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Flamingo Land and Lightwater Valley


Strata Poster
Spent my weekend up in Yorkshire with a 'day' at each of these parks. I say a 'day' because We spent about 5 hours at FL when it was open for 7 and 3 hours at LWV when it was open for 6 and a half. Was my third time to FL and first visit to LWV, but having not been up that neck of the woods for 6 years or so there was plenty of changes that they both felt like relatively new parks.

Flamingo Land first;

Got there about midday to find out Kumali was shut for the day. Bit annoying but not a major loss. Decided as the little mine-train credit was running we got that done first. Painful. About all I can remember from it. Recurring theme. Then over to Velocity. Always had a soft spot for it, but it was better than I can remember it and I have no shame in saying it's the best launch coaster I've been on, easily. Launch is just right, forceful but not uncomfortable (though on 1 ride I'm certain I became a Newton's cradle), dips and dives work well and the bunny hop before the brakes is one of my favourite elements on any coaster I've been on.


Wanted to get Hero done with and after a short wait whilst a ride op rubbed some grease off with some tissue paper we got on. First impressions (in an outside seat) were that it was an uncomfortable position with stuff in your pockets, made all the more worse by being thrown back and forth and left and right. Awful ride. Gf loved it. Go figure. Mumbo Jumbo next, the only ride which had any sort of queue all day. First drop was brilliant, overbank wasn't as noticeable as I thought, hangtime wasn't that uncomfortable either. Decent filler coaster.


Got the rest of the credits sorted (no Go Gator though obvs), nothing memorable about them. Decided to get some lunch, not many options given most of the stalls were shut. Settled on a burger and chips which looked a mile better than they tasted. Went round the zoo to let the burger bun settle (can still feel it in the bottom of my stomach it was that dense), the walkway around most of the enclosures is good but the penguins stick out like a sore thumb. Entire zoo is very well done though, part of the reason I like FL so much. Went on one of the walkthroughs they have where you can get close-up to the animals and saw a baby joey stick his head out of his mums pouch. Lots of awwwwwing and ahhhhing later and we dragged ourselves away to watch the bird show. Very good, was expecting some typical parrot-on-a-unicycle-shtick but they had a wide variety of birds, wide variety of demonstrations and knowledge offered, culminating on the birds performing fly-overs to the extent I took a turkey vulture to the forehead and a few wing flaps from a parrot to the head. All good fun.


Gf then decided to pay £20 for a meerkat experience, I wasn't fussed, she loved it. Only person on it so she was in the enclosure with all the meerkats crawling all over her eating off her trousers for a good twenty five minutes. After that we had abut half hour left so decided to get on Flip Flop. I hate flat rides, didn't mind this one too much and the water aspect of it was enjoyable with random people getting wet feet. Then over to Velocity for some re-rides. Kept going up and up in my estimation, think we got on it 3 more times with a mini-gap to get on Hero one last time before the park closed at 5pm. Which, despite Trip Advisor morons whinging about being early because they stay open until 6pm in Summer (cretins do you even logic), was spot on as the park was bustling without ever being busy. Last go on Hero btw was on an inside seat where I got thrown around a lot less and it was a lot better, Gf on the outside hated it.


Overall, I left still with the opinion that Flamingo Land is one of my favourite parks, easily second best in the country behind Alton for me. If it was just a theme park, or just a zoo, then it'd be so-so, but as an attraction I really do love the place. They've made such a good effort with the water zone (place that in PA somewhere and it'd be lauded), the new dino zone is very good too. Didn't notice too many problems with operations and the food whilst not great was nowhere near as bad as I've eaten at theme parks.

Checked in at our hotel just down the road, literally, and then headed off to Scarborough for some tea. Went for a climb up to the castle beforehand, nice little trek, great views over a grey and dingy seafront. Eventually found a chippy that was open (at 7pm on a Saturday night at the end of April) and gf played up to my northern roots by asking for a tray of scraps (having been brought up in the south and only heard of this delicacy from my family).


Sat by the beach to eat and saw a young lad playing fetch with an imaginary dog. Seriously. Was throwing a tennis ball and chasing after it with a dog lead in tow. Until an actual dog came and caught the tennis ball in it's mouth, and ran off. And said young lad gave chase with his imaginary dog. I'm literally in tears picturing it now and writing about it.


Also left Scarborough not sure if this was an advert for a local newspaper or an advert for a local business.


Sunday we set off for LWV which was an hour or so away from where we were staying, gorgeous and terrifying drive down steep declines which cooked my brakes and over giant hills over which you could see for miles. Sutton-Under-Whitestonecliffe in case anyone knows that way. Eventually found the entrance appear out of the blue, and on the long drive up to the front saw absolutely no activity whatsoever. The car park was mostly empty though a coach load full of screaming kids meant at least we weren't alone within the park. First stop was Angry Birds Land. Brilliantly done, can't speak highly enough of the job they've done on the first play area, it's longevity is questionable but for the moment at least it's very good.


