Wicksteed Park wins historic ride award, ahead of Blackpool Ghost Train and Joyland Snails

A water chute said to be the oldest of its kind in the country has made another splash - by being winning an award as it nears its 100th birthday.

The ride at Wicksteed Park was built in 1926 by the park's founder Charles Wicksteed, and is seen as a forerunner to many of the theme park rides now popular across the world.

It was given listed status by Historic England seven years ago and has now been judged the country's Best Historic Ride in the 2022 UK Theme Park Awards.

Picking up the silver and bronze medals in the same category were Blackpool Pleasure Beach's Ghost Train and Great Yarmouth's famous Joyland Snails, respectively.

The water chute at Wicksteed Park was first opened in 1926. Credit: Wicksteed Park

"It's simplicity at its finest," said Sam Towers, operations manager at Wicksteed Park.

"You are out there in nature and who wouldn't want to get wet on a ride?!

"I think Charles Wicksteed was always an ambitious pioneering man and he would have known that it was a fantastic idea."

The snails have been at the heart of Joyland since it opened Credit: Joyland

The snails fairground ride at Joyland in Great Yarmouth has been delighting generations since it opened 73 years ago, in 1949.

The engineering entrepreneur Horace Cole designed the world famous snails and the unique Tyrolean Tubs.

They were built at the family engineering works in Great Yarmouth called H Cole and Co.

Horace Cole's grandson, Michael Cole, runs the attraction today and said for him it was all about sentiment.

"We've had ladies on in their 90s bringing their great great grandchildren on here," he said.

"I think it's got such an historic meaning to families. They see their children grow up on the rides, they then come back with their children and grandchildren.

"It's just such a lovely experience for them.

"We've had five proposals on the green snail! They've come back married, we've had weddings here... it's amazing the love people have for this ride."

Pat Chamberlain has been visiting the snails attraction all her life Credit: ITV News Anglia

Pat Chamberlain from Cambridgeshire has been visiting the seaside snails all her life.

"The snails to me are part of my life. I was brought here just after I was born, about four weeks old. My dad brought me on in his arms.

"I've been on the snails every year since, at least once or twice!" she added.

Joyland in Great Yarmouth- home to the snails ride

The national UK Theme Park Awards recognise the country's best rides and attractions, shows and events.

Rollercoaster lovers voted in their thousands for their favourite theme parks for the awards, which recognise the best rides, attractions, shows and events.

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