By their nature, theme parks tend to be in wide open spaces in the countryside so there’s plenty of room to grow and make lots of noise. That can make them a little tricky to reach by train, as railways tend to connect towns and cities.
There are a few options if you're on the lookout for the best UK theme parks to visit by train, all of which are accessible on the Avanti West Coast network.
Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Nearest station: Pleasure Beach
Ticket cost from*: £35 (junior), £39 (adult)
Pleasure Beach dates all the way back to the end of the 1800s. It was created when Blackpool became a holiday resort loved by many in the northwest.
It remains one of the UK’s top theme parks, famous for The Big One, which was the highest coaster in the world when built in 1994. It’s also well known for other rides like the Grand National, Revolution, Valhalla, and ICON.
Since it was the railways that made it such a popular resort, it’s probably the easiest one to get to by train. The Pleasure Beach occupies a large area towards the south of the town and has its own railway station, named after the park.
If you’re just going to the Pleasure Beach, get a ticket to that station and change at Preston, but if you’re exploring the whole resort, going up the tower and taking a stroll along the promenade, you can go directly to Blackpool North.
Gulliver’s World, Warrington
Nearest station: Warrington Bank Quay
Ticket cost from*: £23
This one’s designed for kids up to about 14, and has a range of rides for Lilliputians from toddlers upwards. It’s what makes it such a beloved destination for locals, but it’s a magical world for kids and parents alike.
It’s not just playground rides, though. There’s a log flume and river rapids ride, as well as a pretty speedy wooden roller coaster called Antelope. You’ll also find fairground rides like dodgems, roundabouts and a pirate ship, making it a great day out for families.
Gulliver’s World is situated to the north of Warrington and is best reached by taxi or bus from Warrington Bank Quay.
Gulliver’s Land, Milton Keynes
Nearest station: Milton Keynes Central
Ticket cost from*: £21
Another place for the little ones, Gulliver’s Land is just on the edge of Milton Keynes, near Willen Lake. You’ll find a range of rides and amusements from very gentle ones for the tiniest tots, up to some more exciting coasters where you’ll pull a few Gs, perfect for older kids.
There’s also a maze, climbing park, and water rides to entertain the family at any pace. Gulliver’s Land also has accommodation in pods and campsite pitches. Thanks to this, you can spend a few days here if you want.
Catch the train to Milton Keynes Central and hop in a taxi for a 10-minute trip to Gulliver’s gate.
M&D’s Scotland Theme Park, Motherwell
Nearest station: Motherwell Station
Ticket cost from*: £3.60 - £25
Scotland’s biggest theme park is located in Motherwell, just southeast of Glasgow. It’s full of thrills, with a complete range of rides for every member of the family. From the rattling runaway train to the delightful flying jumbos, it’s easy to see why it's one of the best theme parks in the UK.
You can also get wet on the water rides or test your nerves and your balance on the Walk the Plank Sky Trail. And of course, there are plenty of eateries and shops to keep your energy levels high and buy a souvenir or two.
Hop on the train to Motherwell Station and then it’s a short taxi or bus ride to M&D’s.
Drayton Manor, Tamworth
Nearest station: Tamworth
Ticket cost from*: £29
Right in the heart of England is Drayton Manor Resort (the 'other' Staffordshire theme park). While it might not be quite as well known as Alton Towers, it's jam-packed with thrill rides, plenty of family entertainment, and more relaxing diversions like crazy golf and a dinosaur trail.
There’s a clear Viking theme to the park, with rides with names like Thor, Loki, Maelstrom, and Jormungandr. There are also plenty of pirate-themed thrills like Jolly Buccaneer, Dodgems Ahoy, and the Bounty Pirate Ship.
Whatever your taste and G tolerance, you’re going to find a magnificent selection of rides here. To reach it by train from anywhere in the country, get a train ticket to Tamworth and pick up a taxi or bus direct to Drayton Manor, about 10 minutes away.
Ride the rails to the best theme parks in the UK
Now you’ve seen how straightforward it is to reach these theme parks by train, save money on your journey by checking out our Ways to Save page.
There’s plenty of advice like booking early, buying a Railcard, and getting group tickets. If you’re planning your journey to any of these fantastic UK theme parks, make that page your first stop.
*Ticket cost correct as of March 2023.