01/08/2023
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Theme park campsites: our pick of the best

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  More Editor's campsite picks

If your idea of a top family holiday is strapping yourself in for thrills and spills on some of the best UK roller coasters then these are the campsites for you!

Theme park campsites are a top idea for families to keep all ages happy and also ideal for couples looking for an adrenline-filled adventure. So strap yourself in for a whirlwind guide to Britain’s biggest and best theme parks, along with some ideas for where to pitch up.

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Simple answer – because they are fun! And there’s genuinely something for everyone – more sedate rides for little ones and the fastest rides and the highest drops for the adrenaline junkies of the group. For anyone who’s ever had a day out at a theme park you’ll know it’s sometimes hard to fit all the action into one day, so keep the full-on fun going by staying a few days and making a return visit.

You’ll also be right in, or close to, the heart of the action, so you can be there at the front of the queue when the gates open!


For a top theme park holiday it’s great to be able to pitch up right near the action. Several theme parks have their own campsites, meaning you can pitch up on their doorstep and be first in line when the doors open in the morning.

There are theme parks with camping and touring across the UK, in Devon, the Midlands and northern England, for example. Even if the theme park you want to visit doesn’t offer camping on site, there will be plenty of campsites near to the theme park to choose from instead.

Theme parks in themselves are not particularly cheap, so if you are camping nearby and need to pay for entry into the theme park, it is essential that you keep a keen eye out for special offers. There are often two-for-one ticket offers and you can also get cheap tickets online.


The price can vary, the same as any other campsite, based on the facilities offered. Campsites with more facilities are likely to be more expensive than a more basic campsite. For theme parks with their own campsites, the price often includes unlimited entry into the theme park for the duration of your stay.

If finances allow it, you can also visit multiple parks from the same campsite base, such as Thorpe Park, Legoland Windsor Resort and Chessington World of Adventures, all on the outskirts of London and fairly close to each other.


Theme park campsites in the Southwest

Crealy Theme Park and Resort

Exeter, Devon

Crealy Theme Park And Resort

(Photo courtesy of Crealy Theme Park and Resort)

About Crealy Theme Park and Resort

Having the ‘most rides in Devon’, award-winning Crealy Theme Park is sure to entertain everyone for the whole day. It has over 60 rides and attractions, live shows, several animals to see and much more.

What to do

New in 2022, Sooty Land is based around the long-running TV show and provides fun for the whole family with live theatre performances of The Sooty Show, new rides, Sweep’s Flying Circus, Soo’s Sweet Balloon Ride and plenty more!

Animal lovers can go to see the array of animals including Shetland ponies, alpacas, emus, meerkats and tortoises. Plus, there are over 200 farm and zoo animals.

If water is your thing, head to the Soak Zone, Tidal Wave Log Flume, or Vortex, which is a water coaster consisting of three different slides named Venom, Vertigo and Viper. Try them all and pick your favourite!

The fun doesn’t have to stop if it rains, either, as there is a lot of indoor fun to be had with the Lost World of Atlantis, Jungle Journey, an Adventure Zone and The Pier, which is Crealy’s nautical-themed seaside pier home to lots of games to play and, if you wanted to pick up a memento or gift, Sooty’s Store.

Where to stay when visiting Crealy Theme Park and Resort

Crealy Theme Park Campsite

Surrounded by beautiful Devon countryside and being right next door to Crealy Theme Park, it is the perfect place to set up camp. There is a clubhouse serving food and drink and it also provides evening entertainment.

It also has a Multi Sports Court and Adventure Golf Course, as well as being in the centre of Devon – plenty to keep you busy! Although the family dog can’t attend the theme park, dog kennels are provided for them if they’re on holiday with you.

Contact details:
Sidmouth Road, Exeter, Devon EX51DR
01395 233200
W: crealy.co.uk


Woodlands Family Theme Park

Totnes, Devon

Woodlands Family Theme Park

(Photo courtesy of Woodlands Family Theme Park)

About Woodlands Family Theme Park

There’s something here for anyone and everyone! Claiming to be the 'largest theme park in Devon', Woodlands has both indoor and outdoor attractions so there's fun to be had come rain or shine.

