Escape to Lightwater Valley Family Adventure Park and discover the excitement of a day bursting with fun and adventure. Around every corner, you’ll find something to captivate and intrigue.
Lightwater Valley Family Adventure Park
Offering an idyllic setting for a family day out, the safe and green landscaped park is full of activities and adventure, with the spotlight on the fun-seeking Under-12 age group.
Lightwater Valley Rides and Attractions
In recent years, Lightwater Valley has changed its lineup of rides and attractions to cater for a younger audience.
There are indoor and outdoor play areas, the Lightwater Express train ride, Eagles Creek Farm tractor ride, plus the Go Safari section of the Park. The indoor Soft Play and Café are perfect for those under 8 to burn off some energy whilst Mum and Dad have a seat with a relaxing coffee.
Tree Top Trails
Look up to the trees where you can see guests, bounding across the ‘Tree Top Trails’. This woodland walk-through canopy high above the park features giant trampolines and slides and is only one of the many rides and attractions on offer to exhilarate even the most energetic family members.
Complementing Tree Top Trails is ‘Discovery Woods’ which offers a truly interactive outdoor experience. This new attraction features a lakeside woodland nature trail, mud kitchen and bug hotel, as well as pond dipping and cloud gazing activities.
There is lots on offer for Younger guests like the large Activity Park with both indoor and outdoor play areas. Children will also enjoy the Lightwater Express train ride around the park, Eagles Creek Farm tractor ride, plus the Go Safari section of the Theme Park.
Family Fun and Attractions
More adventurous children can soar high in the sky on Skyrider flying swing ride, race down the Splash Falls waterslides or fall from the sky on Dragon Drop. Step aboard the Savanna Express for a journey through the African wilderness, twist and turn on the Little Dipper or plunge into Splash Falls on a rubber dinghy. For gentler thrills, there’s endless funfair tradition to enjoy, including the carousel, Lightwater Express train, Ladybird ride and Vintage Car Rally.
Thrill-seekers can still enjoy a ride on the Eagles Claw, Splash Falls, Skyrider, Powder Kegs and The Flying Cutlass.
Lightwater Valley was once home to The Ultimate, one of the most extreme roller coaster rides here in the UK. Sadly the world record-breaking ride has not operated since the COVID 19 pandemic began in 2019 and was demolished in 2023.
Hurtling through the forest at speeds up to 50mph, The Ultimate once held the record of the longest roller coaster in the world offering a thrilling 1.5-mile ride.
Lightwater Valley Special Offers
Lightwater Valley Theme Park regularly run Promotional Discounts. View the latest Lightwater Valley Special Offers.
Travelling to Lightwater Valley
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 the Raileasy website.
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 Offers
- Wow - Lightwater Valley Weekend Tickets only £12.50pp
- UK Theme Parks
- Lightwater Valley Tickets only £20pp Including Free…
- Lightwater Valley Half Price Family Ticket
- Frightwater Valley Half-Price Family Pass
- Lightwater Valley Tickets only £15pp
- Longest Roller Coasters in the UK
- Halloween Events at UK Theme Parks
- UK Theme Parks for Families
Sorry, no records were found. Please adjust your search criteria and try again.
Sorry, unable to load the Maps API.
The History of Lightwater Valley Theme Park
Lightwater Valley started life in 1969 as a small pick your own fruit farm, which was quite popular with the local community. The Staveley family who had owned the land since 1516 ran the fruit farm. Sadly, 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 and the Staveley's quickly began to see new business opportunities in the form of entertainment. Upon realising this, 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. To further increase the appeal of the park 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 the entrance price to Lightwater Valley was only £2.50 per person.
The Hell Slide
Over the years, Lightwater Valley Theme Park has boasted some unique attractions which included the likes of 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.
Lightwater Valley Theme Park - The Hell Slide
Our Memories of Lightwater Valley
We have some fond memories from our visits to Lightwater Valley as children. Memorable rides and attractions are the BMX track which was in the shape of a figure 8. It featured a bridge to cross over with a tunnel underneath. I recall that the ramp leading up to the bridge was quite challenging and there was often a queue of riders trying to get up. Fort William was another memorable attraction with tunnels to crawl in, turrets to climb and ditches to cross on rope swings.
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 Ultimate, the world's longest rollercoaster. Costing £5.2 million and over 1.5 miles long it 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', now named Splash Falls. 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.
In June 2017 Lightwater Valley was bought by Livingstone Leisure from Jersey-based Ball Investments for an undisclosed sum. Livingstone Leisure also owns Flambards Theme Park in Cornwall and Birdland Park and Gardens in the Cotswolds. Prior to setting up Livingstone Leisure, director Ian Cunningham, who was born and bred in Harrogate, was the UK managing director of Spanish-based Aspro Ocio, a Spanish leisure corporation that operates a number of water parks and amusement parks. Following the takeover, some rides have been removed and the Angry Birds franchise has ended with The Angry Birds Activity Park renamed to Adventure Play. The Lightwater Shopping Village has also closed and the buildings incorporated into the Theme Park, with the Theme Park entrance kiosks moved to the front of the carpark.
An Increase in Visitor Numbers
In order to break even the theme park needs to attract 285,000 visitors per year and, in recent years, it has maintained good visitor numbers. Whilst not reaching the peak attendance figures of the mid-1990s of almost 500,000, it is significantly up on its performance during its troubled period in the late 1990s. The theme parks short-term aim is to hit 350,000 visitors and, eventually, return to its 500,000-a-year heyday. A key part of its strategy to attract more visitors is its plan to build 100-holiday lodges on land adjacent to the park over the next three years.
The infrastructure alone for the lodge area will cost in the region of £2.5m before any accommodation has even been put on the site, but the benefits the project will bring far outweigh the costs.
The lodges will help to increase the parks catchment area and give people the opportunity to spend a day at the theme park, combined with time exploring Yorkshire. Lightwater Valley will benefit from a bigger draw of people who wouldn’t normally drive there just for a single day out and it also opens the park up to international guests.
Brighton Pier Group
In June 2021 Leisure operator Brighton Pier Group purchased Lightwater Valley Theme Park in North Yorkshire for £5 million. This gaves renewed hope for the theme parks signature ride The Ultimate which remains in place at the park but has not operated since the COVID 19 pandemic began in 2019.
Its board said it believed the “extensive space” at Lightwater Valley provided a “long-term growth opportunity” for the group to develop and expand the park.
Chief Executive officer Anne Ackord made the following statement:
“I believe that we can develop Lightwater Valley into the premier amusement destination across Yorkshire and the surrounding areas”
Lightwater Valley Family Adventure park
Historically known as 'Lightwater Valley Theme Park', the park has been rebranded as 'Lightwater Valley Family Adventure Park' for the 2022 season. A number of historic attractions remain in operation but they are predominately aimed at children aged 12 and under. The good news for families is that the admission prices have been adjusted accordingly to cater for this new audience.
Lightwater Valley had ten years of minimal investment up to 2001 and now they are starting to rebuild, the theme park has massive potential. As you wander around the park you can envisage so many things that would work for the park. Like all independent theme parks, it is not always easy but they are working hard to make the most of their investments. The park's objective is to provide a quality offer, providing visitors with a great experience.
Top 10 Rides at Lightwater Valley Theme Park
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 thrilling roller coaster ride 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 - 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.
3 - Splash Falls
Splash Falls 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 halfway 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.
4 - Dragon Drop
Dragon Drop 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.
5 - The Ladybird
The super-smooth running Ladybird roller coaster offers a great introduction to the roller coasting world. It is a fantastic little ride for younger children seeking their first rollercoaster thrills.