Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Lightwater Valley




Last weekend we visited Lightwater Valley, a theme park in North Yorkshire. I wasn't sure if theme parks were for us to be honest, given that I hate roller coasters (the vertigo!) and Bella and Angus are still quite small. In fact, before this visit, I think the last time I'd been on a roller coaster was on a trip to Alton Towers in 1994, when I was a teenager and fearless. But since Lightwater Valley is half way between Leeds and Durham - where we'd been staying with John's parents - we decided to give it a go as it seemed like a fun way to end the half term holiday. 

Bella and Angus's expectations ran high. "What is a theme park?" they wanted to know. Kind of like a cross between a really big playground and a really big funfair, we told them. "Will there be sweets?" they asked. Yes.  Yes, there will almost certainly be sweets.

They were too small for the really big rides (not that they were interested in them anyway) but very happily entertained by the child-sized roller coaster (the "Little Dipper") a water ride, and various other tractor and train rides. Children do like transport, don't they? By far and away the biggest hit was the Angry Birds playground, which we visited twice. Possibly three times. 

I really liked the landscaping of the park. Set in rolling hills, with lots of trees, a lake, and wide open spaces, it was really pleasant to be outside all day in the autumn sun, walking from one thing to the next. It would be lovely to return in the summer with a picnic, not least because the food options at the park leave a lot to be desired. Your choices were beef burger or chicken burger, and no children's portions available either. I have to admit I was hoping for better food.

But that aside, it was a lot of fun. The kids absolutely loved the rides they tried. There was some shrieking. We laughed a lot. And I got to ride on the carousel a few times and enjoy a carefree day with my favourite people.

Tell me: do you like roller coasters? A recent conversation on this topic on Instagram was very illuminating. It seems we like them less the older we get. Age, knowledge, the responsibilities of parenthood - these things seem to put us off. I'm not a fan, but I'm sure there are others out there who enjoy them and are over the age of sixteen.


Lightwater Valley kindly gave us a complimentary family ticket for our visit - thank you, we really enjoyed ourselves.


36 comments:

Pom Pom said...

Cute photos! I hate roller coasters (except for the ones at Disneyland) but kids DO love theme parks! Your kids look so cute in their furry trimmed hoods! I found your blog on Melanie's sidebar (Cosyliving). It's nice to "meet" you!

Chrysalis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chrysalis said...

What fun such precious days and happy memories to bank. I love rides - from a distance!! Hugs, Chris x

Gracie Saylor said...

Since I do not do speed, height, and abrupt movement with grace, I did a lot of watching my kids and husband leap, twirl, and spin with delight, while my feet were firmly planted on the ground of various theme parks. I did try out various rides, and survived, but I truly enjoyed watching their joy more than trying to find my own through being tossed and battered about :) I love seeing the photos of your family having fun together, Gillian! Thanks for sharing. xx

VeggieMummy said...

It sounds like it had enough gentle rides to make it a really fun day out - I don't do big roller-coasters either as I'm not a big fan of heights; for years we visited Legoland and my favourite ride was Fairytale Brook! Now my girls are bigger, I buy Thorpe Park tickets with Tesco vouchers and drop them off for the day in the Summer holidays. I agree with you about the food at this sort of park - usually over-priced junk - a picnic is definitely the way to go. x

Ingrid Orens said...

So nice - smiling faces in every photo (well, except the angry bird haha) !
I love that carrousel in the last photo - reminds me of my youth !! Those days there was less choice in "rides" in funparks or on the annual city funfair, but that type of carrousel always made my day :-) !

Librarian said...

The black-and-white shot of the ferris wheel is great! As for roller coasters, I was never a fan of them, not even as a child or teenager. There always were a few rides I would go on at fun fairs, but never the scary ones. And when was the last time I've been to a fun fair? I can't even remember :-)
It is nice that you could end the half term break with such a lovely, fun day out for all the family.

Julie said...

I did go on the odd 'big' ride when I was younger but being travel sick means that they were a chore rather than a pleasure, particularly anything which goes round and round! I love big wheels though and happily went on the tamer rides. Love the old-fashioned decoration on the carousel and whirly thing (I'd definitely have avoided that one!) x

Jacqui Galloway said...

What a lot of fun!
Jacqui xx

Anna-Marie Field said...

Glad you had a fun time!!! You looks as thought you enjoyed it just as much as the kids did!!! Have a happy weekend!!!!
Love
AMarie
xxx

rachel said...

I do like a roller coaster, but not the really fast modern ones that climb vertically. The Ultimate at Lightwater is a proper old fashioned wooden roller coaster that nearly rattles you to pieces!

Jo said...

I used to love them and was quite fearless. I get a bit sick now. Looks like fun all round there. Jo x

Jackie said...

We were there in the summer - using our Tesco vouchers. Had a great time - even did the ultimate roller coaster - which I hated. The kids went on it six or seven times! I used to love roller coasters but age does get the better of you for all the reasons you stated. Looks like you had a fabulous day out:0) xx

Jen said...

Ah I have great memories of Lightwater Valley! And that chair carousel was my favourite! I can still do mighty rollercoasters in my old age, but these carousels leave me green and queasy these days....I can be really watch the children on a roundabout without feeling a little giddy! Looks like you had a super day and lots of laughs- we'll be heading there next summer x

Susan Smith said...

