Yorkshire theme park Lightwater Valley has won the hearts of families all over the country now for years, being one of the very best attractions Yorkshire, but how many of those families actually know about the history of the theme park? You may be surprised to discover that before it got its reputation as one of the best family days out in Yorkshire, it actually started life as a pig farm located around five miles from the North Yorkshire town of Ripon.
As the years passed, the pig farm was transformed into a fresh fruit picking farm in 1969, which provided great days out in Yorkshire for many. It was a hit with the locals, but sadly the area surrounding the farm was affected by drought seven years later. It eventually became too dry for the fruit farm to continue, leaving the owners of the land to come up with a new idea to make revenue and follow their passion for offering the best family days out in Yorkshire for the people of the region.
Lightwater Valley, as the Yorkshire theme park it is recognised as today, was born after the purchase and creation of The Rat Ride in 1987. At the time, this was the world’s first and only subterranean roller coaster and one of the most exciting attractions Yorkshire. As you will have seen if you visited Lightwater Valley for a family day out Yorkshire prior to 2009, The Rat Ride was themed as a sewer, in which visitors ride huge rats around the roller coaster tracks. These days, it is named Raptor Attack and it is a dinosaur-themed ride disguised as an abandoned mineshaft.
After the purchase of The Rat Ride and the huge success it received, owner Robert Staveley built a vision of another record-breaking project that would go on to become The Ultimate. As the longest roller coaster in Europe, it is one of the main reasons people still to this day enjoy family days out in Yorkshire at Lightwater Valley. The Ultimate has recently celebrated 25 years since it was first opened at the Yorkshire theme park.
It was in 1996 that Robert Staveley decided to hand the park to his children, Amanda and James. They looked after the park and continued providing great days out in Yorkshire until Lightwater Valley was bought from them in 1997 for 5.6 million. It was bought by Queensborough Holdings, who only actually managed the park for 11 months before deciding to sell the Yorkshire theme park once more.
Lightwater Valley was not then bought until 2001 by Heritage Great Britain. It is still under this name now, providing family days out in Yorkshire for millions of people each year. Not to mention, the two rides that started off the whole idea of the park are still running every day. With plenty of exciting events scattered across the calendar and an ever-growing collection of rides and attractions Yorkshire, there’s no wonder it’s still so popular with the public.
Some events coming up in the next few months at the Yorkshire theme park include Frightwater Valley for Halloween and Fantastic Fireworks for Bonfire Night. You can go to the Lightwater Valley website or to their social media pages to get more information on upcoming events and offers, and to plan your next fantastic family day out Yorkshire. Now you know the history, you can even surprise everyone with a few fascinating facts about the park on your day out too!