Reviewed: Pleasurewood Hills
Pleasurewood Hills is a small family theme park situated just outside Lowestoft and not far from the popular UK seaside holiday location Great Yarmouth. The park attracts approximately 220,000 guests per year and offers families a fun-filled day with a varied selection of rides & attractions including a number of live action shows.
Pleasurewood Hills is¬†set in 50 acres of beautiful coastal parkland and ideally situated at Lowestoft, only¬†10 minutes south of Great Yarmouth. In 2008 the park celebrated their¬†25th Anniversary and are said to have “all the ingredients for a great day out and we really do have something for all members of the family and all groups whether young or just young at heart.”
The park continues to grow and for 2011 is planning to open a new laser tag game called “Laser Labrynth”. According to the Pleasurewood Hills website¬†Laser Labyrinth is¬†‚ÄúAn adrenaline pumping indoor laser game of wit and strategy! Stalk your opponents and dodge their fire through smoke filled battle zones.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúComing in 2011 the adrenaline pumping laser Labyrinth! Keep checking on this news feed or www.twitter.com/pwhills for the completion date so you can be the first to join the smoke filled battle!‚ÄĚ
Website & Pricing
The Pleasurewood Hills website is visually one of the best websites we’ve come across within the smaller park industry. It has a very clean and fresh feel to it, and the branding used on the site is also seen around the park on various banners. The website has all the features you’d expect including strong integration with a live Twitter feed along with discounts through Facebook Places. In fact the park have fully embraced social media and are very active throughout with regular tweets and posts on Facebook – which we feel is vital to ensure the park engages with it’s guests.
On the website there’s also a “Day in the Life of” section. We’re unsure how many regular visitors stop by this page to have a read, however it’s yet another great way for the park to engage with visitors – and it’s something we¬†haven’t¬†seen before on a theme park website.
The entry prices for the park are very reasonable – although Pleasurewood Hills wasn’t included in the¬†UK Park News Pricing Study that was released earlier this year, a group of four can spend a day in the park for as little as ¬£61.50 which would firmly place the park on the number one spot for value for money. ¬†Here’s the full pricing breakdown:
|Gang of 4 ticket¬†@||¬£61.50|
|Gang of 5 ticket¬†@||¬£73.50|
|Gang of 6 ticket¬†@||¬£87.50|
|Gang of 7 ticket¬†@||¬£98.50|
|Gang of 8 ticket¬†@||¬£110.50|
|Gang of 9 ticket¬†@||¬£120.50|
|Under 3′s or 1m¬†@||¬£0.00|
|Adults & Child 12yrs +¬†@||¬£16.00|
|3 to 11 yrs child¬†@||¬£14.00|
|Dated Concession Ticket*¬†@||¬£11.00|
There’s plenty for the whole family to enjoy all day long, making a visit to Pleasurewood Hills a full day of fun for everyone and for ¬£61.50 for a family of four – it’s superb value for money.
Rides & Attractions
The park has a varied selection of rides and attractions, accompanied by several live action shows – it¬†is really good to see a smaller park invest in a variety of shows which adds another entertain dimension for¬†families and children.
Our first ride of the day was Wipeout – donned the region’s tallest and wildest roller coaster. This attraction had a previous life at American Adventure where it was known as “The Missile” but after the park closed it was purchased by Pleasurewood Hills and installed in 2007. ¬†The ride is ¬†a Vekoma Boomerang coaster standing ¬†just over 116′ tall. Riders are winched backwards to the top of the initial drop and then released where the train races back towards the station at 47MPH before entering a Cobra Roll and a full vertical loop. Then, riders are
winched to the top of the second drop and released to do the same again, only this time backwards.
We’ve ridden a number of Boomerang coasters and while they’re not our favourite attraction, Wipeout¬†is clearly a sound investment which pulls in the crowds – there was a healthy queue throughout the day and riders could be heard screaming with excitement throughout the park.
We did have one gripe with the attraction though – for some reason the park run the train with the back three rows of seats out of use – they have permanent Pleasurewood Hills teddy bears in place! We did ask the ride op why they weren’t in use but we didn’t really get an answer. It isn’t a huge issue, however we could hear guests in the queue line saying they were wanting to sit in the back seats (as were we) but were unable to.
We headed over to Enigma around lunch time which is Schwarzkopf Jumbo V coaster.¬†¬†There aren’t many¬†Schwarzkopfs left in the UK and it was a rare treat to be able to ride one again. The ride is a simple design however it is¬†thoroughly¬†enjoyable to both ride and watch. We had plenty of time to watch and take photos – the queue time was around 20-25 minutes.
Enigma is a popular attraction at the park though for some reason it is single train operation and with the small trains only taking 8 riders per cycle, throughput was very slow.
We managed to get a front seat ride and considering the ride’s simple track design, it was an enjoyable experience¬†with drops, turns, twists and one section where it looks like you’ll hit your head on the track above, but the train drops away just in time – a thoroughly enjoyable attraction.
The park has a few flat rides too – Thuderstruck is a Huss Tristar – and it was our first experience of one so we didn’t really know what to expect. Riders are seated in Gondolas in a similar fashion to an Enterprise ride.
There are three rotating¬†carousel arms¬†with Gondolas attached to each. As each arm rotates, so does the central hub then the whole ride lifts on an hydraulic arm.