What to do

There are various 'zones' across the park, including a Cyclone Canyon Zone where all the water rides are! There are plenty of indoor play options along with a zoo farm and also a falconry centre. The Circus Drome Zone is the place to be on a rainy day as all the rides are indoors and the Toddler Village Zone provides a safe space for younger children to play away from the bigger kids.

A variety of places to eat mean no one goes hungry and there are different events on throughout the year. These include special ticket discounts, Halloween themed rides and events, a Christmas grotto and shows throughout the summer.

Where to stay when visiting Woodlands Family Theme Park

Woodlands Caravan and Camping

Located in beautiful countryside and only a short drive from the picturesque waterside town of Dartmouth in Devon. The camping and touring area is a short walk from the theme park, and thanks to trees and heading it feels a world away from the action of the rides.

There's a campsite general store and guests benefit from free entry into Woodlands Family Theme Park and Falconry Centre with stays of two nights or more.

Contact details:
Dartmouth, Devon TQ9 7DQ
01803 712598
W: woodlandsgrove.co.uk


Theme park campsites in the Southeast

Thorpe Park Resort

Chertsey, Surrey

Thorpe Park

(Photo courtesy of Thorpe Park)

About Thorpe Park Resort

While Legoland and Chessington World of Adventures are more targeted at younger families, Thorpe Park has firmly set its sights on the older, more demanding thrill seeker.

What to do

The SAW ride – themed around the horror film series – is billed as the scariest roller coaster in the world, while Stealth, which accelerates to 80 miles per hour in around 1.9 seconds, once held the title of the fastest. Other monsters include Nemesis Inferno, Storm Surge and The Swarm. The Swarm is the UK’s first winged roller coaster, described as “a death-defying flight through apocalyptic devastation”. It also features a headfirst drop from 39m.

There are plenty of restaurants and shops here including The Veggie Box, Sombrero’s Street Food, Wilderness Bar and Kitchen, Amity Kebabs, a pizza takeaway and even a bar, The Huntsman’s Arms.

Check the website for the upcoming special events throughout the year and, if you can handle it, head to the Halloween event, ‘Fright Nights’.

Where to stay when visiting Thorpe Park Theme Park

Chertsey Camping and Caravanning Club Site

This is an attractive, well-sheltered site. However, it is its location that makes it highly recommended for theme park campers. This campsite is right on the doorstep of Thorpe Park but is also handy for Legoland and Chessington, making it an ideal base if you want to spend a week or so hitting the different theme parks.

As all three parks are run by the same company, Merlin, it’s possible to buy a season ticket that would make multiple visits a much more affordable prospect.

Contact details:
Bridge Road, Bridge Road, Surrey KT16 8JX
01932 562405
W: campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk


Legoland Windsor Resort

Windsor, Berkshire

Legoland

(Photo courtesy of Legoland Windsor Resort)

About Legoland Windsor Resort

Legoland Windsor Resort is a family theme park dedicated to the imagination and creativity of children of all ages, with more than 55 interactive attractions. It could be described as a cross between a theme park with rides and attractions and a giant model village.

What to do

Miniland, as the name would suggest, is a miniature world in Lego form, featuring towns and cities made out of 40 million bricks.

Unsurprisingly, there are lots more Lego structures dotted around the site but there are also plenty of exciting rides to enjoy. This is very much a child-friendly theme park, so there are no rides with the fear factor of some of the Alton Towers roller coasters.

That’s not to say they are boring – there’s plenty of thrills and spills to be had, not to mention the odd bellyache. Especially if you eat lunch just before getting on board the swinging pirate ship, the Jolly Rocker.

Where to stay when visiting Legoland Windsor Resort

Hurley Riverside Park

With plenty to do on and off the park, there is enough to keep the whole family occupied. There are nature trails and table tennis, you can rent a canoe or paddleboard and there’s wildlife to see. As well as being around 11 miles from Legoland, it is also close to Marlow, Oxford and Henley, plus local pubs, restaurants, museums and railways.

Contact details:
Berkshire, SL6 5NE
01628 823501
W: hurleyriversidepark.co.uk


Chessington World of Adventures

Chessington, Surrey

Chessington World of Adventures

Chessington World Of Adventures

(Photo courtesy of Chessington World of Adventures)

About Chessington World of Adventures

Ten themed lands, a zoo and a Sea Life centre make this a theme park with a distinctly wild feel about it. Just 12 miles from the centre of London, it started out purely as a zoo before World War 2, but, in a bid to reverse declining visitor numbers, it was developed as a theme park in the 1980s.

What to do

There are live shows, character meet and greets and plenty of entertainment on the side. Personally, I’m not a big fan of zoos but the theme park side of the attraction has plenty going on in its own right, including a good selection of thrill rides and roller coasters – all aimed at the family market.

The spinning roller coaster, Dragon’s Fury, is probably the star attraction at the park, reaching speeds of 45mph and heights of 18m. It might not be one for the hardcore thrill seeker but younger visitors will find it exhilarating. Other popular rides include Tiger Rock, Vampire and, new for 2021, was the Croc Drop which was the first new ride since 2013! Since then the World of Jumaji opened in 2023. For younger visitors there’s Amazu, Dragon’s Playhouse and the Sea Dragons.

Where to stay when visiting Chessington World of Adventures

Laleham Camping Club

Around 20 minutes' drive away from Chessington, Laleham Camping Club, which is run by its members for its members and fellow campers, manages the site. Temporary membership is included in site fees. The club runs social events and entertainment throughout the year, open to all campers.

Vehicles are only allowed onto the site for unloading and loading equipment. Laleham village has a shop and nearby Chertsey has supermarkets as well as pubs that serve food. London is only 30 minutes away.

Contact details:
Thames Side, Laleham, Middlesex, Staffordshire TW18 1SS
01932 564149
W: lalehamcampingclub.co.uk


Gulliver’s Land Theme Park Resort

Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire

Gulliver’s Land Theme Park And Resort

(Photo courtesy of Gulliver’s Land Theme Park Resort)

About Gulliver’s Land Theme Park Resort

With a great selection of rides, shows and attractions, Gulliver’s Land is a family-run theme park designed for children aged between two and 13 that has been running for more than 40 years. On the map you will find Adventure Land, Lilliput Land, Gully Town and Toy Land, all with different rides and attractions focused around the family.

What to do

There are lots of fun family rides to choose from, such as the popular Runaway Train in Discovery Bay and Adventure Land’s Jungle River Ride – but be warned, you might get wet! Glide through the air on the Tree Top Swings, and who doesn’t love a pirate ship ride? You can jump aboard the Gulliver’s Buccaneer which picks up speed as it swings back and forth getting higher and higher!

You will also find fun activities such as the Adventure Land Maze, Monkey Climb, Forest Ball Climb, The Enchanted Forest, Sand Dig and also some rides and play zones that are designed specifically for toddlers. Look out for the upcoming events, too, which will be popping up throughout the year.

When it comes to lunchtime there is a good choice of food, from burgers, hot dogs and chicken nuggets to fish and chips, pizza and also healthy eating options.

As well as the theme park there are resort activities, too, including Dinosaur and Farm Park, SplashZone and The SFear, which is a high rope attraction. However, tickets to these are separate to the theme park price.

Where to stay when visiting Gulliver’s Land Theme Park Resort

Gulliver's Meadow Campsite

On Gullivers’ 90-pitch campsite there are choices of both grass and hardstanding pitches and modern facilities. As well as being on the doorstep of the theme park and resort activities, it takes around 30 minutes to drive to Northampton and is just a seven-minute drive to Milton Keynes.

Livingstone Drive, Newlands, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, MK15 0DT
01908 609001
W: gulliverslandresort.co.uk/gullivers-meadow-campsite


Theme park campsites in the Midlands

Alton Towers Resort

Alton, Staffordshire

Alton Towers

(Photo courtesy of Alton Towers)

About Alton Towers Resort

Ask anyone to name a British theme park and chances are their first response will be Alton Towers. It is one of the UK’s most visited theme parks and one of the most popular in Europe, too.

What to do

Much of that popularity is down to the quality of the rides. Nemesis, Oblivion, Rita, Th13teen and The Smiler are currently the major attractions and, if you’re a fan of terror-inducing, white-knuckle rides, then you’ll love them. For those who prefer to keep their feet firmly on the ground the variety of attractions on offer at Alton Towers means there’s still plenty to do, such as a relaxing walk through the huge gardens.

