Pleasurewood Hills was a poignant part of my childhood. Our summers were always packed full of fun kids activities. And, we would have the time of our lives at Pleasurewood Hills. We would literally stay until the gates were shut and, in most, cases fall asleep on the drive back home. I look back on those days with such fond memories, so I hoped that our first trip to Pleasurewood Hills with our daughter would be a great one, too. Sadly, though, Pleasurewood Hills is not what it once was.
Located in Lowestoft, Suffolk, Pleasurewood Hills has never tried to compete with the likes of Alton Towers or Chessington World of Adventures. In fact, that was one its endearing qualities. For a theme park its size, Pleasurewood Hills always packed in as many rides, shows and features as possible. However, our trip proved that these attractions aren’t so important to management anymore.
Iconic rides have gone
The iconic ‘Rattlesnake’, a rollercoaster which had been at the park for more than 30 years was shut down in 2017. However, rather than remove the ride altogether, the rusting track remains on the park, looking worse for wear. You can’t help but view the tatty exterior as a new playground for the kids is right next door to it. Aladdin’s Cave, a gentle boat ride, is another family favourite which has gone and remains unreplaced. Meanwhile, the indoor Woody Bear car ride is now defunct, too. Overall, the number of rides which we could go on as a family were minimal and there was nothing in place of these rides for smaller children to go on.
Broken down rides
During our visit the small land train was out of order, as was Timber Falls. The kids flying elephant ride also broke down shortly after we rode it. It always worries me when rides suddenly shut down, although I understand that maintenance must take place. On the day of writing this review (29/8) the official website lists three rides as out of order. However, from reading reviews on trip Advisor, it appears that rides across the park are breaking down regularly, which really makes me concerned for visitors’ safety.
Woody Bear is the face of Pleasurwood Hills. When we visited as kids, he and his friends would always be at the entrance when you walked in and the exit on the way out. It was also perfectly normal to bump into around the park throughout the day. The onsite shop stocks plenty of Woody Bears to tempt parents to part with their cash, however, we only saw Woody for a few seconds. As he walked across the entrance talking to a member of staff and paying no attention to the kids who were excited to see him.
One thing I was excited about was Pleasurewood Hills new soft play area. Little E loves soft play and I thought it would be a good place to stop for 15 minutes. However, imagine my shock when we discovered that because she got into the main park for free, she couldn’t go into the soft play area for free as she’s less than 1 metre tall. Instead, they wanted to charge £3.00. Personally, I think this was awful. While, Little E at 15 months would at least be able to make the most of the soft play area. Younger babies will pay to just sit on a soft mat and watch older siblings play. As you can imagine, we didn’t bother with the soft play in the end as we really didn’t think it was worth the cost for a few minutes play.
Adult tickets come in at £22 each. Luckily, we bought ours via Groupon and paid £28 for two adult tickets. However, I don’t feel like we got much for our money. Understandably, with a 15 month old, we didn’t have any inclination to go on the big thrill rides. So, except from a few goes on the teacups, carousal and flying elephants, we didn’t go on anything else. Pleasurewood Hills offer a £10 ticket for non-riders which allows you to go on the chairlift and attend the shows. However, I think it would be wise to offer this to accompanying parents who can’t ride any other rides.
While, there was plenty to complain about, there were positives, too. The Sealion show is a great attraction and the kids really loved it – it even captured Little E’s attention which is not an easy task! Similarly, the new acrobat show was enticing. Although, it was packed and we had to leave the viewing area as it was too much for Little E. But, we did get to watch it from across the park. I also thought it was good that there were attendants to help with directions and wristbands as soon as you walked through the entrance ensure that you were okay and didn’t forget to put your wristbands on. Although, I would suggest the paper wristbands and replaced with something a little more robust as Little E ripped hers straight off, as I’m sure most 15 month olds would!
Overall, we were disappointed with our trip. It is sad to see that the Pleasurewood Hills of my childhood has been replaced with a poorer replica. As a result, next summer we’ll be seeking alternative family attractions, such as Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach.
Have you visited Pleasurewood Hills this summer? What did you make of it?