4 Awesome Funfairs & Theme Parks In Essex!

If you are looking for funfairs and theme parks in Essex, here’s a guide of everything you need to know! Officially there is only one theme park in the county, however, there are a couple of other options if you are looking for rides and amusements!

Theme Parks In Essex

Adventure Island


The best theme park in Essex is Adventure Island, located in Southend-on-Sea. It actually dates back to 1918, but properly became an amusement park in 1976, when it was known at Peter Pan’s Playground. In 1995 it expanded further and changed its name to Adventure Island.

Adventure Island is now split into 2 parts, Adventure Island and Adventure Inside. Adventure Inside was added in 2015. It is aimed more at younger visitors and is open year round. You’ll find a soft play area, arcade games and a couple of smaller rides.

Rage at Adventure Island, Southend - purple and yellow rollercoaster
Rage at Adventure Island, Southend

The main Adventure Island park has more than 25 attractions. I personally think visitors around the 120cm height mark get the best value for money at Adventure Island. There are only a handful of rides that are good for adults: mostly ‘Rage‘, a looping rollercoaster with a vertical drop and ‘Axis‘, a 100m claw ride that spins upside-down (and is AWESOME). Even though its a kids ride, I do have a soft spot for the American Whip too!

Axis at Adventure Island Southend
Axis at Adventure Island lit up at night!

A top tip to know for visiting, is that after 5pm there are half price wristbands. This is definitely the best time to visit if you are an adult, this would provide the best value for money. However, the last time I visited, the park said it closed at 8pm, but the ride lines actually shut well before 7pm. This meant that we only actually got 1 hour 50 minutes of ride time. It’s worth keeping this in mind, but in peak season, it can stay open closer to 10pm.

If you plan on visiting a couple of times within the year, a season pass may be good value for money. You only need two day time visits to make it pay for itself, plus you receive additional discounts.

Adventure Golf at Adventure Island Southend Essex
Adventure Golf, Southend

Joined on to Adventure Island is Adventure Golf, which has two different 9-hole mini golf courses. This is pay to pay and not included in the unlimited ride wristbands. (However season pass holders can save 50%).

Adventure Island is within walking distance of Southend High Street as well as Southend Central and Southend Victoria train stations. Alternatively there is pay and display parking along Western Esplanade promenade or within the car parks. The nearest car park is the Seaway seafront car park.

Clacton Pier Funfair


Clacton Pier isn’t classed as a theme park as such, however they actually have some good rides on the pier and surrounding area! They have a looping rollercoaster, log flume, the Waltzers and more! It works on a top-up Fun Card system. The card can be used to pay for rides as well as on the arcade machines. Rides aimed at younger guests are 2 credits, the slightly larger rides are 3 and the big wheel and go-karts are 5 credits.

Clacton Looping Star rollercoaster
Looping Star rollercoaster on Clacton Pier

Alternatively you can buy an unlimited ride wristband which includes entrance to the mini golf course and annual passes are also available, which have additional discounts and benefits.

The rides are open every weekend throughout the year and every day time during school holidays. However the indoor golf, bowling, arcades and soft play is open every day year round (expect Christmas Day).

Clacton Pier Essex
Clacton Pier

In front of the pier, along Marine Parade, is Clacton Pavilion Fun Park. It has over 20 attractions including: rides for younger visitors, a splash park (in the image above), another adventure golf course and an up-side down house.

The rides at Pavilion Fun Park operate only with an unlimited wristband (golf and up-side down house are not included, however entrance to Swashbuckles Adventure Play is). The wristband at the Pavilion Fun Park is different from the Clacton Pier Funfair wristband, so keep this in mind if you don’t want to end up buying passes for the 2 different places!

Clacton Pier is approximately a 10 minute walk from Clacton train station. Alternatively there are a few on road parking spaces along Marine Parade or there are town centre pay and display car parks (Wellesley Road Car Park is a large one close to the train station).

Read more: 10 Best Things To Do In Clacton, Essex

Walton Pier


There’s a smaller pier funfair on Walton Pier! This one is inside, so good if you are looking for something to do on a rainy day in Essex. Walton Pier has 12 different rides including: the Waltzers, dodgems and Twister. For those looking for a unique attraction, they also have a 360 degree VR rollercoaster simulator!

Walton Pier Essex

Along with the funfair, the pier is also home to: bowling, arcades, climbing walls, a soft play area and escape rooms. The Walton Pier website isn’t great, it’s best to check the Facebook page for up-to-date details.

Walton Pier is a 4 minute walk from Walton train station or 10 minutes from Coronation Car Park, which is larger than some of the smaller town car parks. (You may also be able to grab an on-street parking spot, but these are limited). The Naze car park is around a 30 minute walk away.

Fun Park Travelling Theme Park (temporary)


Several travelling funfairs visit Essex throughout the year for various events however, one of the largest is Fun Park, which stops in Colchester for a couple of weeks each year. They often have several large thrill rides as well as family rides and operate on an ultimate ride wristband system.

It takes place in the field alongside Cymbeline Way, around a 10 minute walk from Colchester North Station, although it usually has parking onsite too. In 2023 it will be in Colchester on various dates in April – May and then again in September.

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