All age groups are well catered for at Alton Towers... the youngest children will love CBeebies Land, and there are plenty of rides for older children, even if they’re not quite up to going on the scariest roller coasters.

The Waterpark attraction is also well worth a visit. You could easily spend a day here. There’s a host of high-speed water slides and flumes including the Master Blaster water coaster, which will send you hurtling around the waterpark at breakneck speed.

Where to stay when visiting Alton Towers Theme Park

Alton, The Star Camping and Caravanning Club Site

The 195 pitches are spread over two fields, with the top field catering for tents. Most of the site is on a slope, although there are a few flat pitches and the views over the surrounding countryside are spectacular. As well as the location being little over a mile from Alton Towers’ main gate, a big attraction is the well-equipped children’s playground, which is located right in the heart of the site.

If you want to explore more than just the theme park, the site is ideal as a base for visiting the Peak District National Park.

Contact details:
Star Road, Cotton, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire ST10 3DW
01538 702219
W: campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk


Drayton Manor Resort

Near Tamworth, Staffordshire

Drayton Manor

(Photo courtesy of Drayton Manor)

About Drayton Manor Resort

Drayton Manor is home to Thomas the Tank Engine and this fact alone would be enough to guarantee that the place is packed with youngsters by the carriage-load. Thomas remains massively popular with the pre-school set and, as a result, Thomas Land is a major attraction for families.

It features more than 25 rides and attractions based on the series about the little blue engine and his railway pals – including Cranky’s Drop Tower and the Troublesome Trucks Coaster, Blue Mountain Engines and Harold’s Helicopter Tours.

What to do

Drayton Manor is not just for kids. It also has a selection of thrill rides – all of which boast terrifying-sounding names. You don’t need to be a genius to work out that Shockwave, Thor, Accelerator, Stormforce 10 and Maelstrom are not for the faint-hearted.

There’s also a 15-acre zoo within the theme park’s grounds, which houses over 500 animals from all around the world, including a Sumatran tiger, Northern lynx, monkeys, meerkats and tapirs, as well as various birds of prey and reptiles. With many being endangered species, it has conservation projects that animal lovers can support and learn about.

After all that exploring there are also plenty of places to get some food and drink, including family favourites like fish ‘n’ chips, pizza and pasta.

Where to stay when visiting Drayton Manor Theme Park

Drayton Manor Theme Park Campsite

As well as being ideal for families wanting to make the most of Drayton Manor’s attractions, this Camping and Caravanning Club site is also a useful base to discover more of the local area, including SnowDome in Tamworth, the National Forest and Lichfield Cathedral.

Contact details:
Drayton Manor, near Tamworth, Staffordshire B78 3TW
01827 260617
W: campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk


Wicksteed Park

Kettering, Northamptonshire

Wicksteed Park

(Photo courtesy of Wicksteed Park)

About Wicksteed Park

Since 1921, Wicksteed Park has been providing a great day out for families, making it the oldest theme park in the UK. Its founder, Charles Wicksteed, bought the land in 1913 and today there are four exciting areas to explore, the Adventure, Thrill, Heritage and Splash zones.

What to do

Adventure Zone is home to Meerkat Manor, Clown Coaster, Tree Top Walk, an aviary, and the Lighthouse which is another exciting ride at the park. Thrill Zone has Rocky River Falls, Galaxy Invaders, Dinosaur Valley, dodgems and more. The Heritage Zone includes the railway, traditional playground, carousel, Sway Rider and lakeside walks. You will find the world’s oldest chute in the Splash Zone as well as sand and water play which is bound to keep the kids entertained, and lake boats for both adults and children.

It also has Classic Cars, which is a vintage car ride where children can pick their favourite car and drive around the old-fashioned English countryside setting. Spiffing!

Treat the whole family by visiting one of the cafés or restaurants here. You will be spoilt for choice with the Carousel Café, Peacock Café, Dare Devil Café or Rollover Unit hot dogs, or pop to the ice cream parlour for a sweet treat.

With park and lake walks as well as events throughout the year and plenty of history to soak up/learn about/take in, there is sure to be something for everyone here.

