I think as I’ve got older, but definitely since having a child, I’ve gone off scary rides. I used to love them, and would probably still let myself be dragged on them. But I’m quite pleased that N likes the middle of the road roller coasters, rather than the totally thrill seeker ones I’d previously gone on, over and over again. While on holiday in Lowestoft we did head to Pleasurewood Hills, a smaller family theme park that I thought we’d both enjoy.
Despite it being summer school holidays, and hot weather, after reading a lot of reviews, I’d thought we’d not have to queue much. That was a bit optimistic, especially buying tickets for the afternoon for Africa Alive. I’d assumed we’d be able to do a lot more at Pleasurewood Hills for the time we spent there. But we only managed 5 rides before it was just too hot for us, and we were ready to go off elsewhere.
I do wish places that get really busy would open earlier, even if only 30 minutes earlier at 9.30. Opening at 10, and then having huge queues to get in, even for advance ticket holders, is madness.
It would also be nice to be able to get a paper map, but again it was either via the app or online. So we didn’t really know where we wanted to get it – more signs, and more visual maps with rides and areas on would have been helpful, as we only spotted the big map once we’d already walked around quite a bit – then realised areas we’d totally missed.
Pleasurewood Hills is fairly compact to walk around, plus there’s the chair lifts and train if you want to avoid too much walking. The zones could have been more easily identifiable somehow.
It’s definitely a family theme park with rides for all ages. There’s a couple of larger scarier rides, lots of middle suitability and quite a few rides and activities for younger children too. It’s easy to see beforehand on the website, and on arrival at each ride, how tall you need to be to go on the ride. Although we did still see people queuing then children turned around once they got to the start.
The queues were insane. Not quite as bad as the huge theme parks, but don’t assume the there aren’t queues. The water rides were the worst because of the hot weather, but we had to queue for every ride we went on.
N wanted to go on the dodgems because previously he’d always been too short to ride them alone. So we had fun riding those around.
The Water Fun Factory flume called, with its huge queue. I’m glad we queued when we did, although we did seem to get a lot more drenched than everyone else we saw coming off. Luckily we dried off fairly fast in the heat.
We decided to get in one more ride before lunch, and thought the Rootin Tootin Target Trail would be a shorter queue. We still had to queue around 20 minutes – we hadn’t realised until well inside how much further a hidden part of the queue was. We love these type of rides though – you ride through the ‘mine’ in a wagon, and shoot lasers to score points. We found this one much harder than some we’ve done, and it was disappointing at the end not to see how we scored.
Lunch choices were fairly limited if you wanted just a sandwich. There were plenty of refreshments kiosks around, but they tended to be something with chips. Or there were proper restaurants with full on meals. All of it was the usual fast food style of fare. We decided to just grab chicken goujons and share some chips. You could have food as a meal but the sign was confusing. Luckily the girl on the till told me which was the best choice to get the best value.
The goujons turned out to be really tender and tasty, so it was a good choice. Just a shame there were so many smokers around the picnic area, oblivious to the direction their smoke was going in. We hate sitting eating with smoke blowing over us, and had to move once.
After lunch N didn’t want any rides that were too much throwing you around. So when we spotted the chair lifts decided that would be a good way to see everything around the place. There was only a short queue, then we sat down as the chair lift picked us up. We went over the theatre, and some of the younger children’s rides. It was a nice serene way to take some time out to relax in between the other rides and walking.
When we got off the chair lifts, we were right at the Egg-spress roller coaster, so decided we’d go on it. It looked quite tame from the look of the carriages and colours. But it turned out to be a great little ride, just right for N and myself.
By that stage we were ready to move on. I don’t think we could stand further queuing, and decided we’d head off to our next stop – to Africa Alive.
Overall, I think Pleasurewood Hills does have something for everyone. I think you need to be there all day and plan with a map in advance to work out where to go and what to go on first to avoid the worst of the queues.
We only noticed one queue which had a sign saying 10 minutes from this point, but it turned out to be shorter than that anyway. I was surprised not to see more around – if we’d had a better idea about the queues, we might have made different decisions on what to go on. It would also have been good to have had something obvious at the start saying which rides weren’t open, as there were a couple we went to and found they were closed.
Pleasurewood Hills isn’t just about rides. There was also a Big Top Circus Spectacular this summer, birds of paradise displays and sea lion performances.
We enjoyed the rides we went on, but would have liked to have fitted more into the time we had there.
Have you ever been to Pleasurewood Hills? What would you recommend there?
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