daily but closed on 25/26 December and 1 January.
What's there: These sister parks offer indoor and outdoor adventures and are great for younger children, but with plenty of thrills for older kids. Wheelgate has a new water park and splash land for summer 2013 the while indoor Alien Galaxy zone, High Hazel Mini Mine Coaster and the Mini Pirate Ship remain popular. At Twinlake, the speeding Astro Slide, Jester's Revenge and Dungeon Quest Maze in the Excalibur Adventure Zone suit a mixture of ages. The Labyrinth Venture Zone and Buffalo Stampede will give braver kids something to enjoy too. The park also offers boating, train rides and picnic areas.
Buy tickets online at wheelgatepark.com and
st: Adults: £15.95 each; children (under 95cm/under 15 years): £11.50 each; children under 95cms: free. You'll therefore pay a maximum of £54.90 for a family of 4. There are also cheaper tickets if you go on days where rides aren't open.
Open: In the 2013 season, it is open from 26th March - 1st November 2013. Hours vary so check at flambards.co.uk.
What's there: Ferdi's Funland is the place for little ones with The Shuttle Space Craft ride, Classic Teacups and the gentle Pirate Ship. They'll also love the Human Cannonball, which is a great twist on the classic merry-go-round. In The Big Ride Zone, you'll find the Canyon River Log Flume, Thunderbolt Ride, the speedy Hornet Rollercoaster and the thrilling drop on Skyraker 001 (pictured). The park also has lovely gardens, a Victorian village and soft play, plus exhibits and special events all year, such as free fireworks and late opening on 14th, 21st and 28th August 2013.
Buy tickets online at flambards.co.uk
Another Cornwall budget theme park option is Crealy Cornwall, which offers a good selection of thrill and water rides.
Cost: Adults £11, children £7.50, under 3 free during spring, summer and autumn. Cheaper during winter. A family of 4 or more receives £1 off per person so the maximum price for a family of 4 is £33.
Open: Opening times vary from daily opening in the summer to weekends and school holidays in the winter. Check at themilkyway.co.uk.
What's there: Toddlers, teens and everyone in between have something to enjoy at this all-weather Devon theme park. The Cosmic Typhoon is Devon's tallest, fastest and longest rollercoaster and the Clone Zone is an exciting interactive dark ride with aliens and a suspended coaster. The park is also home to North Devon's biggest indoor adventure play area with assault courses and slides built for adults and children, a Toddler Town play area, railway and the Big Apple coaster for little ones.
Buy tickets online at themilkyway.co.uk
Another Devon budget theme park option is Crealy Devon, which offers a good selection of thrill and water rides.
Cost: £46.20 for a family of 4. Adults/children aged 3 and over cost £11.55 each; under-3s have free entry.
Open: The park is fully open from 23rd March to 8th September. At other times, it may be weekend only and it is closed on selected dates in November and December. It is open from 10am to 6pm (last entry 4pm). It's best to check adventurewonderland.co.uk.
What's there: Particularly good for children under 12, there are more than 30 rides and attractions here with Adventureland and Wonderland outside, as well as an indoor Aztec Adventure play centre. Popular rides include the Polly Drop and the Ghostly Galleon pirate ship. Most rides are suitable for all, but children need to be over 1 metre tall for the Ghostly Galleon, Turbo Tea Cups and Runaway Train, and over 70 cms or accompanied by an adult for the Giant Yo Yos.
Buy tickets online at adventurewonderland.co.uk
Cost: A family of 4 pays £59.95 at Gullivers World Warrington, Matlock Bath and Gullivers Land Milton Keynes.
Open: Opening times vary throughout the year from every day in the summer, weekends during the spring, and closures on selected dates between September and February. Check times for Warrington, Milton Keynes and Matlock. The Splash Zone is open year-round.
What’s there: There are 3 theme parks: Gulliver’s World in Warrington; Gulliver’s Land in Milton Keynes; and the smaller Gulliver’s Kingdom in Matlock Bath. There are rides for all ages from under 5s to adults, all located in different worlds’ from Lilliput Land to The Lost World. There’s the Drop Tower and Log Flume at Matlock Bath, the Python rollercoaster and Flying Carpet at Milton Keynes and Calamity Canyon and the Antelope Wooden Coaster at Warrington.
Buy tickets online at gulliversfun.co.uk
Cost: Pricing is by band. Blue Bands cost £20 for riders over 1.2 metres. Green Bands are for riders between 1 and 1.2 metres and Red Bands cost £10 for riders under 1 metre. If you buy the wrong one online, you can upgrade or downgrade it when you arrive. Parents (or anyone over 14) also ride free with children under 1.2 metres when they go on red/green band rides so it can work out great-value.
Open: Times vary, with daily opening in June, July and August, and weekend- and half-terms-only at other times. The park is closed in December and January. Check at adventureisland.co.uk.
What’s there: Little ones under 1 metre are best suited to the red band’ rides such as the Kiddi-Koats and Viking Boats, while the green band’ offers more exciting options, such as the Fireball. The all-inclusive blue band’ grants access to the full spectrum of amusements, including the popular Vortex and Tidal Wave rides. The advantage of Adventure Island is that once you've bought your band, you can go on each ride as many times as you like.
Buy tickets online at adventureisland.co.uk
Cost: It's free to enter Harbour Park. You can then either 'pay as you play' with ride tokens costing from £1.50 to £3, or purchase the Super Saver, which gives you 10 rides for £15 online. Alternatively, you can buy a Go Unlimited wristband for £20 online so there's lots of flexibility.
Open: Opening times vary throughout the year. Everything is open in June, July and August. Other outdoor attractions are open between March and September and the soft play is open year-round except for 25 and 26 December. Check at harbourpark.com.
What's there: Not only does Harbour Park have a fab beachfront location, but it's also a great place for younger children as there aren't any adrenaline-junkie rollercoasters here. There's still plenty of fun to be had, though, such as the 7.5-metre waterfall drop of the Logger's Revenge Water Chute and the spinning Crazy Bikes.There's also a Formula One circuit designed for little ones. Other attractions include the soft play Fun Park and the beachfront promenade.
Buy tickets online at harbourpark.com