Where to stay when visiting Wicksteed Park

Wicksteed Park Campsite

With picturesque pitches overlooking the lake and waking up right next to the park action, it is a great place to stay to enjoy Wicksteed to its fullest! There's even a second-day discount on wristbands, making a whole weekend of fun possible.

Barton Rd, Kettering, NN15 6NJ
01536 512475
W: wicksteedpark.org


Theme park campsites in Northern England

Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Blackpool, Lancashire

Blackpool Pleasure Beach

(Photo courtesy of Blackpool Pleasure Beach)

About Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Blackpool might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but 17 million visitors can’t be wrong. That’s how many tourists flock to the Las Vegas of the north every year, making it easily the most popular seaside resort in the country.

A good few million of those visitors also make it to the family-run Pleasure Beach, where they can ride on attractions like The Big One (Britain’s tallest roller coaster), Valhalla and Avalanche, not to mention the classic wooden Big Dipper which has been causing stomachs to lurch since the 1920s.

What to do

Technically the Pleasure Beach is an amusement park rather than a theme park, but 2011 saw the opening of Nickelodeon Land, which, as the name would suggest, is themed around the kids’ TV channel.

The rides are all aimed at children, so there’s nothing massively scary, but there’s enough to keep young (and not-so-young) thrill seekers happy. The park is somewhat like Disneyland in miniature, especially with characters milling around meeting young fans and the Nickelodeon shop selling just about every piece of SpongeBob memorabilia imaginable.

One of the big advantages of Nickelodeon Land is the fact that it is part of the Pleasure Beach, so you have access to all those ‘grown-up’ rides, too. And, unlike most theme parks, you are almost in the centre of town so you can take advantage of everything Blackpool has to offer as well.

Where to stay when visiting Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Blackpool South Caravan and Motorhome Club Site

Ideal when visiting the pleasure beach, this campsite is only a 10-minute drive away. It has a playground on site and horse riding based around the corner, to entertain the family. As well as the sites of Blackpool, there is also the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Park to see and many shops, restaurants and walks to explore.

Facilities include a toilet block, family washroom, WiFi, laundry, dishwashing area, dog walk on site, electric hook-up available and accessible facilities.

Contact details:
Cropper Road, Marton, Blackpool, Lancashire FY4 5LB
01253 762051
W: caravanclub.co.uk


Flamingo Land Resort

Malton, North Yorkshire

Flamingo Land

(Photo courtesy of Flamingo Land Resort)

About Flamingo Land Resort

As well as being a great theme park with plenty of record-breaking rides, Flamingo Land is also an award-winning zoo with more than 140 species of reptiles, mammals and birds. It has eight themed areas, including a water zone, Splosh, The Lost Kingdom and Children’s Planet. It really is a treat for the whole family with so much to explore.

What to do

One for the thrill-seekers... Mumbo Jumbo was created using the latest coaster technology, and its 112-degree vertical drop saw it at one point being the steepest roller coaster made from steel. Cliff Hanger is another one for visitors with nerves of steel and takes the prize for the highest drop ride in the UK – yikes! Flamingo Land also has the UK’s first and only motorbike launch coaster, Velocity.

If you are looking for something a little more family friendly, head to the Lost River Ride, Cyclosoar or Twistosaurus, where there are plenty of twists and turns and excitement. There are also a number of rides specifically for the youngsters, so there’s a good mix for every member of the family. Ready for some food now? There are plenty of food and drink choices to pick from as well, with places serving curry, Chinese takeaway, pizza, fish and chips and burgers. There is also a Gourmet Grill, The Diner, Picnic Planet, and Metropolis Bar & Grill, which provides a little more luxury at lunchtime.

Make sure to check what shows are on, as there are plenty of experiences to get involved in and events planned throughout the year. And for the animal lovers in the group, don’t forget the animal talks and feeding times. There is also daily news to view on the website which can let you know about any baby animals being born.

Where to stay when visiting Flamingo Land Resort

Flamingoland Theme Park Campsite

With substantial facilities for tents, touring caravans and motorhomes, the on-site campsite at Flamingoland is a great way to easily enjoy the theme park and zoo. There's a leisure complex with swimming pools and cafe, plus an entertainment venue and mini-supermarket.

Contact details:
Kirby Misperton, Malton, North Yorkshire YO17 6UX
W: flamingoland.co.uk


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