There is nothing you can say about the Camelot Theme Park any longer to sell it as an exciting, thrilling destination for a fun day out with the kids on a sunny summer's day, for like King Arthur himself the theme park has passed on into the mists of time to become the stuff of legend!

But not so for the average urb-exer. The park closed its doors at the end of the 2012 season for the very last time and now it stands empty and forlorn practically begging to be explored.

Time and tide wait for no man and in the cut-throat world of entertainment one must constantly strive to stay ahead. Sadly Camelot could not. At risk of sounding rather over critical I would suggest that perhaps Camelot was always the poor cousin to the likes of Alton Towers, though it must be said that it did have a few serious rides such as "Excalibur", and the whole Arthurian legend was exploited to great effect not least with battling knights in armour in the jousting enclosure.

The slightly seedy, down at heel feel could not be more readily apparent than now just six short months after the theme park's final closure in October last year. The operators state that the Olympic Games and the Queen's Jubilee celebrations together with unseasonably bad summer weather affected them so badly that they could not continue however I would suggest that had they actually continuously inputted sufficiently into the "Pot of Kid Appeal" then they may well not have had to blame factors which affected everyone last year, not just Camelot. A brief foray onto the well known internet review site Trip Advisor threw up an interesting selection of comments:

Loved it! Suited our kids, 6 and 2, as they could go on most of the attractions.
I would drive to Lightwater Valley for a much better time. Scruffy.
Don't even think about it, staying home has to be more fun and better organised than this place.

The majority of the rides were at best mediocre, and at worst, down right awful. Attention to detail appears to have been severely lacking with amateurish hand painted signage and ride decoration of extremely dubious artistic quality. Few of the rides were anything special, and in at least one case they look as though they were ripe for condemning as unsafe.

I must be honest and say that I think that Camelot was doomed, Olympic Games or otherwise, and the owners, Knights Leisure, had no one to blame but themselves. By the way folks, Lancashire is normally wet in the summer so I fail to see how the weather can be quoted as a reason for closure when it is simply a fact of life! Knights Leisure's managing director is quoted as saying, "Following a number of years of declining visitor numbers, the 2012 season proved particularly challenging."

In fairness though Camelot did survive for 29 years so perhaps their sad decline in fortunes is the reason for the appalling state of the place now so soon after closure. We spotted buildings with bare chipboard walls crumbling from exposure to the weather, and in one place I stepped on a wooden walk way to a ride and it snapped beneath my foot! Paint is peeling everywhere you look and yet despite the obvious and rather premature decay it feels very strange to wander around a theme park totally devoid of cheery children dragging frazzled parents from ride to ride.

I can find no mention anywhere of what is or has been happening at the park since closure however voices on the urb-ex grapevine mention that a few rides have already been sold off and removed, and the remainder are destined for the bulldozer blade. When that will begin is another matter.

The highlight of our exploration had to be "Smiffy's Dungeon of Doom", a conventional ghost train ride. It has to be said that I have a rather chequered history where ghost trains are concerned - my first time was as an 8 year old in Bury where my family lived some 48 years ago. A touring fun fair would set up on waste ground near "the Baltic" once a year and I well remember looking forward to my annual outing with my dad... I was brave that day and eschewed the comfort of his proffered hand despite inwardly quaking, however to my eternal shame I fell at the first hurdle and grabbed it the minute something leapt out of the dark into our faces. Oh the shame of it all! Then many, many years later I sat with my girlfriend in the car on the ghost train at Blackpool pleasure beach and as we came out of a scary bit into day light for a few brief moments before being plunged back into the horror again, someone on a side show below shot me in the back with an air rifle! Fortunately neither of these things happened at Camelot during our exploration - the scariest thing we experienced was our own reflection in a mirror! It was really interesting discovering the nature of the ride's construction, a look behind the scenes in the most literal sense of the phrase! It has been built in exactly the same way as a film or TV set - decorated wooden flats propped up with timber housed inside a rather large tent, the facade at the front being the only permanent part of the structure. Amusingly too the front of the ride, which looks for all the world like a solid and apparently conventional building, has been boarded up comprehensively to prevent access to pykeys et all, and yet behind the frontage the main part of the ride is inside the tent, the back of which unzips - great security measures there guys!!! All of the various "horrors" are poorly constructed with plastic Halloween props and what looked like papier mache or the like, ghoulishly painted with lurid fluorescent paint, Blood Red and Rotting Corpse green being the predominant colours! And before you pop off to B&Q to check you simply will not find those shades or names on a Dulux Match Pot swatch! Lit with black light it has to be said that some of the horrors must have been rather shocking to the average child!

