One of the biggest bonus points from our recent family visit to Butlin’s at Skegness were the on-site amusements – both rides and machines. There is always the anxious measure on the height ruler to see which rides the youngsters qualify for since our last visit.

Then of course there is the inevitable mountain of prize tickets to redeem – a long wait in the queue, before we leave, to cash in for a water pistol or three… well the kids were impressed. The on-site amusements at Skegness are outstanding.

They have to be to keep holiday makers on site and fend off competition from rival off-site visitor attractions at the popular coastal resort Research has revealed the best-value amusement parks in the UK, with Adventure Island in Southend-on-Sea ranking first.

The study by saving experts BravoVoucher analysed the ticket price, star rating, review sentiment, and the number of rides and attractions of the UK’s top 60 amusement parks to determine which offers the best value.

Marco Farnararo, CEO and Co-Founder at Bravo Savings Network commented on the findings: “With cost-of-living pressures hitting UK households and families feeling the squeeze during school holidays and weekends when kids want to go out, our research aims to help families decide which days out will help their money stretch the furthest.

“By looking at multiple factors beyond the ticket price, we can better evaluate where guests of all ages are most likely to enjoy their time and feel the cost was worth it. “While it’s true some of the UK’s best-loved parks like Alton Towers and Chessington World of Adventures rank among the ten best value, residents living near the more local parks can still enjoy a great day out.

Some even have a much cheaper price per ride than some of the bigger parks”. Bravo Voucher sourced a list of the top 60 UK theme parks and their websites from TripAdvisor. Researchers recorded the average TripAdvisor and Google Review rating for each park. All factors were scaled from 0 to 10, where 0 and 10 represent the worst and best values in the data.

Adventure Island, Southend-on- Sea, Essex, is the UK’s best-value park. With 38 rides and attractions, the ninth most in the UK, and a £20 ticket price (bought online in advance), it has the fifth cheapest cost per ride in the country, working out at around 53p, over half the national average of £1.30.

Adventure Island ranks among the top ten parks with the most frequent positive mentions in TripAdvisor reviews. Over one in five guests praised its “value” (22%), and almost one in six mentioned the “free” admission (14%), the sixth and eighth-highest nationally, with an average rating of 4.5 stars.

IF YOU HAVE A HEAD for heights
you can take in views of the entire
Woodlands Theme Park.

Woodlands Family Theme Park, Totnes, Devon, is the second best-value park. A ticket costs £13.95, and it has 46 rides and attractions, the sixth-cheapest and fourth-highest in the UK. That works out at just 30p per ride, the third-best value for a ticket overall. The park also ranks among the top 20 whose guests praise its great value. Over one in six (17%) reviewers use the word “value” when describing the park, and almost one in ten (9%) used “free” with an average star rating of 4.2.

Drayton Manor, Mile Oak, Tamworth, Staffordshire, comes third overall. Its 44 rides make it the sixth-best for variety. With a £29.50 ticket price, it costs around 67p to try each attraction once. Drayton Manor also has the sixth-highest percentage of reviews praising its customer “deals” (4%), with an average rating of four stars. Paultons Park, Romsey, Hampshire, takes fourth place.

While its tickets are one of the UK’s priciest at £43.50, its 39 rides and attractions ensure the admission price stretches, costing around £1.12 per ride, below the UK average. It ranks among the highest-rated parks online, with 4.7 stars on Google, the second-highest in the UK. One in ten reviews complimented the park using the words “free” (10%) and “value” (9%). Fantasy Island, Skegness, Lincolnshire, is fifth.

While admission sits slightly above the average at £29.50, it packs a whopping 34 rides and attractions, the 12th-most in the country. That means it would cost you around 87p to try everything once, well below the £1.30 national average. Fantasy Island has some of the most frequent mentions in reviews praising its value. It has the highest number of “bargain” mentions in the country, found in seven in 100 reviews (7%), and almost one in ten used the word “cheap” (9%), the third-highest nationally.

A SUCCESSFUL visit to the arcade at Butlin’s Skegness resort for these lucky winners.

Flambards Theme Park, Helston, Cornwall, takes sixth place. Guests enjoy a below-average cost per ride at around £1.09. Analysis of TripAdvisor reviews reveals park guests frequently compliment its cost-effectiveness, with over one in six mentioning the word “free” (17%), the fourth-highest nationally, followed by “value” (14%).

Positions seventh through tenth go to Alton Towers, Gulliver’s Kingdom, Chessington World of Adventures, and Blackpool Pleasure Beach. The UK’s worst-value park is Clarence Pier in Southsea, Hampshire. Day rider wristbands cost £30, the same as an advance ticket for Alton Towers or Thorpe Park (from £29pp).

Clarence Pier has among the fewest rides in a UK park, resulting in the nation’s third-highest cost-per-ride at £2.50, almost double the national average of £1.30. Its average 3.85-star rating across Google and TripAdvisor is among the lowest third of parks studied. With amusements a long-term, substantial commitment for holiday park destinations, it is clear they will continue to reap on-going rewards for those who are prepared to sew the right seeds.