Theme Park Insanity

Here at Theme Park Insanity we reveal our official Top 10 UK Coasters to date!

When it comes to the UK roller coaster and indeed theme park industry there are so many great rides and experiences out there that it really is difficult to pinpoint exactly which roller coaster out of all of them should take first place or indeed which order a top 10 should take.

That, however is exactly what we are going to do!

In this brand new piece we reveal which out of all the coasters we have ridden within the UK to date take top spots as our Top 10 UK coasters and to make matters even more interesting we will rank them from least loved to ultimately our favourite of the bunch overall.

As we reveal our official Top 10 we will rank them all the way from 10 (being our least favourite of the bunch) to 1 (being our ultimate top UK coaster) and we’ll also provide a little insight around each ride along the way as well (just incase you have yet to ride any of them or just want to know how daring you need to be to brave them).

Therefore without further a do, here we go!

10 - Oblivion - B&M Dive Machine located at Alton Towers, Staffordshire.

You will all have heard those infamous three terrifying words no doubt before somewhere or another “Don’t Look Down”!

Well, when it comes to the world’s first Bolliger and Mabillard Dive Machine located at Alton Towers, you really don’t have a choice!

Opening at the Alton Towers Resort back in 1998 Oblivion – the world’s first vertical drop roller coaster (and yes we know it’s not technically vertical at 87.5 degrees, however let’s face it – when you’re riding who can tell right?) marked a real leap forward for not only roller coasters here in the UK, but also worldwide as well.

Dropping riders from a total height of 180ft overall (over 100ft of which is located underground) this fantastic ride is not only the tallest ride on resort, but also the fastest as well at a total speed of 68mph.

Whilst this world famous coaster is argued by many as a “one trick pony” or indeed a “one drop wonder”, it is by far that incredible stomach churning, eye watering, breathtaking first (and last) drop which has made this ride one of the most iconic and well loved on resort to date.

Even though Oblivion never really amounts more than a 30 to 40 minute queue at any one time nowadays we still think that this fantastic coaster deserves to be in our top 10 and as such we always ensure we get at least one ride on Oblivion during every visit we make to the Alton Towers Resort.

9 - Mumbo Jumbo - S&S Worldwide El Loco located at Flamingo Land Resort, North Yorkshire.

Boasting what was, back in 2009 the world’s steepest drop at 112 degrees this fantastic S&S El Loco clone of Steel Hawg located Indiana Beach, Monticello, US (with the exception of a one degree increase on the first drop) takes riders to a impressive height of 98.4ft before dropping them beyond vertical, taking them through 2 inversions (a Dive Loop and a Zero-G Roll) and impacting a whopping total of 4 Gs on all who to choose to brave this brilliant coaster throughout their experience.

Mumbo Jumbo really is one of the most unique coasters located here in the UK and really does provide for one of the most fun (yet no necessarily thrilling) ride experiences on offer to date.

With what is probably one of the most unique elements on any UK coaster to date (being an outward banked turn) Mumbo Jumbo has the feel of what most consider to be a classic wild mouse coaster with its tight twists and turns whilst still delivering a ride experience unlike any other coaster of this kind!

The sharp turns, steep drops and incredible amount of hangtime this coaster delivers (possible the most hangtime on any UK coaster to date) firmly cements this great and very unique coaster firmly within our top 10, however when it comes to the thrill factor in our opinion Mumbo Jumbo just simply doesn’t deliver and for that reason Flamingo Land’s S&S El Loco sits soundly here in 9th place.

8 - Kumali - Vekoma SLC located at Flamingo Land Resort, North Yorkshire.

When Kumali (named after the resort’s Alpha male lion) opened at Flamingo Land Resort back in 2006 it replaced what is arguably still one of the resort’s most iconic roller coasters to date – The Bullet – a Schwarzkopf Shuttle Looping Coaster now located at a park in Brazil.

It was therefore imperative that in replacing this classic coaster Flamingo Land choose a worthy and suitable successor to continue the wow factor it’s predecessor had provided whilst still bringing Flamingo Land into the new century with a brand new experience unequivocal to any other coaster located within the resort at the time.

Now, when someone says SLC it’s no secret that those three letters are met with a huff of disgust from most within the enthusiast community, however don’t be deceived! Kumali is everything you would not expect from this type of roller coaster.

