Obscure UK Parks

Discussion in 'European Parks and Attractions' started by CGM, 10th Jun 2014.

  1. CGM

    CGM TowersStreet Member

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    I thought it would be good to dedicate a thread to smaller UK parks that are never or rarely discussed on this forum. Some of these may escape enthusiast attention because they're aimed at a younger audience or perhaps because some of them exist in a grey area between theme parks and other types of attractions.

    Despite their lack of major rides, I find that these small, local parks can be far more charming and atmospheric than the larger parks that we tend to focus on. As such, I'm sure that many of us will have fond memories of these attractions.

    Just off the top of my head, here's a list of parks that I think fit into this category:

    Blackgang Chine
    Sundown Adventureland
    Flambards
    The Gullivers parks (although they don't help themselves by banning all adults without children)


    First off, I'm going to make the case for Watermouth Castle. It's a park that I don't think many people are aware of located on the North Devon coast near Ilfracombe.

    [​IMG]

    The attraction is essentially split into two halves. The fist half takes place in the Victorian country house from which the attraction takes its name. This section comprises of a series of small museums, collections and curiosities. These include the castle's great hall which houses suits of armour and a collection of hand carts. There's a collection of vintage pier-end slot machines, a model railway, vintage punch card organs and a dancing fountains show that was originally installed at the 1951 Festival of Britain. You can also visit the dungeons where you will find a sinister maze, a hall of mirrors, various craft workshops and a collection of classic arcade machines.

    This section of Watermouth has an old-world charm about it that is now rare in larger parks. Although I can't speak from experience, I reckon it's the closest thing you can find today to Alton during the Broome era when the park was full of small museums, funhouses and other diversions alongside the rides.

    [​IMG]

    Once you leave the castle, you enter the theme park which is located on the hillside behind the house. The park is set amongst lush gardens overlooking the coast. Here, you can find a selection of small family and kiddie rides. However, the non-ride attractions are perhaps most interesting as they are all so quaint and full of character.

    The park is split into themed areas:

    In Gnome Land you can find a series of animated figures in miniature buildings going about their daily life.
    It's also the location of the panning for gold attraction, the Camera Obscura and the Tilting House.

    [​IMG]

    Adventure Land contains most of the 'headline' rides which includes the Big River Ride, the Cooking Pot Ride and the Snail Trail Ride. There's also a crazy golf course and one of the park's two musical shows featuring a band of animatronic dogs.

    [​IMG]

    Finally, Merry-Go-Land contains a carousel, swing boats and a Zamperla Mini Jet. Here you can also find an extensive water playground, the Haunted Mill, a hedge maze, a Trommel tunnel and a shadow wall. There's also the Snake Tube slide which is notable for being the longest in the world.

    [​IMG]

    For a park of Watermouth's size, the theming efforts are extremely good. There are several animatronics dotted about the park. Whilst they may not be the most advanced in the world, they fulfill their purpose and do a great job of adding to the atmosphere.

    Overall, Watermouth Castle is a very high quality attraction with tons of character. There's a huge number of things to see and do both inside and outside. Despite its small size, I would still say it's still a park that can take up a full day.

    [​IMG]
    Website: http://www.watermouthcastle.com/
     
    Last edited: 10th Jun 2014
    Craig, Mark-Cal, TheMan and 2 others like this.
    Posted 10th Jun 2014
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  2. Alastair

    Alastair TS Forum Team Team Member

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    Blackgang Chine is diabolical. I went when I was about 8 or 9, and the trip consisted of mainly laughing at the hideously bad animatronics that fill the park. Can't speak for it now, but it was very, very poor then - and I was pretty much the target audience.
     
    Posted 10th Jun 2014
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  3. smudge

    smudge TowersStreet Member

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    I live virtually next to Wicksteed Park, so think it deserves a mention.

    They have just recently installed a 40mph zip-wire which is a positive step and is proving popular.

    The Water Chute is basically a skip-on-a-rope but the charm of the old thing still draws a crowd.
    [​IMG]

    The Pirate Ship is still the largest double pirate ship in the Uk too, and as much as it used to be in better nick (obviously) it packs much more of a punch than any other ship i've ever experienced. (The lap bar is basically non-existent too)

    [​IMG]

    Taken from http://wicksteedpark.co.uk/default.aspx

    With plenty of history this place really does have lots of charm and nostalgia still for older generations especially, although does still need significant investment, even though the log-flume and zip-wire/climbing wall have been a step forward.

    On a negative note though, the engineering/maintenance is SHOCKING. I'm amazed they are not shut down sometimes after hearing stories form the few members of staff I know who work there. For me, though, that kind of excites me.
     
    Posted 11th Jun 2014
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  4. Poisson

    Poisson TowersStreet Member

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    Location:
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    Wheelgate Adventure Park at White Post, Newark.

