Roller coasters traditionally tend to have a slow and tantalising clanky climb before the first stomach-churning drop takes riders into a series of breath-taking twists and turns.

Not Sik.

The pace picks up almost as soon as Flamingoland’s newest thrill ride starts, and the uphill is so pacey you don’t even have time to get nervous before plummeting into the most intense minute even battle-hardened adrenaline junkies will experience.

Read more: The Range opens new Dalton Park Outlet store

The Northern Echo: Sik is Flamingoland's newest, and in our opinion, best roller coaster Sik is Flamingoland's newest, and in our opinion, best roller coaster (Image: Contributor)

With no less than ten inversions, only Smiler at Alton Towers has more in the UK, the £18 million pound attraction reaches speeds of over 50mph, but boy does it feel faster.

The ride, which opened to the public last July, has a 31-metre drop before a vertical loop, two cobra rolls, two corkscrews and five, count ‘em, five heartline rolls.

For the uninitiated, a heartline roll, or a barrel roll, is where centre of the train rotates on one axis and so your central point stays in the same place while your body quickly spins 360 degrees creating a feeling of weightlessness.

The Northern Echo: The heartline rolls on Sik are intense The heartline rolls on Sik are intense (Image: Contributor)

Interestingly, Sik is named after Flamingoland’s partnership with Scarborough-based fashion brand SikSilk, and not, as I had imagined, the teenage street slang for jolly good, or the nausea it might leave people experiencing.

Both could be appropriate.

The Northern Echo recruited two actual teenagers, 13-year-old twins and theme park enthusiasts Ethan and Raphael Cohen, to put Sik, and Flamingoland’s other thrill rides to the test.

Raphael said: “Sik was my favourite ride. I enjoyed it because you go upside down a lot. There are so many loop-the-loops.

“I watched some of the point-of-view videos before we came to see what to it was like and it was better than I expected.”

Ethan added: “Sik is a very good ride and comes very high on my list of roller coasters. I like the vibe around it, the mist, the pace, the loop-the-loops.

“It just never stopped.”

To get more stories direct to your email basket go here 

We arrived at around 9.30am, half an hour before the park opened, on a damp day in the second week of the Easter holidays surprised to find it relatively quiet.

This is something we would wholeheartedly recommend because we were straight into the park, got our bearings, had a mandatory toilet break and found ourselves second in the queue for Sik, not far from the entrance.

One of the great things about Flamingoland, which opened as a zoo in 1959, and has had fairground rides since the 70s, is the thrill rides are so close together.

If there is a queue for one, head over to another.

The Northern Echo: Ethan and Raphael locked into Hero - ready to go!Ethan and Raphael locked into Hero - ready to go! (Image: Gavin Havery)

From Sik, we were on Hero, the flat ride roller coaster where you lie in face down in a cage shooting forward headfirst with two inversions, giving riders the feeling of flying.

Next up was the vertigo-inducing Cliff Hanger, a 55-metre drop tower that hoists riders high above the park before they hurtle towards the ground, safely stopping though in the nick of time.

Terrifying, but thrilling nonetheless.

The Northern Echo: Raphael and Ethan about to ride KumaliRaphael and Ethan about to ride Kumali (Image: Gavin Havery)

The Northern Echo: And here it is in action And here it is in action (Image: Contributor)

Our second favourite ride was Kumali, a suspended looping coaster installed in 2006, which is a bit like Nemesis, where the track is above your head.

With four inversions, riders reach speeds of 55 mph and experience a drop of 34 metres, legs flailing about as the train reaches a G-force of 4.7.

The best ride for speed demons is the aptly named Velocity, where riders sitting on a motorbike-style seat, accelerate from 0-60mph in just 2.8 seconds and shoot around 2,000 feet of hairpin bends and dramatic drops.

The Northern Echo: Easy riders waiting for the breakneck speeds of VelocityEasy riders waiting for the breakneck speeds of Velocity (Image: Gavin Havery)

The Northern Echo: Velocity is a high speed thrill from start to finish Velocity is a high speed thrill from start to finish (Image: Contributor)

Rain did stop play briefly during our visit, but the poor forecast probably worked in our favour by keeping crowds away.

Intermittent showers reduce the queues too by driving people in search of shelter and a warm drink.

You are allowed to take your own food in, which is well advised, as the stalls and stands here can be pricey and tends to be less-than-outstanding if we are being honest, but our hot chocolates restored feeling to our fingers and the burgers gave us the energy to get back out there for more high-octane adventures.

Mumbo Jumbo, which has a maximum vertical angle of 112 degrees, held the record for being the world's steepest roller coaster from July 2009 until July 2011, when it was beaten by Takabisha, a coaster at a theme park in Japan with a 121 degree inverse drop.

Four riders sit in a cart and fly around the narrow track almost 100 feet in the air, taking tight corners before diving and looping around the black and orange track.

The Northern Echo: Mumbo Jumbo's inverse vertical drop was once the steepest in the world Mumbo Jumbo's inverse vertical drop was once the steepest in the world (Image: Contributor)

The Northern Echo: One rider cannot bear to watch One rider cannot bear to watch (Image: Contributor)

Flamingoland has plenty of rides suitable for kids of all ages and those with younger ones could easily have fun on the Helitoys, Dino Roller and Frog Hopper or take in some of the many shows and live entertainment.

There is something for everyone to enjoy here.

That is without even mentioning the zoo, which we did not have time for on this visit, but includes lions, tigers, giraffes, hippopotamus and rhinoceros to name but a few.


We know this because before we left Ethan and Raphael made time to go on the The Northern Echo: Our advice is to leave the Lost River Ride until the end - you will get wet Our advice is to leave the Lost River Ride until the end - you will get wet (Image: Contributor), a lazy safari boat trip that takes in the most exciting animals in the zoo before crashing 60 feet over a waterfall into a plunge pool ensuring a fun-filled, if somewhat soggy, end to the day.

Flamingoland is near Kirby Misperton, North Yorkshire, and is under and hour and a half from Darlington, although there is camping, and static caravans, available next to the park, which is a good way to make the most of your visit by going back in for a second day.

We had a thoroughly enjoyable time but know there was loads more we could have seen and done.

The park came in for some criticism earlier in the year with some claiming on social media the £52.50 price tag for a day ticket was too expensive.

It’s certainly not a cheap day out, especially when you factor in food, drinks and ice creams, but it is worth pointing out it is cheaper than both Alton Towers (£68) and Thorpe Park (£64), and an advance ticket can be bought for £39.

It is not as if you go there every week and, given the amount on offer, I’d say Flamingoland offers pretty good value.

It certainly hit the mark with our young reviewers who have already said they would like to return with friends.

Read next:

The Northern Echo: Ethan and Raphael loved their trip to the park and would like to go back Ethan and Raphael loved their trip to the park and would like to go back (Image: Gavin Havery)

Ethan said: “I really enjoyed Flamingoland and thought it was a great experience.

“The roller coasters were great, I liked the short queue times and thought it was nicely laid out.

“Everything was close together so there is not too much space between rides.

“I’d say people should get there early so you can get on lot of rides.”

Get more from The Northern Echo with a Premium Plus digital subscription from as little as only £1.50 a week.

Raphael added: “It is good compared to the other main theme park I have been to, Alton Towers, because the queues aren’t very long, and the rides are comparable to that. You also don’t need to walk far to get on another ride.

“I would definitely like to come back at some point.”