With dozens of fantastic family-friendly attractions, the Peak District is perfectly placed for fun and frivolity.
Here, we take a look at some of the biggest and best theme parks in, around and on the outskirts of the region; from adrenalin-junkie hotspots and rollercoaster rides to wildlife parks where you can get up close and personal with a huge range of animals.
Alton Towers, Alton, Staffordshire
Alton Towers is the number one theme park in the UK and is situated in Staffordshire on the edge of the Peak District. Their mission is simply to ‘make Britain happy’. A bold statement, but with over 50 rides, two themed hotels, including the Cbeebies Land Hotel designed specifically with families in mind, luxury treehouses, an enchanted village and a waterpark, this resort is making good on its pledge and remains ever-popular, appealing to young and old alike.
The park first opened in 1980 and has seen millions of visitors enjoy billions of rides over its 37-year history. Whether you are looking for family fun or adrenalin-pumping experiences, you’ll find it at Alton Towers.
Gulliver’s Kingdom, Matlock Bath, Derbyshire
The Gulliver’s franchise has a few venues dotted around the country, but this one is in Matlock Bath, Derbyshire. It is a family-run theme park where it’s all about ‘big adventures for little people’ and children under 90cm can go for free.
It is perfect for younger children with over 60 rides and attractions including play areas just for toddlers. For slightly older children there is a giant waterslide that provides a constant source of entertainment, The NERF Zone, where they get to shoot each other with blasters, a huge pirate ship and the ever-popular JCB Zone where children can operate one of the iconic yellow diggers.
Drayton Manor, Near Tamworth, Staffordshire
Maelstrom (Image courtesy of Drayton Manor Theme Park)
Drayton Manor is home to Thomas Land, a world with rides and experiences that are themed around Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends. The resort is an award-winning theme park in Staffordshire with an open-plan 15-acre zoo that is home to many endangered and rare species. The staff run programmes where they are working hard to help preserve the world’s wildlife and educate the public.
There are over 100 exciting attractions at Drayton Manor including water rides, live shows and outdoor play areas and they even have their own campsite as there is so much to see and do in just one day.
Go Ape, Buxton, Derbyshire
Go Ape in Buxton is one of their highest courses in the country and within walking distance from the historic spa town. Although not technically a theme park, the activities appeal to thrill-seekers still and you can choose from a treetop adventure, a journey through the forest on a Segway or a zip trekking adventure.
Close by is a two-million-year-old natural limestone cave called Poole's Cavern in Buxton Country Park where you can wonder at the amazing crystal formations that adorn the vast and illuminated chambers. Enjoy a tasty meal in the Cavern Café before spending some pocket money at the fossil and gemstone shop.
Peak Wildlife Park, Leek, Staffordshire
For a fab and fun day out for all of the family go to Peak Wildlife Park in Leek. The emphasis is on the animals, but there is a secure outdoor play area and Jungle Bounce with a huge, jungle bouncy castle. There is a large sandpit and an indoor soft play area with two large jungle-themed levels, an array of slides, a ball pool and a viewing area from which to sit and watch the Asian Short-Clawed Otters play.
Twinlakes Theme Park, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire
This all-action and all-weather theme park has rides galore, a Creepy Critter Zone, a Bird of Prey Centre, a waterpark and a zoo, just to mention a few. There are onsite cafés, shops and seasonal events that run throughout the year at Twinlakes, including Grandparents’ Weekend where the oldies can join in for just £5 each!
Manor Park, Glossop, Derbyshire
Last, but not least is Manor Park in Glossop. It is on the eastern side of the centre of Glossop and fringes on to the Conservation Area of Old Glossop. There is a car park at Corn Mill and on-street parking is available nearby. Again, not technically a theme park, but with this much going on for free, it deserves a mention.
This popular park includes a skate park for the older children, a play area for children up to the age of 12, tennis courts, a basketball court, a five-a-side football area, a lake with ducks, a sensory garden, a flower garden, and a miniature golf course, and finally a beautiful miniature railway which runs throughout the summer for a small fee. The park, where local events also happen regularly, has an active friends group on Facebook that is regularly updated and where you can find more information.
For even more great days out in the Peak District, take a look at even more top attractions in the Peak District.
If you're planning a fun-packed family holiday in the Peak District, find somewhere to relax and stay in between all your days out with our family-friendly cottages across the Peak District.