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Place Category: Theme Parks
- Lightwater Valley Theme Park
- The History of Lightwater Valley Theme Park
- Lightwater Valley Theme Park Only £2.50 per person
- The Rat Ride
- The Ultimate
- Additional rides and Attractions
- Top 10 Rides at Lightwater Valley Theme Park
- Mini Adventures
- Mega Adventures
- Ultimate Adventures
- Falconry Centre
- Travelling to Lightwater Valley Theme Park
- Travelling by Train
- Nearby Accommodation
- Attractions Near Me Offers
Lightwater Valley Theme Park
Escape to Lightwater Valley Theme Park and discover the excitement of a day bursting with fun and adventure for all the family. Lightwater Valley is a theme park based in North Yorkshire. The park is perhaps best known for being the home of The Ultimate, Europe’s longest roller coaster.
Lightwater Valley Theme Park is ideally situated for anyone travelling up or down the A1M looking for a place to break up their journey as it is less than 15 minutes from the motorway.
The History of Lightwater Valley Theme Park
Lightwater Valley started life in 1969 as a small self-pick fruit farm attraction which was quite popular with the local community. The Staveley family ran the fruit farm. They had owned the land since 1516 when Cardinal Wolsey handed the grounds over to John Staveley. In 1976 a severe drought hit the region, having a huge effect on the strawberry crop which was the main source of the farm’s revenue. In order to help reduce the effects of a future drought, a lake was excavated. In the warmer months of the year, the lake became hugely popular with visitors. The Staveleys quickly began to see new business opportunities in the form of entertainment for visitors. A number of small attractions were added which included an adventure playground (later Fort William), canoes, rowing boats and a circus. In the following years, the range of attractions was increased with the addition of petting farm, an excellent BMX bike track, pedal carts (later Moon Cars) and Skate Karts (still present today). To further increase the parks appeal petrol driven Go Karts were added along with a pitch and putt golf course.
Lightwater Valley Theme Park Only £2.50 per person
Take a look at this fantastic nostalgic video when entrance to Lightwater Valley was only £2.50 per person.
The Hell Slide
Over the years, Lightwater Valley Theme Park has boasted some unique attractions. The unique attractions included the Hell Slide (basically a tall indoor slide that was almost vertical). Some of the other historical rides unique to Lightwater Valley Theme Park were The Devil’s Cascade water chute (later re-themed to ‘Toad Hole’) and pedal bikes with offset wheels. The bikes were very odd because as you rode them you also moved up and down. Over the years, a range of different fairground rides were introduced into the entrance areas of the park. Examples include chair swings, carousels, dodgems and waltzers. During this time the Lightwater Shopping Village was established.
The Rat Ride
Lightwater Valley Theme Park became a major attraction in 1987 when the Rat Ride was built. Robert Staveley was keen to expand on the family market and provide something for the thrill market whilst still being suitable for the younger audience. At the time, his wife was a keen protector of the country park status and did not like the idea of having a roller coaster spoiling and compromising this. Eventually, she permitted the construction of a roller coaster as long as it was out of sight. In order to keep his wife happy Robert decided he would bury the roller coaster in the ground. This led to the idea of a subterranean roller coaster themed on the dwellings of a sewer rat. The ride was constructed by blasting large amounts of rock (which was sold) to form a large hole which was then capped with a large barn style building. The ride attracted much attention, nearly doubling gate figures. In 2010 the Rat Ride was transformed into Raptor Attack. The parks increase in popularity following the installation of the Rat Ride led to further developments in the ride offering including, the park’s first looping coaster, the Soopa Loopa, featuring two vertical loops.
Robert Staveley used the success of the Rat Ride to persuade his wife that another roller coaster should be built. He liked the idea of having a roller coaster coming down the valley at the top of the park. The challenge he faced was initially getting people to the top of the valley to board the roller coaster train. His wife suggested that they send the train out to the top of the valley and then return it to the park with the aid of two drops. In 1990 construction began on the world’s longest rollercoaster, costing £5.2 million and over 1.5 miles long. The Ultimate was opened to the public in 1991. The Ultimates trains, each weighing 10 tonnes, reach speeds of up to 65mph as they swoop 157ft downhill on the one-and-a-half mile track.
