The 1980s saw a theme park-building boom in the UK, and the country still has a strong market for such parks. Inevitably, though, not all of the newly-constructed wonderlands could last the test of time, particularly as leading parks such as Alton Towers and Thorpe Park expanded their reach.
The last two decades have seen the closure of a number of theme parks and amusement parks in the country. Most stood (or still stand) abandoned for several years after closing, in a ghostly reminder of their former lives.
Let's take a look at 5 haunting abandoned theme parks in the UK.
5. Camelot (Lancashire)
After several years of financial struggles and question marks over its long-term future, Camelot finally confirmed that it would close for good at the end of the 2012 season. The park's Managing Director, Roy Page, blamed a combination of the impact of the unusually wet summer weather, the London Olympics and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee for another year of weak revenues.
Camelot first opened back in 1983, on the site of the former "Lake of Sir Lancelot". This inspired the park's theme, which saw a number of King Arthur-themed attractions installed. For a long period, the park was twinned with the American Adventure in Derbyshire, which closed in 2007. Camelot had long been expected to meet the same fate, having suffered from declining attendances from 2006 onwards.
The shots below show the state of the park in June 2013 (you can see more here).
4. Frontierland Western Theme Park (Morecambe)
West End Amusement Park operated under a number of different names following its opening day in 1909. With the 1980s boom in theme park construction in the UK, though, it was given a new lease of life as Frontierland Western Theme Park in 1987.
The transformation into Frontierland sparked a brief turnaround, the but the long-term trend was still one of decline. By 1998, the park had begun to move or sell of its attractions, and by the end of 2000 it had closed for good. You can see more shots of the abandoned park here.
3. American Adventure
The American Adventure boasted a variety of rides, as well as shows featuring cowboys and Native Americans. It became one of the most popular theme parks in the country, hosting attractions such as the towering Missile roller coaster.
The success didn't last. The park suffered a period of decline from the mid-1990s onwards, with visitor numbers dwindling. In 2005, most of the major rides were closed and replaced by kids' rides. At the end of the 2006 season, the owners gave up the ghost. In January 2007 it was announced that the American Adventure was closed for good.
2. Blobbyland (Somerset)
At the height of his fame in the late 1990s, Mr Blobby attracted almost 17 million viewers to the Noel's House Party television show, hosted by Noel Edmonds. The large, pink character caused chaos wherever he went, and although many adults despised him, he proved to be a huge hit with younger viewers.
Mr Blobby's popularity led to the opening of two theme parks dedicated to the character. The first, in Lancashire, closed down just three months after opening in 1994, resulting in a £2 million loss for the local council. The second in Somerset, lasted a little longer, closing in 1999 after Noel's House Party was finally cancelled by the BBC. Pleasurewood Hills also briefly hosted Mr Blobby, but the park survived as an independent entity.
Take a trip into the derelict Blobbyland in the stunning video below from YouTube user trimcatchris:
1. Dreamland (Margate)
Rides first appeared on the Dreamland site in Margate as far back as 1880, but it really took off when the Scenic Railway roller coaster was installed in 1920. It became a fixture in the seaside town, but like many seafront amusement parks it fell into decline and was shuttered in 2006. The famous Scenic Railway was partially destroyed in an arson attack in April 2008.
Fortunately, this is one abandoned amusement park that is set to be saved. Dreamland will be converted into a heritage amusement park populated by historical attractions.
Funds are in place for the restoration work, with the UK's Heritage Lottery having previously awarded the project a £3.7 million grant. A key element of the park's revival will be repairs to the Scenic Railway, which will form the centrepiece of New Dreamland when it returns to operation.