Tournament 2018: What is the UK's best theme park?

March 8, 2018, 8:04 AM · British tourists crowd the Orlando-area theme parks every summer. Heck, every holiday season, too. Okay, Brits are swarming Orlando pretty much every day of the year, anymore. But contrary to what you might infer from these observations, British tourists have some theme parks back home, too.

Alton Towers and Thorpe Park are two of the most widely known and visited theme parks in the United Kingdom. Thanks to Disney's design templates, many theme parks around the world now are built around big fake castles. But the castle at the heart of Alton Towers is real, the Alton Towers itself, which traces its heritage back to a 17th century hunting lodge.

(Alton Towers' site also appears to be one of my ancestral homes, as a genealogy search traced my family back to the Snows who lived on or near the current site of the theme park before emigrating to what became the Maryland colony in the early 1600s. Yes, I was born to be a theme park geek.)

Thorpe Park offers Britain's fastest roller coaster, Stealth, which reaches a top speed of 80 miles per hour. It also has developed some unique and innovative attractions, such as Derren Brown's Ghost Train.

We invite you to learn more about these parks, and to leave some ratings and reviews for their attractions, if you've visited:

You'll need to register with Theme Park Insider to leave reviews (and to participate in our Discussion Forum), but anyone can submit a rating.

Time to vote!

Later today, we swing back to the "Big Brands" regional, as Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure ask for your votes to advance.

Replies (19)

March 8, 2018 at 8:11 AM ·

"traced my family back to the Snows"

Are you sure you weren't born to defend the wall and eventually sit on the iron throne of Westeros?

March 8, 2018 at 8:41 AM ·

Alton Towers was good in the mid 1990s, but has been on a decline since.

March 8, 2018 at 9:50 AM ·

I love this tournament!!

March 8, 2018 at 10:10 AM ·

Nemesis at Alton Towers holds up to any of the USA theme park rides and the new wicker man ride looks amazing

March 8, 2018 at 12:03 PM ·

Sure, Thorpe park may have some great roller coasters such as steals and swarm, but in terms of a theme park, Alton Towers wins hands down.

March 8, 2018 at 12:51 PM ·

I love both and as a frequent visitor to both I have to agree with Jack. It is Alton Towers for me as it offers far greater diversity over a much larger area and the incorporation of Alton Towers itself and it's lush gardens gives it a theme park in the grounds of a stately home dimension. Thorpe Park is the top park in the UK for thrill seekers and the addition of TWD attraction later this year will strengthen it further. I think this answer will be driven my age group.

March 8, 2018 at 2:54 PM ·

I first started going to Alton Towers when the corkscrew opened, so in reality it was the first coaster/theme park I ever went to. Even now living in Orlando as I do, I still always make a day free to visit one of my favorite parks of all time when vacationing in the homeland. Soooooo ..... AT for me.

March 8, 2018 at 3:10 PM ·

Alton Towers, but its location sucks majorly. Its too awkward to get to.

March 9, 2018 at 11:54 AM ·

From what I see and read about these parks, they both have some major issues such as the Smiler disaster at AT and a coaster based on torture porn - Saw - at TP. I hope they both lose. I vote for Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

March 9, 2018 at 2:42 AM ·

I like a day out at both parks but neither or them compare to any of the Orlando theme park. Yes they both have great coasters but there is a distinct lack of theming, and hardly any dark or interactive rides. You just don't get the same atmosphere. Saying that, Alton Towers is set in a beautiful location and th13teen is one of my favourite rides so I would pick that over Thorpe park.

March 9, 2018 at 7:44 AM ·

Alton Towers is the better 'theme park', however ride for ride Thorpe Park probably wins out. On this basis though I voted for Alton Towers, it has a little more atmosphere and theming.

March 9, 2018 at 10:44 AM ·

Alton Towers is unquestionably the most beautiful theme park I've ever visited: Am thinking of visiting Thorpe Park this year and while it can't possibly be as magical as Alton Towers, it does at least have something - hypercoaster - which AT doesn't have due to the zoning restrictions.
@James Rao - Thi3teen disaster at AT? Are you possibly thinking of The Smiler? Anyway, I really envy you b/c you will undoubtedly be at the media preview of Time Traveler next Tuesday and cover it for TPI.

March 9, 2018 at 11:57 AM ·

@Bobbie, yes and yes. I corrected my previous post (Smiler) and cannot wait for Time Traveler.

March 10, 2018 at 2:59 AM ·

@ James Rao - if you’d even been to Blackpool you’d know why. The place is a dump!

March 10, 2018 at 12:59 PM ·

British theme parks are terrible. I don't know if it's the weather, or the service, but they're all universally dreary and make you depressed that you're not just at a "real" theme park in the US

March 10, 2018 at 10:15 PM ·

@ Okay, then I hope they all lose! ;)

March 11, 2018 at 7:22 AM ·

@ James Rao:
So it's alright for virtually every theme park in the USA to spend millions of dollars (in total) creating attractions for Halloween that celebrate death, murder, mutilation and all manner of horror, or a middle eastern park to open an entire land themed to a dystopian society where children killing other children is literally entertainment, but not acceptable for a UK theme park to have one ride based on a popular horror franchise?
That's a little harsh...

March 11, 2018 at 7:46 AM ·

Both I would love to visit, but Alton Towers looks cooler.

March 13, 2018 at 3:28 PM ·

Having been to both alton towers and Thorpe Park many times I can confirm they are both great parks and as such it is a shame that people who have clearly never been to them feel the need to pass comment on them.

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