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    Focus Week: Thorpe Park, Cleethorpes

    As General Manager at Thorpe Park, Andy Such is always getting ideas from holidaymakers on the best things to do in and around Cleethorpes.

    His top recommendation is number #1 in our list. And the other two are very close competitors (especially when you’re holidaying with younger kids).

    Let’s have a closer look…

    1.Non-stop thrills at Pleasure Island Theme Park

    Distance from Thorpe park: 0.6 mile
    (2 minute drive, 11 minute walk)
    TripAdvisor rating: 3.5 stars
    Age range: Suitable for all ages
    Price bracket: £12.40 – 19.50 (FREE for those under 1 metre and £72.00 for a family ticket for 4 people)

    The first thing Andy loves about Pleasure Island is that it’s a stone’s throw away from the holiday park– you don’t even need a car. You can literally walk to it with everyone from the little ones to nan and granddad.

    “It’s a one-stop destination for all the family, even if you don’t like any of our seven white knuckle rides, there’s also family rides, shows and a children’s farm”

    ~ Georgia, Office Manager at Pleasure Island

    If you’re usually the one minding the bags rather than screaming on the big rides, then you can always have a gander at one of the shows…

    There’s everything from the sea lion show – which Georgia told me has been there since day one (21 years ago) – to the bird show, African acrobat show and kids’ favourite, the magic show.

    And if you’re feeling peckish, you can grab a hot dog, pizza or burger in the Food Court, head to Fatima’s for fish and chips (made from fresh local Grimsby fish), or something from the a la carte menu at McCormack’s.

    It sounds like the perfect place to catch your breath after a day on the park – and Georgia says there are live acts on from time to time too.

    Pleasure Island’s a full day out that keeps all ages happy from morning ‘til night with the added bonus of being so close to Thorpe Park. So it’ll give you one of your ‘big days out’ during your stay, then the next day you can chill out back at the pool.

    If you’re lucky enough to book a break at the end of the year, then the finale sounds unmissable…

    They definitely ‘go out with a bang’ at Pleasure Island, with a massive fireworks display that attracts around 5,000 people. And you can even go on the rides in the dark. It sounds like a one-off experience and Georgia says kids always love it.

    It’s also good to know is that there’s disabled access, with ramp access onto a lot of the rides, all shops and restaurants. In general, the whole park is very flat – which is good for buggies too.

    Pleasure Island

    2. Chasing dragons at The Magical Castle

    Distance from Thorpe park: Just over a mile
    (3minute drive, 20 minute walk)
    TripAdvisor rating: 4 stars
    Age range: Kids of all ages
    Price bracket:Age 1 to 4, £3.50; age 5 and over; £4.50, kids under 1 and one adult per paying child go free

    “Kids love it here – they go absolutely mad for it. There’s a bouncy castle, a lot of slides, a Medieval theme with dragon mascots and kids get to wear costumes – there’s a baby dragon and a big purple dragon”

    ~ Vicky, Manager at The Magical Castle

    It’s the perfect combo – a large indoor play area for the kids and a coffee shop for the watchful mums and dads. Kids right up to age 12 can join in (and it’s big enough too).

    Just like Pleasure Island, it’s within walking distance of the holiday park. So if you don’t drive, there’s no need to worry about public transport – and the walk along the seafront towards Cleethorpes is lovely anyway.

    Vicky recommends it as a great thing to do on rainy days, as obviously, it’s all indoor. She says they run around having so much fun, they don’t want to miss a minute… even to stop and have a drink!

    And if you have a little one with a birthday during your stay, they can arrange a party with a buffet, balloons, party bags and your own party host.

    There’s also a big Halloween party, where one of the dragons dressed up as a ghost last year, and all the staff turned up in fancy dress – Vicky says it’s like a good old fashioned kids party from ‘our childhood’, full of family fun. So, you can go before popping along to the Haven Halloween themed evening in the ShowBar, you can enter your kids in the Haven fancy dress competition after.

    dragon castle

    3. Getting close to nature at The Jungle Zoo

    Distance from Thorpe park: Just over a mile
    (3 minute drive, 20 minute walk)
    TripAdvisor rating: 3.5 stars
    Age range: Suitable for all ages
    Price bracket:£4.00 – £4.80 and FREE for under 2s

    From the moment I started talking to Craig, General Manager at the Jungle Zoo, his passion for animals was infectious. He told me everything about the place, from how the birds have banter with visitors, to how his favourites, Sasha and Scruffy the monkeys, are more like naughty teenagers!

    “Rhino, our rhinosaurus iguana is so unique, I’ve never met another one like him – he’s daft as a brush and really ace. He can have 20 kids around him and he’s so gentle. They think he’s a statue til he moves!”

                                                                       ~ Craig Gledhill, General Manager

    I love that it’s a smaller zoo, which encourages families to interact with the animals and helps kids get over their fear.

    In the past five years since buying the zoo, Craig has completely rebuilt and regenerated the place– and says repeat customers are always noticing something new.

    The zoo’s main aim is to get people more interested in the smaller animals, who Craig says are the ones who keep everything in the bigger animal kingdom going. He wants visitors to be able to really feel them, smell them and hear them.

    It sounds like a great way to spend a couple of hours, and it’s not too tiring for little legs. And the best bit? The zoo’s right on your doorstep at Thorpe Park.


    Have you visited any of these days out?

    I don’t know about you but I suddenly feel like having a go on some white-knuckle rides, dressing up as a dragon and cuddling a lemur… not all at the same time.

    Send us your reviews in the comments and your pics to our Twitter account @haven – we’d love to retweet them for you and spread the word about these great days out in Cleethorpes.

    Also, if you have any more suggestions of your own then let us know, so we can share them with other visitors and start getting together a list of the best places in and around Lincolnshire – as told by the holidaymakers themselves.