Peak District Theme Parks

Peak District Theme Parks

OK, there aren’t any really any theme parks in the Peak District but there are a couple that are close by.

Gilliver’s Kingdom

Gulliver’s Kingdom theme park at Matlock Bath has been open for 30 years, it was built by a family with families in mind. It is a family theme park aimed at families with children between the ages of 2 to 13 years of age.

Gullivers Kingdom is set on a picturesque hillside with stunning views  overlooking the Derbyshire Dales.

It has 30 rides and 30 attractions and is run slightly along the lines of Disneyland/world with shows during the day and a lead character called Gully Mouse. It is divided into sectors such as Western Worl and Lilliput Land which makes it easy to keep track of where you have been and where you still need to go. The rides include that old theme park favourite of a log flume, a runaway ‘train’ in the silver mine plus chairlifts and some fairground favourites like the barrel ride and dodgems. Crikey, you (or Granny and Granddad) could end up being misty eyed with nostalgia!

If you feel a bit peckish during your visit, there are several restaurants, cafes and snack bars.  You should find something for even the finickiest member of the family, from jacket potatoes and salads to a full homemade menu.

There are several gift shops too so that you can supplement the photos and videos you take with a souvenir or two.

If you check out trip advisor, you can find honest reports by real people of their day out at Gilliver’s Kingdom.In short, kids seem to love it therefore so the the parents! It sounds like it is a decent family day out.

Oh yes, where is it I hear you ask … Matlock Bath. It’s pointless me spending hours telling you how to get to Matlock Bath as you can either use a map, visit the Gulliver’s Kingdom web site (http://www.gulliversfun.co.uk/matlock-bath) or set your satnav to the postcode. Once in Matlock Bath, the turn to Gulliver’s Kingdom is on the opposite side of the main A6 near the New Bath Hotel.

Alton Towers

Alton Towers was a fine stately home in Staffordshire, within easy reach of the Peak District. Over the years, it has evolved from a ruined house with a model railway and fantastic garden walks to a full-blown Theme Park with some of the UK’s scariest white-knuckle rides.

I have only been a couple of times, once when I was ‘nobbut a youngster’ in the 1960s where the scariest thing was the bloke running the model railway telling you to keep your hands off his model! The closest thing to a ride was the rowing boats and you were allowed to eat your own food there! The gardens were impressive to a small person but hold bad memories for me as I managed to drop my pride an joy – my first camera – into one of the lakes. After a bit of firkling around, my Dad managed to retrieve the camera but not before the water had damaged it beyond repair. 50 odd years later, I still have a vivid memory of seeing him, jacket off and shirt sleeve rolled right up to the shoulder lying on the grass trying to find it!

The second visit was many years later. As a teacher, we took the kids from school as an end of term treat. Nightmare, one of the coaches was a double decker bus and it was rather like St Trinian’s but with various body parts hanging out of the windows on the top deck …

Alton Towers was a fine stately home in Staffordshire, within easy reach of the Peak District. Over the years, it has evolved from a ruined house with a model railway and fantastic garden walks to a full-blown Theme Park with some of the UK’s scariest white-knuckle rides.

Gone is the model railway, replaced with scary rides such as Oblivion, Black Hole and Nemesis sub-Terra  plus the laughs and frights rides which will probably have you reaching for your spare pants. Not all of the rides are scary, there are plenty of others for younger members of the family like frog hopper (wasn’t that a game on the old Acorn computers?) and berry bish bash.

Like Gulliver’s Kingdon, Alton Towers models itself on the Disney theme parks with other static attractions and the garden walks and Chinese pagoda are still there. During your visit, you will also encounter some of the characters like Alton Bear and Sonic the Hedgehog, plus the squirrel and acorn from ice age! Hats off to the folks inside the costumes, especially on sunny days.

There is plenty of parking and you can even stay on site in the hotel. Alternatively, there is other accommodation near Alton Towers that is likely to be more presonal and probably cheaper.

So, you probably want to know how to get there. Get the road atlas out or use a search engine map or one of those new fangled satnav thingies if you are clueless with a map.

Feel free to leave a comment below about your visit to either theme park near the Peak District but please not, if you are a spammer or I just don’t like what you have written, it will be expunged sooner or later.

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