In what's possibly the most surprising UK theme park news of the year so far, Lightwater Valley in Ripon, North Yorkshire has confirmed that it'll open a new roller coaster for the 2024 season.

After the park announced the closures of Raptor Attack and love-it-or-hate-it-former-world-record-breaker The Ultimate in 2019, many British theme park enthusiasts feared the worst: that the park was doomed to face a similar fate to the likes of Camelot and American Adventure. What was once arguably the best theme park in the north of England was slowly transforming into a family park, which meant the removal of what made the park famous in the first place.

News from out of the blue

In late February 2024, Lightwater Valley teased fans with the news that it would open its first rollercoaster since 2014's Little Dipper (a standard Wacky Worm that itself closed in 2020).

Accompanying the graphic, the ride, which we can assume will be called 'Rocket Rollercoaster' or 'Rocket' has the following description:

"Space helmets on, set your orbit for Lightwater Valley and let's get intergalactic! Embark on an out of this world adventure and soar above the park on The Rocket Rollercoaster. With gravity defying twist, turns and spins this coaster is perfect for the older kids looking for adrenaline! 3..2..1.. BLAST OFF!"

From this, we don't get a whole lot of information, but we do get a few little tidbits:

  • It's space themed
  • It spins
  • It's not for little little kids
  • Lightwater Valley could probably do with a proofreader

What type of coaster could it be?

We know that Lightwater Valley is unlikely to have the budget needed for a new coaster, and is even less likely to have the budget for something custom. So, we can assume that their newest addition will be a ride relocated from elsewhere. It's also surprising that the park would choose another spinning coaster, following the tragic incident on the park's Reverchon spinning coaster in May 2019.

One option could be that it's the old Airbender coaster from Camel Creek, which was standing but not operating through the 2023 season and has now reportedly left the park – the ride is now missing from the Camel Creek website. Other rumours suggest it might even be a Schwarzkopf Jet Star 2.

Alternatively, if the park has chosen to go down the spinning route once again, it could be an SBF Visa spinning coaster, which is a low-cost, low-thrill coaster that does fit with the twist[s], turns and spins mentioned on the Lightwater Valley site.

Whatever this new coaster might be, we'll remain cautiously optimistic that it's the start of a new era for Lightwater Valley, and that the park might someday be one of the UK's top parks.

Read more about new ride additions across the UK and beyond on Themepark+.