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A day out at Lightwater Valley
Simon Ritchie finds something new at Lightwater Valley - as he always does.
What and where? Lightwater Valley theme park, at North Stainley, near Ripon.
The great thing about Lightwater is that it keeps evolving. Every time you go, there’s always something new to enjoy – and I’ve been going off and on since the 1980s.
New this year, and presumably to coincide with the latest Pirates Of The Caribbean film, the theme park has created Skeleton Cove.
Here you can climb aboard the Black Pearl for a thrilling 360 degrees voyage, jump on the Flying Cutlasses and encounter rough seas on the Skull Rock giant swing. The jaw-dropping Ultimate – now 20 years old (I had a go on day one) – is still the longest rollercoaster in Europe, while the Eagles Claw is a ride that spins you 360 degrees high over the park.
Dare, if you will, to dice with the dinosaurs in Raptor Attack, while prepare to get wet on the Wild River Rapids ride where you plunge down ravines on a giant dinghy.
My two children, Elliot, nine, and Zara, six, just loved the Falls Of Terror water slides and would have spent all day on them if the queues were not so long.
Queuing seems to be a bit of an issue at Lightwater, so choose your rides carefully and get there early.
If you do tire of the rides, there is also a shopping village on site, open all year round, and a birds of prey centre.
Refreshments? Lots of places to buy snacks and drinks, and lot of picnic areas. There’s also a pub.
Family friendly? Definitely. While The Ultimate, Raptor Attack and the Black Widow’s Web are really for older kids (and adults), there are plenty of rides for younger children. Our two loved the Caterpillar Coaster, the Flying Camels, the carousel, the Skate Karts and, especially, the dodgems.
Opening times? Open weekends until October 30, from 10am to 4.30pm. Also open October half-term from October 24 to 30. On Friday and Saturday, October 29 and 30, Lightwater Valley becomes Frightwater Valley with Hallowe’en themed activities and fireworks.
How much? £21.45 for people over 1.3 metres in height, £18.95 for people between 1 metre and 1.3 metres, free for under 1 metre. £72 for family ticket for four.
Parking? Plenty of free parking available.
Further information: Telephone 0870 458 0040 or visit lightvalley.co.uk