Actually - rewind - to a nation of pre-teens brought up playing the likes of Grand Theft Auto and Zombie Killer Gorefest III under the desk on their iPhones during lessons it's probably all rather tame actually.


Anyways, sad as it is to see the passing of an era, it has happened, we are just happy that we managed to visit Cam-A-Not before the wrecking crews begin their work.


Below is a selection of the photographs we took in and around Camelot...


To view any of the photographs in a far bigger size then click on the image of your choice and it will open in a new window.


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The entrance to Camelot as you walk in from the car park.


This appears to be one of the few parts of the park actually constructed from something other than wood.

Beyond the entrance and looking for the first of the rides.


One of many areas designed to extract more money over and above the entry fee!

In the distance beyond yet more merchandising stands is the Pirate Ship ride.


The height of sartorial elegance?


I mentioned amateurish signage - look at the spelling here. Perhaps it is deliberate? if so it's a pretty poor play on words.

Here comes TJ!


Not removed and sold on - but then just about every theme park and fun fair has a Pirate Ship ride anyway.

The ride operator's aide memoire.

Bye bye Pirate Ship ride!


This ride is a high level monorail train running around a large area of the park.

Such an appealing fella!
Time to set off!
It's very easy to please some kids...
Pendragon's Plunge!

Hmmm... OK?


It's great for Gary Glitter but I'm not going to be taking my "bird" on this ride if she can't ride with me!

It reminds me a bit of Jane Mansfield lying down...


So it appears to be a water chute ride on a small scale. Swimming cozzys outdoors in Lancashire aren't recommended so I wonder what the cars were like?


I reckon this bit would make you dizzy a treat!


Not a huge descent but I expect it was fun none the less.


And the riders would appear out of the dark with a flourish, no doubt to have their picture taken for a "nominal fee".


Yet more merchandising and "Roll up, roll up! Win an amazing prize actually bought in bulk from China and worth 10p" stalls?


Arty farty piccie time!


The bleachers by the jousting ring where punters watched "knights" taking part in mock battles.

Part of the dragon monorail ride passes overhead.


Moving on down towards the corporate hospitality area and the pony riding stables.

I couldn't believe how cheap and nasty these buildings are.

Now residing in a freezer in Tesco no doubt.

This didn't bring Camelot much luck.
Stained glass windows courtesy of sticky backed plastic.
Up by Bertie Bassets mini-car ride.

Mmmm! Smell that chip fat! A quality environment for the consumption of haute cuisine.

You wouldn't have expected to find a chippy now would you!

You can eat anything you like so long as it's deep fried.

The food prep area.


In the distance is a big dipper which can be seen from the M6, one of the better rides in the park.

Not quite the Pepsi Max but I bet it got the adrenaline going.

Rusting away so soon after closure.
Some of those turns are rather tight!
Smiffy's Dungeon of Doom... muwuhahahahahaaaaa!
Please pay attention to the universal get out clause.
Some kid left his coat and his prizes behind.
The spare parts rack in the ghost train.


The ghost train PA system. I'm surprised the pykeys haven't had it away with this lot frankly though in truth it is a bit cheap and nasty.


An animatronic dragon.
His jaw moves and he has laser eyes!!!

He's been in here riding Smiffy's ghost train ever since the park closed last year!

Foot loose...
This is what will happen to you if enter Smiffy's Dungeon of Doom.
Scary props.
Alas poor Horlicks, I knew him well.
Cam-A-Grot punished negligent staff this way...
I want my mummy!
Ahhhh... so that's where King Arthur was buried!
Tony Robinson should get his Time Team down here.
Time for Muldoon's Tea Party!
Most of the staff are 'armless...
Now pay attention - this is what happens to anorexics...
Not so much Friday the 13th. as Sunday the 7th.
Come any closer and I'll 'ave yer...
TJ puts on a brave face.
It's detachable.
Scarper lads, it's the authorities!

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