After reading some pretty bad reviews and hearing a lot of controversy, I wanted to give my readers an honest review of Oakwood. We were invited in exchange for an honest review. #ad-gifted.
On Friday, the Welsh Mummy Blogs family visited Wales’ largest theme park, Oakwood. I have fond memories of Oakwood. I have visited the park on many occasion, with my high school as a teenager, and as a child.
Oakwood Theme Park is a theme park in Pembrokeshire, Wales. Oakwood has a collection of 27 rides and experiences, it is home to four large thrill rides: Megafobia, Vertigo, Drenched and Speed.
Oakwood opened in the late 1980s, my first visit was in the early 90’s, I was around 6 years old. I remember having a BIG family day out! I remember the day like it was yesterday. The whole family was there! My uncles, aunties, cousins and my grandfather. I recall my first ever roller-coaster ride being Tree Tops. I remember the feeling in my tummy as I rode the pirate ship for the first time, and I remember the shock on everyone’s face as my 80 year old grandfather took on a giant water slide.
I have not been to Oakwood since becoming a mum. My sons and husband have never been, so I wanted our first family visit be as memorable as my first visit.
The drive to Oakwood from my home in the Rhonnda took around 1.5 hours (no stops.) The boys did not complain during the journey. We met our friends in the car par.
We parked up and headed to the main entrance, there I bumped into fellow blogger Mel –http://lifewithmelly.co.uk/ We picked up our ride access passes and waited for the train.
We waited a good ten minutes for the train to take us into the park, but it didn’t turn up. The railway, which is well established, is not listed amongst the park’s rides and attractions. It provides a fun transport link between the theme park and the car park.
After waiting a while longer, we were told the train was not in use. It wasn’t a problem, it’s actually much quicker to walk into the park from the main entrance, but my boys were a little disappointed.
The disappointment didn’t last long. As soon as we entered the park the boys ran off to some little trampolines they could see in the distance. Us adults looked to our right to find Drenched (formally Hydro) was open but nobody was using it.
The first thing I noticed was the park was not busy! There was only a handful of people dotted about. I always remember Oakwood being packed with families, I remember the long queues of people waiting at each ride, and I remember finding it really difficult to find an unoccupied picnic bench.
Perhaps the weather (which was a little damp and cold) was putting people off coming? I was a little surprised to be honest, its Easter break and the start of a new season at Oakwood, surely there must be more people here?
The lack of people worked in our favour. I could have a fun day without my anxiety playing up, and we could ride the rides, over and over again.
We explored what was once Nutty Jakes Goldmine (closed in 2000) and then Brer Rabbit’s Burrow (closed 2013) This area is now known as Spooky Street.
On Spooky Street you will find Witches Brew, The Creepy Crawler (formerly Flight of the Giant Peach), Witch Hunt and Spooky 3D (formerly Voodoo Mansion.)
My 6 year old, eager to ride his first roller coaster went on Creepy Crawler (an over-sized Grasshopper train) with Welsh Daddy.
My 6 year old come off The Creepy Crawler with his hair everywhere, he had a huge smile on his face. “I loved it mum! I want another go! Come on mum, come on with me, its not scary!” I gave in and went on the ride. It was pretty fast for a children’s ride and lots of fun.
My youngest and I then went on Witches Brew. Witches Brew is basically the tea cups. My youngest loved the ride but didn’t like being spun around. Luckily you are in control of how fast or how slow the tea cups turn round.
Loving Witches Brew so much, we went on again as a family.
We had a little jump around on the Mini Trampolines and then made our way to Spooky 3D. As we took our seat on the cart, we were handed some 3D glasses (they fit over my glasses, if you’re wondering?)
The older kids loved the Spooky 3D, I on the other-hand found this ride a huge disappointment. It was not spooky, it was really dark (I could hardly see anything) and nothing jumped out at you (that I could see!). It was nothing like the goldmine I loved so much as a child.
We left Spooky Street and headed to my favourite ride at Oakwood, Megafobia.
The 85-foot-tall (26 m) wooden roller coaster “Megafobia” has been rated among the best in Europe by enthusiasts. In 2016 it celebrated 20 years at Oakwood.
I remember queuing for over an hour as a teenager, a year after it opened, in 1997. It is by far one of my favourite family rides and that is why I was a little upset that the ride was not in use.
Whilst we were there, a cart with passengers got stuck on the track. We watched as people were being ushered off the ride. We were quickly informed that the ride was going to be out of order for the reminder of the day.
The adults were getting impatient, they were after a thrill, we headed to Bounce. Bounce was again a ride that I loved as a teenager. Although closed in 2016 the ride was recently advertised in the 2019 line up of rides.
Our excitement was short-lived. As we walked up to the ride we noticed it was not open yet. There was a big banner advertising the return of Bounce in 2019.
Still looking for a thrill we headed to Speed. Now, there was no way I was getting on this ride!
