- Wicksteed Park
Infobox Amusement park
name = Wicksteed Park
location2 = England
opening_date = 1921
season = March to October
rides = 8 Main Rides
coasters = 2
water_rides = 6
slogan = The Perfect Blend of Tranquillity and Excitement
Wicksteed Park is an
amusement parkin Kettering, Northamptonshire, England. The park opened in 1921. It is believed to be the oldest amusement park in England. It is located convert|2|mi|km from the A14 and is signposted from the M1 & A1 and located near the Midland Mainline railway line between London and Sheffield.
The Park's beginnings can be traced back to 1913 when
Charles Wicksteedpurchased a tract of Northamptonshire meadowland near Kettering with the intention of developing a model village. He wanted to create an open space and safe parkland for local families - many of these families lived in homes with no gardens - which forced their children to play in the street. Charles Wicksteedalso owned an engineering company (Wicksteed Park Leisure) and started to supply park seats and playground equipment to public parks far and wide. This company today still provides this equipment and can be found in many such parks across Europe with some of the products in Wicksteed Park.
The Park's fame spread far and wide and special trains and "Charabancs" brought visitors from an ever-widening area. Wicksteed Park was the first Leisure Park in the UK and has been copied many times since. Upon the death of the Founder, the Board of Trustees were determined to continue
Charles Wicksteed's good work.
Ulike most theme parks such as
Alton TowersWicksteed park does not charge for entry (car parking charges do apply however). Wristbands can be purchased which allow unlimited access to most of the rides on the day of your visit, or tickets can be bought for individual rides. Open all year round, the children's playgroundis the largest free playground in Europe.
Of historical interest is the Water Chute, which was built in 1926 and, having undergone major renovation (in 2002), it is the oldest working ride in the UK. Another popular attraction is the narrow gauge railway which runs around the lake.
The park is owned by the
Wicksteed Trust, a registered charityset up by Charles Wicksteed in 1916 and run by Wicksteed Park Ltd, a company wholly owned by the Trust.
The attractions at Wicksteed Park are divided into 4 themed areas:
1) Playground - Immediately on entering the park, there is a free playground.
2) Fairground - Rides for children up to 13/14; also in this area is the Fun Palace Arcade.
3) Lakeside - Predominantly features rides themed around water, such as the bumper-boats. It is also home to the 'Waterchute'.
4) Arena - Contains many of the park's larger rides, like the Flying Chairs, Revolving Paratrooper, Ladybird Coaster, Roller Coaster and the latest ride, a log flume called 'Rocky River Falls'.
There is also an aviary, sand pit and boating on the lake to complement the other attractions. The 30 acre lake is populated by swans, geese, ducks and peacocks. Caravan and camping facilities are also offered on 16 acre of land right in the heart of the park.
The Wicksteed Park Railway is one of the most iconic features of the park today. Over 15 million people have taken to its rails since it first opened in 1931. It was the last feature of the park to be added during the lifetime of the parks founder Charles Wicksteed and is supported by the Friends of the Wicksteed Park Railway. The Railway takes you to the furthest reaches of the park, around the lake’s shore and through the lakeside and Arena Attractions Area’s.
Wicksteed Park offers various Programmes of Study based on Key Stages 1-4. There's a wide variety of topics on offer - art days, science & maths roadshow, design and story events. A Nature Trail is also offered, a little over two kilometers in length and featuring many 'activity' points. An Education Pack is available for teachers.
* [http://www.wicksteedpark.co.uk/ Wicksteed Park official site]
* [http://www.bigfreeguide.com/camping/detail/campsites/wicksteed-park/1900.html/ Campsite Guide]
* [http://www.kettering.gov.uk/site/scripts/documents_info.php?categoryID=1039&documentID=402/ Wicksteed page at Kettering Council website]
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