Camelot demolition begins: A look back at the park’s history

Camelot's entrance sign. Credit: Camelot1983, Wikimedia Commons.

Demolition has begun on Lancashire’s Camelot Theme Park, more than eight years after it closed. 

The site has stood abandoned since 2012, and has attracted many ‘explorers’ who have trespassed onto the site in order to capture footage of the derelict park.

Situated in the small village of Charnock Richard, just shy of three miles from Chorley town centre, Camelot Theme Park opened its doors to customers in 1983, with a whole host of attractions and rides for people to enjoy. 

But declining visitor numbers and ownership issues left the theme park struggling financially, and Camelot closed its doors for the final time on 2 September 2012.

From opening day, the theme park was entirely based around the story of Camelot, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. 

Upon entrance to the park, guests would be greeted by a towering castle structure, which remained standing until this week.

Camelot’s impressive entrance. Credit: JKinson, Wikimedia Commons

There was a whole host of rides and attractions for visitors to enjoy, including The Whirlwind, a Maurer Söhne spinning coaster, which opened in 2003, The Dragon Flyer, a diesel powered roller coaster which took guests around the circumference of the park, and Excalibur 2, a flat ride which swung brave riders upside down.

But the highlight attraction of the park was of course, The Knightmare, a huge roller coaster which could even be seen from the M6 motorway. The roller coaster was a huge investment for the park, and cost them approximately £3million.

‘The Knightmare’. Credit: JKinson, Wikimedia Commons

However, it wasn’t just the thrill rides which made Camelot an enjoyable day out for local guests.

The theme park also had some exciting live entertainment, including the popular Jousting Tournament, a spectacular live show which saw real-life jousting stunts in a large outdoor venue. 

Video of the popular Jousting Tournament at Camelot Theme Park

Whilst Camelot Theme Park may live fondly in the memories of guests who visited, there are a number of reasons why the theme park saw a decline in visitor numbers, which ultimately resulted in the current demolition.

The park was less than an hour away from Blackpool Pleasure Beach, which turned over £33.4m in 2017 and under two hours away from Alton Towers, which attracted over 2.4 million guests in the year Camelot closed down.

Infusion at Blackpool Pleasure beach, under an hour away from Camelot. Credit: BlackpoolJ91, Wikimedia Commons

It was always going to be difficult for a small theme park like Camelot to compete with two giants of the UK entertainment industry in such close proximity.

Furthermore, it was widely reported that Camelot had been having ownership issues, and the site had been under constant threat of demolition for new housing estates.

Upon closure of the park in 2012, Roy Page, managing director of Knights Leisure, had blamed the decline of the park on large events such as the Olympics.

Camelot’s entrance sign. Credit: Camelot1983, Wikimedia Commons.

Although the site’s future hasn’t officially been announced, it seems as though it is destined to be flattened into a housing estate, especially since the owners of the site attempted to do this back in 2018.

Whilst Camelot will never re-open again, it is clear that Chorley’s very own theme park made memories that will last forever for the guests that flocked from across the world to visit.