Speed, a Gerstlauer Euro-Fighter roller coaster has a 97-degree drop. When it opened in 2006 it was the first Euro-Fighter in the UK and was at that time the steepest roller coaster in the UK. The ride has a drop, a loop, a roll, twist and turn, all at speeds of up to 59 mph!! Speed ensures an intense, and thrilling experience.
You had to brave to go on this ride. My friend, his partner and their 9 year old daughter went on speed twice!!
Upon getting off the ride, my friends daughter fell and cut both her legs. I was super impressed with the Oakwood staff who quickly called first aid. My friends daughter was cleaned up and ready for more rides in no time.
After Speed we went on the all time family favourite, Tree Tops roller-coaster. We all went on the ride, even my 4 year old son who is not a fan of rides. To be honest, it was the perfect roller-coaster for a first timer.
Everyone had a smile on their face after Tree Tops. I could just feel the excitement radiating from everyone!
We were starting to get a little peckish but decided it would be better to have a late lunch in fear of feeling sick on the rides.
We went on the Pirate Ship before lunch, and boy are we glad we did! We sat right at the back of the ship to get the best thrills. Again, I remembered this ride well, it was the same ship I had gone on as a child. Welsh Daddy said he was glad to have not eaten before riding! For younger guests, there’s a half swing every hour.
After the pirate ship, we all attempted to slide down Moon Landing. Moon landing is a giant, almost vertical drop slide. Firstly my friend and his daughter attempted it. They got to the top and then backed out. Everyone laughed.
Welsh Daddy feeling brave decided he would be the one to take on the slide. After walking up and sitting on the edge he backed out.”NOOOO way, you’re mad!” he said, as he walked back down the stairs. He was however, only 10 days post vasectomy, so we can let him off!!
After failing Moon Landing we went to get some lunch.
As my readers are aware, I have an allergy to wheat, so I always research where I can eat on-site before I go anywhere.
After looking on the Oakwood website, I found that most on site outlets, served burger, hot dogs and pizza. There is also a great range of sweet treats including, candy floss, doughnuts, sweets and ice creams.
If I was to find a wheat free, vegetarian meal, I would have to eat at the restaurant.
The restaurant advertised that it served locally sourced products, with dishes ranging from curries and pies to pasta dishes and salads.
Unfortunately, the restaurant was only serving baguettes, this may have been because we were looking to eat a little late? It was around 2.30pm.
Not worrying about myself, I asked the kids what they fancied. Everyone agreed that a pizza would be nice. I then found that the pizzeria on Spooky Street had closed at 3pm (we just missed it!)
The only food outlet open was one that served burgers and hot dogs. Luckily, the helpful staff were able to help me find something to eat. They had vegan falafel, I had this with some lettuce and a free cup of coffee as they could not guarantee the fries were wheat free.
Everyone said the burgers were very filling and tasty.
It was getting pretty cold, we asked to sit indoors, but were told we couldn’t as they were closing up for the day. I then asked what time the park closed only to be told it closes at 4.30pm! I thought the park closed at 6pm!!
We had 25 minutes to explore the kids area.
Kidz World (formally Play Town), has been redeveloped into Neverland since my last visit. Neverland hosts a number of rides, including Skull Rock, Crocodile Coaster, Neverland Chase, Jolly Roger, Aerodrome, London Taxi Ride, Tink’s Flying School, Journey to Neverland and the Lost Boy Adventure.
My 6 year old had a ride on a the Crocodile Coaster, while my youngest and I explored The Darlings House and Neverland.
We then took a walk around and found the Dr Who Tardis!
After this we had just enough time to take a ride on the child friendly aeroplanes.
I really wished we had more time to explore Neverland. The kids really loved it and it would of been fun to explore the arcades and play area.
If the park had been open until 6pm, as I originally thought, we would of had time to have a go on the Bobsleigh, Snake River Falls and the boat ride. My youngest would of loved to have had a boat ride on the boating lake.
All in all the day was fun. The kids had a fantastic time!
I have recently found out that Oakwood are planning further investment in the coming years, with new ride Dizzy Disks coming soon.
I am looking forward to returning in the summer to hopefully have a go on the parks new ride. I also hope to give a more positive review when I return.
Fancy a BIG family day out at Oakwood?? For Oakwood to thrive people need to support it again!! Lets not lose Wales’ largest theme park!
Prices are as follows:
DAY PASS –
Standard (Age 13+) £33.50£30.15
Junior (Age 3 – 12) £22.50£20.25
Concession (65+ and Students*) £25.50
SEASON PASS – Unlimited entry for the 2019 season!
Standard (Age 13+) £48.00
Junior (Age 3 – 12) £38.00
Concession (65+ and Students*) £39.00
The season pass allows holders entry into the park for the entire season, running from 15th April to 3rd November.
Book online to receive a 10% discount on day passes – https://www.oakwoodthemepark.co.uk/