Boasting a silky smooth ride experience from start to finish (yes that’s right – SMOOTH!) as well as some gut wrenching G-force coming off the first drop and what is very likely one of the most fast paced succession of inversions on any UK coaster (yes that will change next year with the opening of ‘Inversion’ we know) Kumali delivers a ride experience worthy of the animal this ride is named for leaving all those who ride it not only breathless with euphoria, but ever thirsting for more of the intensity this coaster provides.

Kumali also reaches speeds of upto and including 54.9 mph, reaches heights of up to 117.8 ft and features 4 inversions ranging from a fantastically floaty vertical loop to an eye watering Cobra Roll.

For all of the above reasons Kumali cements itself firmly at place number 8, however it’s no secret that when it comes to ride intensity there are far more worthy contenders for the top spot here in the UK.

7 - ICON: The Ride - Mack Mega Double Launched coaster located at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Blackpool, Lancashire.

Now then, we know what you’re thinking! “How can Icon be at Number 7?” – well, hear us out!

It’s no lie that when it comes to Blackpool Pleasure Beach there are currently 2 headline attractions which come to everyone’s mind – The Big One (formerly known as the Pepsi Max Big One) and Icon: The Ride.

This silky smooth Mack Mega Double Launched coaster opened at Blackpool Pleasure Beach back in 2018 after years of fans of the resort calling for a launched coaster to be introduced to the resort.

The ride currently occupies the former Sawyer Bridge area of the park and back in it’s conceptual stages was known by all (apart from those in the know) as Project XXVIII.

Finally in May of 2018 ICON: The Ride was opened and a whole entourage of roller coaster enthusiasts who were foaming at the mouth to get their fix of the resort’s latest thrilling addition descended on the park in order to get their first taste of this brand new addition.

Now although this fantastic coaster features the longest ride experience on park as well as the UK’s only double launched ride experience (although then again if you factor Revolution into the equation this isn’t necessarily the case) Icon just doesn’t deliver the thrill factor for us.

This is due to the fact that not only are the launches slow in comparison to others located here in the UK, however it’s also due to the fact this coaster has clearly been designed to be a smooth almost relaxing ride experience in comparison to other coasters on park.

That being said Icon still manages to entertain us each and every time we ride it with some of the best airtime on park as well as the sheer amount of near misses this giant tangle of grey track provides ducking and diving through some of the pleasure beaches other iconic rides such as The Big One and Steeple Chase whilst still managing to reach speeds of up to 52.8 mph.

ICON: The Ride therefore takes the spot of number 7 in our top 10 to date!

6 - Wicker Man - GCI Wooden Coaster located at Alton Towers Resort, Staffordshire.

“Feed the Flames”, “Be Chosen”!

Undoubtedly two of the most iconic ride taglines to date, however when it comes to the ride Wicker Man really is a whole other level of awesome!

This fantastic GCI (Great Coasters International) Wooden Coaster opened at the Alton Towers Resort back in 2018 after spending most of it’s development and construction process under the guise of legendary code name Secret Weapon 8 (SW8 for those wondering) boasting one of the resort’s most daring and creative themes in recent years.

As such Wicker Man has become one of the most iconic and well loved coasters located at the resort meaning that queue times for this ride never really drop below 60 minutes as a rule most days throughout the season.

Wicker Man plunges all those brave enough to ride it into the heavily primal territory of the surrounding woodland folk ‘The Beornen’ as they are “chosen” to be part of their most sacred of rituals – the rise of the Wicker Man (aka. Big Bob). Riders will step aboard the Beornen’s works train and will be sent forth to be sacrificed to the Wicker Man in the hope that their most sacred of gods will rise bringing about “freedom and eternal well being”.

The Wicker Man features by far one of the most immersive and original themes on park and in our opinion delivers from the minute you enter the queue line to the minute you exit through the gift shop at the end.

This achieved through the use of insanely detailed themeing, heavy use of scent pods and some extremely cool special effects as well as one of the most guttural soundtracks on park to date.

Although Wicker Man sadly doesn’t make our Top 5, it’s safe to say that it’s a very close call indeed when it comes to this and the ride placed in 5th place!

5 - Saw: The Ride - Gerstlauer Euro Fighter located at Thorpe Park Resort, Surrey.

Well, here we are, our official Top 5!!

Now then, for those of you who have been following us since day one you will know it’s no secret that we are huge fans of everything horror!!

As such when it comes to our favourite horror film franchise the Saw franchise by far takes the top spot, therefore when we finally had the chance to step inside Jigsaw’s lair earlier this season and ride Saw: The Ride at Thorpe Park for the first time we could not have been more excited!

