Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Drayton Manor Fantasy Island Thorpe Park
PS: Where is Oakwood Leisure Park located?
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Basically you could do ALL those parks, but it depends if the sheer focus of the trip is theme parks. I reckon you could get to AT in 3-4 hours from TP, it depends on the traffic. Again, AT is an awesome park, visit this one if you can! From there, BPB is around 1 and a half to 2 hours away. Again that totally depends on the traffic, I did that drive in about 1 hour last time, but i reckon the average drive would be about an hour and a half. BPB is a very cool, traditional amusement park. Its got some old woodies, one with no restraints at all (no seatbelts) which is fun. Also the Big One is a good ride and Valhalla is a class water ride. Its got many similarities with Kennywood apparently.
If you're going towards AT, Drayton Manor is about an hour before AT (near to Birmingham). Its a quite good park with an Intamin stand-up and some excellent flats and water rides. And that would be about all the essentials--
...Except for Oakwood. This is an excellent, very-underated park in South West Wales, with Hydro (Intamin Spillwater, like Perilous Plunge) and Megafobia, one of my fave ever coasters. The problem is it maybe a little out of your way. I would put this at about a 4-5 hour drive west from London, maybe more. And from there you're left in the middle of nowhere with no parks near that... but if you can hit that park, do. Its well worth a visit.
Sorry I don't know about Fantasy Island... what I've heard is that its got some good flats, but the 2 coasters, Vekomas, are often closed cos they can't deal with high winds. Errrr I hope thats of some help to you... also just to let you know, MapQuest will not always give you the right driving times... I went from Bristol to Blackpool in 3 hours, MapQuest stated 4 hours. Again, all traffi-dependant.
I wouldn't know exactly how to get there, because we were on the tour buses by then, but Thorpe was certainly a short drive...
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priority 1: thorpe park. easily reachable from london, about 30 mins by car (M25, junction 10) or the train from waterloo is also easy. the park has some of the best rides in the UK with colossus (worlds first 10 looper), nemesis inferno a B&M inverted coaster opening this year and loads of quality flat and water rides. opens april 5th and will cost you about £25 ($35 or so) to get in http://www.rcdb.com/locationdetail286.htm http://www.thorpepark.com
priortiy 2: chessington world of adventures. only about 10 mins down the road from thorpe park by car (M25, junction 9), this park may not have some of the thrills that thorpe park has, but its still a nice park. including the world first floorless suspended coaster (vampire) and a few flat rides including a top spin and top scan, this park isnt exactly top on thrills, but has a few nice ride experiences. i would go just because its so close. opens april 10th and will cost you about £23 to get in. http://www.rcdb.com/locationdetail270.htm http://www.chessington.co.uk
priority 3: alton towers. probably the best park in the UK with a mightly collection of rides including 3 B&Ms (inverted - nemesis, dive machine - oblivion and a flyer - air), plus many class flat rides, this park is a must if you can afford the 4-5 hour car journey from london. you wont be able to do the whole park and travelling in a day, so i advise you to find a cheap bed and breakfast nearby for at least 2 nights (travel first day, perhaps afternoon in the park, sleep, day in park, sleep, some time in park and travel back to london). it may sound like a lot of effort, but its worth it for this nice park. opens april 5th and will cost you about £25 a day to get into. http://www.rcdb.com/locationdetail268.htm http://www.altontowers.com
priority 4: drayton manor. located very near to alton towers, it might worth be popping into this park either on your way to or on your way back from alton towers. some nice rides including europes only stand up, an intamin drop tower and a few nice water rides. is good value at about £17 a day and opens 22nd march. http://www.rcdb.com/locationdetail275.htm http://www.draytonmanor.co.uk/
priority 5: blackpool pleasure beach. will take about 6 hours drive from london but only a couple from alton towers. 11 rollercoasters in one park including one of the best woodies in the country plus an arrow hypercoaster. its pay per ride, but you can get a wristband for unlimited rides. these cost about £20. http://www.rcdb.com/locationdetail267.htm http://www.blackpoolpleasurebeach.co.uk
other than these, i wouldnt really recommend any other parks as they are either to difficult to get to (oakwood) or just not really worth your time (fantasy island). it may also be worth your while to invest in a tussauds annual pass. these cost £80 and let you into alton towers, thorpe park and chessington for free. would be good if you want to spend a couple of days at alton towers. it also lets you get into thorpe park and alton towers 30 minutes earlier to get on the best rides! email me if you have anymore questions: firstname.lastname@example.org hope that all helps!
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Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Well, all 3 are fairly far from London, AFAIK. Especially Blackpool; its like 5-5 1/2 hours by train.
Fantasy Island Thorpe Park
Fantasy Island is about 3 hours east of London by rail. You take Kings Cross in London to Grantham and connect to another train (which is generally smaller) that goes to Skegness. From there, you're gonna need to take a taxi to Fantasy Island, whereas Botton's Pleasure Beach isn't horribly far off and is walkable.
There's also another park called Pleasure Island about an hour ride north. I have no idea whether or not there is a rail station nearby it, but I assume there is. You'd likely have to backtrack to get there though.
Thorpe Park is very close to London. As is Chessington. Brighton Pier isn't more than 2 hours outside London either, and its open 364 days a year (though it lost its dark ride recently to a fire).
Oakwood, as mentioned, is very far from everything and is in Wales. You'll need to drive there.
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