8 January 2023
If you’re an adrenaline seeker looking to take your rollercoaster riding to new heights, check out this list of the highest rollercoaster rides in the UK.
The Big One at Blackpool Pleasure Beach is the highest and steepest rollercoaster in the UK, towering above all the other rides in the park. At 65m, it was the tallest in the world when it was built in 1994, although it has been surpassed now. It is awe-inspiring from the ground and you have to summon all your courage to step aboard. The ride has carriages with 15 rows of 2. The red, white and blue colour scheme gives a sense of British pride. You are held in place by a lap bar, giving you a lot of freedom on the ride. Signs on the way up the lift hill tell you how high you are going and how long you have to go. The view from the top across the Irish Sea and Blackpool is spectacular, before you begin a descent that reaches 74mph. The ride continues over more hills and with twists and turns at high speed for 3 minutes covering almost a mile all around the park. The second descent is higher than most in the UK. It’s stunning at night when Blackpool’s illuminations are on display. When first built, The Big One was the fastest in Europe and remains an icon of British Theme parks.
Stealth at Thorpe Park is only 3 metres shorter and is faster than The Big One, accelerating from 0-80mph in 1.9 seconds. The steep, domed structure dominates the park adding to the anticipation. It has an Americana speedway theme with 50s music playing in the queue and traffic lights. The trains are made up of 5 old fashioned cars with 2 rows of 2 people. Overhead restraints secure the riders who are launched suddenly and pinned in their seats. At only 29 seconds it is a short ride but it really packs a punch.
The UK’s third highest rollercoaster is The Odyssey at Fantasy Island, at 51 metres. It turns riders upside down 5 times and its 38m vertical loop is the highest in the UK. Riders are held onto chairs with overhead restraints and legs dangling, in pairs. They reach 62mph on the nearly 3 minute ride looping and twisting along a track that includes two vertical loops, a sidewinder and a horseshoe.
The next highest rollercoaster is also at Fantasy Island. The Millennium is 46m and winds in amongst The Odyssey to add to the intensity. It is smoother than The Odyssey, having had a revamp in 2018, and also turns riders upside down during two loops. It includes a sidewinder and a low helix.
Swarm at Thorpe Park is the fifth highest at 38 metres and is the UK’s only winged rollercoaster. Riders are suspended either side of the track with nothing above or beneath them. The theme is a post-apocalyptic world after an alien attack.
Height continues to be a goal of rollercoaster designers. Thorpe Park is in consultation on Project Exodus which would be taller than Blackpool’s The Big One at 72 metres. If planning goes ahead it would open in 2024.