Retro seaside theme park from hit BBC show – with one of Europe's tallest rides and its own beach | The Sun

A QUAINT Welsh theme park has been hosting families and thrill-seekers for more than a hundred years, but it only gained national recognition in the late Noughties.

Barry Island Pleasure Park, in South Wales, may not be a household name but its locations will certainly look familiar – thanks to the hit TV show, Gavin And Stacey.

Featuring in Season 3, Episode 5 of the much-loved BBC show, fans can watch the whole gang spend a day trip at Barry Beach.

In the episode, Nessa and Smithy ride the dodgems at Barry Island Pleasure Park.

Since then the theme park has benefited from the "Gavin & Stacey effect" as Uncle Bryn, played by Rob Bryan, would say, with fans of the show travelling from across the country to pay homage.

Established in 1879, Barry Island Pleasure Park is still a family-run business with a classic fairground aesthetic.

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Here, you can find something for everyone, from traditional carnival foods and drinks to terrifying roller coasters and rides for children and families. 

To this day, the park is Barry’s biggest tourist attraction, with the Barry Eye towering over the seaside front.

The Ferris wheel gives visitors breathtaking views over the seaside town and the Vale Coast. 

Barry, located in the Vale of Glamorgan, is a seaside attraction in its own right with five lush sandy beaches to dig your toes into.

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Alongside Barry Island Pleasure Park, visitors can also get stuck into a variety of water sports including kayaking, canoeing and golf.

The seaside town also hosts the South Wales Aviation Museum and Barry War Museum.

For nostalgic fans, the best attraction would be The official Gavin & Stacey tour that visits classic locations from the TV show.

These include sites such as Gwen & Stacey’s home, the church where Neil is christened and the location where Nessa works as a mime artist. 

In addition to taking a trip down memory lane, visitors to Barry Island Pleasure Park have an array of rides to choose from. 

For those brave enough, the tallest and fastest ride in the UK, according to the park website, calls this location its home. 

Appropriately called Aerospace, this one-of-a-kind £3m ride boasts a height of 65 Meters and a spinning speed of 75 mph.

Aerospace is not for the faint-hearted as it will flip and roll thrill seekers upside down.

Another ride for daredevils would be The Top Scan which can spin in three different directions, 20 metres above the ground.

Families seeking a more relaxing experience at Barry Island Pleasure Park might prefer the Log Flume, perfect for hot days with a chance to get splashed with its double drops.

For those with younger children, there are a multitude of kid rides including cups & sauces, mini jet trampolines and inflatable slides. 

Other facilities include food stalls, selling funfair favourites such as slush puppies, hot dogs, toffee apples, candy floss and of course, fish and chips. 

Barry Island Pleasure Park is just a stone's throw away from Barry Island Beach, a beautiful stretch of sandy shore that has its very own beach bar.

Sightseers can relax at The Beach Hut Bar with their favourite tropical cocktails and watch the sunset over Whitmore Bay.

While entry to the park is free, the attraction operates on a token-based system.

It costs £1 to buy 1 token and £10 to purchase 13 tokens. The most value-for-money exchange would be 78 tokens for £55.

Unused tokens may be used on subsequent visits and do not need to be used all at once. 

The park also provides free-to-use cash machines in all its arcades.

It is possible to get the theme park in a multitude of ways.

On public transport, visitors can get to Barry Island Pleasure Park by taking a train, operated by Transport for Wales, from Cardiff Central to Barry Island train station. From there it is just a six-minute walk to the seaside attraction.

For drivers, Barry Island can be reached by taking the M4 and then changing to the A4050 road.

Opening times are seasonal, with the theme park open every day from 12pm during the school summer holidays, and 12pm-7pm on the winter weekends.

Opening times can be restricted by the weather. 

In September 2023, Barry Island Pleasure Park was nominated for the prestigious UK Theme Park Award.

Organised by, this little-known theme park is in the run-up with the likes of Alton Towers, Thorpe Park and LEGOLAND Windsor. 

While the theme park may not be known to everyone, it has received praise from visiting families on TripAdvisor.

One wrote: “Family fun at its best, there are rides for everyone. We really enjoyed are time at the fair.”

While another: “Great little funfair. Good choice of rides for all ages and not too expensive. Amusement arcade had plenty of choice for everyone to enjoy”.

A third person commentated: “You soon rattle through the tokens though. Lots of food places if you want a snack in between”.

The park has an overall rating of 3.5/5 out of 794 reviews and is heading towards an even brighter future. 

Henry Danter owner of Barry Island Pleasure Park announced in February 2023, that he had bought a “derelict” plot of land and plans to create a holiday camp on it.

This would provide accommodation for guests of the theme park and an opportunity to explore the local area.

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However, not everyone agrees with Danter's plans as more than 8,000 people have signed a petition calling for the construction to be stopped.

Locals fear a holiday camp could disrupt the peace and privacy of a hospice and memorial gardens, which neighbours Danter's plot of land.

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