Camelot theme park is a small park in the North West between J27
& J28 of the M6 near Chorley. The park is a little less known
amongst its family theme park rivals such as Lightwater Valley
and Flamingo Land, but did make news headlines in 2008 when it
was announced the park was to go into liquidation. Thankfully,
after Knights Leisure Ltd took over it was confirmed that the
park would open for the 2009 season, though due to delays in
takeover the season didn’t start for the park until the end of
Camelot were not able
to give definitive average gate figures to us, since the park
has not yet run for a complete season (since reforming) but the
park did manage to tell us that they currently employ 15
permanent staff and 150 season staff. The chairman Roy Page has
confirmed that Camelot Theme Park’s future is now secure
financially and UK Park News was delighted to hear this.
The Camelot website (www.camelotthemepark.co.uk)
manages to rank almost as high in Google searches (searching “UK
Theme Parks”) as its rival small parks, featuring at the top of
page two, which considering the size of the park is still an
achievement. We’d like to see though, as the park grows under
Knights Leisure, the website rankings increase so the site lands
on the first page of Google results.
The website itself, whilst it serves its
purpose to some extent, certainly seems to be lacking in a few
areas. There appears to be no park map in any format – we’re
pretty sure the site used to have this pre-2009 but unless we’re
very much mistaken, we couldn’t locate a map on the site
anywhere, which should be a basic provision for any theme park
While the rest of the site is functional
and provides the majority of the information required, it
appears to be a little less user friendly or easy on the eye to
its small park rivals. Many sites these days are very clean or
fresh to view, which is something that the Camelot could improve
There is a video trailer for the rides at
Camelot though and we were massively impressed with the whole
production. If you haven’t seen it, it features Knightmare with
an excellent and very dramatic soundtrack – the best in-web production
video we’ve seen in our opinion; better than the videos for the
larger corporate parks. Well done Camelot.
- Lots of easily accessible information about the park.
- Photos for all major attractions.
- No park map available.
- Site uses in-frames making it a bit difficult to navigate
- Feels overall like the site needs a revamp.
After searching online, we found only 1
special offer in association with Money Supermarket which has a
2 for 1 offer available until September 2010 when paying the
full gate price.
We find the gate price of £22 per person to be a little on the
expensive side when buying single tickets. Although if tickets
are bought online, you can save £4 per ticket, the best value
tickets are the family savers, when purchased its the equivalent
of £15.50 per person which seems much better value for money,
especially for a family day out.
The Park has no major new attractions for 2010, though
considering it almost went into liquidation in 2008/2009 this is
perhaps hardly surprising. The main attractions are:
Knightmare – a custom Swarzkopf coaster.
This is quite a unique attraction, that’s extremely smooth apart
from the odd bumpy corner and its great fun. It looks rather odd due
to its layout and structural design, but this is probably due to
how the ride was when heavily themed during its time as
"BMRX" in Japan.We loved this coaster – it’s a
great addition to the park, the only problem for us was the
somewhat annoying and very loud claxon that sounds every time a
train is dispatched!
Whirlwind – a travelling spinning coaster
ala Sonic Spinball. Unfortunately this ride was closed during
our visit due to a technical fault with the lift hill motor, and neither I
nor Matt (our Research & News Editor) had previously been on
this. Understandably in this industry technical faults are all
too common, so we moved on to the next attraction without
feeling too disheartened. One thing we did notice though after
getting back home and researching the ride on rcdb.com was how
much it appeared that the ride has been neglected. From the
photos on RCDB it looks very impressive, but the attraction is
in desperate need of a re-spray as can be seen in the photos
Excalibur 2 – Well, show us a flat Spin ‘n’ Spew and UK Park
News will be there in a flash. As ever we were keen to try this
odd looking flat ride. We first watched it on a few cycles and
both Matt and I looked at each other and agreed that it was most
likely going to be a painful and unpleasant experience, so we
joined the queue.
Surprisingly, Excalibur 2 is in fact far
from uncomfortable, you might think of Submission or Ripsaw at
Alton Towers as a comparable experience, when in fact the ride
is very comfortable and extremely good fun and not nauseating by
any means. We loved it.
Dragon Flyer – A diesel powered coaster. We
were taken aback by this attraction instantly. Of course UKPN
knew that diesel coasters exist, but for one reason or another
we had completely overlooked this at Camelot until we saw (and
heard) it fly by for the first time! We were instantly excited
and very much looked forward to our first “flight”.
Whilst the layout of the coater itself is
rather rudimentary, it is just immense fun on all levels. The
track circumnavigates the bottom half of the park which carries
its own charm – watching the attractions and people whizz by
while picking up the faint smell of burning diesel, for us was
just magical. Top marks for this attraction Camelot.
The park is littered with a number of other
attractions, all of which are aimed mainly at the younger
audience including a Big Apple coaster, a single drop log flume,
water slide, balloon race, ghost train and others.
The park does have a dedicated “kiddies”
ride section though, which is very nice to see. We were on park
with my 3 year old daughter and although she is not a ride fan
just now, this area catered for all those under the age of about
6 or 7. It consists of some merry go rounds, baby pirate ship
and other small attractions along with an indoor soft
play/adventure area for those kids who don’t enjoy the rides.
Overall, it’s a nice mix of rides that the
park offers, not forgetting the excellent petting zoo which is a
winner with the kids, though it’s obvious this park is aimed more at the
family/children’s market. We wouldn’t say the park is craving
for a big new signature coaster, but it’d be very nice to see
Whirlwind receive a new paint job.
