There are 6 themed areas in Thorpe Park, we carefully studied the map when we went in and then planned our time with military precision. Some of the areas are themed better than others, but in all of them there is a thrill ride.
We decided to head first to Swarm - the newest ride and the one with the biggest lines. We arrived first thing in the morning, the queue was half an hour, so not too bad at all. It is what they call a "winged" rollercoaster. This refers to the seat construction and basically means you have nothing to hold onto while the ride is going. It is sheer and utter terror. It moves at 95 miles per hour, there are a number of near misses, an inverted drop and if you are brave enough (we weren't) and sit in the back 2 rows - you can do it all backwards.
As well as being an incredible roller coaster, the attention to detail around the ride is also excellent. It is not pleasant or nice - looks a bit like the apocalypse with burnt out cars upended, fire engines on their side and emergency messages being broadcast the whole time. As I say, great detail but not exactly a pleasant area to while away an hour or so!
The other big rides at the park have names like Slammer, Stealth, Nemesis Inferno and Tidal Wave - you can guess these are heart stoppers. There are minimum height restrictions for most of the rides at Thorpe Park and a lot are not recommended for children aged under 12 years, so check out the information before you join the queue. Some rides also require children to have an accompanying adult.
As well as Swarm, our top thrill rides were as follows:
* Stealth - again there was great theming around this ride and lots of attention to detail. The buzz word here is speed - you move from stationary to 80 miles per hour in under 2 seconds - it literally takes your breath away right at the beginning. You also are launched 205 feet in the air in a loop the loop. This is a short, but intense ride.
* Colossus - this is apparently the world's first 10 looping rollercoaster. This is a real white knuckle ride - you come off feeling as if you have been turned inside out. After 10 vertical loops this is probably not surprising. I don't think my legs were steady again for 24 hours.
*Tidal Wave - we thought this would just be a slightly more extreme version of a traditional log flume - how wrong we were! It is the UK's tallest water ride (and more extreme than Jurassic Park in Florida). You drop down 85 feet and leave your stomach behind. The wall of water as you hit the bottom is massive - there is no escape and you get totally and completely soaked. I definitely only recommend doing this ride on a sunny day.
There were a few less extreme rides which we enjoyed as a family. None of them are suitable for young children, but they are good for less adventurous 10 year olds (and adults like me).
* Depth Charge - this is a 4 lane slide, you ride on an inflatable and race other people down to the bottom. It is fairly thrilling as the drops are quite steep and you travel fast. We loved this one and did it several times. The worst thing is the climb back up to the top.
* Loggers Leap - the classic log flume ride made famous by Princess Diana and her boys. It has a bit of a twist and a double drop at the end which catches you unawares - we loved this one too.
* X - a rollercoaster with a difference, there is light and music and it is very intense. They class this as a tamer ride - I thought it was fairly extreme with the assault on your senses as well as the rollercoaster experience.
There was a little beach area open during our visit, we didn't have time to go there, but saw some families with younger children making use of that. It did not look very nice, but might be fine if you want a break from the rides and have infants with you.
The rides at Thorpe Park are definitely more extreme than other places in the UK, however they are also unusual and different and we enjoyed very much our time here.