The Wildest Rollercoasters in the UK

The Wildest Roller Coasters in the UK

Ever since the first modern roller-coaster ride opened in Paris in 1817, many brave souls have been in love with the feeling of dizzying anticipation. Picture it: your cart cranks its way up to the top of the tracks; there’s that agonising pause… then you plummet with your heart pounding while the wind whips through your hair and a scream of excitement escapes your lips. (Okay, it’s not everyone’s idea of fun, but you get the drift.)

You won’t experience the G-Forces as you play online bingo, but you will be familiar with the excited shouts of bingo! Even if it’s not entirely the same, we think you might be interested in a fascinating read about the wildest, heart-pounding roller coasters the UK has to offer. How many have you ticked off? Let’s strap in and get started!


Location Thorpe Park, Surrey

The specs 205ft high, 1,312ft long, 80mph

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to whizz around the track in a Formula One car, catch a ride on Stealth – Thorpe Park’s horseshoe rollercoaster that takes you from zero to 80mph in under two seconds. You’re hurled up the near-vertical track, reaching the top in just eight seconds, before plummeting a cheek-flapping 205ft. Even the point-of-view videos make for stomach-churning viewing, let alone the real thing!

The Swarm

Location Thorpe Park, Surrey

The specs 127ft high, 2,543ft long, 59mph

Described as an “apocalyptic ride” and also based at Thorpe Park, The Swarm is a roller coaster with a difference. Riders are strapped into seats on either side of the track and zoom through a post-apocalyptic world that has been colonised by killer bees. The reason for the unusual seat positions is to give riders the impression of experiencing a number of near-misses as they zoom through perfectly positioned props, including a crashed aeroplane, at 59mph. If you thought you’d seen an overturned ambulance, a damaged church, downed helicopter, and partially submerged fire engine, but couldn’t be sure – yes, you did!

The Big One

Location Blackpool Pleasure Beach

The specs 235ft high, 5,497ft long, 74mph

When you combine online slots and bingo, you get double the excitement in Slingo. In the same way, when you mix additional roller-coaster height with length, you get The Big One!

When it opened in 1994, this was the biggest and steepest rollercoaster in the world. Even though it no longer holds the record, Blackpool’s iconic ride with its 65-degree drop at 74mph is still enough to make you think twice about tucking into the doughnuts and waffles, or turning down that last loo break (sorry!). We’d advise you to keep hold of the snacks until after you’ve stopped shaking and your head’s remembered which way is up!


Location Alton Towers, Stoke-on-Trent

The specs 43ft high, 2,349ft long, 50mph

If you enjoy being chucked around even more than you like plummeting from dizzying heights, then Nemesis could be the ride for you. This is one of the world’s scariest inverted roller coasters, because it gives you a taste of 3 G-Force (gravitational acceleration), which is the equivalent of the in-cabin pressure experienced by astronauts on board the American Space Shuttle during launch and re-entry, or the force of a sneeze.

The thrill of this particular ride is being flung – with your legs dangling, we might add – through a series of rocky craters that are guarded by a legendary (but thankfully fictitious) monster.

Wicker Man

Location Alton Towers, Stoke-on-Trent

The specs 72ft high, 2,608ft long, 44mph

You know how a particularly well-chosen soundtrack can add enjoyment to the gaming experience when you play certain slots online? Who’d have thought it’s the same with roller coasters? If you’re after some serious atmosphere, take a ride on the Wicker Man.

The roller coaster, designed to look as if it’s made entirely of wood, has an eerie, otherworldly appearance… and a soundtrack to match. The experience starts with riders being “chosen” by the “Beornen”. Then before you have the pants scared off you on the actual ride, there’s a pre-show that uses video, sound and projection mapping (where images are projected onto objects) to fill you in on the backstory for the ride. It turns out the Beornen are a secret community living in the woods around Alton. They gather every year to worship the Wicker Man and offer up a sacrifice… which is you!

At the centre of the roller-coaster attraction is a six-storey-high flaming Wicker Man, and as you pass through this installation (three times during your ride), a number of special, multisensorial effects are triggered that include video, lighting, mist, smoke and flamethrowers.

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Whether you like to get up close and personal with your favourite roller-coaster rides or prefer to admire them from what feels like a safe distance, you can experience plenty of fun and excitement from the comfort of your home (or a mobile device near you) without having to turn yourself upside down.

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/ 21 December 2021