Park Review

8

 
Lightwater Valley
Black Pearl
Black Widows Web
Caterpillar Coaster
The Eagle's Claw
Falls of Terror
Flying Cutlass
Ladybird Coaster
Lightwater Express
Lightwater Wheel
Powder Keg
Raptor Attack
Skate Karts
Skull Rock
Sky Rider
Swan Pedal Boats
Trauma Towers
Twister
The Ultimate
Whirlwind
Wild River Rapids

Since my most recent visit, and my last visit before that with my parents when I was young there was over a 15 year time gap. not because I didn't consider a visit, but it's out of plausible day trip range plus it's limited opening hours and poor public transport have meant I haven't made it sooner. Some of my childhood memories include having some great fun with my brother on the Skate Karts, some great rides on the Ultimate and Sewer Rat and some of the worst food ever.

So on my most recent visit it was good to still see the Skate Karts still there, the Sewer Rat had become Raptor Attack, and the food was a lot better.

 

Both The Ultimate and Raptor Attack provide two great signature coasters for the park. The often overlooked Ultimate is a good thrilling family coaster and Raptor Attack also delivers the goods. Below that is a solid collection of family coasters and water rides. The highlight of which is the Wild River Rapids. It would be nice to see a few more innovative rides, as a lot are generic pre designed coasters, but they do the job of providing support to the major attractions.

The addition of Skeleton Cove with it's pirate themed rides has helped fill in a gap, because before the park was lacking in family thrill rides. It does have some surprisingly intense white knuckle rides for a family park like the Whirlwind, The Eagle's Claw and to a lesser extent The Black Widow's Web. What's even  more surprising though is they don't feel out of place. They've done a good job of getting the right balance of offering something for the thrill seeker without affecting the parks family appeal and atmosphere.

One thing that goes a long to creating a family atmosphere is the setting. It's in a beautiful area of countryside, and they've maintained this look throughout the park with some nice wooded areas and some open grassy areas. It makes a refreshing change compared to the loud music and brash theming found at a lot of other parks.

This is a park that's seen improvement in recent times, and looks like it has more line up for the future. To become a must do I think it needs another signature coaster, but it's still a good park with some good rides, that's well worth planning a trip to.

 
Park Review - Second Opinion

7

 
 

Thanks to  Robert Brooks for writing this review for me.

Considered by many hardcore theme park enthusiasts as being a relatively small and inferior park, the former self-pick fruit farm Lightwater Valley is actually a place with many surprises, as they say, “around every corner” and there is no doubting the fact that they have lived up to this statement quite well.  This shall be looked at in more detail in a minute, but first it’s important to get the facts across before pre-judging what is actually a well run (considering the small budget at the time of writing, as, let’s be honest it isn’t the most high profile theme park in England) little business.

The park itself is run by a company called Heritage GB who owns a number of other attractions across the UK including the Mount Snowdon railway and Lands End.  It lies in the heart of the North Yorkshire countryside occupying a large acreage of land so immediately one would assume it to be a rather nice large park with lots of trees; and you’d be correct.  The park is best visited in the spring months when all the daffodils and crocuses are out in their masses.  If you take into account the fact that the park is not a very rich one it is still possible to have a good day out and the park does a good job of catering for all members of the family, though kids who seek mild thrills but who have not yet reached the 1 meter barrier yet to pass into the “Whipper Snapper” selection of rides and attractions may find the “Nipper” selection, shall we say, a tad uninviting as most of the rides in this group are different variations of the merry-go-round.  However, do not despair, for there are other nice extras that the park have which will accommodate this group including an around the park train ride and Swan Lake Pedal Boats.  And for the thrill seeker a number of exciting rides including the longest roller coaster in Europe await them.  To go back to the above statement about surprises being around every corner, well, I wouldn’t say every corner but the nature of the park and the average expectation of the place means you are likely to be surprised with the ride selection and your experiences on the rides.


The theme park is not the only attraction on site, in fact there are two other major attractions including the Lightwater Shopping Village which is open all year and the Birds of Prey Centre.  Whilst I haven’t yet experienced either of these they do provide an ideal alternative to further enhance the day out.  The Shopping Village is home to a number of different types of shop including a traditional sweet shop to please the kids and even the adults who may take a trip down memory lane as all the old favourites are on sale.  At the Birds of Prey Center you can feed the animals and even have your picture taken with them in the park which I thought was quite nice.  The tiny owl they call “Gizmo” can fit into the palm of your hand and is very cute. 

Overall, this park is verging on the basic with food outlets which don’t really sell the best quality dishes, in fact the only things you can buy are fast food options like burgers and chips and perhaps the odd jacket spud or sandwich and the outlets themselves aren’t exactly 5 star either; plastic seats and tented roof surpasses as one.  For a better dining experience I’ve heard some very good reviews of the Granary Restaurant and Jo’s Coffee Shop which although is inconveniently placed outside the entrance in the Shopping Village which serve some mouth watering lunches and breakfasts.  There are normally different deals on Sunday lunches too so look out for these on the park’s facebook or twitter page.  This leads me nicely onto my next point; the park has a lovely customer service and no other park respects its fan base or customers - that I know of - better than Lightwater Valley.  They are very open on how to make the park better and do not lie back when it comes to the future of the park and realize they have the potential to compete with the higher end theme parks including Alton Towers judging by the preference on quality of theming on Raptor Attack compared with Th13teen. 

I would recommend this park to families who are looking for cheap day out to entertain the kids.  I personally enjoy myself every time I go  here and some of the rides are quite memorable but you wouldn’t really contemplate visiting more than twice in a year as you’d probably feel like you’d “been there and done that”