Wicksteed Park reveals re-opening plans

They're planning a celebration weekend to coincide with the start of May half-term

By Sam Wildman
Thursday, 25th February 2021, 10:20 am
Updated Thursday, 25th February 2021, 1:54 pm
Wicksteed Park.
Wicksteed Park.

Wicksteed Park has revealed its plans to re-open its rides and attractions when lockdown restrictions are eased.

The popular park is planning to gradually re-open over the coming weeks in line with the Government roadmap, culminating in a celebration weekend to coincide with the start of May half-term on Friday, May 28.

And the park, which opened in 1921, is also expecting to make announcements in the coming weeks about its centenary celebrations.

Rachel James, Wicksteed Park’s head of sales and marketing, said: “This is the news everyone at the park, and all our loyal visitors, have been waiting for.

"We are delighted and can’t wait to welcome everyone back to enjoy themselves and have fun after what has been such a difficult year.”

The park will continue opening the free playground and Carousel Café to people visiting the country park up to and during the Easter holidays, followed by the opening of a selection of rides and attractions at weekends from Saturday, April 17.

The entire park, rides and attractions will open for the weekend on Saturday May 22, with Wicky’s Play Factory also scheduled to re-open on the same day.

The park is planning an official re-opening weekend to coincide with the start of May half-term on Friday May 28.

The park's re-opening plans come eight months after the shock of Wicksteed Park Limited, which ran the park's leisure facilities, going into administration.

More than 100 jobs were lost and a new company was set up to try and save the park.

In recent months the park has received hundreds of thousands of pounds in emergency grants and funding boosts, as well as thousands of pounds in donations from local people, to help it through the Covid crisis.

But due to the long-term effects of the pandemic some attractions will be removed because they were too costly or inefficient to run.

They are the Clip ‘n’ Climb and the zipwire (which both required visitors to pay an additional fee on top of the ride wristband), the racing cars and the monorail.

The park has outsourced its car parking operation it to a private company. A new system will take away the parking barriers to help aid traffic flow in and out of the park and along Barton Road.

The simplified system for ride tickets introduced during the park’s limited opening last summer will also be retained, meaning tickets will be one ticket per ride, priced at £2.50.

The park is planning to open the campsite on Saturday, May 22.

Work to enhance the park’s attractions has already begun with the building of a new meerkat enclosure which is fully accessible for all visitors.

Ms James said: “This is an incredibly important year for us for lots of reasons and first and foremost we are so thankful that we are still here, and grateful to the people who have helped ensure that this is the case.

“We are still finding our feet in terms of recovering from the effects of the pandemic and have had to make some hard financial decisions affecting a small number of our attractions, some of which were popular with visitors, some not so popular.

“But we are working hard to make the park a better place to visit in every way and hope people are looking forward to coming back to see us as much as we are looking forward to welcoming them.”

Recruitment of the staff required to run the park’s rides and attractions has already begun, with details on how to apply for positions available here wicksteedpark.org/careers/register-your-interest.

As in previous years, the park is planning to fully open seven days a week during May half-term and the summer holidays.