Lightwater Valley, Ripon, North Yorks

THEY SAY: One of the finest theme parks in the UK.

WE SAY: A great day out with a fab Angry Birds adventure playground, falconry centre and Eurpoe’s longest rollercoaster – to name a few.

All my four-year-old son has talked about since returning from Lightwater Valley is Henry the owl and the snake.

Forget the brilliant rides he loved going on over and over again – the highlight for Oliver was getting to hold an owl on his arm and looking at the snakes.

It was at the Falconry Centre he watched from behind the glass as the huge, white python opened its mouth and ate a rat, right before his very eyes. It was gross. I can’t think of seeing anything worse, but the children found it fascinating.

We missed the flying display as we had waited until the last show at 4pm and arrived too late to find the gate already locked, but we still got to walk round the centre, which is home to more than 35 amazing birds of prey including owls, falcons, eagles and hawks.

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TIP:  If your child is on the borderline for a particular height then pop into Visitor services office at the entrance where they can be measured and issued with a height confirmation wristband to save them being measured for every ride.

The highlight for me was something a little more tame like the swan pedalos or the big wheel.

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With more than 40 rides and attractions, Lightwater Valley has something for everyone though. Entry is based on height so it’s one price for anyone over 1m tall. Under 2s are free and those under 1m are £5 – but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of rides for toddlers to go on because there is!

My daughter Jasmine is only two and measures under 1m tall, so it was only £5 entry for her, but there was still dozens of rides she could enjoy.

She particularly liked the UK’s largest Angry Birds activity park, driving one of the Eagle’s Creek Farm tractors around the farmyard and riding on the miniature railway.

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Angry Birds adventure park

TIP: Use the mini land train to get around the park – it runs approx every 20 mins

There’s also a mini pirate ship, teacups, swings, car rally track, several other smaller rides and even a mini roller coaster for the younger children. She was allowed on the carousel, but only in the carriages, not on a horse.

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Plenty for younger children to go on…

The rides are categorised by height. For those over 1m in height, (suggested age range of five to nine), there’s the carousel, wild river rapids, the little dipper, ladybird roller coaster, flying camels and the Flying Cutlass large pirate ship.

And for the even bigger kids, who measure over 1.2m, (suggested ages of 9+), there’s Whirlwind – a typhoon of screams that’ll twist even the bravest of souls, and Europe’s longest rollercoaster – The Ultimate. There’s also Raptor Attack’s abandoned mineshaft, Twister and the Eagle’s Claw spinning ride. If you like going upside down, the Black Pearl pirate ship is the one for you.

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Mummy & Oliver on the big wheel

TIP: During the Summer months the park has a number of Front of Queue Tickets for sale in a kiosk by The Conservatory at a cost of between £1.50 and £4.00 depending on the ride.

The skate karts were also a massive hit, (For those measuring over 1.3m in height) where riders clamber on-board a kart and hurtle around the downhill, twisting track.

On our second day at the park we hopped on the train straight away in the morning and started at the bottom end of the park and worked our way back up and it was far less bsy doing it that way – although it was hard getting the kids past the rides they wanted to go on!

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There currently isn’t anywhere to stay on site at Lightwater Valley, but a holiday resort is in the process of being built, so watch this space.

NEED TO KNOW…

LOCATION: North Stainley, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 3HT

OPEN: 10am until 6pm in summer. Parking is free.

PRICES: Online prices: £20 per person for anyone over one metre and £5 for anyone under one metre in height. Under twos are free.

FACILITIES: Two cash machines, free parking, picnic benches, wheelchair hire, irst aiders, baby change. Lightwater Valley is on the 159 bus route.

CALL: 08717 200011

VISIT: www.lightwatervalley.co.uk

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