For little kids, big kids and bigger... erm grown-ups
Hands in the air and… screeeeeeam! And if you visit some of these family fun destinations while they’re celebrating Halloween, scream twice as loud! From rollercoasters that will give the bravest of you jelly legs to swooping treetop rope swings, England’s got it all. Perfect for kids and big kids too. Right, scream again!
Best for… feeling the Gs
New in 2012 is Thorpe Park’s The Swarm . Snaking its way 2,543ft through a post-apocalyptic landscape of twisted metal and swinging you harrowingly close to the rotating blades of a helicopter, The Swarm includes five gut-wrenching inversions as you hurtle around with a pull of up to 4.5Gs. And if you make it to the end of the queue without pretending you’ve got a headache, you can brave The Saw. This terrifying ride includes three insane inversions and a beyond vertical 100ft drop. Gulp…
Best for… Peppa Pig fans
Aimed at the younger market, Paulton’s Family Theme Park has more than 50 rides and attractions to keep early teens and younger happy. And a certain pig has her own entire world there. Yep, that’s right; Peppa Pig World is at Paulton’s Family Theme Park. With seven fun rides and play areas you can even visit Peppa and her family in Peppa’s House. For those wishing to seek thrills beyond the world of the pig, Paulton’s also offers a good selection of faster tempo rides in the form of the Edge – a giant spinning disc, Stinger rollercoaster and more.
Best for… a sky-high walk on the wild side
Not for the faint-spirited, Go Ape provides a treetop adventure trail of wibbly-wobbly bridges, zip lines and rope jumps. Ending each stage of the course with by flying down the zip wire means you’re guaranteed to go out on an adrenaline high.
Best for… beach-side thrills and spills
For the ultimate in high-flying, adrenaline-pumping fun, look no further than Blackpool Pleasure Beach . It's the perfect pick for year-round family fun right on the shores of the world-famous seaside spot. Feeling brave? Jump aboard The Big One, England's tallest and fastest rollercoaster, and reach spine-tingling speeds of over 85mph.
Best for… screams
Alton Towers is a legendary destination for thrill seekers. The names of the rides alone are enough to turn your legs to jelly: The Blade, Nemesis, Oblivion, Rita, Ripsaw, Submission and new kid on the block TH13TEEN. The rides and attractions at the award-winning Alton Towers close for the winter months but open for the autumn and spring half terms.
Best for… inspiring imaginations
Go prepared because BeWilderwood can be a muddy one! Their imaginations will run wild as you play on marsh walks and in magical treehouses in the land of Thorny Crocklebogs and Boggles. This 50-acre adventure park in Norwich is great for families. Keep in touch after your visit by signing up for the e-newsletter – The Twiggle Times. BeWilderwood stays open until the end of October half-term.
Best of… a bit of everything
How to do everything on offer at Chessington World of Adventures Resort in a day is a conundrum. Before you even step onto your first ride there’s a whole zoo to visit. Get soaking wet on the Rameses Revenge in the Forbidden Kingdom, or spin until you’re more than dizzy on the Dragon’s Fury in the Land of the Dragons. Halloween’s a riot here too, with the extra attractions in Halloween Hocuspocus.
Best for… roaring rollercoasters and fairground fun
The signature ride at Lightwater Valley is The Ultimate, Europe’s longest rollercoaster. For six minutes you’ll climb and drop, twist and turn, stomach in mouth. Not every ride is so extreme. The little ones will love the mini Ferris Wheel, magic shows, and spinning teacups. For Halloween, Lighwater Valley becomes Fightwater Valley – an altogether more sinister theme park adventure.
Best for… fans of tiny plastic bricks
Putting together Legoland Windsor’s 55 million bricks must have taken some doing. Nowhere is the joy of Lego more apparent. The park is aimed at 3-12 year olds, but there is much for adults to marvel at too, especially in Miniland. The largest model is the Canary Wharf Tower, made of 200,000 Lego bricks.
Best for… a fun-packed day of adrenaline
Drayton Manor Park is a non-stop action-packed day out for the whole family. With a zoo, theme park and Thomas Land it certainly packs a punch. And can you handle The Apocalypse, voted the best stand-up rollercoaster?
Take the kids to explore the dark, cobbled streets of Victorian London at Dickens World, the minature Lego brick city at Legoland Windsor, and meet Peter Rabbit, Tom Kitten and friends at The World of Beatrix Potter in Cumbria.Find out more
Psst... Handy hints
Take drinks and snacks with you to save money during the day. These are also handy if you get thirsty or hungry while you wait in queue.
Most theme parks are closed during the winter. Many open temporarily for February half term then close again, opening permanently for the season from March.
Jump the queue
One thing you won’t be able to avoid entirely is queuing. But try and hit queues when they are shorter by heading for popular rides over lunchtime, or starting at the far end of the theme park and working backwards.
Some Theme Parks offer discounts on family tickets. Others have special offers only available if you book tickets in advance online.