Thorpe Park, Surrey
All aboard Derren Brown’s Ghost Train, which is due to open this summer, after three years in the making. This head-spinning, 10-15 minute train journey includes exhilarating live action sequences, 4D special effects and grand-scale illusions. Also new is I’m A Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here! experience, and there are some of the highest and fastest rides in Europe here too.
Adults from £27.99, children £23.99 (under-threes free). thorpepark.com
Drayton Manor, Staffordshire
The new Tamarin Trail takes adventurers through beautiful gardens, allowing kids and adults to come face-to-face with a troop of mischievous Marmsosets and Tamarins. The park is also home to Europe’s only Thomas Land, which last year underwent a £2.5m expansion, including new rides. There are white-knuckle rides, including the stand-up rollercoaster, Shockwave, and 54-metre drop tower, Apocalypse.
Adults from £23, children from £18, under-2s go free. draytonmanor.co.uk
Warwick Castle, Warwickshire
Although not officially a theme park, this medieval castle offers history, magic, myth and adventure to suit all ages. New for 2016 is the UK’s first fully-interactive multi-sensory Horrible Histories Maze, giving visitors a fiendishly fun and fascinating experience getting lost in time. The aim is not to reach the centre, but re-order the muddle that mischievous Rattus Rattus has made of time. From July, you can sleep over in the new riverside medieval-themed woodland lodges of Knight’s Village and join in with jester and knight school in the evenings.
From £18, under-3s go free. warwick-castle.com
Chessington World of Adventures, Surrey
Pandamonium is the newbie for 2016 at this extensive theme park, which boasts over 40 rides and attractions. The exciting show features life-sized and life-like animatronic pandas. In addition, there’s a new-look Trail of the Kings, in which adventurers seek out treasures as they walk among jungle giants. Plus, there’s also all-new explorer glamping tents.
From £27.60, under-3s go free. chessington.com
Scotland’s biggest theme park has the all-new Giant Condor, a ride that soars up to 30m and provides awesome views over the rest of the park, Strathclyde Park and Lanarkshire. Other big draws include Tsunami, Scotland’s only inverted rollercoaster, Tornado, Big Apple and the Runaway Mine train rollercoaster.
From £13.90 under 1.3m, from £18.45 for over 1.3m, under-3s go free. scotlandsthemepark.com
Alton Towers, Staffordshire
Alton Towers may have been in the news for all the wrong reasons last year, but it’s back up and running, with adrenalin rushes on offer including Nemesis, Rita and Oblivion and, new for this year, Galactica, a rollercoaster with integrated virtual reality. The UK’s first Rollercoaster Restaurant also opens here this month.
Adults from £36.12; children from £31.92, under-3s go free. altontowers.com
Paultons Park, Hampshire
Lost Kingdom, an immersive dinosaur theme park world, is the all-new attraction for this year. Costing £9m to build, it’s located within four acres of Jurassic landscape and includes two family rollercoaster rides, Jurassic-themed family rides and a dinosaur adventure play park, along with a Jurassic Jeep expedition. Also located within Paultons Park is Peppa Pig World.
From £25.75 for anyone over 1m, those under 1m go free. paultonspark.co.uk
Lego Nexo Knights is a brand new, immersive 4D animated adventure created especially for Legoland, with wind, water and smoke bringing the battle to life around you. Also new for his year is the 500,000 Lego brick Death Star, one of the most impressive and biggest models ever created for Legoland. There are loads of rides, many without height restrictions, as well as the large “splash and play” in Duplo Valley.
From £37, under-3s go free. legoland.co.uk
Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Lancashire
This year marks Blackpool Pleasure Beach’s 120th anniversary and there are plenty of live acts and entertainment to celebrate. The skating show, Hot Ice, also celebrates its 80th anniversary. There are 125 rides and attractions across the 42 acres at the end of Blackpool’s promenade, including the steel mega-coaster Big One, Nickelodeon Land and the Wallace & Gromit ride, Thrill-O-Matic.
Adult wristbands from £21, junior wristbands from £19, under-2s go free. Or get a Pleasure Beach Pass for £6, which allows access to the park and includes several other attractions and a show. blackpoolpleasurebeach.com
New Forest Water Park, Hampshire
The UK’s first outdoor aqua park is doubling in size this year, with new on-water installations of monkey bars, hurdles, wiggle bridges and lifeguard tower. Based on Total Wipeout, it’s all about embracing your inner Ninja Warrior. Launched last year, the family-run park offers camping facilities and a clubhouse. Ages 6+.
From £15 for a one-hour session. newforestwaterpark.co.uk