Visitors to park top million mark

Wicky Bear celebrating after Wicksteed Park welcomed more than one million visitors through its gates last year
Wicky Bear celebrating after Wicksteed Park welcomed more than one million visitors through its gates last year

The county’s favourite amusement park is celebrating a record number of visitors last year.

Wicksteed Park in Kettering marked its 90th anniversary in the best possible way, with more than one million people visiting in 2011.

And park bosses, determined to at least match last year’s achievement, have lined up a number of spectacular shows and events for 2012.

Managing director John Roberts said: “The fact that well over one million people enjoyed Wicksteed Park during our anniversary year is fantastic.

“The figures take into account everyone, whether they walked, camped, fished, played, ran, attended events in our pavilion, walked their dog or just simply enjoyed a scenic way of getting from Barton Seagrave to Kettering.

“We feel that is one of the unique aspects of the park – that it can be enjoyed by everyone, no matter what their budget.”

Last year’s figures are based on the number of people enjoying the park’s paid-for attractions along with detailed visitor assessments for its many free features.

Visitors can walk into the park 365 days a year, free of charge, and the vehicle entrance gates are only closed on Christmas Day.

The park opened in 1921 and marked its 90th anniversary with a number of special events, including a live outdoor pop concert, a firework display and the opening of its new nature reserve.

It was also voted as one of the UK’s top places to go for a free day out in an online poll of the nation’s mothers by Netmums.

Tracey Lawson, of Kettering, said: “I love Wicksteed Park – we go regularly at all times of year. I think it needs an indoor play area though.”

This year’s attractions will include Those Were the Days 2012, a new take on the hit show featuring a cast singing and dancing their way through the hits of the 60s and 70s.

The Songs that Won the War also returns and is a trip back in time to see how music helped motivate a nation during the Second World War.

Other events include Abba Night on Friday, January 27, Brothers of Soul on Friday, February 24, and the Staying Alive Bee Gees tribute band on Friday, March 30.