Additional rides and Attractions
Additional rides and attractions were added throughout the decade, including roller coasters and Water rides such as ‘The Beaver Rapids’ log flume and the ‘Falls of Terror’. In order to reduce capital expenditure, rather than purchasing rides a number of them were acquired on short-term leases.
Take a nostalgic look at some of the historical rides and attractions and classic park maps.
Learn more about the History of Lightwater Valley Theme Park.
Top 10 Rides at Lightwater Valley Theme Park
1 – The Ultimate
The Ultimate is Lightwater Valley’s signature ride. Previously holding the record of The World’s longest rollercoaster, The Ultimate remains the longest roller coaster in Europe with a ride time approaching six minutes. The roller coaster provides a thrilling 1.5 mile cocktail of speed, cornering and airtime. The Ultimate is Unique amongst modern day attractions.
The Ultimate has 2 lift hills of 102ft and 107ft respectively. As you reach the peaks you get some great views of Lightwater Valley Theme Park and the surrounding countryside. The first half of the ride is relatively smooth but the second half is very intense as the carriage races through the forest back to the station. For a less intense ride experience sit in a seat nearer the front.
The Ultimate is loved by the roller coaster enthusiast community for its sheer rawness. The Ultimate owes a debt of gratitude to Lightwater Valley’s founder (Robert Staveley) for his pioneering vision during the early 1990s. The Ultimates trains, each weighing 10 tonnes, reach speeds of up to 65mph as they swoop 157ft downhill on the one-and-a-half mile track.
2 – Raptor Attack
Lightwater Valley Theme Park became a major attraction in 1987 when the Rat Ride was built. In order to keep his wife happy Robert Staveley decided he would bury the roller coaster in the ground. This led to the idea of a subterranean roller coaster themed on the dwellings of a sewer rat. In 2010 the Rat Ride was transformed into Raptor Attack, themed around an abandoned mineshaft. Raptor Attack is widely regarded as one of the best dark rides in the United Kingdom. The roller coaster offers a completely immersive, underground ride experience.
Guests queue above ground and are dispatched in small groups to explore the dark tunnels of this long-abandoned mining operation. Keep an eye out for the menacing Raptors.
3 – The Eagles Claw
The Eagles Claw is a swinging pendulum type ride. The ride has a long swinging arm, which swings up to 120° with a maximum height of 20 metres. At the bottom of the swinging arm, there is a rotating hub with six gondolas that accommodate 24 guests. Revolving at a speed of 15 rpm, The Eagle’s Claw provides an insanely intense ride experience with heaps of airtime. The ride is regularly cited by park guests and enthusiasts as being their favourite Lightwater Valley attraction.
4 – Wild River Rapids
Wild River Rapids is a family-friendly water ride. Each raft holds four guests. The ride starts with a 40-foot lift hill before sliding into a number of elevated turns. The rafts skim on a thin film of water. As the rafts aquaplane into the turns they start to spin randomly dependant on how the weight is distributed inside the raft. The ride includes a number of elements including a 360-degree elevated spiral. Tour raft picks up speed before entering a long straight drop causing a reasonable splash. The ride is great fun and unlike many other water rides you may get splashed but you would be very unfortunate to get soaked.
5 – Apollo
Apollo is a two-chair suspended swing ride which combines altitude with a soaring and swooping motion. The ride can take up to 20 passengers at a time. This ride is not for the faint-hearted as it climbs 80 foot into the air. Apollo offers some great views over Lightwater Valley Theme Park including the iconic The Ultimate Rollercoaster.
6 – Black Pearl
Forming the centrepiece of the landmark Skeleton Cove pirate-themed area is The Black Pearl. This ride is unusual amongst modern pirate ships in that it rotates an entire 360 degrees. At 85-foot tall, The Black Pearl is a unique ride experience, providing awesome views of the park. It is one of only a handful of rides at Lightwater Valley Theme Park that actually turns you fully upside down. The Black Pearl has more than a passing resemblance to a traditional Pirate Ship. The large boat-shaped ride swings back and forth, thanks to a powerful motor at the top of the central arm. Brave riders are spun a full 360-degrees both forwards and then again in reverse.
