Last weekend we visited Oakwood, Wales’ biggest theme park. Oakwood was one of my favourite days out as a child (and teenager). I will always remember the day that my parents surprised us kids and took us on a “mystery day out”. We were so excited when we spotted the famous “Oakwood flags” and realised that this was our destination for the day. We’ve had many a happy day here as a family too. Read on to find out all about our most recent day at Oakwood and for a chance to win a Family Ticket to Oakwood Theme Park of your own:
Visiting Oakwood Theme Park
Oakwood Theme Park (Sat Nav: SA67 8DE) can be found off the A40 at Canaston Bridge, 8 miles east of Haverfordwest and is very well signposted. If you’re holidaying at Bluestone, it is just a five minute walk away. There is ample free parking available.
On arrival there was a sign showing that the Pirate Ship and Tree Tops were unavailable. However, these were back running before we left so we did get to enjoy all the rides (if you’re visiting to go on a certain ride always check the website or ring up before you travel).
Oakwood costs £27 adults (13 and over), £18 juniors (3-12) and £18 concessions. You can save money by booking online in advance. Book more than 60 days in advance and you will save 40%, book between 59 and 2 days in advance and you can save 20% (handy for the Summer Holidays). Even if you book a day before your visit you can still save 10%. We often save up our Tesco Clubcard vouchers and spend them at Oakwood. If you’re planning to visit between now and the 21st July you can save 30% in the 30% off Flash Sale to celebrate Oakwood’s 30th Birthday (I remember the park opening, gulp!).
On certain rides at Oakwood you will get wet. We pack our raincoats and spare clothes but if you haven’t arrived prepared you can buy poncho’s at reception and in the shop.
The first highlight of a trip to Oakwood is a ride on the miniature train. It’s actually only a short walk into the park but for me the train ride is an essential way to start the day.
The train runs regularly between 10am-12pm and 4pm – 5pm.
Look out for rides along the way…
…and count how many rabbits you can see.
We decided to get off the train at Neverland where all rides are suitable for children aged 2 and over (when accompanied by an adult).
“Second star to the right and straight on ’til morning. ”
― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
In Neverland we were transported into the magical story of Peter Pan.
Journey to Neverland
First we visited the Darling’s family home.
‘Journey to Neverland’ is an interactive walk-through area which takes visitors into the Darling family home and above the streets of London before arriving in ‘Neverland’ itself.
Look out for Peter Pan’s shadow and Tinkerbell flying around Wendy, John and Michael’s bedroom.
Look out for other surprises along the way too.
At the end of the walk through you can throw money into the “River Thames” which will be donated to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).
Once you’ve arrived in Neverland there are lots of other rides to enjoy.
Take to the skies on Aerodrome!
Visit the “Wendy House“.
Then explore The Lost Boy’s Adventure play area.
Hop on a wooden truck and take a journey on Neverland Chase– look out for the lion!
Tink’s Flying School
“All the world is made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust.”
Join Tink’s Flying School and fly through the sky.
The older kids had fun learning to fly with Tink too!
My favourite ride in Neverland was Skull Rock, a log flume ride (yes, I wore my raincoat!).
First we went on a ride around Hook’s secret fortress, then the ride ended with the best bit- the drop (hold on tight!).
I’d have liked to have gone on this a few times but of course the kids were onto the next ride.
Hook’s House of Havoc
Hook’s House of Havoc is a massive soft play area. It’s undercover so great for rainy days, lunch time stops or just a chance for the grown ups to have a coffee and a breather while the kids run around.
The kids had lots of fun in here. A large outdoor play area would be great fun too.
Next we went on the Crocodile Coaster with Izzy. It follows the track around the water and is a nice little ride for the little ones who are too young for the big coasters.
London Taxi Ride
The kids hailed a cab on The London Taxi Ride.
They took a road trip around some of London’s most iconic landmarks.
I love that the kids have enough sense of fun to not mind going on the younger rides with Izzy. They love looking after her. She took her “driving” very seriously on this taxi ride- she’ll be learning “The Knowledge” next!
There is also a Jolly Rodger Pirate Ship in Neverland but our kids were looking forward to the full size Pirate Ship ride.
Facilities in Neverland
There are great facilities in Neverland for families. There are toilets, first aid, a baby care centre, bottle warming, a clothes dryer and the Little Darlings Cafe.
Next we walked around to Circusland.
The kids took Izzy on the Clown Coaster, another fun but gentle coaster for the little ones.
Izzy loved speeding through the big top.
Caitlyn hopped onto the Circus Train alone while the kids played on the swings.
There is a little play park with swings, see saw, playhouse and sandpit. The funny distorting mirrors are in this section too- they gave us a giggle!