We were surprised at how exciting Thunderstruck was – it is certainly much faster and more exhilarating than it first appears. Riders need to be a minimum 1.25m tall to ride.
Other Rides & Attractions
The park is also home to a KMG afterburner “Fireball” (similar to The Eagle’s Claw at Lightwater Valley and Vortex at Thorpe Park). These are amongst some of our favourite flat rides, however it was operated on a strange ride cycle that slowed almost to a stop half way through before setting off again.
For the people who like getting wet there’s the VERY wet “Timber Falls” log flume ride with two drops – don’t let the smaller of the two¬†deceive¬†you though; we got soaked on both but we didn’t mind too much¬†since it was a warm summer’s day.
For the youngsters wanting to brave the roller coaster scene, the park has a fantastic junior coaster “Snake in the Grass” which is a¬†Zierer¬†Tivoli coaster. Riders are taken up a tunneled lift hill then swoop down before
seeking their way around trees and weaving in and out of the track. We were really lucky too – whist waiting for other riders to board, no other than Woody The Bear himself joined the queue line then got on to ride with us! This was an excellent touch – we’ve seen park mascots before but never seen one join in the fun!
There’s loads of other attractions too for everyone to enjoy including “Shiver M’ Timbers” – a Huss pirate ship, “Wave Breaker” – a Dingy slide ride – we were oblivious to the on-ride photo camera on this one and had a bit of a chuckle at our faces as we splashed at the bottom! On ride photos are priced at ¬£5.15 throughout the park.
For the train/transport fans there’s two train rides in the park and a chairlift ride that takes you from one side of the park near the entrance over a lake to the far side – it also allows for some fantastic photo opportunities.
Another attraction we were particularly looking forward to was “Tales of the Coast” which at the time of visiting was dubbed as a “3D Boat Adventure” with the website showing a photo of riders wearing 3D glasses. However, this wasn’t the case, which was a shame as it would have been quite a unique ride experience and one for the whole family to enjoy. The 3D effects setup looked similar to those seen in “Hocus Pocus Hall” at Chessignton World of Adventures.
Kidzone is the place to be if you have toddlers or smaller children – the park has
a dedicated area for the smaller members of the family to enjoy which includes a variety of rides such as a mini pirate ship, coin-op driving school, and merry-go-round rides.
For those children who’s prefer¬†something a little more sedate, there’s¬†also a play area with a variety of play equipment to enjoy – this is a lovely area of the park with lots of grassed areas – ideal if you’re wanting to take a rest and let the kids play while you relax in the sun!
The park also offers a number of shows including a Circus & Street Arts show, a BMX stunt show, a clown trampoline show and a parrot show! We were quite impressed at the number of shows¬†available – we decided to watch the circus & street art show which was extremelty popular – the venue was packed to the rafters but luckily we got in early.
The show consists of a number of acrobatic acts, street dancers, BMX stunts and a very funny clown-type character who had the audience in riles of laughter – particularly during the audience participation sections – highly recommended, but we won’t reveal the details – you’ll have to see it for yourself!
¬†Food & Beverage/Retail Sales
Pleasurewood Hills has a number of food establishments available, including plenty of grassed areas for those wanting to take¬†a picnic. The two main restaurants are the Merry Mariner which offers traditional dishes such as Steak Pie with veg and a selection of sandwiches, and the Flying Fish which is a fish/chips/burgers type of place.
The quality of the restaurants was surprisingly good – the dining areas are well equipped and very smart. Often in smaller parks the eating establishments can be quite disappointing¬† and lackluster but the atmosphere was great, the restaurant was clean and tidy and the food that we had was pretty good though not excellent. Pricing is about what you’d expect to pay at a theme park – a meal deal consisting of a Burger, chips and a drink for ¬£5.50.
Guest Experience/Staff Interaction
From the staff member that met us in guest services through to the people that served us in the shops when we bought our merchandise, all certainly provided a warm welcome and a happy approach to their work – very friendly which adds to the park’s family fun feel. We did find it a little odd though when the ride staff on Wipeout and a few other attractions were asking each guest “is that OK for you – are you comfortable” when closing the restraints. A pleasant touch, but a little unecessary and really slowed the throughput on the rides.
Pleasurewood Hills has it’s own park mascot too – Woody the Bear and we could see him wondering around the park waving to children and their families and posing for photoshoots. The park¬†capitalised on Woody’s presence by selling Woody Bear toys along side him – a great sales opportnity which again we havn’t seen in a park before.
Pleasurewood hills is a fantastic day out for all the family – with¬†a relaxed environment and plenty of
attractions to suite everyone’s needs, including the financial needs of mum and dad! The whole family can visit the park for just over ¬£61 and asre ensured to have a fabulous day which is real good value for money.
There’s the big rides such as Wipeout and Enigma for the older kids/mum and dad and for the younger ones there’s the dedicated Kidzone, the play area and lots of other smaller attractions – not forgetting the live shows.
We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Pleasurewood Hills – the park offers a great variety of things to do for the whole family and is excellent value for money. There’s a great atmosphere in beautiful surroundings with friendly and helpful staff. With the focus lately being on “staycations” and saving money, we can safely assure this theme park is¬†near the top of the ranks when it comes to combining family fun with great value for money.
If you want to book your tickets visit www.pleasurewoodhills.com
Visit the official Facebook page here.
Full Photo Gallery