The fun stopped here: England’s derelict theme parks

Image copyright Alamy
Image caption The Camelot theme park, near Chorley in Lancashire, was based on Arthurian legend

Incredibly expensive to run, and under increasing pressure to keep up with the big boys like Alton Towers and Drayton Manor, many modest amusement parks have struggled with dwindling visitor numbers before coming to a complete standstill.

One of the most recent victims is Pleasure Island in Cleethorpes, which closed at the end of the 2016 season after 23 years of business.

Those keen to get their hands on a piece of its history, as well as bag a bargain, can buy some of the fixtures and fittings as the contents are sold at auction. Lots include “a large box of comedy glasses” expected to go for about £10, various pieces of catering equipment, and for the pleasure-seeker with £250,000 to burn, the 114-year-old carousel.

But after the last candy floss has been eaten and the gates closed for the final time, what happens at the parks where the top thrill was a twirl on the teacups, a spin on the dodgems or a pit-stop at the petting zoo?

Some sites are sold and developed, others remain in the custody of a security guard or two and left to rot, while a handful become spookily picturesque.

Take a look around some of England’s abandoned theme parks.

Image copyright Noel Jenkins
Image caption Mr Blobby’s house at largely forgotten theme park Blobby Land at Cricket St Thomas was called Dunblobbin. Which he now, thankfully, is
Image copyright True British Metal
Image caption Semi-clad medieval figures lie on the ground at Camelot
Image copyright True British Metal
Image caption Rides included the Jousting Knights Dodgems and the Pendragon Plunge until its closure in 2012
Image copyright Matthew Cunnelly
Image caption Rollercoasters at Camelot included the Knightmare and the Dragon Flyer

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Image copyright Dan Thompson
Image caption Dreamland in Margate, Kent, closed in 2005 but reopened a decade later when campaign groups raised enough funds
Image copyright MalcWicky
Image caption Financial difficulties initially meant the park went into administration but a Company Voluntary Arrangement helped it continue trading
Image copyright MalcWicky
Image caption A re-vamped Dreamland now includes a live music venue. The Demon Dayz festival, headlined by Gorillaz, sold out in less than an hour
Image copyright Liam Samuel Brookes
Image caption The American Adventure in Derbyshire had a Wild West theme
Image copyright ThirtyFootScrew
Image caption Rides included a rollercoaster called Buffalo Stampede and the Nightmare Niagara log flume
Image copyright ThirtyFootScrew
Image caption The park did not reopen for its 2007 season and has since been demolished
Image copyright Terran Brown
Image caption Frontierland in Morecambe, Lancashire closed in 1998, after 92 years. Rides were sold and transported all over the world. The Polo Tower remained as a mobile phone mast for many years
Image copyright Chris Robertshaw
Image caption Over the road from Frontierland, the Arena Funfair was well past its heyday before it was demolished in 2008
Image copyright Steve Oliver
Image caption Sadly, not even the lure of a bargain round of teas could keep the attraction open


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