Loudoun Castle Theme Park in Ayrshire, Scotland was opened in 1995 and was situated amongst the ruins of Loudoun Castle in Galston. Building a theme park among the ruins of a castle was not a new idea in the UK. Alton Towers in Staffordshire is the biggest theme park in the UK to this day while Drayton Manor, also in Staffordshire, is popular too. Both have stood the test of time whereas Loudoun Castle struggled.
A keep was built on the site in Galston, Ayrshire in the 15th century and was later extended in the 17th century. It was home to the Mure-Campbell family, the Earls of Loudoun. The building was largely remodelled between 1804 and 1811 into the 19th century country house. The building was burned down in 1942 and without the funds to repair the damage, was left to ruin.
Loudoun Castle Theme Park was opened by a company based in London in 1995 and was later sold to travelling showman Raymond Codona. He then sold the park on Henk Bembom’s Parkware Ltd. in 2002. He invested significantly in the theme park and moved a number of rides from his site in Margate, England.
The park had suffered following the death of ride operator Mark Blackwood in 2007. The 18-year-old fell 80 feet (24 metres) while pushing a roller coaster which had become stuck. Loudoun Castle was found not guilty in the subsequent trial but the reputation of the theme park was beyond repair.
In 2010, just a few months after the trial, the park was closed and left abandoned after the company in charge of operating it ran out of money. The owner stated at the time that the park was no longer economically viable and efforts were made to sell it as a going concern, however this never came to pass and some of the rides were moved to Lightwater Valley Theme Park while others were put up for sale.
During the period it was open to the public, the theme park had 3 roller coasters and a number of other rides, some of which were moved from Margate and can be seen in an episode of Only Fools And Horses (The Jolly Boys Outing). The following is a list of rides which operated at Loudoun Castle –
- Twist n’ Shout – a classic looping Schwarzkopf Silverarrow
- The Rat – a Maurer Söhne Wild Mouse
- Wacky Worm – a junior coaster by I. E. Park:
- Barnstormer – a 140-foot-tall (43 m) shot-and-drop tower built by S&S Power. Re-located from the defunct Pleasureland Southport, the ride was officially opened on 23 May 2006 by The MacDonald Brothers.
- Loggers Leap – Loudoun’s original log flume
- Black Pearl – an inverting Pirate ship. Relocated to Lightwater Valley.
- The Captains Wheel – an Enterprise ride. Relocated to Avonturenpark Hellendoorn.
- The Plough – the largest Chair-O-Planes ride in the world (originally operated as The Apollo ride at Margate)
- The Crow’s Nest – a HUSS Troika
- The Milk Churn – a HUSS Round-Up ride – Scrapped
- HMS Flora McDougal – a HUSS Swinging Ship ride. Relocated to Lightwater Valley.
The following YouTube videos are from Abandoned Scotland which has wonderful content from abandoned places in the UK and around the world. Urban explorers seem to have taken delight in visiting the abandoned theme park in recent years and many of their videos and pictures can be seen online