For my birthday, I was treated to a day out at Oakwood, our local Theme Park. If you know me, you know that I love theme parks. Spending my day on rollercoasters is one of the ways I like to relax!
Oakwood is one of those places that is filled with so many memories for me. As a teenager, I would visit several times a year on school trips, trips with summer camp and family days out. It’s only a small park but it has some of the best rides!
We visited during their “Summer Mania” event which was brilliant as the park was open until 8pm and there were DJ sets throughout the day. It gave the park such a great atmosphere and even though it’s nowhere near the level that the old After Dark events were, it was great to see people dancing and having a good time.
I would have liked to see more decoration around the park for Summer Mania though, just to give it a bit more of an event feeling.
When we arrived we headed straight for Megafobia, the park’s 25 year old wooden rollercoaster. It has repeatedly been named as the UK’s best wooden rollercoaster and I have to agree (although Wickerman at Alton Towers is really close). The first drop is insane and the ride is relentless. You’ll get plenty of airtime and funny belly moments. It is quite a basher though so be prepared to come off with some bruises!
On this visit, Amelia was finally big enough to go on Megafobia and we were instructed to go on the back seats. The poor kid’s first experience of Megafobia was a back row ride which is a really rough place to sit (and it’s my favourite!). She didn’t like the first drop, it frightened the life out of her but after that she really enjoyed and she did come back on it later in the day for a re-ride.
After Megafobia we headed over to the Treetops Coaster for Florrie to have a turn on a coaster. Treetops is a family friendly coaster which winds around the trees. It has some great “head chopper” moments and some airtime. Florrie absolutely loved it.
We have to say a massive shout out to the guy operating Treetops towards the end of the day (wish I could remember his name) because he really made our day. As the park was so quiet he told us that if we wanted he would just keep the coaster going round. If we wanted to stop all we had to do was give him a wave otherwise he would just keep us going.
It was hilarious, the girls were laughing their heads off and we managed 20 laps before they decided to try something else!
As we were in the area we went on Speed: No Limits next which was walk on all day! Speed is the park’s Gerstlauer Euro-Fighter roller coaster. It was the first of this kind to come to the UK featuring a more than vertical drop! It’s still the best of this kind of coaster in my opinion.
Again, Amelia was tall enough to go on it and she couldn’t wait to give it a go. Unfortunately this ride was too much for her and she hated it. It must have been quite scary for her as she couldn’t touch the floor so wasn’t really able to brace herself. It’s a really intense ride with lots of inversions. Right up my street but just a bit too much for my little Amelia. Florrie desperately wanted a turn though!
The only coaster at the park that I don’t like and won’t be riding again is The Creepy Crawler. It’s just a really boring layout and is incredibly painful to ride. I came off it with a bouncing headache!
There’s plenty there for little ones too. Florrie is under a meter tall and was able to ride everything apart from the small handful of thrill rides available.
Neverland is a wonderful area of the park, nicely themed and full of kids’ rides.
Florrie was able to ride the Crocodile Coaster, Tink’s Flying School and Skull Rock which she absolutely loved. It was her first time on a log flume and she thought it was brilliant. It is a nice little log flume but I think that the inside of it could do with a bit more theming as it just feels a bit unfinished and basic inside. The drop however is great and you do get pretty wet.
After Neverland we headed to Spooky Street which is the newest themed area of the park. It’s in the location of the old Jake’s Town (I’ll never forgive the park for removing this area) which housed the infamous Nutty Jake’s Gold Mine, the best dark ride ever! I always remember the bit where all the worms come down on your head! It was a very sad day when they got rid of that ride.
They rebranded it as Brer Rabbit’s Burrow which was a bizarre kids dark ride filled with bunnies getting drunk and drugged up! It was still a fun ride to go on though.
Sadly they have removed that ride leaving the park with one dark ride, Spooky 3D. It’s a cooky ghost train where you have to wear 3D glasses. There’s quite a few jump scares in there which Florrie didn’t appreciate! In her words, the ride is “disgusting”! If you aren’t a 4 year old then it’s a fun little ghost train. At the end of the ride there’s this bit where a man is chopping off a chicken’s head, back in the old days it used to squirt water at you when the knife goes down. It was hilarious and is definitely something they need to bring back to the ride.
I think Spooky 3D could really benefit by dropping the 3D glasses and sticking some guns in the train to make it an interactive ride. That combined with the jump scares would make it a cracking ride.
Also in Spooky street is the Witches’ Brew spinning teacup ride. Again, the guy operating this ride at the end of the day was brilliant. As we were getting on Florrie was shouting about wanting to spin really fast. So he asked us if we wanted to spin really fast, Natalia said no but Florrie and Amelia shouted yes. Once we were seated safely he began to spin the cup around like mad. We were going around so fast that we couldn’t move our heads and didn’t even notice the ride actually starting. The kids thought it was brilliant.
It was little things like that throughout the day that really made it and is the perks of going to a quiet park.
Thinking of visiting Oakwood Theme Park? Check out this blog post first. #oakwoodpark #ukthemepark #themeparkTweet
Florrie was also able to ride the bobsleigh and Snake River Falls, I lost count how many times we went on the falls!
At the time of visiting, Drenched was closed due to social distancing but it has now opened. I absolutely love this ride, you get soaked from head to toe, there is no escaping it. And if it’s timed right, when you exit the ride you will get caught by another boat on the bridge. You can literally wring your clothes out after that ride.
The big pirate ship was also closed along with Bounce, but I’ve heard that Bounce is reopening soon and I can’t wait because it is my favourite shot and drop tower around, especially when it runs it’s full cycle of shooting you up to the top, bouncing you around for a bit and then slowly taking you up and dropping you from the top. It’s truly exhilarating.
Food at the park is quite expensive. We had burgers while we were there and they were quite pricey. There weren’t any options for kids meals either, it was just one size which wasn’t great.
When having food, there’s quite a few benches around but you need to watch out for the seagulls, they were quite fearless swooping and landing on people’s tables! We headed over to a lovely, quiet seating area next to Dizzy Disk and weren’t bothered buy the seagulls at all.
This is our first visit to the park in a few years. For a little while the park had looked a tad run down and sorry for itself but it has really picked up again now.
It’s a beautiful park and the landscaping is gorgeous.
I would love to see some proper investment in the park now though, perhaps a suspended looping coaster, a shuttle style coaster or a launch coaster is very much needed I think although I’m not sure how much space the park actually has for expansion. I do think that this type of addition will draw crowds back to the park as it is always so quiet there. Even though being able to walk on to all the rides is brilliant, it’s quite sad to see the park so dead so a real thrilling coaster addition would be great.
The other thing I noticed is that I don’t recall seeing any sideshows around the park. I personally like not being harassed to try and win a teddy but I know a lot of people do like it and with the amount of money people spend trying to win random giant soft toys, it could be a good money maker for the park if they had a few dotted around the place.
We had a really great day at the park. We stayed until close and it was an absolute blast. Like I said, the staff really made the day for us. They were all so friendly and made an effort to bring the fun for us.
Natalia’s favourite part of the day was riding Megafobia.
Amelia’s was getting 20 laps on Treetops and says she would love to see a rapids added to the park.
Florrie’s favourite was getting wet on Skull Rock. She has said that she would like another little rollercoaster that she could ride.
If you haven’t visited it’s really worth the trek. Whether you are a thrill seeker or are visiting with the family there’s plenty to do there, especially with the reopening of Drenched and Bounce. As soon as Bounce reopens we’ll definitely be going back!