Travel UK: Summer '99: Ten of the Best Thrill Rides in the UK

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The Independent Culture
WELCOME TO the world of theme park thrills. Here are the newest and best roller-coasters, rides and drops in Britain:


Winner of the White Knuckle Ride Association's Gold Award in 1993, this ride shoots passengers bullet-style to the top of the roller-coaster before launching them into a 360-degree revolution. Stomach-churning, head-spinning; good family fun.

Where: Flamingo Land Theme Park and Zoo, Kirby Misperton, near Malton, North Yorkshire. Open from tomorrow until 31 October, call 01653 668287.


Yet another award-winning ride, but this one really is in its own league, thanks to the wooden structure. The breaking speed is an impressive 27km/h and this roller-coaster leaves your stomach somewhere on the M40. For serious fanatics.

Where: Oakwood Leisure, Canaston Bridge, Narberth, Pembrokeshire. Open from today until 26 September, call 01834 891373.


Justin Garvanovic, the founder of the European Coaster Club, waxes lyrical about Nemesis. The "post-industrial" edifice is designed so that, after they have been blasted from the ground, riders experience the twists and turns on the outside of a circular path.

Where: Alton Towers, Alton, Staffordshire. Open until 31 October, call 01538 703344.

Oblivion (pictured)

This is Alton Towers' latest addition and its maximum vertical g-force of 4.5g exceeds that experienced by a Nasa space-shuttle pilot. This ride, the roller-coaster addict's holy grail, features a 60-metre vertical drop into a tunnel at a speed of about 110km/h.

Where: Alton Towers, as above.

Pepsi Max Big One

Blackpool is a haven for adrenaline junkies, offering the punter the Grand National, PlayStation and Pepsi Max rides. The latter is 235ft high, and billed as the tallest in the world. Its 65-degree drop is also advertised as the steepest in the world.

Where: Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Blackpool. Open daily from 1 April to 7 November, call 01253 341033.

Pepsi Max Drop Ride

A roller-coaster ride in the heart of bustling London. As an enticing prelude to plunging 135ft, you are left dangling from the freaky height of nine storeys; it takes about 10 seconds to take you to the top of the Trocadero atrium, and rather less than that to send you down again.

Where: Trocadero Centre, Piccadilly, London. Open daily, call 0171-434 0030.


Opening this year, with a philosophy of "freedom from fear", this ride promises the most intense fright you'll ever feel. Strapped to the end of a mechanical arm, you are spun at 360 degrees, supposedly simulating the effect of free falling.

Where: Chessington World of Adventures, near Kingston upon Thames, Surrey. Open until 31 October, call 01372 727227.


Designed like a pendulum, this ride combines the thrills of skydiving and bungee-jumping. Fitted in a flight-suit and attached to a cable, you are suspended from a 200ft tower and left to swing at between 60mph and 80mph at the lowest point of the flight trajectory.

Where: American Adventure, Ilkeston, Derbyshire. Open from today until 31 October, call 01773 531521.

Stormforce 10

Shockwave, Europe's only stand-up coaster, is currently the best ride here, but May Day will see chart-toppers "Steps" opening Stormforce 10, a water ride with reverse chutes and speeds of up to 40mph. Apparently the first of its kind in Britain, the drops are as deep as 62ft.

Where: Drayton Manor Park, near Tamworth, Staffordshire. Open from today until 31 October, call 01827 287979.


Corkscrew, sidewinder, loops, rolls, inversions, flipovers. They may sound like cocktails but, if you knock the strange concoction that is this ride, you'll be left decidedly shaken. The ride hits the North-west this April.

Where: Pleasureland, Southport, Merseyside. Open from today until 31 August, call 01704 532 717.