Park Review

8

 
Oakwood
The Bobsleigh
The Bounce
Drenched
Megaphobia
Pirate Ship
Plane Crazy
Snake River Falls
Speed
Spooky 3D
Treetops Twister
Waterfall Ride

To say my trip to Oakwood was a long time coming would be putting it mildly. I'd been trying to organise a trip to Oakwood for at least 5 years, but had never been able to organise it before. With the opening of the new ride Speed, and Megaphobia hitting it's 10th anniversary I was determined to make it. It took a bit of organising using Google (see the public transport part of the info section for the bits needed) but I finally made it. As you might have guessed from the trouble I went to, Oakwood is a park that is highly regarded by theme park and roller coaster enthusiasts.

The main reason to go to Oakwood are the 3 big signature rides; Megaphobia, Drenched and Speed. All 3 of these are great rides. Any one of them on it's own would greatly enhance the appeal of a lot of smaller parks, but to have all 3 in one park that charges a comparatively low entry fee is a tremendous and noteworthy achievement.

 

Most of Oakwood isn't actually themed, there are a few themed areas. There's a play town with all the kiddies rides, and a New Orleans themed area. The rest of the park is instead set in a very pleasant greenbelt area with a very pleasant countryside feel.

So, you've got the 3 big rides, what else is there to do? I did wonder about this before visiting the park, and it's not a question with an obvious answer. While the rides on the top of this parks pyramid are excellent, it's foundations aren't as strong. There are a few good rides, such as Bounce, the Bobsleigh, The Waterfall ride. Treetops Twister and Vertigo if you'll pay extra to do it, but even these rides only have a limited amount of appeal. The rest of the rides feel even more limited in appeal, most being brief 1 go distractions. Given the high standard of the parks star attractions, and the parks reputation I was expecting a better offering from the rest of the park. It was a bit like buying an expensive box of Belgium chocolates, only to find two thirds of the box was filled with Quality Street.

The food on offer also felt like pretty standard stuff. The range of food on offer struck me as pretty limited, and ranged from good to below average junk food.

The staff at the park where mostly friendly, and helped make the day more pleasant, and the park more inviting. I did feel though they weren't always totally organised. The worst incident was when I queued for the front seat on Megaphobia, only to have it nicked by some kid as I was storing my bag, and the member of staff just sent me to the middle of the train. That was one of a couple of incidents during my visit that gave the impression the staffing was a little disorganised.

My overall impression of the park is it is a pleasant, small, family countryside park with 3 top drawing attractions on the edge of it.

This has to leave me the question: If you haven't been before is it worth the effort? My recommendation is find out how much effort it will take to drive or get a train and taxi there, then look at the ride reviews, especially for the top 3 rides. I personally would say it's worth the effort, and am likely to visit again, although not just for Oakwood, but to try to see a bit more of the surrounding area. It's worth noting if you do have you're own transport there are quite a few nice places to visit nearby, mostly aimed at the pre-teen and young family market. While I was there I visited Manor House Wild Animal Park and found it very pleasant. There's also Heatherton Activity Park next to Manor House and Folly Farm Adventure Park and Tenby are also in the area. In the end though I can't give a decision to everyone, and it's a personal choice if it's worth the effort you need to make to get to visit just Oakwood, or to organise a short break in the area.

Overall I'd say Oakwood is a very pleasant park, with some great attractions. A definite must do if you are in the area, and I would say it is worth making an effort to go there to try out the great signature rides.