Dreamland wins runner-up prize in global Best Family Theme Park contest

Dreamland has been scooped the runner-up prize for Best Family Theme Park in this year’s Family Traveller Awards.

The Margate amusement park was pipped to first place by Universal Studios in Florida.

Ten attractions competed to be named the top family park including  Disneyworld and Chessington World of Adventure

The park, which reopened in May following a £25 million refurb, was nominated by Thanet District Council.

The awards were presented at a London ceremony on Tuesday 21 November, with hosts TV personality Alice Beer  and Family Traveller CEO and publisher Andrew Dent.

The park

Photo Frank Leppard

The refurbished site now includes the Scenic Stage, seating that runs up to the historic follies and the street food array of vintage vehicles selling everything from tacos to pizzas.

The Arrowgrass investment made a complete overhaul of Dreamland possible, ready for a reopening, attended by thousands of people, and including the switch-on of the Dreamland neon lights by artist Tracey Emin.

Since the reopening the park has hosted a number of large festivals, including the Demon Dayz gig which attracted some 15,000 revellers, the Undercover Festival and Sunset Sessions.

This week plans were also revealed for 2018, including new rides and the return of popular events including Screamland.

Dreamland operator, Sands Heritage Ltd, exited administration on November 3.

Overcoming tough times

Sands Heritage Limited went into administration in May 2016 – just under a year after the company reopened Dreamland amusement park.

The company suffered financial difficulty at the end of 2015 when it entered a voluntary debt plan after being hit with a net loss of £5 million and owing bills of £2,893,128.

In May 2016 Benjamin Wiles and Paul Williams, Managing Directors of Duff & Phelps, were appointed Joint Administrators of Sands Heritage Ltd, trading as Dreamland.

This year a £25 million investment from company Arrowgrass, which has bought up the shares of the operating firm, resulted in the re-opening in May and an agreement to pay debtors 25p for each £1 owed.

The next events at the park are the 450-metre ice rink, opening on December 1-January 3 and The Frosted Fairground which opens on December 2.

The Frosted Fairground  will also have a special appearance by favourite Christmas characters The Snowman and The Snowdog, a grotto, live music and special seasonal food and drink.

On the opening day, December 2, lights across the park will be switched on.

Book tickets in advance here