Now that the summer holidays are coming to an end and the early morning school commute is looming it can be easy to give up family days out and instead settle back into the old, familiar routine of term-time. If this sums up your September, you should think again, as this is in fact one of the best times to enjoy family days out, especially if you’re planning to head to a theme park. During September theme parks tend to be less crowded, often discounts are available and the weather is still generally good.
In the UK we have an abundance of good theme parks, from small local parks to ones that are known nationwide. Here is a round-up of some of the best that are ideal for a fun-filled family day out:
Suitable for all age groups, Thorpe Park is a great choice for families with both young children and teens. Older children, and brave adults, will love the adrenaline-fuelled rides such as The Swarm, Stealth and Colossus; while younger children will have fun on rides like Flying Fish and Mr Monkey’s Banana Ride. Plus there are the traditional family favourites Rumba Rapids and Storm in a Teacup that the family can all enjoy together. As well as this, Thorpe Park opened its Crash Pad hotel this year, great if you decide to extend your family day out.
How to get there: Thorpe Park is in Surrey, if you are driving it is between junctions 11 and 13 on the M25. There are also trains that go Staines Stations and a regular shuttle service from there to the theme park, check out the Direct Rail website for details.
Drayton Manor is ideal for those with Thomas the Tank Engine-obsessed toddlers. Thomas Land is the perfect place for your youngsters to indulge in their passion for Thomas and Friends and they will love riding on the replica Thomas train. All the other rides are targeted at their age range, making this a great family day out.
Saying this, Drayton Manor has more to offer than just Thomas Land. Young children will enjoy the zoo and conservation area, where they can see over 100 species of animals. Alternatively, older children and thrill-seeking adults will love Drayton Manor’s high-octane rides including Apocalypse and G-Force.
How to get there: Drayton Manor is near Tamworth, Staffordshire and can be reached by car on the A4091, just off the A38/A446, J9 M42 and Exit T2 M6 Toll (for Toll prices see the M6 Toll website). The nearest train station is Tamworth.
The perfect day out for families with older children is Alton Towers. Full of fun and thrilling rides, Alton Towers is the ultimate day out for thrill-seekers. The theme park has a number of well-known rides including Oblivion and Nemesis, as well as The Smiler, a new 14 looping roller coaster. Younger members of the family aren’t left out entirely as there is an area dedicated to rides aimed at smaller children, including the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Ride and Frog Hopper.
How to get there: Alton Towers is in Staffordshire and can easily be got to by car or rail. If you are travelling by road it is between the M1 and M6 and is well signposted. The nearest train stations are Stoke-on-Trent, Derby and Uttoxeter and there is a regular bus service to the park.
Oakwood Theme Park
England might have the most well-known theme parks, but Wales holds its own with Oakwood Theme Park. Again this theme park has something for the whole family. Adrenalin junkies will enjoy rides like Speed, Megafobia and Vertigo; while younger children will love exploring the Neverland area. The whole family will also be able to spend time together trying out mini-golf and watching spooky 3D.
How to get there: Oakwood Theme Park is located near Carmarthen and can easily be got to by following the M4 and then the A40.
Legoland Windsor Resort
Young children will love a day out at Legoland and, if they’re not already into Lego, it will be sure to kick-start their passion for the toy. Whether you’re enjoying the family-orientated rides or marvelling at the realistic models built from Lego, there is so much to do at Legoland it is a case of how long your little ones can last until you call it a day.
How to get there: Legoland is located close to Windsor and can easily be reached via the M25, junction 13. It also provides a shuttle service from its two nearest train stations, Windsor & Eton Central and Windsor & Eton Riverside.
Written by Derin Clark, a writer, editor and blogger in association with Direct Rail.