Theme parks are considered one of the best days out for families, including those with younger kids.
The UK is home to a huge number of theme parks — some big, some small, some specifically targeted at kids and others with just a smaller section dedicated to them.
We’ve rounded up the best kids theme parks for toddlers and the under 5s, but don’t worry — there’s plenty here for older kids and adults too!
Let’s take a look…
- The Best Kids Theme Parks in the UK
The Best Kids Theme Parks in the UK
Drayton Manor in Staffordshire is one of the UK’s best theme parks and routinely voted as one of the country’s best family days out.
There are plenty of rides here to entertain the whole family, regardless of age and thrill seeking level, but the younger ones will definitely love Thomas Land — 6,000 square metres of rides and attractions dedicated to Thomas The Tank Engine. Some of the kid-friendly rides here include a carousel, indoor soft play, outdoor adventure play, a driving school, flying academy, balloon rides, fire rescue, and even a little rollercoaster.
Drayton Manor is also home to a zoo, dino trail, crazy golf and live shows.
Thorpe Park in Surrey is probably most famous for its thriller rides like Nemesis Inferno, but it’s actually well suited to families with young kids as well.
Amity Beach is exclusively for younger children and their families, and houses age appropriate water slides and even a large paddling pool — just make sure the weather is good for your visit. Other kiddie-friendly rides include Mr Monkey’s Banana Ride, Timber Tug Boat and Flying Fish — the ideal first time rollercoaster. There are height restrictions on various rides so make sure you check online before you head out.
Thorpe Park is very accessible all around for buggies and you can even download the park app during your trip to get live queue times and Fastrack access if you’re working around tantrums and naps! 😉
Crealy Theme Park and Resort
Crealy is one of our favorite theme parks and continually voted the ‘best day out in Devon’. Under 5s are well catered for, with rides, attractions and indoor fun available. Toddlers can explore the Lost World of Atlantis, Blue Lagoon, Dino Dig, Adventure Zone, Fort Crealy, Meerket Manor and much, much more.
Slightly older kids will be able to go on more adventurous rides like the Tidal Wave Log Flume, Flying Machine, Crealy Grand Prix, Flying Dutchman, Aqua Blasters and Dino Jeeps. Everyone will enjoy the Soak Zone so make sure you bring the swimming costumes!
Gulliver’s Theme Parks and Resorts
Gulliver’s Theme Parks and Resorts can be found in 4 locations around the UK — Milton Keynes, Cheshire, Derbyshire and South Yorkshire. These parks are specifically designed for children so you won’t have the usual thrill-seeking adults and teenagers that you get at many of the bigger and more famous theme parks.
Each resort offers something a little different for guests — the one in Milton Keynes has a dinosaur and farm park tacked on, for instance! But all locations have a huge number of rides and attractions that kids will love, including the under 5s and toddlers.
If you live nearby a Gulliver’s, it may be worth investing in an annual passport for unlimited entries to all Gulliver’s theme parks throughout the year.
Alton Towers is the UK’s largest theme park and, believe us when we say, it’s got a huge amount of things to do for all the family. The big thrill rides get most of the attention, but there’s also plenty of stuff for younger kids — especially in CBeebies Land.
CBeebies Land is a separate area of the park specifically for toddlers and young kids, with dozens of themed rides and attractions. Some of these are based on kids’ favorite shows like In The Night Garden, Postman Pat and Charlie and Lola.
There are other kid-friendly things to do in the rest of the park as well, including Sharkbait Reef by SEALIFE, the Skyride around The Towers, and the wonderful Royal Carousel. There’s also a family friendly waterpark on site!
Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Probably one of the UK’s most recognisable theme parks, Blackpool Pleasure Beach isn’t just a beach and is a good choice for younger kids if you’re in the area. Provided they can walk unaided and are wearing suitable footwear, kids can ride on 19 of the rides available here — if they fail to meet the height requirements, they will be able to ride with an adult.
The most popular part of the park for families with younger kids is Nickelodeon Land, which is full to the brim with age appropriate rides and attractions, as well as your kids’ favorite characters. Look out for Spongebob Squarepants and the Paw Patrol crew!
Legoland Windsor is probably the most favoured kids theme park in the entirety of the UK and always a hit with the under 5s. Scratch that — the whole family will love it! You don’t have to be a diehard Lego fan to enjoy Legoland either as there are plenty of rides and attractions for every interest.
Under 3s should head for DUPLO Valley for the most age appropriate rides and attractions — they’re sure to love the DUPLO Express, Playtown and the Airport. The Splash Safari is also a bit hit if you remember to take your swimming costumes.
Once kids are over 3, they can try out the driving school and the brilliant Dino Coaster for starters!
Chessington World of Adventures
Chessington in Surrey is an easy day trip from London and another great theme park for babies and toddlers to enjoy. The Temple of Mayhem and Dragon’s Playhouse are both specially designed for toddlers and will keep them occupied for a while. There are of course plenty of other rides and attractions that the rest of the family will enjoy as well.
One of the brilliant things about Chessington is that it’s not just a theme park — kids will love the onsite zoo and SEALIFE centre as well. There are also plenty of regular shows, feedings and meet-and-greets throughout the day. Make sure you check out their website for details on the seasonal events that they host during the year.
