Saturday, 13 July 2013

Oakwood Theme Park and Tenpin Swansea

Below is my “Days Out” column from The Weekend supplement in the Saturday, July 13, 2013, issue of the South Wales Evening Post.



A big day out!
With Richard Thomas
Oakwood Theme Park in Pembrokeshire, take the drop on Vertigo, then pan for gold and have lunch at Dixie's Chicken Diner.
The perfect day out when the sun is out. Oakwood park provides fun for all the family, from white knuckle rides to dazzling firework displays and other special events Oakwood has it all. 
Oakwood Theme Park first opened in 1987 as Oakwood Leisure Park, a very small family park with BMXs, a wooden fort, a 3D-style cinema experience show, go-karts and a water chute ride. In 1996 Oakwood’s status as a small-scale regional attraction was completely transformed when the park opened Megafobia to the public. At that time Europe's largest wooden roller coaster ride. Since then the park has acquired a worldwide reputation for innovation and has since incorporated four more large thrill rides: Vertigo, Bounce, Hydro and the park’s newest roller coaster Speed opened in 2006.
Standard tickets for visitors over 13 years old cost £21, while junior tickets for children 3-12 years old cost £15 each. Children two years old and younger visit the park for free and by booking on the website you can save £2 per person on these prices.
WHERE? Located off the A40 motorway at Canaston Bridge, 8 miles east of the town of Haverfordwest.
WHY? With over 30 rides and attractions including three roller coasters and four water rides, Oakwood Theme Park in Pembrokeshire attracts 400,000 visitors each year, making it one of the UK's top ten theme parks.
WHEN? Oakwood is open 10am to 5pm, but isn‘t open everyday. To find out what days the park is open go to
CONTACT: Phone 01834 815170 between 10am and 5pm.
HOW LONG WILL THIS TAKE? With so many attractions to see, this is a full day out.
WHO WILL ENJOY IT? Oakwood has a good variety of rides to suit all people and ages. Megafobia and Speed are the park's two most exciting roller coasters. In the Detailed Wood Roller Coaster Poll 2010 the 85-foot-tall Megafobia ranked number 30 in the world. Speed is an exhilarating ride, twisting and turning at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour. Bounce is a vertical ride, shooting you up into the air at more than 40mph. Together with the Hydro water ride, these four attractions form Oakwood’s “Big Four”, the ultimate adrenaline rush for thrill seekers. For younger children there are also more family orientated rides, including The Pirate Ship and Snake River Falls.
WHAT ABOUT THE KIDS? There are height restrictions on some of the rides. For young families the park have bottle warming facilities at The Restaurant. There are also baby changing facilities in the toilets behind the Waterfall ride and the toilets in New Orleans next to the Brer Rabbit ride. The map you will be given at the entrance tills has these facilities clearly marked.
HOW DO I GET THERE? From South Wales follow the M4 West until Junction 49 and take the A48 to Carmarthen. Oakwood is clearly signposted on brown tourist information signs from the end of the M4 and throughout Pembrokeshire. For sat-nav users the postcode is SA67 8DE.
WHERE CAN I PARK? Oakwood has free parking.
LUNCH? Food and drink are available in the park’s restaurants, the Southern-fried chicken at Dixie's Chicken Diner is good.
ANYTHING ELSE IN THE AREA? Fully Farm is just six miles away. The farm's Jolly Barn is home to a huge variety of farmyard animals, including sheep, pigs, donkeys, horses, chickens and other farm animals. There's also loads of opportunities for children to get hands-on during the Pet Handling sessions in the nearby Pets' Centre which is home to rabbits, guinea pigs, tortoises, parrots and lots more. But with over 50 different species and more than 250 animals, Folly Farm’s zoo is the big highlight. As well as giraffe Folly Zoo has zebra, Bactrian camels, pythons and other animals to see. And with zoo keeper talks, the chance to watch the animals during feeding times, and a whole host of fascinating facts on Folly Zoo’s animal enclosure signs, you’ll go home knowing a lot more about the different species. And if all that isn’t enough there’s even a go-kart racetrack! For more information go to
Tenpin Swansea, strike it lucky then enjoy a film and Joes Icecream afterwards.
Tenpin Swansea, formerly Megabowl, is the only ten pin bowling alley in Swansea. There you'll find plenty of lanes where you can show off your strike to your friends, family or colleagues. They offer children, teen and adult parties, corporate celebrations, great nights out and cures for boredom, as well as tasty food and refreshing drinks from our Beach Road Café and fully licensed bar. And when you're done bowling, you can visit the arcades or go for a game of pool.
One game costs £6.99 per adult and £5.49 each for juniors. You can also play two games for £12.25 (adults) and £9.75 (juniors), and three games for £13.75 (adults) and £11.25 (juniors). There’s also special family deals available. A family of four people can play a game for £21.99 or two games for £38.99. Bowling shoes are provided.
WHERE? Tenpin is located in the Parc Tawe shopping and leisure complex near the city centre. 
WHY? The alley boasts 26 bowling lanes, three American pool tables, an amusements arcade and cosmic bowling nights.
WHEN? The bowling alley is open 11am to 12am on weekdays and 10am to 12am on weekends. During the school holidays they are open 10am to 12am seven days a week. The bar closes at 11.30pm.
CONTACT: Phone 0871 873 3150.
HOW LONG WILL THIS TAKE? As long as your game lasts.
WHO WILL ENJOY IT? People of all abilities, from first time players right up to veteran bowlers will enjoy a game. There’s also an amusements arcade where you can try to win a prise on the claw machines, or,  you can just chill out watching Sky Sports in the fully licensed bar or playing pool on the three American pool tables.
WHAT ABOUT THE KIDS? All ages are welcome in the bowling alley.
HOW DO I GET THERE? For sat nav users the address and postcode is Parc Tawe, The Strand, Swansea, SA1 2AX. 
WHERE CAN I PARK? There is free parking in the in the Parc Tawe car park.
LUNCH? Add £3 per person to the price of a family game to get a burger meal in the Beach Road Cafe Bar inspired by the sun bleached, chilled-out beach vibe of Bondi.
ANYTHING ELSE IN THE AREA? The Odeon is a 10 screen cinema situated in the Park Tawe shopping complex, right next door to Tenpin Bowling. For film times go to
There is also a Joes Icecream and Dinky Donuts inside the shopping complex just outside Plantasia, which is another great place to visit. The superb all weather attraction houses a huge variety of unusual animals and exotic plants, some of which are extinct in the wild. The tropical paradise is housed inside a unique glass pyramid and is just bursting with plants and wildlife. The hothouse contains three climate zones: Tropical with a rainforest, Arid and Humid. The collection includes over 5,000 plants ranging from banana plants, giant bamboo, coconuts and collections of ferns and cacti. Along with the plants there are several species of fish, exotic insects and other animals to see. These include piranhas, a bearded dragon, a chameleon, tarantulas, snakes and even tamarin monkeys. In the butterfly house butterflies can be seen flying freely and viewed at various stages of development. For more information go to