Camelot Theme Park
This was a solo explore.
Entry is always through an open access point and not by forcing our way in….. We are explorers, not vandals.
Camelot opened in 1983 and was operating seasonally until late 2012. The park was based on the story of 'Camelot, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table' and the park decor incorporated pseudo-medieval elements.
From 1986 till 2012 the park changed hands a couple of times and from around 1995 the visitor count started to slowly decline. In 1995, Camelot's attendance was 500,000 visitors throughout the season. In 2005 Camelot's attendance was only 336,204 visitors.
In February 2009, the owners announced that the park was in receivership and would not reopen for the 2009 season, however in April 2009 a buyer was found and the park re-opened in May 2009.
The closure of the park was announced by its operator in November 2012, the managing director blaming poor summer weather and events such as London 2012 and the Queen's Jubilee for declining visitor numbers. Soon after some of the roller coasters and attractions were sold such as the Whirlwind to a German theme park & the Pendragon's Plunge & The Pirate Ship were both sold to UK Theme Parks.
An application to build 420 houses on the site by owners was unanimously rejected by the local Council in August 2014 as the development was not permissible within the Green Belt.
As of 2015 the park is still standing, albeit crumbling and having been attacked several times by arsonists. Rides that still stand on the site include the Knightmare roller coaster.
I planned to visit here a lot sooner than I did as the park is close to my hometown and I have memories of visiting here a couple of times in my younger years. What I remember most from my visits as a child here were the Jousting tournaments. The Knights on horseback & foot battling in front of my eyes was magical and the children loved it and I was one of those children, cheering and screaming for their favourite Knight to win and in turn jeering at the enemy Knight from the stands.
I knew the areas I wanted to visit prior to arrival and I had a planned route. I knew where the security would be if they was on site so I felt confident in getting to see the areas I wanted.
Upon entering the park I headed straight for the Jousting arena.
Who would have thought that almost 30 years later on from me sitting in the stands cheering and shouting that I would be walking around the arena. The arena now feels so lifeless, no Knights jousting or sword fighting, no children cheering, jeering or laughing nothing! The only sound today was from the wind blowing through the empty stands……
Just up the hill from the arena is the platform for the Dragon Flyer. In 2013 the ride was relocated to Pleasureland in Southport. The strange thing is that a lot of the track is still in situe here, why that is I have no idea. Whilst taking these photos I noticed movement just off to left… I looked over and there was a lone female wandering through the arena, she looked like she had just finished work or was on a stroll. I kept quiet as not to scare her and waited till she was gone before moving on.
The next area on my list was the Knightmare roller coaster, the largest structure left on site. I decided to try the easy route knowing that security would be there if they was on site at all. I slowly walked up the path and hey presto I spotted the security car, no problem I will find another way.
I found a way around, however, it was a knightmare route (perfect name for it) and lets just say that 20 minutes later, sweatier and dirtier than 20 minutes before this is what I see.
So close but still a little further to go. I worked my way around the edge of the grounds to stay out of sight of security. Here is a photo a little closer, not far to go.
Finally I make it around the back of Knightmare without being seen and I wasted no time in taking photos.
This photo was taken looking into the direction of the sun where as the earlier photos the sun was behind me. As you can see it gave a very eerie look to the image.
Here are a few I took whilst underneath the coaster.
I spent a good 30 minutes here trying to cover as many angles as possible before heading off back the way that I came. Time to get a little more sweatier and dirtier than I already am.
With most of the areas photographed that I came here for I was happy to start heading back to the front entrance. The main entrance spires would be my last photo of the trip. I know there are lots more buildings on site to look in but from recent reports I decided not to waste any time as they have been badly damaged by both weather and vandals.
As I was walking up to the hill I noticed a man walking the road at the top, however, he never noticed me. I gave him 30 seconds to move on a little before continuing up the hill. When I got to the top he was stood taking photos of the arena so I knew he was not security and I said hello.
As we exchange pleasantries security drove past in front of the arena and he spotted us. We waited for him to arrive as I do not believe in running as it will only annoy them. When security got to us he gave us the usual speech and asked us the usual questions. I have heard stories of security here being heavy handed at times but that is not what I witnessed. We was polite and in turn so was he, we let him do his job and that made the situation a little more relaxed. We spoke with him for a while before he escorted us to the main entrance where he also allowed me to get the final shot that I wanted, the Spires.
More images available on flickr
The images above are just a small selection of the images I have edited. I will be adding lots more photos of Lotus Hall aka Cuckoo Hall on my Flickr page which can be found here, https://www.flickr.com/photos/119757413@N07/
I am glad that I have managed to tick this off my list even though I know I left it a little to long. If I had come here when I first started exploring there would have been so much more for me to see and a lot less damage and decay.
This explore felt so different to all the other places I have been which I feel is down to the fact that I visited here a couple of times as a child so I have a connection, a memory of how the park once was. A place that was once so colourful & filled with the laughter of children, the smells of candy floss, the screams from people on the rides, the loudspeakers blaring out times of shows…. Not now though, nothing but the sound of the wind, creaking doors, and the smell of decay.
Such a shame to see the park like this even though I can still see the beauty within, R.I.P Camelot.
Thanks for reading,