While the original Gatwick is a small village in Surrey, most people now know it as the name of the major international airport nearby, which is in fact the second largest in the UK. It is unfortunate that many of the international visitors to the airport are just passing through, and get no further than searching for things like the hotel and parking Gatwick facilities provided by millenniumhotels.co.uk, for the surrounding area has much to offer in the way of family orientated entertainment. This was something that I only found out when there was a mix up with my return flights to the U.S. one time, but in the end the extended stay proved to be something of a blessing in disguise. Here are a few personal highlights of the area that are sure to get the blood pumping!
The Copthorne hotel is just one of a host of hotels near Gatwick offering affordable luxury
Chessington World of Adventures is just over 12 miles from Gatwick airport, and is guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser for families with children of all ages. This theme park has something to offer both the small and timid and the big and brave, although the floorless rollercoaster known as the Vampire has been known to provoke the odd spontaneous prayer from the sturdiest of souls! The Dragon’s Fury is another of the white knuckle rollercoaster rides, this time one that twists and dips whilst each car spins wickedly. For the smaller children, features like Toadie’s Crazy Cars provides a more gentle ride, while Tiny Truckers lets the kids do something that would undoubtedly prove to be more scary in real life than any ride in the park, and that is to take the wheel!
As well as the theme park, Chessington is also home to a Sea Life centre, which features interactive rock pools and an ocean tunnel that allows you to get a rare (seabed) perspective of impressive Blacktip Reef and Hammerhead sharks, as well as Rays, Jelly Fish, Seahorses and Clownfish. There is a warning, however, for anyone who has ever had to hide behind the couch when Jaws comes on TV – thanks to the curvature of the tunnel, the already large sharks can look absolutely massive!
True rollercoaster nuts might well want to venture slightly further from the airport, and check out Thorpe Park. Home to Stealth, the fastest roller coaster in Europe – as well as the world’s only backwards, in-the-dark rollercoaster called No Way Out – Thorpe Park is perhaps orientated towards the slightly older and more serious thrill seeker, although the large (50 acre) site also has plenty for smaller visitors to enjoy. Some of the most fearsome rollercoasters, with suitably imposing names such as Stealth, Colossus and Nemesis Inferno, will accelerate from 0 – 80 miles per hour in something short of 2 seconds, as well as reaching up over 200ft into the air, so the best advice for those visiting in the afternoon is not to have too much for lunch!
As you might expect of an area that is less than 30 miles away from the capital, London, there are plenty of other diversions in and around the Gatwick area for those that like their entertainment a little more civilized. To check out some of these, try looking here.