Sounds like a great day out. As for roller coasters, I was terrified at age 14, had another go age 18 and think I was even more terrified and have kept away ever since. I did go on the London Eye a few years back and actually enjoyed it, but I'm not a fan of most fun fair things. I'll stick to keeping two feet on the ground. Take care.

CJ said...

It looks like a huge amount of fun. I really love the look of the horses and the swinging carousel, wonderful, and you've photographed them beautifully. CJ xx

niki murray said...

What a great time.....I am not keen on rides, never have been, love a carousel though and do go on others with my children, but under sufferance!! x

Jacqueline said...

Sounds like you had a perfect family day. My introduction to fun fairs was at the Kursaal, Southend. A very rickety, creaky wooden roller coaster was to be had there. Next came the roller coaster on Clacton pier, equally as rickety. I did brave both of them before I was a teenager and tried to enjoy the thrill but since then I give them a wide berth. It could be an age thing but to be honest I just prefer my stomach to remain where it should be, it's happier there!

Chickpea said...

Sounds like my sort of rides, I'm scared of the big ones!

Gillian said...

I used to love the big dipper rollercoaster when I was a child. Mind you, it was in Portrush and actually not that big. Now? I hate them. The very thought of going on one has me in a panic. Glad you had such a good day out - shame about the food.

Anonymous said...

I am not an amusement park fan - too gaudy, commercial, and I don't like the crazy rides. I didn't ride a roller coaster until I was 16 years old and that was only because I was on a double date - that darn peer pressure!

Leanne Paxton said...

I cannot be doing with theme parks. I'm too much of a wuss to ride the rides, and the crowds make me feel claustrophobic. But I love a carousel. Olly and me went on one at Camp Bestival quite a few times. They remind me of a simpler age, when our thrill seeking was more sedate.
Leanne xx

Clare said...

Looks like lots of fun, with bad balance plu aches and pains my rollercoaster days are well in the past, but kids do love them, in face the other week my nephew suggested going on one should be on my 40 things for being 40 list, when you're 11 that sound like a good idea.
Clare xx

Christina said...

I am not one for rollercoasters, or anything that is moving in more than one direction. I don't like the crowds much, nor the smell. But I do like those swings that you have photographed so well, even though I am terrified. I always sit in the inside seats. I also like the Carousel. You all look so happy, it is a joy to see you all. Have a great weekend. Cx

Lisa said...

The smiles say it all really!
I'm not a rollercoaster fan, never have been, too much of a scaredy cat!
Lisa x

Cheryl mylittlepieceofengland said...

Sounds like so much fun, but definitely not for me anymore xx

Alison said...

It looks like you had a fun day! I've always been rather a wuss on roller coasters, even more so these days! I've never visited Lightwater Valley but you're right about the food at these types of places, it's often disappointing; a poor selection and over-priced. Picnics are the way forward, I say.

Mereknits said...

Not to be all technical or anything, but your brain can handle much more stimulation like roller coasters or rides that rotate when you are younger, the older you get the less your Vestibular System (located in your ear area) can handle these movements so you get headaches and feel sick to your stomach when you go on them.
Hugs,
Meredith

Le comptoir de Stephanie (FunkySteph) said...

I like theme parks for the atmosphere, but not for the roller coasters. It looks like you had fun!

Joanne Wilson said...

It looks such a fun place, I'm more a 'merry go round' girl than a 'rollercoaster' one. On a school trip to Alton Towers when I was 15 I went on the 'Black Hole' just to say I went on a big ride. I hated every minute of it, no chance for me now!

Little Miss Know-it-all said...

I did used to like theme parks and exciting rides - in my day, the corkscrew at Alton Towers was the daring rage and we skipped 6th form and rode it umpteen times…
Then I had my first child and completely lost my head for heights or my stomach for rides.
Incidentally, that child now says the same thing since she had her babies!!

Marion Ogden said...

This looks like a great place for a family day out. Your photos are wonderful!
We haven't taken the girls to a theme park yet. Maybe when they're a bit older.
I've only been on a big roller coaster once--the Kraken in Sea World-Florida. I was much younger then (mid-twenties) and a bit more adventurous. At forty I think I'm now too old and too scared for it! x

mags said...

Lovely pics. I only like little roller coasters and the ones involving water! After being on one at legoland my legs gave way and I couldn't speak, too much fear for me! Xx

Helene said...

I used to love roller coasters but I have to agree, since having children, I have become a little more risk adverse.. I still enjoy the rides but I wouldn't go near the really scary ones!!
Sounds like you had a fun day! My boys would have loved it!

Neighborhood Watch said...

When I was a teen, I was the only one who would ride the really scary roller coasters with my dad, and he was glad to have a partner. I still love roller coasters and coaxed both my boys to try. Now, my youngest loves them too and we are real dare devils together. A roller coaster for me now is a kind of wild surrender and release. Afterward I don't have a single bit of stress left in my body.

The Creative Academic said...

I used to love rollercoasters. Now though...I'm not too sure! Looks a great day out was had by all :) x