How theme park once dubbed ‘Britain’s answer to Florida’ went from thrill seekers’ dream to pile of rubble

A THEME park once dubbed Britain’s answer to the massive American waterparks seen in Florida went from a thrill seekers’ dream to a pile of rubble.

Fantaseas Water Park in Dartford, Kent, was only open from 1989 to 1992, but it became a favourite for slide surfers across the UK.

SuppliedThe water park was once dubbed the UK’s response to the giant American parks[/caption]

SuppliedAttendees could ride slides such as the Kamakazi and Bermuda Triangle[/caption]

The theme park had six giant slides, a wave pool, a heated outdoor lagoon, and a cafe and video arcade.

Rides included the Kamakazi, a 15ft plummet into a deep tank of water, and the Bermuda Triangle, which required riders to navigate swirling pools.

Other rides at the Cotton Lane site included the Doom Tube and Wipeout.

Punters were charged a £5 entry fee which would give people a whole twelve hours to shrivel up their fingers and toes.

Chris Welch, 46, told KentOnline that he used to go with this friends every Sunday.

He said: “It seemed like forever back then but looking back it was only about a year.

“The only thing that compares is Florida or the Siam Water Park in Tenerife.”

Justin Jones, 46, from Allington, near Maidstone, said he remembered bunking off school to go.

He remembers spending hours draped in a wet towel playing arcade games.

The dad-of-two said: “It was great because you didn’t have to get changed. They let you play, even in your swim shorts.”

Celebrities visited too, like Blue Peter presenter Peter Duncan, and news presenter Paula Yates who was seen there with her and Bob Geldof’s children.

A sister park was opened in Chingford in 1990, but Fantaseas was shut down two years later.

Owners were reported to have racked up large debts after repairs on the rides mounted.

Former staff also said that it was busy during peak hours of weekends and school holidays, but dead during off-peak periods.

One former lifeguard said she would sometimes not even see people for an hour.

Rachael Williamson, 50, said she was often having to rescue adults from the water and received a fair number of bumps and bruises from diving into the ground.

She remembered staffing numbers being cut back but bouncers being brought in when they started selling alcohol.

The park also faced subsidence concerns on the land and even a robbery.

The park lay abandoned for a decade before it was pulled down and replaced by housing.

The tallest roller coasters in the UK

The UK has over 200 roller coasters across 125 amusement parks, according to the roller coaster database.

That includes 177 in England, three in Northern Ireland, five in Scotland, and 24 in Wales.

The five tallest of these are:

Hyperia, Thorpe Park

A brand new roller coaster, Hyperia only opened in May. It is the fastest and tallest roller coaster reaching 130km/h and 72m into the sky. he coaster features three inversions, including an Immelmann, a barrel roll downdrop, and a stalled dive loop.

Big One, Blackpool Pleasure Beach

The steel roller coaster towers at 65m high and gets up to speeds of 119km/h as it flies through the famous resort city. The Big One was once the steepest roller coaster in the world.

Stealth, Thorpe Park

Riders experience 4.7gs on this Thorpe Park ride that reaches 129km/h and 62.5m high. The station and entrance areas of the 18-year-old coaster have received a new lick of paint this year.

The Odyssey, Fantasy Island

Formerly the Jubliee Odyssey, the roller coaster built in 2002 was named to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. The steel coaster can reach speeds of 101km/h and 51m high.

Millennium, Fantasy Island

The Millennium coaster was opened in May 1999 to celebrate the new millenium at a cost of £15m. It is 46m high at the top and cars reach speeds of 90km/h.

(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *