Choosing to experience things that scare you might seem like a crazy idea. But that’s the whole premise of theme parks and in that particular case, it’s all part of the thrill. For many, theme parks are something that you tend to leave behind or forget about as you get older and life gets a little busier but I recently got the chance to revisit a theme park that I’d been to several times when I was much younger, Wales’ very own Oakwood Theme Park.
Based in Pembrokeshire, Oakwood has been operating since 1987 and holds the crown for Wales’ biggest theme park. It caters to all ages, from very young children to adults who just want to experience a thrill. Although its popularity doesn’t seem to have wavered, it has recently made some changes and improvements to help keep things interesting for visitors.
Let’s start with its most popular ride, Megafobia. This ride was officially built in 1996 and is deemed one of the best ‘woodies’, with the wooden rollercoaster rated as one of the best of its kind in Europe. It’s almost an attraction in itself, and as you approach, you’ll see a continuous queue of eager visitors keen to get their go on the ride. If you don’t mind quite a sharp drop, a fast ride and lots of twists and turns, then this one will be a great experience for you.
There are several other large rollercoasters in the park to help get your heart rate up and your adrenaline pumping. There’s Drenched, a rollercoaster which takes you 100 feet in the air before you take a sharp dive into the water at speeds around 56mph to get riders, and bystanders, purely drenched. Although this doesn’t open until 2pm every day, it promises to be worth the wait.
One ride in the park that might surprise visitors is the ever-popular, Vertigo. Although it’s a ride not included in the entry fee, costing £30 additional per ride per group, this is an attraction for the bravest of souls. As a sky fall ride, you can experience this in groups of up to three, with the tallest person set to pull the release chord which will see you fly through this sky. This ride isn’t for everyone and has a limited number of jumpers per day, but if you’re brave enough, it will definitely be a memorable experience.
And finally, you can’t talk about Oakwood’s memorable rollercoasters without drawing attention to the terrifying, Speed, which originally opened in 2006. Travelling at speeds of up to 59mph, this ride is renowned for being the UK’s first beyond vertical rollercoaster. At a height of 115 feet, Speed only allows eight riders at one time and together you’ll all experience a 90-degree ride into the sky and a sharp, fast drop that will definitely make you scream. But it has more than that, with a loop, twists and turns and a range of drops to take your breath away. Although terrifying, this was one of my favourite experiences of the whole day.
However, if you’re looking for an easier ride to get you started or to just generally enjoy, Oakwood does offer family friendly rides like Treetops which takes you straight into the woods, Moon Landing for a vertical, short drop or you can take a walk to Spooky Street which has recently been added. Here, you’ll find the haunted house, Spooky 3D; a smaller rollercoaster called the Creepy Crawler (which was one of my favourite additions); trampolines called the Cauldrons; and new for Summer 2018, a maze with live actors to invoke chaos and fear called Witch Hunt. The Pirate Ship should probably be on this list too but for those who don’t enjoy swaying motions with a height (like me), then this probably isn’t for you.
Of course, there’s so much more to see, including the Neverland section of the park for young children, which is why Oakwood Theme Park remains a wonderful attraction in West Wales, just a short drive for visitors who might be spending some time in the beautiful Saundersfoot or Tenby. It’s a completely family-friendly day out that everyone can enjoy and do something a little different.
There’s so much to see and do here, including After Dark events which include live music in the evenings for summer alongside a Colourfest party on Wednesdays and Saturdays throughout August, so you won’t be short of activities to keep yourself entertained for the whole day. Plus, if you’re visiting in the summer months, there are also picnic areas where you can break out the snacks in the sunshine. Or if you aren’t that prepared, there are other food options like Oakwood’s restaurant and also a burger bar. If you haven’t set aside time to visit Oakwood in a while or maybe you’ve never even been before, there’s no time like the present to book your trip.
Standard (aged 13+) – £30
Junior (aged 3 -12) – £20
Concession (students/ OAPs) – £23
Under 3 – Free
Carers – Free
Monday: 10am – 10pm
Tuesday: 10am – 6pm
Wednesday: 10am – 10pm
Thursday: 10am – 6pm
Friday: 10am – 6pm
Saturday: 10am – 10pm
Sunday: 10am – 6pm