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Published on : Monday, June 22, 2015
England’s visitor attractions are getting a new lease of life this summer. From Victorian fairground fun to modern ‘edu-tainment’, VisitEngland looks at some of the new openings and additions around the country.
From 1930s Caterpillars and 1940s Double Decker carousels, to 1970s Chair-O-Planes and modern adrenaline pumpers, Victorian pleasure park Dreamland has been re-imagined to recreate a thrilling amusement park from the past. Steered by English designer Wayne Hemingway MBE, the world’s first theme park of heritage rides opens this Friday, following a £18m restoration. Not surprisingly, the king of kitsch has spared no details and has even worked with Wedgewood to design with the classic twirling tea cups, each one paying homage to British Street Culture –Mods, Beatniks, Hippies. The park’s famous Grade II listed, heritage Scenic Railway is set to re-open later in the summer.
KidZania, Westfield London
Hotly anticipated is this month’s London opening of Kidzania – one of the fastest growing education-entertainment (or edu-tainment) brands. Through role playing, children will become pilots, firefighters, police officers in this make-believe world… They can turn their hands to almost anything, and will learn essential skills along the way, such as team work, independence, and even financial management!
Shrek’s Adventure, Far Far Away (on London’s Southbank)
Hop on-board and let your favourite donkey lead you on an adventure like no other. Shrek’s Adventure will take you from the Swamp through 10 magical lands, where you’ll meet Gingy, Puss-in-boots and the rest of the gang, as well some other familiar DreamWorks faces. On this 4D bus ride, you’ll rediscover a number of classic childhood fables to get through each level – beware the magic mirror!
Chester Zoo Islands, Cheshire
Hidden deep behind layers of mangroves and chirping swamps lie Sumatran tigers, orangutans and macaques, all waiting to be discovered by visitors to the tropics of…Chester. That’s right! This July, Chester Zoo will open the most ambitious zoo development in the UK: an immersive re-creation of six south-east Asian islands and their biospheres. Islands opens up the natural climates of Panay, Papua, Bali, Sumatra, Sumba and Sulawesi, complete with some of the world’s most magnificent wildlife – including carnivorous plants, prehistoric-looking birds and the impressive Sunda gharial crocodile. Intrepid explorers are encouraged to report findings to further the organisation’s research and work in conservation.
New Wedgwood Visitor Centre, Stoke-on-Trent
Internationally renowned and nationally treasured, Wedgwood is a quintessentially English brand. Still championing the traditional English trade of pottery, Wedgwood’s new visitor centre will open this summer to offer a new factory tour, museum, the country’s first Wedgwood Tea Room and a master craft studio for hands-on activities teaching visitors how to throw a pot like a pro, embellish to perfection, and paint pottery you’ll be proud to call your own. For those not creatively inclined, there’s an onsite retail outlet selling a vast range of lifestyle ware.
HMS M.33, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
Another ‘edu-taining’ attraction for this summer is HMS M.33. Adding to Portsmouth’s already impressive collection of maritime antiques, M.33 will join the ranks of HMS Victory and HMS Mary Rose on the Historic Dockyard in August. Launched in May 1915, she is the sole remaining British veteran of the Gallipoli Campaign, and the only British warship from the First World War that will be open to the public in Gallipoli’s centenary year. Once opened, the boat will offer an immersive battle experience, bringing to life HMS M.33’s history, the stories of the men who served on board, and the history of the Gallipoli Campaign.
Tags: cheshire, Chester Zoo Islands, Dreamland, England, Far Far Away (on London's Southbank), HMS M.33, KidZania, Margate, New Wedgwood Visitor Centre, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, Shrek’s Adventure, Stoke-on-Trent, visitengland, Westfield London