London is a pretty thrilling place to live already, but if you want even more thrills and spills, then you’re in luck! From towering roller coasters and horror-themed mazes to beachside merry-go-rounds, here’s our rundown of six of the best theme parks near London. Strap yourself in!
1. Thorpe Park
Kicking off this list of the best theme parks near London is arguably one of the UK’s most thrilling attractions. Thorpe Park is known for its white-knuckle attractions, with key rides including ‘Stealth’ – a 205-foot-tall metal monster that launches you to 80mph in less than two seconds – and ‘The Swarm’ – the UK’s only winged roller coaster.
Other rides of note here include ‘Saw The Ride’ – the world’s first horror movie themed coaster which has a beyond vertical drop of 100 degrees – and Detonator: Bombs Away – an 105-foot-tall drop tower that fires you back down to earth at 50mph. They’ve also got the UK’s tallest rollercoaster in the pipeline for 2024 –236 feet of pure adrenaline. Phew!
📍You’ll find Thorpe Park at Staines Road, Chertsey, KT16 8PN.
🚇 Nearest station is Staines and bus services directly to the park are available.
2. LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort
One more specifically designed for younger thrillseekers, LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort is a theme park dedicated to the ‘World’s favourite toy’. Operated by Merlin entertainments, the park has 12 different areas and consists of a mixture of Lego-themed rides, models, and building workshops.
More than 55 million Lego bricks have been used to create the park, and some of the signature rides include ‘The Dragon’ – a rollercoaster that weaves its way around a Lego castle at speeds of up to 30mph – and the DUPLO® Dino Coaster – the world’s first DUPLO themed ride. New for 2022 was the ‘Magical Forest’ – a walkthrough attraction that has a myriad of magical Lego creatures – and 2023 sees the arrival of the LEGO® Ferrari Build & Race Experience which features three separate interactive zones.
📍You’ll find LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort at Winkfield Road, Windsor, SL4 4AY.
🚇 Nearest station is Windsor and Eton and bus services directly to the park are available.
3. Adventure Island
Free to enter and situated right by the waters of the North Sea, Adventure Island is all about ‘awesome sights, thrills and frights for revellers of all ages’. Arguably the star attraction here is ‘Rage’ – a 72-foot-tall roller coaster with three inversions and a 97 degree drop.
Other rides for thrills and spills at this London theme park include the ‘Sky Drop’ drop tower, the ‘Axis’ sky swing and the ‘Dragon’s Claw’ – an inverting ride that pretty much amounts to being thrown around a washing machine. There’s also the brand-new ‘Screature’, which will no doubt leave you screaming your heads off. Better strap in and hold on tight!
📍You’ll find Adventure Island at Western Esplanade, Southend-on-Sea, SS1 1EE.
🚇 Nearest station is Southend Central.
4. Dreamland Margate
Part gig venue, part theme park, Dreamland Margate is a fantastic amusement park right by the sea in fashionable Margate, and it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re wanting to enjoy some thrills and spills with your beach time.
Considered to be the oldest-surviving theme park in the United Kingdom, it was restored to its former glory back in 2017, it now has a whole host of fun rides and attractions, including the Grade II*-listed ‘Scenic Railway’ – the oldest roller coaster in the United Kingdom. On top of the rides, there’s also ‘Ziggy’s Rooftop Bar’, a rooftop spot which offers unparalleled vistas over the iconic ‘JMW Turner’ skyline, as well as an intimate ballroom which hosts regular events and gigs.
📍You’ll find Dreamland Margate at 49-51 Marine Terrace, Margate, CT9 1XJ.
🚇 Nearest station is Margate.
5. Chessington World of Adventures
The penultimate entry on this roundup of the best theme parks in London is another family fave. Chessington World of Adventures is a theme park, zoo and SEA LIFE aquarium and is, in their own words, ‘Britain’s wildest family adventure’. Rides here include the ‘Dragon’s Fury’, the ‘Tiger Rock’ log flume and the thrilling 25-metre-tall ‘Croc Drop’ which plunges riders into the jaws of a mythical crocodile.
They’ve also got ‘ZUFARI – Ride into Africa’ here, which is a theme park adventure and safari combined. As you career around the tracks, you’ll come face to face with wonderful African animals such as white rhino, giraffes and Grevy’s zebra as you embark on a thrilling off-road truck journey. For 2023 they’ve got the brand-new ‘Jumanji’ section of the park rolling in to the park, which sees the arrival of ‘Mandrill Mayhem’ – the world’s only Jumanji-themed rollercoaster – and the thrilling ‘Ostrich Stampede’ too.
📍You’ll find Chessington World of Adventures at Leatherhead Road, Chessington, KT9 2NE.
🚇 Nearest station is Chessington South.
6. London Dungeon
Rounding off this list of the best theme parks near London is more of an interactive horror attraction than a traditional theme park per se. Recreating various macabre historical London events with a Gallows-humour style, it’s a really fun spot with shows dedicated to Jack the Ripper, the Great Fire of London and Guy Fawkes’ Gunpowder Plot.
In terms of rides, the London Dungeon has also got a backwards boat ride which takes you to the fictional Traitor’s Gate and ‘Drop Dead’ – a drop ride designed to make you feel like you are being hanged at Newgate Prison. Spooky stuff!
📍You’ll find the London Dungeon at The Queen’s Walk, London, SE1 7PB.
🚇 Nearest station is Waterloo.
So there you have it – six of the best theme parks near London. So sit back, strap in and in the words used on Thorpe Park’s ‘Stealth’, hold on tight!