Their mouse coaster, however, is not. **** hell, nearly broke me. They gave us the usual warning, arms inside the car, remain seated etc.... and finished with ''be prepared for a sudden stop''. Right. That's fine. What she should have said was be prepared to round the final bend and then immediately stop, sending your heads flying in whichever direction you tend to have spun on the final corner. Luckily, I just rocked sideways and held myself out of harms reach but if I hadn't I'd have smashed my head off the side of the car and probably have done some serious damage. ****.

Ultimate next. Train full of screaming brats made the lifts oh so enjoyable :x First drop was alright, first few hills good, random bunny hops were a bit lame. Second drop was very good, but then **** me what on Earth happens then?! I'm still unsure if I enjoyed it or not, it was like nothing I've ever experienced on a coaster, sheer out-of-control insanity to the extent I was physically scared, but it was also too rough to be enjoyable or immediately re-rideable.


After some disgusting and expensive nachos, we went on Raptor Attack. Absolute gem. Up there with the best themed rides in the country, easily the best queueline. Other credits mopped up straight after, and after just under 2 hours we were lookin for things to do. The water slide was good, then decided to try Eagles Claw as I reasoned that it wasn't too dissimilar to Flip Flop. Wrong. As above, I hate flat rides, and that it started to rain just as we boarded didn't help, rain in the face at full swing was a killer. Felt extremely forceful on a few of the swings, wasn't a fan. Had a sample of the most amazing fudge I've ever tasted, went on a train ride around the park and then settled on a sausage bap from the little cafe inside the entrance. Quick walk around the falconary which seemed utterly pointless and just tacked onto the side with pens far too small and birds out on display trying to fly and pick at their shackles but getting nowhere put a bit of a downer on it (underplaying a massive issue/discussion point ino). Think it was about 3 hours in total we were on park and that included sitting down to eat and a full loop on the train.

So yeah, LWV. Would have been annoyed if I'd have driven all the way up there just to visit but coupled with FL it was a decent weekend. It just seemed like a fair ground with fair ground rides, the odd bit of money spent here and there and that's it. The mouse coaster, the rapids, they're just sort of fair-ground rides plonked where they had space RCT style. There's no sort of logic to the location of some of the rides, some are randomly out on their own (poor lass working the swans on the lake looked like she'd not had human contact for hours) and others are themed well and clustered as a themed 'area' (pirate cove area). In no rush to go back and would be peeved if I paid full price, but few complaints about our day there today.

Lots of text there, my bad. I've gone back and thrown some random pictures in to break it up a bit.


CF Legend
Nice report. I don't understand your love for Flamingo, although I agree their zoo is nice. I'd totally pay that money to sit in with the meerkats too, sounds awesome.


Strata Poster
I think most people don't understand why I like the place so much :p I've just not had a bad experience there I guess. They did have other encounters for £20, saw some people with Lemur's crawling all over them.

Just had a gander on the website, can book experiences with meerkats, lemurs, giraffes, penguins and sealions. Idk if other parks with zoo's offer anything similar but I'd imagine they could make a small killing from it.


Staff member
Yeah, I just don't understand any love for Flamingoland. That's probably harsh, I think the zoo is good and they have a lot of attractions. It's just that none of it is actually that good. I level the same criticism at Europa Park though :lol:

I thought maybe it was because I'd only been when it was busy and you suffer from poor operations. I've been when it's dead though and was bored of the place in an hour and didn't want to re-ride anything (after several re-rides of Velocity of course, which is a solid ride).

I guess if everything is just right though, and it's a "one ride on the day because that's all there's really time to do with the zoo as well" visit - then you probably don't get that. There's likely a Goldilocks zone for visiting :)

T'Ultimate - LOL

Yeah, spot on. I love Lightwater, but it's very much a "do bugger all in reality" kind of park. I like those. Eagle's Claw really divides people. I think it's a brilliant ride, but for others it's nasty. I think LWV is just one of those divisive parks where people can't really agree on what they love or hate most :lol:

Darren B

Giga Poster
Good report, Smithy.

I'm completely in agreement with you in regards to the parks. Flamingo Land is an excellent park, I went on a busy day and still enjoyed it even though the operations were poor and the food substandard. I agree that velocity is a really good coaster, although I wouldn't put it above Stealth or Baco. Kumali is the best coaster in the park IMO (although I've only ridden it once and that was in the front row). Hero is fab, I've ridden 3 Volare's and although I find them quite painful and crap they're enjoyable for that reason. I love how the owner of the park wants to offer something different and consistently does so year in, year out. I'd also happily take a bet that FL is the first park in the UK to get a decent sized modern woodie, it's something they'd do.