New for 2010 The park announced no new rides for
the 2010 Season. We did notice some signs about a laser based
paint-ball style attraction but we couldn’t actually find this
in the park anywhere, and wondered if it was advertising an
off-site attraction. back to top
Throughout the park there are your usual burger/hot dog stalls
however, we spotted the food court on the map that we had been
handed by a member of staff, and headed for that.
The food court consists of a large marquee style structure with
plenty of indoor seating, which is great for all weather
types. Often we see mass outdoor eating areas which become
redundant during the typical English poor weather days.
There are a variety of food offerings
including pizza and fish and chips – we settled for a Wimpy
which was reasonably priced and came with a very generous
portion of chips. There are kids meals available and family meal
Kids Menu – from £3.70
Adult menu – from £5
Meal deal for 4 - £20
We also noticed that the park has an
excellent number of “Pay & Play” side stall games. We don’t
usually bother with these in parks, but it was good to see
Camelot have made the effort to include lots of fun games for
guests to try. One thing we did find quite disappointing was the
distinct lack of on ride photo availability. Even on the larger
rides such as Knightmare there wasn’t the opportunity to
purchase a photo which we think would be a fantastic revenue
stream for the park. We could only see on ride photos available
from the water slide.
There’s a number of shops dotted around the
park, mainly selling generic merchandise, but due to the theme
of the park, perhaps this is more successful than others with
swords, shields and other Knights wear available – something
that the kids just love.
Overall, the food/retail sections of the park is above average,
with food being well priced and of pretty good quality (where we
ate) my only personal gripe would be that I wanted to get a
hotdog around 4pm near the Jousting Arena, but they’d already
closed up for the day.
Generally, the whole experience on park was positive with almost
all staff members being pleasant both towards us, and towards
other guests. Our front of house lady upon arrival was very
pleasant when we arrived for the Knight School event (detailed
below) but there was a slight misunderstanding
over the diary entry for our attendance, and while the lady at
the desk was very nice about it, her colleague didn’t seem
happy/friendly about the proceedings, which left us feeling a
Upon leaving the park, all the Knights of Camelot were waiting
at the park exit to say goodbye to kids and families, and to
allow people to take photos with them. This is an excellent touch –
you can see that kids love the Knight Themeing and this is a
fantastic way for a family to end their day.
Camelot is a family orientated park, with a nice balance between
family fun and thrills/spills. There’s some good rides for those
adrenaline junkies, mixed with a variety of family rides, and an
excellent kiddies area, which we were very impressed with.
The atmosphere in the park was pleasant
with no loud/boisterous teenagers or the sight of trouble
anywhere. UK Park News was particularly impressed with the parks
wet weather promise. If it rains continually for at least 2
hours, the park offer to refund half the ticket cost – something
we’ve never seen before in a park. During our questions to the
park, they had mentioned that the weather had hampered gate
figures in 2009, so perhaps this is a good way to ensure regular
visitors during poor weather.
Another area that stood out
for us was the park's queue jumping policy. We're aware that all
parks have a policy to remove queue jumpers from the park, but
at Camelot the signs for this were frequent and very blatant,
which is good to see.
UK Park News originally planned to attend to cover the Knight
School Event, but this then extended into a full park review.
Knight School is an event held every year by the park and its
becoming increasingly popular.
In 2010 35 children (aged 6-11) came along
with their families to the special event. These people had won
complimentary tickets and access to Knight School by previously
taking part in a competition on the Camelot Website. Families
were welcomed in reception between 09:30-10:00 and the children
were given a name badge and split into 3 groups. Once the
majority of families had arrived, we were taken down the
Jousting Area. This is a large arena where the park has Live
Jousting each day as part of their Camelot Themeing experience.
Once all had been accounted for, and
despite the poor weather with it drizzling quite persistently,
the event started officially with an announcement from King
Arthur and his Good Knights. There were a number of Knights
including Sir Lancelot and Sir Percival and not forgetting the
With the children split into 3 groups, the activities began –
this included activities from the Camelot era, which was both
very educational and great fun for the kids involved (and some
of the parents!)
Sword Fighting (demonstrated with real
swords/axes by the Knights) the kids were given foam swords.
Juggling with balls and batons.
How to dress a Horse, and familiarisation with battle wear.
Each group had around 15 minutes on each
activity, and were rotated each time King Arthur made his
announcement. We spent a lot of our time around the Horse
Dressing activity which was extremely informative as the Good
Knights explained what each item on the horse was used for. They
also had a few sets of chainmail which the Knight’s used when in
battle – they explained just how heavy the garment was, and how
difficult it was to manoeuvre whilst wearing it. This was
confirmed when some of the children were able to wear a piece
and then attempt to run across the arena!
The event concluded by the participants
receiving their Knighthood and free juggling balls/foam swords.
We were very impressed with the whole event and
we’d like to see this return next year, as I’m sure would the
young children that attended!
Our visit to Camelot was great fun and we agreed that the park
definitely had a very good atmosphere that was almost “magical”.
The park offers a great family day out with some excellent rides
and attractions including some unique activities such as
Jousting and Knight School – a real selling point for the park.
We’d recommend any family wanting a good day out to visit,
though we maintain that if paying the full gate price families
may be left thinking it’s slightly over priced when compared to
other smaller parks. We look forward to seeing how the park
grows over the next 5 years now that its financial instability
has passed. back to top