A few years ago, it was announced that London—well, okay, north Kent—was getting its very own Hollywood-esque, Disneyland-style theme park. We watched from the sidelines as countless other cities across the world have welcomed these amusement parks, and finally, it was our turn. Well, until today (March 29), when the project suddenly hit a rather big snag and the team behind the London Resort officially withdrew their planning application for the site.
In a statement released on the website, PY Gerbeau, CEO of London Resort Company Holdings explained that “as a result of the classification of Tilbury as a Freeport […] revisions are required”. With Natural England also having designated the proposed site as a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to the presence of rare wildlife, the project has faced hurdles that have proven difficult to overcome. In spite of this, Gerbeau maintained that the London Resort would come to fruition eventually: “Make no mistake we are still 100% committed to this amazing project and we will resubmit before the end of 2022 and look forward to delivering a world class entertainment resort – the UK deserves better and we will make it happen!”
Fighting talk indeed. Still, there’s no denying that this isn’t a setback for this would-be magical kingdom, further delaying the timeline for a project that was first announced six years ago. Paramount Pictures, the oldest major Hollywood studio in existence, were the driving force behind the project, and later attracted the BBC and ITV Studios to the development. Promising us immersive, next-generation attractions on a site that would have been the size of 136 Wembley Stadiums, the London Resort was initially set to open in 2021, although it was delayed until 2024 by the pandemic. With the company’s intent to resuscitate the project, I guess good things will eventually come to those who wait…
Whilst we’re waiting for news of the planned restart, you can have a look through the planned attractions for the London Resort, which were revealed in a series of artist’s impressions. For starters, here’s ‘Base Camp’, an entire land dedicated to dinosaurs, adventure, and the world of palaeontology, which would be located in the north west corner of the Resort. It will include two rollercoasters, a large multi-media live stage show experience, an advanced simulator attraction, immersive fine dining, and a play area that encourages younger aspiring palaeontologists to climb, dig and tunnel their way across the excavation site to discover the ancient creatures.
Gerbeau explains: “Base Camp’s design is based on a philosophy of what an actual, modern day, prehistorical nature reserve might look like. There will be thrills, spills and high energy rides combined with opportunities to get up close and personal with some of the most amazing creatures ever to walk the earth.”
The resort will have six different themed lands that created on the 535-acre site (if, indeed, it does end up being built on this site). The aerial images offer a glimpse at some of the attractions we could be enjoying if and when it opens, with water log rides, a fairground with a carousel, a helter skelter, nearly a dozen rollercoasters, and lots and lots of castles all planned.
Under the original plan, guests would enter The London Resort via a grand plaza, leading through ‘The High Street’ of shops, restaurants, hotels and a first-class waterpark. West End-style theatre shows, nightclubs, bars, and an art-house style cinema will also be found in the park.
The journey was planned to continue in ‘The Studios’ – a gritty, modern-day warehouse district roaring with huge, blockbuster features. We were told to expect only the best Hollywood movies, from explosive action and high-octane car chases to nail-biting espionage.
A wander north could take you to ‘The Woods’ – an enchanted realm where springtime reigns eternal and the boundary between reality and fantasy dissolves. Guests were invited to step through the pages of a storybook and embark on adventures that put a fresh spin on the fairy tales that we all know and love. Then, we’d discover ‘The Kingdom’, an immersive realm of swords, sorcery and dragons, or ‘The Isles’, a land of giant creatures and mythical beasts.
One might even have become an explorer in ‘The Jungle’. This is where ancient ruins of a mysterious long-lost civilisation are seen pushing through the overgrown treetops…
Finally, you’d find yourself in the ‘The Starport’ – dedicated to futuristic experiences, alien encounters and big thrill rides. This 23rd-century zone would launch you into thrilling science-fiction adventures. Before the project hit recent bumps in the road, The Resort also confirmed that ‘Thunderbirds’, would be turned into an attraction, whilst Paramount Pictures’ ownership of the rights to Mission Impossible, Star Trek and the Italian Job all put these into theories about what rides might open.
So, having looked at everything that could happen, we’re now left waiting for the London Resort developers to resubmit planning permission for the site, or one in the vicinity, before the year’s out. As always, we’ll keep you updated with the details – and maybe one day, we’ll be able to head along for a visit…
Check The London Resort website for updates.
Also published on Medium.