Follow the yellow brick road to the Funzone, a huge indoor arcade.
We gave the kids some pennies to spend in there but you can give the arcades a miss and just make the most of the included rides if you prefer. I love that there is a “Frogger” game in this arcade. We used to have a mini “Frogger” game at home. Just outside the arcade are the Circus Teacups.
Tree Tops Coaster
Treetops is one of Oakwood’s most popular roller coasters (I remember when it was the only one!). It’s such a fun ride for the whole family (from 1m tall). It’s set high in the trees with lots of twists, bend and drops.
As it was quiet we were lucky and initially got a “double go” then a queue formed so we had the usual single go’s but we still went on a few times. This ride is designed to be suitable for younger kids like Izzy but the drops make it just as much fun for the grown ups.
There are photos available for every roller coaster. They make a great souvenir if you wish to buy them.
The pirate ship is another one of my all time favourites. The very first time I went on it (many years ago) I went weak! I’m used to the full swing now but my belly still goes- which I love! It’s the best swing ever.
Every half hour there is a half swing for younger pirates (or adults who prefer a gentler swing).
I prefer to sit at the back but the front seats are best for children on their first time. There’s a good atmosphere on the Pirate Ship, sometimes both sides shout to each other or have “who can make the most noise” competitions. It’s just good old pirate fun!
Snake River Falls
Snake River Falls is another fun ride. As soon as the kids have come down the water slides they’re running around for their next turn. I used to do this too- nowadays I’m happy to watch! There are two enclosed slides Cobra and Python and the speedy open slides for the more daring. I always start on the enclosed boats then build myself up to the open slide as for me it’s more scary. All good fun though (you will get a wet bum!).
Rebecca loves these slides but screamed (mainly for effect I think) all the way down. It meant I always knew which slide she was in anyway! I love her face in this photo after getting particularly splashed on the outdoor slide (they soon dried off and dryers are available too).
Another Oakwood traditional ride is the Bobsleigh. It’s suitable for children aged 2 and over (accompanied) and children over 8 alone.
First you have to make your way up the long hill (I’m never keen on this bit), then the fun starts as you descend the track which is full of twists and turns. The free running sledges get faster as they go down so remember to brake for the end.
It’s a really fun ride!
The Boating Lake/ Pedal Boats
Next we went to the boating lake. This is a lovely natural area to enjoy- we saw fish, dragonflies and fluffy ducklings.
The ducklings were so cute!
We went on the Pedal Boats. Each boat fits up to five people so we split into two groups of three. I remember the days when I had to pedal the kids but now they pedal for me!
There are buoyancy aids for non swimmers like Izzy.
You get a great view of Megafobia from the boating lake- if you time it right you get a great view of the ride running.
I love these happy smiling faces (even if they were only laughing about how funny it would have been if I’d knocked my head on the bridge and fell out of the boat! Umm, thanks for that kids!).
If you look carefully, you may spot dragonflies in the photograph above!
Next we get to the main attractions of Oakwood- the big adrenaline rides for thrill seekers!
First Dave and the kids went on Megafobia while I waited with Izzy (the minimum height is 1.2m). We could have went on some more family rides while we waited for them but Izzy was happy to watch the boating lake and her family on Megafobia. We didn’t have to wait long until we spotted them making the ascent.
Megafobia opened in 1996, I still remember watching it being built and the excitement when we first got to ride it. Megafobia is the biggest wooden roller coaster in the UK. It’s consistently voted to be one of the top wooden roller coasters, roller coaster enthusiasts travel from afar to have a turn on this “must ride”.
Oh, my belly goes just watching them at the top of the ride. This for me is the most terrifying point- the anticipation of going down. Once you’re coasting downwards of course it’s amazing and you can’t wait to do it again.
The rides not over after the big drop, there are plenty more drops and turns and the best part of a wooden roller coaster is how it throws you about and propels you “out of your seat” (okay a “little bit in the air out of your seat” up to the lap belt!).
The ride gets better and faster as the day gets on- it’s also faster on wet days! Ride at the front to get the full visual effect of the drop (if you can bear it!), or ride at the back for speed and rickety jumps. For nervous first time riders I’d recommend the middle seats. Nowadays, I just ride on the first seats available. Megafobia is popular with roller coaster enthusiasts and first time riders alike, it’s a truly enjoyable ride.
At the end of the ride you can pick up a photo (and then run around to rejoin the queue and enjoy the ride again!).
Speed: No Limits
I’ll be honest- I am terrified of Speed: No Limits. Danny and I came to Oakwood on our own a few weeks ago and just went on the “big rides”. We went on Speed and although I was terrified I enjoyed it. Coming here with the younger kids I was happier just to watch (through my hands covering my eyes that is!).
