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New 25 Metre High Ferris Wheel For Historic Wicksteed Park

Matt Crisp June 11, 2023

The UK’s oldest mainland theme park, Wicksteed Park in Northamptonshire, has installed a new 25-metre high ferris wheel. Interpark reports that the new attraction can carry 72 passengers in 18 Gondolas, and visitors will be able to enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. 

The new ride is known as the Garden Wheel and will be available throughout the year for families, wedding parties, and Christmas functions. Grade II listed Wicksteed Park is situated to the south east of Kettering in Northamptonshire and opened in 1921. It was founded by wealthy local businessman Chales Wicksteed to serve the local community. 

In 2020, the Park almost closed its gates for good after going into administration following the pandemic shutdowns. However a fundraising campaign raised £130,00, and the National Lottery Heritage Fund stepped in with a further £247,000. This enabled the Park to fully reopen in spring 2021. 

Sam Towers, Operations Manager at the park said: “The new Garden Wheel provides an entirely new dimension to the visitor experience and offers an incredible bird’s eye view of the Park.”

Megan Wright, Wicksteed Park’s Head of Sales and Marketing, said: “We are very excited about the launch of the first of our new rides this year, The Garden Wheel, which will not only showcase incredible views of our beautiful park, it will also be great fun for everyone to enjoy.”

She added: “It will also become part of our events offering throughout the year, providing a unique experience for wedding couples and their reception guests as well as allowing people to wrap up warm with a hot drink on fireworks night and in the run up to Christmas.”

Elsewhere, at Thorpe Park in Surrey a reimagined Ghost Train has opened, and is described as one the UK’s longest ride experiences. The underground ride is designed to thrill, with live actors and multisensory effects for a fully immersive experience. The ride is open daily from 12 noon throughout the summer. 

Passengers must be over 1.3m tall and are advised to be over the age of 13, although this is left to the discretion of a parent or guardian. Thorpe Park is already home to Stealth, the UK’s fastest roller coaster. The £12m attraction reaches speeds of up to 80mph and achieves a height of 62.5m (205 ft). 

Thorpe Park is one of the UK’s most popular theme parks and it is targeted at a teenage and young adult audience, with high octane rides such as Saw and The Swarm. It’s a favourite destination for school trips and family days out, and also has facilities for conferences and events and short breaks in hotels and log cabins. 

For schools, Thorpe Park also offers tailored educational experiences, with TED talks aimed at secondary school pupils on science, business, marketing and maths, that are all aligned with the National Curriculum. Workshops that are designed for primary school aged children are also available.

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