Theme parks in England offer more than just thrilling rides and entertainment. Because of England's long history, many of the country's theme parks also provide families with stunning historic architecture and captivating educational experiences. As part of a Huffington Post Travel series on family-fun parks, here is our guide to all the key information visitors need to know about England's theme parks.
The United Kingdom's Thorpe Park is conveniently situated just outside London. Notable attractions include Saw, a horror-movie-themed coaster and Stealth, one of Europe's fastest-moving roller coasters. Those seeking a water adventure will enjoy both Neptune's Kingdom and Canada Creek.
is the world's first roller coaster that takes passengers through 10 dizzying loops. According to Themeparks-UK, it reaches speeds of 45 mph and lasts 1 minute, 32 seconds.
Water-Themed Play Pens
Thorpe Park is divided into
. Amity Cove is a "fishing village" that provides tidal waves and other water rides while Calypso Quay is Caribbean-inspired and Canada Creek provides water rides. Lost City is a thrill-seeker's paradise, Neptune's Kingdom is wet-and-wild and exotic Ranger County is carnival themed. Saw Island is inspired by the horror-flick series.
Both sit-down restaurants and grab-and-go food is available. Options include Mexican, American, barbecue, asian, cafe fare and traditional UK meals like fish and chips.
Reported accidents involving injury at Thorpe Park are uncommon but like any theme park, they do occur. According to the
, the most serious incident involved a brain injury suffered by a boy riding on the No Way Out ride. Another rider claimed to have suffered whiplash on Saw -- The Ride.
Address: Staines Road, Chertsey, Surrey, KT16 8PN Phone: 871-663-1673 Hours: Hours vary depending on day and time of year. Call for hours the day of your visit or check online. Typically hours are from around 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Price: At the gate, tickets cost £39.60 (about $65) for adults and £28.80 (about $48) for children 12 and under. Discounts are available for families and those who book online.
Alton Towers Resort
Alton Towers is one of the UK's leading theme parks, and it's jam-packed with rides and entertainment for the family. Enjoy live shows, costumed characters, adrenaline-inducing roller coasters and animal exhibits.
One of the most notable rides is
, a ride that swoops passengers over rivers of blood and rock and reaches G-forces greater than a space shuttle launch.
The Gothic Grounds
Because Alton Towers was built around a
, it provides a one-of-a-kind entertainment and educational experience. The park contains 11 themed areas and country-specific attractions like the Towers and Gardens.
Guests can enjoy a variety of restaurants throughout the theme park, including grilled food, American, pizza, barbecue and traditional UK meals like fish and chips.
Recent incidents include the runaway mine train going off the tracks and resulting in 29 injured passengers, according to the
. Also, a man dislocated his shoulder when he raised his arms on the Queen of Speed.
Address: ST10 4DB Alton, United Kingdom Phone: 871-222-3330 Hours: Alton Towers Resort is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week. Hours are subject to change depending on time of year, so call or check online before visiting. Price: One-day admission costs £31.68 (about $51) for adults and £24.48 (about $40) for children 12 and under. Save 20 percent by booking online.
Other Noteworthy Parks:
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