Lightwater, again I agree with. No stand-out coaster (bar raptor attack?) and overall quite disappointing. However, i do think it's a lovely quaint park and I can see why people enjoy it, but, If I'm paying a largish entrance fee I expect a park that will keep me entertained for the day. They have 1 re-rideable coaster, no log flume, no drop tower and a poor selection of flats (bar EC). And The Ultimate? It's ****. There is nothing about that ride that's even remotely enjoyable. Goons cream over it because it's 'different'.

Martyn B

CF Legend
My one and only visit to Flamingo Land was mid-week in September. Dead park, yet everything was open. We stayed until closing. I last visited LWV during school holidays, and I still got bored by 1pm. It's got a lovely setting, but thats it. I completely agree on the RCT comment.


Hyper Poster
I think both parks are a bit of a mixed bag.

Flamingo Land has a decent selection of "OK" rides, but is generally let down by bad staffing, operations and management clearly not giving a crap, which is a real shame considering that the park really felt like it was on the rise a around 5-6 years ago. You've mentioned many of the place's faults, and on a quiet day they're tolerable. When the park is busy though, those problems are massively amplified and the whole place turns into one of the most depressing parks I've ever been to. The management really need to start paying attention and get the place in to shape. It's got the potential to be a decent day out, but I've found it to be a massive let down the last couple of times I've visited, to the point where I really don't want to go back.

Everyone seems to agree that Lightwater is a pleasant park, but I always see mixed opinions on the ride quality. It's my home park, so I'll admit being a little bit biased in favour of the place, but it's definitely a mixed bag for enthusiasts. The Ultimate seems to be one of those rides that people either love or hate. If (like me) you really enjoy the insanity, then re-riding it multiple times will eat up a fairly solid chunk of the day. If you can't stand the battering it delivers then there's really not much else in terms of roller coasters to back it up. The park desperately needs a second half-decent coaster to fill the gaping hole in its ride line-up.

Personally I think between the Eagle's Claw and Whirlwind, Lightwater has a pretty solid pair of thrilling flat rides as well. Again though it's very much down to personal taste. If you like the sort of rides that the park has to offer, you can comfortably enjoy a full day out (albeit a fairly chilled out one - you're not going to be rushing around the place or be left wanting more at the end of the day). If the major rides don't appeal to you then I can see why people come away a bit disappointed.

Smithy said:
Sunday we set off for LWV which was an hour or so away from where we were staying, gorgeous and terrifying drive down steep declines which cooked my brakes and over giant hills over which you could see for miles. Sutton-Under-Whitestonecliffe in case anyone knows that way.
Yeah, I know Sutton bank. It's an interesting bit of road to say the least.



Strata Poster
Aye but Furie it's not that any one part is great, it just has enough good stuff to enjoy a full day there, which for me is somewhat of a rarity as I'm not one for re-rides most of the time.

I'm still unsure if I enjoyed Eagles Claw or not, I just tend to stay away from flat rides in general but as there was literally nothing else we wanted to do we figured why not. Two or three of the swings were seriously intense so can understand if people enjoy that, personally preferred Flip Flop which was less intense, had the fun element of the water splashing certain people, and had the floating at the top without the intense G's at the bottom.

I've only been on Kumali a few times Darren and whilst I do like it (that first drop is great) I just prefer Velocity. I'm not a fan of launches and it seems to be the faster the launch the worse I find the ride, possibly why I find Velocity the best of them.

See MouseAT I must just have lucked out on my visits as the only operations that were somewhat of a letdown was the throughput on Mumbo Jumbo meaning it was the only ride with a queue all day, but tbf they only had two cars running, one of which had two seats with water dummies riding, and a third car unused on the transfer track. That tends to be the main criticism anyway, which is fair as it's always based around people's unique experiences on any given day. Where I will defend them immensely though is the investment they've made, and what it's done to the park. The whole water area is brilliant, the new dinosaur area is a great link between the zoo above it and the bigger, scarier rides below it.

As for T'Ultimate, I'd have given it another ride purely to get a better opinion of it but it ruined my girlfriend to the extent she refused to re-ride it and I didn't fancy queueing and riding it alone. I loved Raptor Attack but the queueline, though brilliant, was too much of an effort to bother with re-riding. We both wished we'd gone back up there to do some more on the skate-carts though, those sort of things are what make smaller parks so much more enjoyable and unique.

And aye that bit of road took me (and my brakes!) by surprise, was a stunning drive that's impossible to put into words or use pictures to explain.