With the start of the 2023 season just around the corner, we’ve assembled the ultimate guide to help you plan your theme park season. From park opening dates to everything we know about this year’s new attractions; we cover everything happening in this year at the UK’s largest theme parks.

Alton Towers Resort

When Does the Season Begin?

The UK’s largest theme park will kick off their season on Saturday 18th March.

What’s New?

The Curse at Alton Manor, the much-anticipated re-development of Duel – The Haunted House Strikes Back, is set to be the first major new attraction opening in 2023 when it opens with the resort on Saturday 18th March. From a recent first look at the attraction, we know that it will focus on Emily Alton, a fan-favourite character from the ride’s original iteration, The Haunted House, as she haunts Alton Manor, searching for someone to play with. The Curse at Alton Manor is noted as being the resort’s most immersive dark ride to date, featuring special effects which are a first at a UK theme park. For everything we know about The Curse at Alton Manor, see our dedicated page on the project.

What’s On?

Continuing to grow the strong roster of events from previous seasons, Alton Towers will host five events throughout its main season this year. The first of these is Festival of Thrills – The Smiler Takeover which kicks off on Monday 17th April, running until 7th May. If last year’s Festival of Thrills is anything to go by, expect atmospheric live music throughout the park, but with a marmalising twist!

From there it’s not long until the fun continues with Mardi Gras, which runs from Saturday 20th May – 18th June. Now in its third year, this Carnival-inspired takeover is set to Take It to the Streets with high-energy entertainment filling the park.

September sees the return of the fan-favourite event Oktoberfest from Saturday 9th September – 1st October. Oktoberfest transforms Alton Towers into a great big Bavarian party, with live music, shows and all the bratwurst and beer you could ever want. Prost!

As the days grow shorter, it’s time for the return of the award-winning Scarefest. On the 7th, 8th and 13th – 31st October, the park will be filled with spooky fun for all the family. From award-winning scare experiences to the CBeebies Monster Ball, there’s something for all ages at Scarefest. Not to mention, with the park open until 9pm each day, guests can enjoy all the park has to offer in the dark!

November brings the return of the legendary Fireworks from 3rd – 5th of the month. Providing the final chance of the year to ride the park’s record-breaking rollercoasters, alongside the dazzling nightly fireworks display, this is the ultimate way to end the season!

Finally, Alton Towers will once again celebrate Christmas on selected dates from Friday 24th November – 30th December.

Thorpe Park Resort

When Does the Season Begin?

The island like no other is set to welcome guests from Friday 24th March.

What’s New?

Please stand clear, because the doors have closed on Derren Brown’s Ghost Train. New for 2023, the former VR-heavy dark ride will be completely re-imagined into Ghost Train. No longer utilising the technology, but continuing to feature live actors, the new attraction will feature a completely new storyline and effects. Whilst no opening date has been announced, Ghost Train is set to open in Spring 2023. For everything we know so far about this project, see our latest update.

What’s On?

Thorpe Park will play host to four events this season, the first of which is Mardi Gras which is set to bring a taste of Louisiana to the island like no other from Thursday 18th May – 11th June.

Over the summer, Carnival is set to return for a second year from Friday 21st July – 28th August. With circus-style entertainment, street food and the rare opportunity to experience a scare attraction outside of Halloween at Trailers: Breakout at Bozo’s, it’s set to be a summer like no other.

Thorpe Park will once again be taken over by the feel-good sound of oompah when the resort celebrates Oktoberfest from Friday 8th September – 1st October.

Of course, it’s not spooky season without FRIGHT NIGHTS which will round off the season from Friday 6th October – 31st October, filling the island with terrifying scare mazes and scare zones.

Chessington World of Adventures Resort

When Does the Season Begin?

Adventurers will be welcomed back to Chessington from Thursday 23rd March.

What’s New?

