Nothing brings out the big kid in me like a rollercoaster. The adrenaline rush from them is possibly my favourite feeling in the world, so I have no idea why it’s taken me a good 15 years to revisit Thorpe Park (London’s only decent theme park).
After yet another summer of promising to go and not getting round to it, we finally got round to going on Sunday, just before it closed for the season. And it was brilliant. Definite highlight was Colossus, which goes upside down 10 times (the most in the world). Nemesis Inferno, an inverted coaster was pretty great too. Detonator, a 35m vertical drop, was far better than it looked. I’m not sure going on Tidal Wave was a good idea though – the size of the wave it throws up is absolutely huge, and of course we got soaked, which is not exactly a great idea on a cold November day. Hilariosly we were in front of a group of teenage lads who’d decided the best way to tackle it was to do it topless – the water was so cold I’m quite glad I had a jacket on!
We didn’t get to go on quite as many rides as I’d have liked, as our visit coincided with the last day of their annual Fright Nights promotion, a series of Halloween-themed events.
Now Halloween has never been much of a big deal for me – it’s exactly a week before my birthday (which is obviously FAR more important), plus Bonfire night, a few days later, was always a much bigger deal when growing up (and still is at home in Clapham, where the fireworks on Wednesday night will probably attract around 100,000 people). So I hadn’t really registered quite how big a deal it’s become these days – the park was heaving.
Highlight of the event are the four themed mazes. The queues were huge – up to 90 minutes – so we just went for the one we’d read was the best, Asylum. Over the length of the queue we started to worry if it was worth the wait – but we really needn’t have. It’s basically a long, disorientating dark maze, and you go in groups of eight, in a line with your hands on the shoulders of the person in front of you. The whole time you’re in there, there is constant strobe lights, mirrors everywhere, sheets and netting hanging from the ceiling in various places, and the sound of screams echoing round the room. At various points actors dressed as various freaks leap out at you from all angles. Sounds a bit cheesy – but it was bloody brilliant.
I drew the short straw of going first, which was terrifying, especially when someone leapt in front of me with a chainsaw. This video, from 2006, gives you the gist of it:
Terrifying, but the best fun I’ve had in ages. I’ll definitely be heading back in 2010, after my trip.