    Went when it used to be Wonderland Pleasure Park and was fun, even if one of the coasters had no end(!)

    http://rcdb.com/5423.htm
     
    Posted 14th Jun 2014
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  5. Burbs

    Burbs TS Site Team Team Member

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    I was thinking of Sundown as well! Brilliant park for under 10s, even though I would love to revisit it again now! The prices were very reasonable (£15 I think when I last went), and the theming was brilliant! Favourite bits had to be Nursery Rhyme Land (which was an interactive walkthrough experience) and Santa's Sleigh Ride (otherwise known as BENCH's little sister!).

    Lolipoppet Castle was always a hit too, with the liquorice aroma which filled the attraction, as well as the Boozy Barrel Boat Ride, in partnership with the Pirate Walk! Everything was just perfect there.

    Then the dark times hit, and Angry Birds "landed". Don't quote me, but I believe this was the first park (or definitely one of the first parks) to have an Angry Birds "themed" area, although the previous Noah's Ark play area was looking a bit dire.

    http://www.sundownadventureland.co.uk/themepark/

    Edit: Turns our Noah's Ark is still there according to the website, and ABL was purely an expansion!
     
    Posted 14th Jun 2014
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  6. Mankey

    Mankey TowersStreet Member

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    [​IMG]

    Some of you midlanders might remember this. "Klondike Gold Rush"

    It's still crap, yes. It's still rough, yes. But hell, it's still better than G-Force...

    This is down the road from me on Hayling Island.
    The park has a tiny KMG Afterburner, a ridiculously wet log flume, a beastie clone and a tiny drop tower! :p
     
    DW_0505 likes this.
    Posted 15th Jun 2014
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  7. DiogoJ42

    DiogoJ42 TowersStreet Member

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    That place is a dumping ground for second hand crap. The Pinfari Dragon coaster is also from DMP, and the drop tower used to be in the Troccodero in London.
     
    Mankey likes this.
    Posted 16th Jun 2014
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  8. nemesis1994

    nemesis1994 TowersStreet Member

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    Oi! ;) It's quite a nice little park to nip down to if you're around the area. The log flume and the mini afterburner are quite fun although I have terrible memories of getting a bust nose on the halter skelter from my head hitting my knees. I also have memories of when I cried on the frog hopper when I was around 3 because i was scared. A lot has changed since then :p
     
    Posted 16th Jun 2014
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  9. Snagglemama

    Snagglemama TowersStreet Member

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    I hated that coaster
     
    Posted 27th Jun 2018
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  10. Snagglemama

    Snagglemama TowersStreet Member

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    I can't find a post for clarence pier so going to whack it here. Clarence pier had a Galaxi coaster called skyways. Great coaster rode it many times as a kid. This year they have removed it in favour of a whacky wor :banghead:
    :banghead: now from watching a vlog from 2017 it ran fine, looked okay. They always had to push it off in any case.

    Clarence pier have said it's being refurbed it's coming back. But I have heard on the grapevine it's been on showmans ads on Facebook
     
  11. speedy

    speedy TowersStreet Member

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    I saw a screenshot this morning of the cars for sale. :( I was lucky to ride that coaster last year.
     
  12. Snagglemama

    Snagglemama TowersStreet Member

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    I would really like to know more about this. I knew they were lying. A well known vlogger was saying it was virtually sold etc and then his mate whom I saw in his vlog said no it's staying then said vlogger suddenly went quiet
     
  13. speedy

    speedy TowersStreet Member

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    Are you a member of the UK Theme Parks Chat Facebook group? Someone posted a screenshot here. This is the only info I have seen so far.
     
  14. Funcone

    Funcone TowersStreet Member

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    For me it will always be the roller coaster that Mr Bean fell asleep on.

     
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  15. Snagglemama

    Snagglemama TowersStreet Member

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    I've just asked to join.
     
  16. Snagglemama

    Snagglemama TowersStreet Member

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    Love that clip it's a great coaster too
     
    Funcone likes this.
  17. Coaster

    Coaster TowersStreet Member

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    Skyways is/was great fun, it always amazed me how smoothly it ran and never seemed to have any issues.

    A shame Clarence Pier can't be honest in any case, I asked them about it on their Facebook page and had my post removed.
     
  18. Snagglemama

    Snagglemama TowersStreet Member

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    Coaster I sent a Pm and made a noise about it got the same deal as you to be honest. And they have replaced it with that worm thing. It's disgusting! So many great memories on that including the year I fancied the ride technition and he took me up in the dark no safety bar. No need to refurb what ain't broke. Andy Rumney agrees with me.
     
  19. Rick

    Rick TowersStreet Member

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    Why disgusting? If they're working to refurb it or if they've ripped it out, it's an old ride that has been battered by the elements for the best part of 4 decades. Stuff happens.
     
  20. speedy

    speedy TowersStreet Member

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    I'd rather the park didn't lie about refurbishing it however.

    There's a point after which roller coasters feel old enough to be "historic" and it's quite a shock to see them removed. Same goes for the Mouse at Blackpool.
     

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