World of Jumanji, the single largest investment in Chessington’s history, is set to open on Monday 15th May. The brand-new themed land will bring three new attractions to the resort, with the headliner being Mandrill Mayhem, a launched wing coaster that marks B&M’s first-ever shuttle coaster. Completing the line-up are Ostrich Stampede, an SBF Super Jumper and Mamba Strike, an SBF Top Dancer. Chessington recently invited us on a tour of the land’s construction site, offering an exciting look at what’s to come.

What’s On?

For the first time ever Chessington World of Adventures is set to celebrate Easter with Eggsplorers! From Saturday 1st – 16th April, Eggsplorers can take part in an animal trail across the resort and even meet the Easter Bunny in their Chessington debut!

From Saturday 27th May – 25th June, Mardi Grrra returns for a second year. During its 2022 debut, Mardi Grrra saw the park come alive with Kreature Krewes filling each land with dance and music, alongside Mane Stage entertainment and plenty of themed food!

Britain’s WIIILDEST family music festival returns for a third year this summer from Monday 31st July – 3rd September – Wilderfest is back! Featuring live music, roaming entertainment and festival food aplenty, Wilderfest promises to make for a wild summer at the resort!

After a spectacular final year for Creepy Caves in 2022, it’s not yet known what we can expect from Howl-o-Ween, but the family-favourite event will be returning to Chessington from Saturday 14th – 30th October.

As is tradition, the Chessington season ends with the delightful Winter’s Tail from Saturday 25th November – 30th December. Expect delightful entertainment packed with festive cheer, and the magical opportunity to meet Santa himself, alongside a selection of rides and attractions.

LEGOLAND Windsor Resort

When Does the Season Begin?

LEGO fans of all ages can return to the park from Friday 17th March.

What’s New?

LEGO Ferrari Build and Race is a new for 2023 attraction, offering guests the opportunity to build their very own LEGO Ferrari car before digitally scanning their creation and putting it to the test. LEGO Ferrari Build and Race is currently due to open Summer 2023.

Additionally, LEGOLAND Adventure Golf is set to open on Saturday 29th July. The world’s first LEGO-themed indoor golf experience will invite guests to take on one of four different themed courses in a mini golf experience like no other. LEGOLAND Adventure Golf will be located outside of the theme park, on the site of the current priority car park (Car Park A), near the park’s main entrance.

What’s On?

This year will see LEGOLAND celebrate the first-ever LEGOLAND Springfest! Springfest runs from Saturday 13th May – 5th June. This brand-new event will see the debut of two new characters; Bumblebee Girl and Lady Bug Girl. Both will be available to meet for selfies throughout the event! As you’d expect from a LEGOLAND event, there will also be build opportunities aplenty with the opportunity to add to a LEGO flower wall, as well as the chance to take home your very own LEGO bumblebee. On the Spring Bank Holiday weekend (26th – 29th May) Kidz Pop will even be performing on the Miniland Stage!

If you’re looking to get some spooky fun in early in the season, LEGOLAND is the place to be with Brick or Treat transforming the park into a pumpkin-filled wonderland from Thursday 28th September – 5th November. This year Brick or Treat is all about the LEGO Monsters as they take over the park for Monster Party. New experiences, live shows and the resort’s fantastic seasonal decorations all come together for some spooktacular Monster mischief!

On selected dates from Saturday 25th November, LEGOLAND at Christmas returns for another season of festive cheer with a day full of magical entertainment alongside a selection of rides and attractions.

Blackpool Pleasure Beach

When Does the Season Begin?

The UK’s most ride intensive amusement park will open its doors from Saturday 18th March.

What’s New?

Originally scheduled to open from its re-imagining in 2021, will 2023 finally be the year for Valhalla? Widely regarded as one of the greatest water rides in the world, Valhalla closed for the 2020 season to be reworked and brought back the following season. Since then, Amanda Thompson has been vocal on Twitter regarding her irritation at the length of time it has taken to open the attraction, and cited difficulty in sourcing materials for the delay.

What’s On?