Speed is the UK’s original beyond vertical drop. It’s the fastest ride in the park with numerous inversions – you will plunge, loop, roll and twist and turn. To ride Speed you need to be at least 1.25m tall (which to their delight the three older kids are).
I was surprised that Caitlyn was tall enough (these kids are growing too quickly for my liking) and excited to ride it, although I would have been the same at her age.
Again for me “going up” is the worst bit. I actually closed my eyes all the way up on my first ride. The kids needless to say are really excited going up as they absolutely love it.
Here we go!
And, it makes it’s beyond vertical drop! It was once the steepest drop in the UK. Again, I hate this drop, then love it and want to ride again. I have to go on it a few times until I begin to enjoy the ride with no fear but I’m still scared (in a good roller coaster way) when I return for my next visit.
Upside down! The ride has Euro-Fighter over the shoulder restraints so you feel (and are) completely safe.
Speed is an amazing must do ride for adrenaline lovers. If you’re feeling a bit nervous start with Treetops, then Megafobia and finally Speed to work your way up! You’ll be glad you dared to ride it.
Other White Knuckle Rides are Drenched, Waterfall and Vertigo (for which there is an additional charge and it’s advisable to book in advance).
A new feature for Summer 2017 is Dahl Land, which as you may have guessed is themed around the books by Roald Dahl. This is going to be a lovely addition when it’s complete and I can’t wait to blog about it.
This area was previously home to Nutty Jakes (oh I loved that family ride) and themed in a Wild West style so some elements of this still exist, such as the jail. Sadly the fun shooting game is closed as that was lots of fun. There also used to be a Western Theatre show (many years ago) where you could enjoy a “good old fashioned, hand clapping, knee slapping, foot tapping” time.
In this area you will still find Spooky 3D (for guests aged 2+). We all planned to go on this together but then Rebecca and Izzy were too scared (yes, Rebecca can handle Speed but not Spooky 3D!) so we just let Dave, Danny and Caitlyn ride it. They donned their 3D glasses and enjoyed the spooktastic experience!
The highlight of Dahl Land is set to be Flight of the Giant Peach. This looks to be another great roller coaster for families. It promises to be “fast, twisty and bumpy”- we can’t wait!
Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker’s House will open soon too. It will be an entrance walk through to Flight of the Giant Peach with a separate exit for those not wishing to brave the coaster (or those who don’t meet the 1.1m minimum height restriction).
There is also a Ladybirdoline already in action.
A Magnifitorium will open soon featuring character appearances and live shows.
Eating at Oakwood
There are plenty of picnic areas all over the park to sit and enjoy a picnic. There are also a wide range of catering outlets to choose from at Oakwood. You can enjoy a sit down meal in the Oak Tree Restaurant or a lighter option at The Little Darlings Cafe. Both of these offer a children’s menu.
We chose to eat at Woody’s Burger Bar as they sell a vegetable burger for Rebecca and myself. As they don’t sell so many they cook their vegetable burgers fresh. Each time I’ve ordered one the staff have always warned me that the burger will take a few minutes to cook and it’s fine with me. On this occasion they apologised a few times and I told them not to worry as the best things come to those who wait. I’m used to this wherever I go and just appreciate that they have a delicious veggie burger on offer (and always have in all my years of visiting). All the staff are so friendly and asked us all how we were enjoying our day even when it was their own break time and they were off duty.
The food was delicious. Next door there is a sheltered indoor eating area where we chose to eat.
And Much More
There is so much to do at Oakwood, you will have a fun filled, packed day. There is also Mini Golf and Panning For Gold.
Moon Landing is another traditional Oakwood ride (although it was called Sky Leap in “my day”). It’s a vertical drop slide.
Near the Pirate Ship, there is also Shooting Gallery ran by GoSport.
Additional charges apply, we didn’t have time on this occasion but Danny loves this air pistol and rifle range.
Sadly all good things come to an end and it was time to leave Oakwood. Fear not though as from August 2nd the original After Dark event is back and Oakwood will be open from 10am until 10pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays with lots of special after dark activities taking place.
We popped to the shop for some end of the day treats, then waited for the Miniature Train back to the car park. Danny waits until the train arrives and then races us back to the station.
Look carefully and you’ll spot Danny in this photo too!
Yes, he bet us as always!
We had an amazing day as guests of Oakwood, it’s always a huge treat to visit here. If you’d like the chance to experience Wales biggest theme park for yourself then please enter the Rafflecopter below. Please read the Terms and Conditions. Good luck!
Win a Family Ticket to Oakwood Theme Park
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We were invited to Oakwood Theme Park for purposes of our review. All views and opinions are our own (we loved it!).
The pirate ship looks amazing 👏