TripAdvisor recently named Paultons Park as the best-rated amusement park in the UK, as well as the sixth best in Europe (and 22nd in the world). So we went along to find out what just what it is that makes it so special.
The trip was particularly exciting because earlier this year, Paultons unveiled its new Lost Kingdom of dinosaur themed rides, adding two new family rollercoasters, Jurassic themed family rides, a dinosaur adventure play park and 4x4 Jurassic Jeep expedition through the new animatronic dinosaur infested jurassic world - straight out of the movies.
The new Velociraptor (above) is definitely not for the fainthearted. It hurled us at 40 mph around a 200m track, then hurled us backwards until we ended up back where you started (except with whiter knuckles). This is an absolute must ride for thrillseekers old and young.
The other major new ride to open is the Flight of the Pterosaur (below), a 395m suspended 'dinosaur coaster'. There is a separate queue if you want to ride in the front of the carriage - and it was well worth the wait.
Paulton's Park is also home to the world's first and UK exclusive Peppa Pig World, still an absolute favourite with younger ones and still looking as fresh as it was when first opened to the public.
Highlights included getting a good soaking on the River Ride and a couple of joyful rides on the Sky Swinger.
A day trip here will leave you wanting more: There are more than 60 rides, from gentle merry-go-rounds for the very young to the new family coasters in the Lost Kingdom that will keep kids of all ages screaming for more. We definitely want to go back.
Getting to Paultons is straightforward by car - it's at the edge of the New Forest National Park - just off the M27. The car park is large and free. There are also regular busses (or a £20 taxi) from Southampton Central railway station.
Top tips: Get there when the gates open and head to the back of the park to minimise queueing, bring swimming trunks for the Water Kingdom and pack the sun cream - just in case. The lunchtime lull is a good time to avoid waiting for the bigger rides. It's a good idea to match one adult per child (or have at least two adults for the group) as many of the larger rides require children under 1.2m to be accompanied by a grown-up.
Top 10 amusement parks in the UK
Top 10 amusement parks in the UK
Ticket price (family of four): £99
Paultons Park is not only home to Peppa Pig World but also the Lost Kingdom which boasts a host of dinosaur attractions as well as a range of birds and animals that are also on show in the park.
Ticket price (family of four): £80
Blackpool Pleasure Beach is home to attractions that will suit the whole family. With everything from ghost trains and thrilling roller coasters to dodgems, tea cups and cartoon inspired rides.
Ticket price (family of four): £123
Alton Towers has long been a family favourite with its wide variety of rides and attractions, including famous roller coasters such as Nemesis and Oblivion.
Ticket price (family of four): £71
Found on Southend's famous seafront, Adventure Island has the world's longest pier running through it. The park has more than 40 rides and attractions not including the arcades and sideshows also found in the park.
Ticket price (family of four): £45
Brighton Pier is undoubtedly one of the most famous in the country and the end of pier attractions have been drawing people in for years. Take your pick of the rides and attractions perched on the end of the pier as you admire the spectacular views.
Ticket price (family of four): £77
Drayton Manor is set in 280 acres of lakes and parkland and is home to a host of rides and attractions. Apocalypse is the world’s first stand up tower drop and Shockwave is Europe’s only stand up rollercoaster!
Ticket price (family of four): £50
The Milky Way Adventure Park started off life as a dairy farm but has since been transformed into a fully fledged amusement park with undercover activities, outdoor areas, rides and play areas.
Ticket price (family of four): £51
Greenwood Forest Park is perfect for those with a love of the outdoors. Visitors can try their hand at the Jungle Boats, build a den or have a go on the 70m Green Great Run slide.
Ticket price (family of four): £148
What better way is there for Lego fanatics to get their fill of the building blocks than at Legoland's Windsor Resort. The amusement park has more than 55 rides and attractions with everything from submarine voyages to Star Wars model displays.
Ticket price (family of four): £108
The West Midland Safari Park has something for everyone with a host of exotic creatures to be enjoyed by animal lovers as well as the popular theme park with the 30m high Venom Tower Drop and Wild River Rafting to mention but a few of the attractions.