This brilliant and heavily detailed IP themed horror coaster not only marked the introduction of the world’s first ever horror IP themed ride at the time of it’s introduction to the resort, however it also took the world record for the steepest drop on any roller coaster in the world at 100 degrees (a title taken just months later by Mumbo Jumbo at Flamingo Land by 12 degrees).

Saw: The Ride plunges those who dare to ride it into the twisted and demented world of the Jigsaw Killer – a maniacal serial killer who places his victims into demented life or death scenarios through the use of some of the most ingenious traps to be featured in any horror film franchise to date,

Riders will traverse a mixture of indoor dark ride (featuring a couple of great surprises along the way) and outdoor coaster before escaping the maniacal clutches of Killer in what is probably one of the most intense coaster experiences on park.

Saw: The Ride reaches a total height of 100ft, features 3 inversions including a giant immelmann Loop after the first drop and lasts a total duration of 1 minute 40 seconds overall.

It’s fair to saw that when it came to choosing between 6 and 5 it was definitely a difficult decision as both are so close for us, however when we factor in our love of the Saw films it was more than clear which spot Saw: The Ride should take on this list.

4 - The Smiler - Gerstlauer Infinity Coaster located at Alton Towers Resort, Staffordshire.

Ahhh, The Smiler! Probably by far one of the UK’s most controversial roller coasters and undoubtedly one of our ultimate favourites to date!!

The Smiler opened at Alton Towers Resort back in 2013, and although it’s true that this world record breaking ride hasn’t really benefitted from the most problem free of pasts what is clear is that we as a community are extremely lucky to have this world record breaker within our reach here in the UK.

The Smiler is the world’s first 14 looping coaster boasting the most inversions on any roller coaster in the world (a record it still holds to this day). The ride also features one of the darkest and most maniacal themes on park too putting all those who dare to ride in the grips of the Ministry of Joy – a twisted secret government organisation charged with bringing ever lasting ‘joy’ to the world by any means necessary.

Riders will step aboard and strap in before being thrust down a dark indoor drop and into a ‘surprise’ inversion before reaching the bottom of the first lift.

After ascending the first lift riders will complete 7 6 other inversions before reaching yet another lift hill (this time vertical) and after that a further 7 inversions before rides end.

This mind boggling amount of inversions means that this unique and thrilling coaster does exactly what it says on the tin (it will leave you grinning from ear to ear and laughing like an idiot to yourself come rides end).

The Smiler also features a giant themeing structure within it’s layout called the Marmeliser which is said to be the secret machine devised and created by the Ministry of Joy to spread laughter and joy to all of their ‘Smiling Advocates’.

It’s fair to say that once you reach the end of your ride experience you really will “Belong to the Smiler”.

Due to the sheer unadulterated thrills this coaster provides and the unique theme it holds we have therefore allocated the spot of 4th to his world record breaking ride! 

3 - Stealth - An Intamin Accelerator Coaster located at Thorpe Park Resort, Surrey.

Boy! Top 3!! Things are really starting to get intense now haha!

With that in mind let us reveal our official first candidate of our top 3 coasters here in the UK – Stealth at Thorpe Park!

This speed demon really does in our opinion deliver one of the most intense coaster experiences here in the UK to date and will leave you laughing and screaming more upon reaching the brake run!

Stealth (Aka. Amityville Speedway) is probably Thorpe Park’s most iconic ride, and standing at a total height of 205 ft it’s easy to see why.

Stealth to this day remains not only the second tallest roller coaster in the UK (with the first still being The Big One at Blackpool Pleasure Breach standing at 235 ft), but also the fastest in the UK reaching a total speed of 80 mph in just 1.9 seconds!

This means that the launch can only be best described by those who have ridden it as a sheer sense of exhilaration and euphoria as you are gut punched and thrust vertically up towards the total height of 205 ft before plummeting back down to earth and into the best pop of airtime the ride has to offer (the brake run!).

Stealth may only last 25 seconds overall from start to finish, however when you factor in exactly what this ride offers it’s clear to see why Stealth is arguably one of the best roller coasters here in the UK, and that’s SPEED!! Sheer, unadulterated, eye watering, fist pumping speed that will leave all those who ride it ginning like a cheshire cat from ear to ear thirsty for a re-ride!

For this reason Stealth stands firmly in third place here in our top 10!

2 - Nemesis - B&M Invert located at Alton Towers Resort, Staffordshire.

Nemesis!! See the blood flow!