Though Blackpool Pleasure Beach doesn’t offer ‘seasons’, the park does have a packed calendar of shows and events featuring comedy, magic and, of course, the legendary Hot Ice. This year’s show ‘Amore Amor Amour’ runs from Thursday 6th July – 9th September. Journey to Hell Freak Nights will also be returning for another year, bringing scare zones and ‘haunted ride areas’ back to the Pleasure Beach from Friday 13th – 31st October.

Drayton Manor Resort

When Does the Season Begin?

All rides and attractions will be available at Drayton Manor Resort from Saturday 1st April.

What’s New?

The park has teased a new attraction for Thomas Land in 2023, to help celebrate the land’s 15th anniversary. With construction walls teasing ‘something new making a splash’, we are expecting this to be a water ride of some sort!

What’s On?

For the 2023 season, it’s probably easier to ask what isn’t on! Drayton Manor has announced a season absolutely packed with events.

Though the park isn’t due to open its full range of rides and attractions until Saturday 1st April, Drayton Manor will be running March of the Dinosaurs on weekends (including Fridays) from 10th – 31st March with a Zoo-only offering available Monday-Thursday.

When the park fully re-opens on Saturday 1st April, it’s time to celebrate 15 years of Thomas Land with Thomas Land Birthday from 1st – 30th April with celebratory entertainment, decorations and party games!

If you’re looking for somewhere to celebrate a historic day for the United Kingdom, Drayton Manor have you covered with Coronation Street Party taking over from Friday 5th – 8th May. The park will be open until 9pm for the first late-night riding of the year and will even feature a fireworks finale!

From Saturday 27th May – 4th June, Fiestaval will fill the resort with colour, with street entertainment throughout the day, themed food and drink and Rory’s Fiesta Finale show.

Every Saturday from 1st July – 26th August, it’s party night at Drayton with Summer Nights. The park will be open until 9pm for late-night riding, all whilst live bands and DJs lead the party!

The late-night riding keeps coming from Friday 15th September – 1st October for Viking Festival which will see fire eaters and jugglers as well as Viking drummers take over the park! Not only that but themed food and drink – including beer tents!

With Night at the Manor, Fireworks and Magical Christmas all expected to return, there’s even more to be announced for what’s shaping up to be a very exciting year at Drayton Manor.

Paultons Park

When Does the Season Begin?

Paultons Park is already open with almost its full ride line-up available! The rest of the park’s attractions will open from Friday 24th March.

What’s New?

There are currently no new attractions announced for 2023.

What’s On?

2023 marks the 40th anniversary of Paultons Park and to celebrate, from Saturday 1st April Percy Owl sculptures will be filling the park as part of an Anniversary Trail. Percy Owl himself will also be returning to the park for some very special meet and greets on selected May dates.

The park’s Halloween Spooktacular returns from Saturday 14th – 30th October (Halloween shows from 21st – 30th October) and will see Peppa Pig World and Tornado Springs receive spooky makeovers. The Legends of Paultons Manor, a frightfully fun all-singing and dancing extravaganza, also returns. And on Tuesday 24th, Wednesday 25th and Thursday 26th October, enjoy the only late-night riding of the season and take in the park’s beautiful lights with a 7:30pm park close!

Christmas at Paultons Park runs on selected dates from Saturday 2nd December – 23rd December. The park will be decorated for the season, with magical illuminations throughout. A selection of rides is open for the event including attractions throughout Peppa Pig World, Tornado Springs, Critter Creek and Lost Kingdom. Though the event does not feature a Santa’s Grotto, Santa will be present throughout the day as part of the Santa’s Christmas Wish and Santa Storytime shows.

Flamingo Land Resort

When Does the Season Begin?

The resort’s theme park will reopen Saturday 25th March, with the zoo and a selection of children’s rides currently available every weekend.

What’s New?

After the addition of Sik, an Intamin Multi Inversion Coaster, in 2022, there are currently no major new additions announced for 2023. However, the park’s signature flamingos have recently moved to a brand-new enclosure!

What’s On?

There are no events currently scheduled for Flamingo Land, but it’s worth keeping an eye on their socials for one-off events throughout the year!

With so much happening this year, where will you be heading to first? Let us know via our social media channels!

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