Camelot Theme Park
King Arthur’s Castle, Camelot, is rumoured to have existed in Standish, Wigan. In the countryside not far from Standish, is Camelot Theme Park. With shows and rides based on the story of, ‘King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table,’ the theme park combined the standard charms of a funfair with medieval-chic. It is remembered fondly by many in the North West of England, having been one of the top attractions in the region for several generations.
In 2012 the park closed for the winter, as it always did. But then came the announcement in November of that year that the park would not be re-opening in 2013, come the spring season. The poor summer weather of 2012 was blamed for the declining visitor numbers. The distractions of the Queens Jubilee and the London Olympics were also cited as reasons for the closure. Who wants to waste their time watching knights jostling when you can watch athletes throwing shot puts and javelins in London?
Following Camelot’s closure, several of the roller coasters were sold, dismantled and shipped off to theme parks in Europe. Most, however, remained where they were, taking on an unloved state of forgotten dormancy. Their fate was supposed to be decided once and for all in 2014, following an application by the theme parks owner’s Story Group. They wanted to demolish the theme park entirely and build 420 houses on the site, but the council said no. the Green Belt must remain the Green Belt.
Camelot remains, saved by the surrounding countryside. Engulfed by tress, it is now almost entirely shrouded from view. Out of sight and out of mind. The crests of a few rusted roller coaster tracks are just about visible, poking above the oak tree canopy. But Camelot, for all practical purposes, has gone. Did it even really exist at all, or was it just a bit of legendary folklore?