For something a little more low-key than the most famous theme parks on this list, Flamingo Land in Yorkshire is a great choice for a family day out. It’s home to both a theme park and a zoo, as well as other attractions like the Peter Rabbit adventure, Dino Stone Park and Splish Splosh — an interactive water play zone.
There are a number of kids’ rides here that are perfect for the under 5s, including the Go Gator, Frog Hopper, Dino Roller (a great first coaster) and the brilliant HMS Bouncy soft play area. Even just moving around the park and zoo is fun at Flamingoland thanks to their transport systems like the cable cars, monorail and Daktari Express train.
Oakwood in Pembrokeshire is one of Wales’ best theme parks with plenty to do for all the family. Rides and attractions can be found indoors and outdoors so it could be a good option for a day out in variable or bad weather.
Little ones will love the Neverland section which is home to Tink’s Flying School, the Lost Boys’ Adventure and Neverland Chase amongst other rides. Indoors is the brilliant Hook’s House of Havoc — a massive soft play that’s ideal for kids of all ages. Thrill seekers in the making will definitely get a kick out of the Crocodile Coaster and the ever-popular Treetops Ride.
Paultons is best known as being the home of Peppa Pig World, but there’s a huge amount of other attractions here besides. Located in the New Forest, Paultons is routinely voted as the UK’s best theme parks and is set over 140 acres, with over 70 rides and attractions in total.
Alongside Peppa Pig World, there’s the Lost Kingdom (also home to a dinosaur park!), Critter Creek, Little Africa and Tornado Springs. Each themed world has a number of rides and attractions with lots of children’s and family rides suitable for the youngest members of the family.
Make sure you check out the Paultons’ website for details on themed events held seasonally and throughout the year, including Christmas and Halloween.
Also known as ‘Scotland’s Theme Park’, M&Ds can be found in Strathclyde Country Park, not too far from Glasgow. It’s a little smaller than some of the theme parks on this list, but there’s still over 40 rides and attractions to choose from, a number of which are ideal for toddlers and the under 5s.
Younger kids will love rides like the Demolition Derby, Monster Machines and Disco Boats, as well as attractions like the Krazy Congo Soft Play and the brilliant Amazonia — an indoor tropical rainforest that’s home to over 70 different species. There are even animal handling sessions for budding zoologists!
For a family theme park in the Bournemouth area, look no further than Adventure Wonderland. Unlike some of the famous legacy parks on this list, Adventure Wonderland is mostly geared towards toddlers and young children, with only a few rides having height or age restrictions in place.
Some favourite rides here include Flying Elephants, the Jungle Falls log flume and Wild Bill’s Runaway Train. Make sure you also check out the maze, driving school, Caucus Race (a commando style assault course), and Wild Thing — a huge indoor adventure play centre.
If you’re looking for some non-ride entertainment, pony rides and zip lining is available, as well as some great shows at the Happydrome Theatre.
Lightwater Valley is a great value family theme park based in Ripon, Yorkshire. Like Adventure Wonderland, many of the rides are well catered towards younger kids and they have just over 30 in total. Little ones will love the Carousel, Dragon Boats, Human Cannonball, and Little Dipper rides amongst many more.
Budding paleontologists should head straight to Jurassic Adventure Golf, a dinosaur park-cum-crazy golf course that incurs a small additional charge on top of your admission ticket. There are also a variety of outdoor playgrounds and soft play to enjoy while you’re at Lightwater Valley — including a toddler play area too.
Brean Theme Park
Head on down to Somerset to enjoy the brilliant Brean Theme Park, which has 40 different rides and attractions set over a whopping 200 acres. There’s a good mix of rides here for the whole family and different thrill-seeking levels. For young tots, attractions like the bumpy slide, farm train, trampolines, carousel and Canoe River are destined to be played on all day.
Older kids will doubtless love the slightly more adventurous attractions, like Terror Castle, Wipeout, Jetspin and Crazy Loop. Also on site at Brean, although requiring an additional fee if you want to play, is go karting and the 18-hole Congo Adventure Golf.
Diggerland is a transport-based theme park with locations throughout the UK. You can find them in Kent, Devon, Durham and West Yorkshire. An absolute must-visit for digger obsessed kids and adults, Diggerland gives you the opportunity to ride, drive and operate diggers, dumpers and other construction vehicles!
There are 20 different rides and ‘drives’ available at Diggerland, including on real JCBs and 180/360 excavators. There are height restrictions in place for many of the drives so make sure you check on their website that your kids will be able to make the most of what’s on offer. For the littlest ones (under 80cm), the indoor play area and Diggerland Train will be your best friends. Older kids will love the Mini Landrovers, Spindizzy, Skyshuttle and go karts.
Just outside of Ilfracombe in Devon is the brilliant Watermouth — both a theme park and a castle! There’s a huge amount to do here for younger kids and older ones split across its various worlds — Adventure Land, Merry-Go-Land, Castle Treasures and Dungeon Labyrinths.
Merry-Go-Land is the place to be for young kid-appropriate rides and attractions, including a steam carousel, swing boats, Aviator Ride and Snake Tube Slide. Head over to Castle Treasures for more of a museum experience as you step back in time to see how castle life might have been back in the Victorian age.
Adventure Land is home to the famous Thunder Luge Toboggan Run — a 250 metre downhill toboggan ride — as well as the brilliant Great Adventure Playground.
Looking for alternatives? Make sure to check out our activities section for more ideas.