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Accessible guide to the UK's best theme parks

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For those in search of top thrills and exciting rides, heading to one of the UK’s many incredible theme parks is certainly a good idea. Perfect fun for the whole family, there are parks up and down the nation to discover.

But how accessible are these parks for those with limited mobility? This is an important question to answer, for older people that rely on stairlifts in the UK and even for young children with disabilities. This guide dives into the subject, presenting some of the UK’s most notable theme parks while also detailing information about their accessibility.

How accessible is Thorpe Park?


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Accessibility at Thorpe Park

  • Ride Access Pass (a virtual queuing system, eliminating waiting times for those who need extra assistance)
  • Parking for Blue Badge holders
  • One free carer ticket
  • Accessible toilets
  • Assistance dogs welcome
  • Ride restrictions in place

Full information here.

Thorpe Park spoke to us about what it means to them that their park is accessible: “Accessibility at our resort is one of our top priorities; we are constantly reviewing our accessibility procedures and we aim to ensure every guest can enjoy their visit to the Island like no other without accessibility being a limitation. In fact, as part of our long-term plan and from reviewing our producers and guest feedback, starting in our 2020 season we have increased the number of rides our physically disabled guests can experience. Thorpe Park Resort has a close relationship with and works alongside BDF (Business Disability Forum) to review areas of the Resort and look into how we can improve accessibility Resort-wide.”

The team at Thorpe Park Mania, a blog dedicated to the park, spoke to us about the level of accessibility from their point of view: “The park is really accessible in the grand scheme of things. It’s quite a small park so it doesn’t make a day out too daunting. There are very few stairs around the park, and you can get around avoiding most hills too. The park is as accommodating as possible and has been receptive to feedback over recent years, so they’re always willing to improve if they can.”

What to expect at Thorpe Park

Located near Chertsey, just 20 miles from London, Thorpe Park is the home of some incredible rides. For those in search of some epic thrills, this is the place to be, featuring some of the biggest roller coasters in Europe. For families with older children or adults just looking for a good time, Thorpe Park is the ideal day out.

The team at Thorpe Park Mania spoke to us about what they believe makes the park so special: “The thrills! You have the big roller coasters like Stealth, Saw - The Ride and Swarm, as well as some amazing other rides like Rush (a giant swing!) and Detonator (one of our favourite drop towers in the world). But even if you don’t like thrills, or you need a break from them, there are still lots of other things to do. Their selection of water rides is probably the best in the UK, for example.”

How accessible is Drayton Manor?

drayton manor

Accessibility at Drayton Manor

  • Wheelchair hire available
  • Certain rides/attractions are physically demanding so admission can be refused
  • Ride information boards available
  • Accessible toilets
  • Access bands for those who find it hard to queue conventionally

Full information here.

What to expect at Drayton Manor

Drayton Manor is a popular Staffordshire-based theme park which needs little introduction for those familiar with the UK’s theme park scene. It is home to rides for visitors of all ages, including exciting thrill rides, a zoo, woodlands, and an excellent area for young families called Thomas Land – based around the beloved children’s character Thomas the Tank Engine. With a wonderful selection of kid-friendly rides and attractions, Thomas Land helps make Drayton Manor an appealing prospect for every type of visitor.

Donna, from the lifestyle blog Little Lilypad, has visited Drayton Manor and spoke to us about what she believes makes it such a fantastic park to visit: “Drayton Manor is a great family day out. It is not a huge theme park so is not overwhelming in terms of size and all the rides are in close proximity, so you are not spending valuable fun time walking from one side of the park to the other.

“Drayton Manor run lots of offers for families, so it doesn't need to break the bank. They do work with partner sites, so it is always worthwhile checking on current offers before arriving at the park as buying in advance always saves money.”

How accessible is Alton Towers?

Accessibility at Alton Towers

  • Certain rides/attractions are physically demanding so admission can be refused
  • Ride Access System for those unable to stand in a queue
  • Blue Badge parking
  • One free carer ticket available
  • Assistance dogs are welcome
  • Wheelchairs available to hire
  • Disabled toilets

Full information here.

What to expect at Alton Towers

One of the UK’s most famous attractions let alone theme parks, Alton Towers has been entertaining and thrilling visitors for generations. Located in Staffordshire, Alton Towers is a theme park, water park, spa, mini-golf course, and hotel complex, all in one. As such, you can enjoy a day out or multi-day break. With the incredible array of rides, the theme park has plenty to offer alone, with some of its most famous rides including Wicker Man, Nemesis, and Oblivion.

How accessible is Chessington World of Adventures?


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Accessibility at Chessington World of Adventures

  • Free carer ticket
  • Disabled parking
  • Ride Access Pass for those who are unable to queue
  • Wheelchair hire available
  • Disabled toilets
  • Guest Help Information point

Full information here.

What to expect at Chessington World of Adventures

Chessington World of Adventures is another top family destination and a theme park that won’t fail to delight visitors of all ages. Located in Surrey, this theme park, hotel, and zoo features over 40 rides, with the park based on themes of different world cultures. With 12 unique lands to discover, Chessington provides plenty of variety. Combining your visit with the wonderful zoo of over 1,000 animals will make for a memorable experience indeed.

How accessible is Paultons Park Home of Peppa Pig World?


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Accessibility at Paultons Park

  • Free entry for wheelchair or mobility scooter dependent guests
  • The vast majority of rides are fully accessible
  • Nearly all flat paths and tarmacked surfaces
  • Disabled parking
  • Restaurants and shops wheelchair accessible
  • Accessible toilets
  • Wheelchairs available to hire
  • Queue assist policy
  • Assistance dogs welcome

Full information here.

What to expect at Paultons Park

Not only is Paultons Park once of the most accessible theme parks in the UK, but it’s also loved up and down the nation and always ranked as one of Britain’s best. For families with small children or perhaps those looking to treat their grandchildren, Paultons Park really is the perfect choice. On the edge of New Forest National Park, the 140 acres of parkland is home to the famous Peppa Pig World and an additional 60 rides and attractions. If your little ones are in love with Peppa Pig, Paultons is a must.

Rhi, from the family blog Mummy of Four, has enjoyed Paultons Park with her kids and shares this top tip for visiting: “My advice would be, head to George’s Dinosaur Adventure, the ride over the furthest side of the park, first. As the gates open, eager visitors tend to flock to the rides nearest the entrance first. George’s Dinosaur ride is incredibly popular later in the day, but even without a queue assist pass, the queue shouldn’t be more than a few minutes long first thing in the morning.”

The UK’s best theme parks

  • Thorpe Park
  • Drayton Manor
  • Alton Towers
  • Chessington World of Adventures
  • Paultons Park Home of Peppa Pig World

As you can see, many of the UK’s very best theme parks are welcoming of those with limited mobility and extra needs. Of course, some of the rides will not be appropriate for particular individuals but there is plenty that can be enjoyed. Hopefully, the UK’s theme parks will continue to improve their accessibility, making for even more pleasant experience for all who wish to visit.


Image Credit: Jeremy Thompson