It’s fair to say that this absolute beast of a B&M Invert is not only John Wardley’s most iconic creation, but also stands to this day as one of the UK’s most iconic roller coasters overall!

Nemesis opened at the Alton Towers Resort back in 1994 as the resort’s answer to the ongoing battle for top spot in the year of the roller coaster which put the park up against Blackpool Pleasure Beaches now world famous The Big One and Drayton Manor’s equally well loved Shockwave (one of only three stand up intamin coasters now left in the world)!

Nemesis also became the first ever roller coaster at Alton Towers to use the now famous code name “Secret Weapon” in the conception and design stages, Infact Nemesis became Secret Weapon 3 with the previous two secret weapons never actually seeing the light of day due to not being ‘thrilling enough’ to be built by the park at the time.

For those who have yet to ride this sheer masterpiece in roller coaster engineering (for which we would imagine there will no longer be many of) Nemesis pits you against the dreaded Nemesis creature! An ancient alien crab like creature hell bent on devouring all who enter it’s path.

As you climb the first lift you have the chance to take in what lies ahead looking down into the rock and cavern infested pit below you! Before you know it however you are hurtling down towards the rocks at eye watering speeds forever missing the rocks and ravines you race through by mere inches ever fearful you’ll lose your legs in the process.

It’s safe to say that when it comes to intensity Nemesis is about as intense as any coaster gets and as you race through the layout you’ll have the chance to see exactly why that is.

Up until recently Nemesis used to stand firmly as our official UK number one, however after visiting Thorpe Park this summer gone it’s fair to say that the upcoming top spot taker is far more than deserving and for that reason Nemesis now takes the number two place instead (however that doesn’t mean we love it any less believe us haha!).

Well, after wading through a whole host of more than worthy candidates for the top spot that can mean only one thing! It’s time to unveil our official favourite coaster here in the UK!

Presenting;

1 - The Swarm - B&M Wing Coaster located at Thorpe Park Resort, Surrey!

When it comes to the perfect ride experience The Swarm at Thorpe Park has it all! One of the most immersively themed ride areas in the UK, some of the best near misses on any UK coaster and some of the best hangtime to date!

The Swarm really is a masterpiece in coaster engineering and design and this is reflected by just how immersive the area within which it is located really is.

It’s perfectly fair to say that you could very well forget you are stood in a theme park were it not for the steel giant towering above you as crowds of thrill seekers zoom above your head shrieking with sheer delight as they duck, dive and twist past everything from a crashed aircraft to helicopter blades, a giant billboard and even an exploding fire engine (when the effects are working of course)!

The queue line is also no exception to this either. The sheer attention to detail, the way the queue passes above the lift hill and the way it offers for some of the best views of the ride within the park really do make The Swarm one of the most re-ridable coasters located within the UK to date.

For years we had wanted to get on this ride for ourselves, therefore when we finally made the visit earlier this year it’s fair to say our expectations of this beast were exceeded in everyway possible.

The sheer height of the lift hill too and the way you are given the choice of two separate ride experiences (going over or under) by far make this one of the most versatile coasters we have ridden to date as well.

It’s therefore more than fair to say for all of these reasons alone The Swarm deserves our top spot as our ultimate UK number one, however here are a few other reasons as well just in case you need them haha!;

 – This monster stands at 127th which means that it really does give for some of the best views from any ride on park.

 – the ride features 5 inversions (according to RCDB anyways, we personally think it’s more like 4 however.) which means there are plenty of chances for some fantastic hangtime, especially with the inline twist going over the station building!

 – The Swarm is 2543 ft in length meaning you will be given a decent length of ride time once on board.

Overall we are thrilled to be able to award first place to The Swarm as our official favourite UK coaster to date, however will this change in the years to come? We certainly expect it to!!

So there you have it! Those are our official Top 10 UK coasters as they stand, however how would you rate and place yours?

Let us know your official Top 10 in the comments below!


2 Comments

Chris Baete · November 6, 2020 at 11:35 pm

Interesting top 10 – great to see two rides from Flamingo land and to see Oblivion in there. I was also pleased to see Smiler quite high up. The Smiler would be my number one, however, the swarm does deserve the top spot – 8 years old ad it still rides incredibly and certainly gives you a rush. I can see this being a long-standing ride like Nemesis at Alton Towers. The one ride that should have been in there is Nemesis Inferno.

    Joe Marshall

    Joe Marshall · November 6, 2020 at 11:50 pm

    Thank you very much Chris! We agree, The Swarm certainly has a good strong future with the resort for sure!

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