The UK's best theme parks and rides revealed – with one rollercoaster that bursts into flames

THE British public have voted for their favourite theme parks and rides in an annual awards – and two venues have dominated the field this year.

The UK Theme Park Awards 2021 recognise the best rides and attractions, shows and events, as well as those offering the best customer service and value.

There are 21 categories at the awards, with more than 175,000 public votes, that were combined with the scores from the expert judges.

The biggest winners were Alton Towers in Staffordshire with 15 awards, followed by Paultons Park in Hampshire with nine gongs and Blackpool Pleasure Beach in Lancashire with seven.

The top gong of best theme park went to Alton Towers, who also won gold for best family park, best food & drink and best Halloween event.

Paultons Park – home to Peppa Pig World – won best theme park for toddlers and it also came second place in the best theme park category.

When it came to best rides, the top new attraction went to Storm Chaser at Paultons Park – the first of its kind in the UK as a free-spinning ride travelling up to 20m above the ground.

Meanwhile, the award for 'Best classic coaster' went to Nemesis at Alton Towers – an inverted rollercoaster that reaches speeds of 50mph, allowing riders to experience 3.5 G Force, that first opened in 1994.

For those who like a few less corkscrews on their rides, the 'Best family coaster' gong went to Wicker Man at Alton Towers – a wooden rollercoaster that opened in 2018.

Winners of the UK Theme Park Awards 2021

Best New Attraction

  • Gold: Storm Chaser (Paultons Park)
  • Silver: Flight of the Sky Lion (LEGOLAND Windsor)
  • Bronze: Gangsta Granny: The Ride (Alton Towers)

Best Theme Park for Families (Large)

  • Gold: Alton Towers
  • Silver: Paultons Park
  • Bronze: LEGOLAND Windsor

Best Theme Park for Families (Small)

  • Gold: Gulliver’s Theme Parks
  • Silver: Pleasurewood Hills
  • Bronze: Fantasy Island

Best Theme Park for Toddlers

  • Gold: Paultons Park
  • Silver: Alton Towers
  • Bronze: Drayton Manor

Best Theme Park for Thrills

  • Gold: Thorpe Park
  • Silver: Alton Towers
  • Bronze: Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Best Classic Coaster

  • Gold: Nemesis (Alton Towers)
  • Silver: Grand National (Blackpool Pleasure Beach)
  • Bronze: The Big One (Blackpool Pleasure Beach)

Best Family Coaster

  • Gold: Wicker Man (Alton Towers)
  • Silver: Vampire (Chessington World of Adventures)
  • Bronze: Flight of the Pterosaur (Paultons Park)

Best Interactive Ride

  • Gold: LEGO NINJAGO The Ride (LEGOLAND Windsor)
  • Silver: Duel (Alton Towers)
  • Bronze: Tomb Blaster (Chessington World of Adventures)

Best Food & Drink

  • Gold: Alton Towers
  • Silver: Blackpool Pleasure Beach
  • Bronze: Paultons Park

Best Live Entertainment

  • Gold: Hot Ice (Blackpool Pleasure Beach)
  • Silver: Return to Skeleton Bay (LEGOLAND Windsor)
  • Bronze: ALIVE! Dinosaur Encounter (Paultons Park)

Best Halloween Event

  • Gold: Scarefest (Alton Towers)
  • Silver: Fright Nights (Thorpe Park)
  • Bronze: Xtreme Scream Park (Twinlakes)

Best Customer Service

  • Gold: Alton Towers
  • Silver: Paultons Park
  • Bronze: Adventure Island

Best Value

  • Gold: Blackpool Pleasure Beach
  • Silver: Paultons Park
  • Bronze: Drayton Manor

Theme Park of the Year

  • Gold: Alton Towers
  • Silver: Paultons Park
  • Bronze: LEGOLAND Windsor

If this has tempted you to make a theme park visit this autumn, there are plenty of Halloween-themed attractions at the UK's biggest parks.

Chessington World of Adventures’ Howl’o’ween event will take over the Surrey park from 16 October until 31 October with fun characters creating a creepy atmosphere and the return of its award-winning scare maze.

At Alton Towers in Staffordshire, visitors can expect even more Halloween fun for the theme park’s special Scarefest, kicking off from 8-10 October before returning from 15 October until Halloween on 31 October.

And just in time for October half term, Legoland’s Brick or Treat Halloween party returns from 14 October until 31 October.

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