8 – Falls of Terror
Falls of Terror consists of three tall water slides. Sitting in two-seater rafts, Thrill Seekers descend down the slides from high above the treetops. Each of the three slides offers a different ride experience.
Slide One (1.1m+ only)
The first slide is a straight down kamikaze style slide. Lasting around five seconds this slide is a steep drop that delivers a solid amount of airtime.
Slide Two (1.1m+ only)
Slide Two is similar to slide one, but rather than heading straight down there is a brief flat section half way down the slide. This slide is an excellent starting point for those looking to pluck up the courage for Slide One.
Slide three is the longest and wettest chute of all three. Riders are transported through a dark tunnel with sharp turns, sudden drops and a drop providing some airtime at the end.
9 – Trauma Tower
Trauma Tower is a tower drop-style ride on a smaller scale than some of the tower drops you encounter at other UK Theme Parks. This helps to make the ride more family-friendly and it still offers some good airtime. You never know when the next drop is coming, so the anticipation adds to the enjoyment.
10 – The Ladybird
The super smooth running Ladybird roller coaster offers a great introduction to the roller coasting world. Its a fantastic little ride for younger children seeking their first rollercoaster thrills.
Lightwater Valley Theme Park Rides and Attractions
The attractions at the park are split into three categories Mini, Mega and Ultimate Adventures.
Mini adventures are for the youngest guests aged between 1 and 5 years. Younger children can enjoy the UK’s largest Angry Birds Activity Park which offers both indoor and outdoor sections. Also suitable for younger guests are the Lightwater Express Train and Eagle’s Creek Farm tractor ride. There is also a selection of fairground and water rides for the slightly more adventurous.
The Mega adventures category is aimed at children aged between 5 and 9 years old. These Junior thrill seekers can ride Falls of Terror and The Wild River Rapids. Adding to the excitement, both of these rides give you an opportunity to get wet.
A section of the park which is pirate themed, called Skeleton Cove. In this section are a number of attractions which are suitable for children in the Mega Adventurers age group. The attractions include Pirate Swinger children’s swing ride, Skull Rock spinning ride and Flying Cutlass which is a large pirate ship.
Lightwater Valley Theme Park offers a selection of extreme rides which fall into the Ultimate Adventures category. The rides in this category are aimed at people from 10 years to adults. Fly high into the air on Eagle’s Claw and hurtle through the forest on The Ultimate. Once holding the record of the longest roller coaster in the world The Ultimate is a thrilling 1.5-mile ride. Roller Coasters covering longer distances have since been built but The Ultimate still holds the record of Europe’s longest roller coaster. Another roller coaster ride is Raptor Attack which is a dinosaur themed ride. The ride is unique as it is built underground in a former quarry. The Black Pearl is a pirate ship, not for the faint-hearted spinning a full 360 degrees. Apollo is a treetop swing ride that climbs over 80 feet into the air.
The Lightwater Falconry Centre is suitable for all ages with over 35 birds, daily flying shows and a selection of reptiles and small animals to discover. Funkey Monkeys is a Soft Play where your little ones can have fun sliding and hanging around!
Travelling to Lightwater Valley Theme Park
Lightwater Valley Theme Park is located 10 minutes from junction 50 of the A1 motorway. From here, take the A61 towards Ripon. On arrival at the ‘Clocktower’ traffic light junction, take the A6108 towards the village of North Stainley following the Brown Tourist Signs. The Theme Park offers free parking for guests arriving by car. There are a number of ways you can get to the attraction. There is also lots of accommodation available nearby.
Travelling by Train
The nearest railway station is at Thirsk. There are direct services from Manchester, Leeds, York, Middlesbrough and London. Search for your train tickets using Train Genius.
There are lots of places to stay in Yorkshire. Lightwater Valley Theme Park is surrounded by beautiful Yorkshire countryside and is less than an hour from York. If you only planning on visiting the park for one day and would like to explore some of the other attractions in the area then take a look at the self-catering cottages near Lightwater Valley available from Snaptrip.
Attractions Near Me OffersLightwater Valley Theme Park was last modified: January 10th, 2018 by
- Lightwater Valley Theme Park
Lightwater Valley Theme Park was last modified: January 10th, 2018 by