"Are we nearly there yet Daddy?"
That's a first! Just twenty minutes' drive from our house and our closest theme park - the next stop on our tour of the UK's theme parks is Twinlakes Theme Park in Leicestershire.
Described as an 'all action, all weather theme park', Twinlakes is very popular with families with children up to 12 years old and well known for its gigantic indoor adventure play areas and new outdoor splash park. As the first theme park aimed at families with children we've put to the test, Lyall and Rich had heard all about it from their friends at school and were very excited!
Twinlakes Theme Park is located in Melton Mowbray, near Leicester UK - it's a couple of hours north of London and an hour east of Birmingham.
Here's how we got on!
The first thing we noticed when we arrived at Twinlakes was the setting - sprawling Leicestershire farmland with very pretty tree-lined paths and well-maintained lawns. The themed areas are divided by barns and quaint farm cottages. It's very pretty!
At about 100 acres it's one of the smaller theme parks we've visited (somewhere between the size of Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Legoland Windsor) but it feels deceptively large and spread out.
We decided to visit Twinlakes on the hottest day on record (37°c in the afternoon) - we'd heard about its splash-park and indoor adventure playgrounds so we knew there would be opportunities to cool off in the water and find shade in the indoor spaces away from the sun.
Au Guang Dragon Zone Waterpark
Once we'd collected our tickets and devoured a delicious Calippo each (starting as we mean to go on), we made our way to the waterpark.
FP30 suncream and cozzies on, Lyall and Rich splashed about for an hour while I sat on the grassy area overlooking the waterpark.
The waterpark itself is clean and modern, with a couple of small flumes and a fantastic tipping bucket that soaks visitors every few minutes. The waterpark also has an excellent log flume. It's fantastic fun and the boys loved sploshing around. But (only a small but) as a parent there isn't very much shade - admittedly not usually a problem in the UK but it was a scorcher on the day we visited Twinlakes.
Dotted around the park are several children's rides and rollercoasters - here's a few of our faves...
Icarus Sky Flyer
Lyall's favourite ride is Icarus, a 'flying' ride where kids fly face-down at quite an admirable speed through the air like superheros.
Inside the huge indoor adventure barn there's a fantastic tower drop ride called Trauma Tower. While it's not the tallest or biggest version of a drop tower we've seen, it's great fun and picks up some speed on its drop through the barn's three floors.
The scariest ride (by far) at Twinlakes is The Excalibur - a 70ft chair swing ride, picking up very fast speeds as you fly through the air with your legs dangling.
I'm not great with heights so I only braved Excalibur once but Lyall and Rich went on it four times in a row! If you look closely at the video below you'll see the boys right up at the top!
Unlike their rival theme parks, Twinlakes' main attractions are five or six enormous adventure play areas including two indoors. In our opinion these playgrounds make Twinlakes stand out as an unrivalled destination for children. Lyall and Rich will happily play in a big adventure playground for hours and hours.
The adventure playgrounds at Twinlakes are impeccably well maintained, imaginatively themed and are large enough to entertain children of any age. There are countless ropes, ladders, slides and tunnels. Plus there's loads of seating for adults - a good opportunity to rest your feet for a moment.
Another unique feature of Twinlakes is its farm park. It's home to hundreds of happy, friendly farm animals, including donkeys, alpacas and goats and a few slightly more exotic guests like chipmunks, meerkats and reptiles.
Twinlakes' goats and pigs are particularly friendly and love a good scratch behind the ears!
Summary and booking info
We've covered a few of the rides, attractions and playground facilities in our feature but we've only scratched the surface - there's also giant trampolines, an enormous soft-play, drop slides, a 'scream park' for adults, water rides, pony rides and loads more we could mention. We found we were able to experience everything in one day, but a return trip is on the cards for their special events - the fireworks look amazing!
In summary, by focusing on its younger visitors we think Twinlakes offers something unique. The boys enjoyed the rides and loved the playgrounds, slides and the splash-park. For adults, it's beautifully landscaped, there's loads of cheap food and drink outlets and plenty of sitting areas for to enjoy some peace and quiet. It's great to have found somewhere the boys can run off and enjoy some freedom to explore while I enjoy a quiet coffee and a book!
Twinlakes is also the cheapest of any theme park we've visited this year - entry during peak times (holidays and weekends) is £18. Fantastic value.
To book tickets online and save on the standard entry price, click here.
Disclaimer time! Here at Daddy & Dad we work with family-friendly brands and businesses to supplement our core content. Park entry was provided by Twinlakes Theme Park in return for our impartial blog feature. All the opinions expressed in our reviews belong solely to us. We'd like to say a big thank you to John and the Twinlakes Marketing Team for making us feel so welcome. Thanks guys!
If you've enjoyed our Twinlakes review, you can find our other theme park features in our Theme Parks category by clicking here.