London Resort theme park unveils 'prehistoric nature reserve' plans featuring dinosaurs, rollercoasters and zip wires
Published: 11:55, 20 April 2021
Updated: 20:38, 20 April 2021
Kent could be home to Europe's fastest rollercoaster as plans for a "dino park" have been revealed.
Kent could be home to Europe's largest rollercoaster
Among the plans are two rollercoasters, the first will celebrate the reign of Quetzalcoatlus, one of the largest known, winged reptiles of all time.
Set over 1km of track, it aims to be one of the fastest coasters in Europe.
Instead of the usual towering heights and big drops, it will recreate what scientists believe was a typical flight path of the extraordinary beast. It will stay low to the ground, zipping across treetops, skimming water and bursting through rocky canyons.
A multi-launch coaster reaching speeds in excess of 70mph, the ride will replicate the hunting speed of Quetzalcoatlus which would swoop low and fast to snare prey in its long, tweezer like beak.
The second coaster inside Base Camp will offer a family orientated experience. Weaving beneath the flight path of Quetzalcoatlus, this ride will allow for adventurers of all ages and sizes to experience a rollercoaster with just the right level of ‘thrill’.
An indoor, 1,500 seated arena will be located in the far corner of the preserve. This marquee attraction, framed by a massive biodome, will feature shows set within a dense tropical forest.
For an up-close look at Ichthyosaurs, Mosasaurs and other terrifying hunters of the ocean, guests will head over to a motion-based 4D ride.
It will dive underwater in search of cold and calculating predators offering guests an expedition into the darkness of prehistoric waters. At points along their journey, guests may begin to question if they are observers, or prey.
Alongside the fun and adrenaline, the land is also set to deliver educational opportunities. An enormous play area will be created for young palaeontologists to explore, excavate exciting fossil finds and develop STEM skills.
Zip lines, climbing walls and multiple archaeological tunnels will welcome the most enthusiastic of kids while underwater viewing platforms will offer calming moments as families peer into prehistoric lagoons.
An interactive, immersive, dark ride will use sophisticated gaming technology to enlist the help of guests to track and tag a variety of dinosaurs and ancient reptiles in the wild.
This will pit humans against beasts in a quest for better understanding and scientific research.
One of two food and beverage offerings will be an eclectic family restaurant situated along the edge of a Cretaceous watering hole. It is envisaged as a place where palaeontologists and visitors alike can relax and swap stories.
It is also here that the life and legacy of Mary Anning will be fully celebrated.
One of Britain’s greatest scientists, Mary Anning was a world-renowned fossil collector and palaeontologist. Her life was made into a film starring Kate Winslet this year.
Self-taught and ambitious, she found and identified hundreds of fossils in her lifetime including being the first in the world to identify the Ichthyosaur.
Recognised in recent years by organisations such as the Natural History Museum and the Royal Society, resort bosses say here her life, legacy, and lasting impact on the world of palaeontology will be fully celebrated.
The second food and beverage destination is billed a "fine dining experience with a difference".
Situated at the edge of an underwater cliff, this luxury dining venue will combine first-rate cuisine, fine wines, with a view to die for.
Floor-to-ceiling “windows” will wrap the dining room, offering guests a front-row seat to the flora and fauna of the prehistoric oceans just beyond the glass.
Throughout the meal, schools of ancient fish may swim past the windows, darting from predators as they emerge from the inky blackness beyond.
At regular intervals, something with a bit more bite may come into view. Ichthyosaurs loves to feed at this depth, and diners will have an unobstructed view as fish, otherwise assumed to be the hunters, become the hunted beneath the ocean’s surface.
“Our vision is for The London Resort to be a beacon of world-class entertainment experiences set within a world-leading sustainable environment”, explained chief executive PY Gerbeau.
“We are building a unique, global destination and the storytelling, thrilling adventures, and environmental messaging found inside Base Camp help to reinforce that effort.”
He revealed the details today at a sustainability conference.
Along with new imagery of Base Camp, the theme park director also announced his recommendation to take time to review and ensure the Resort’s "gold standard" case for sustainability.
It follows Natural England’s designation of the site as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) following an application launched by conservation campaigners.
“Working with the Planning Inspectorate, we have requested further time to prepare for the formal enquiry later this summer,” said Gerbeau.
“It is absolutely fundamental for us to be leaders in sustainability. We’ve already committed to spending around £150m on remediation, habitat enhancement and providing around 8 miles of footpaths and public rights of way.
"But since Natural England designated the area a SSSI earlier this year – it is right and proper that we take a short extension to revise our reports and ensure they address the issues raised."
However, despite this additional obstacle the theme park bosses maintained it was still "on track" to create a "beacon of world class entertainment and experiences".
The resort will cover 1,245 acres – a space equivalent to roughly 113 Wembley stadiums – and would be larger than the UK's current largest theme park, Alton Towers.
“Base Camp’s design is based on a philosophy of what an actual, modern day, prehistorical nature reserve might look like,” added PY Gerbeau.
“There will be thrills, spills and high energy rides combined with opportunities to get up close and personal with some of the most amazing creatures ever to walk the earth.
"However, unlike popular films that depict dinosaurs as villains, things don’t always go terribly wrong here. We are building a land of preservation and celebration of dinosaurs.”
An eagerly-awaited planning bid was be submitted to the government's planning arm, the Planning Inspectorate for review in December.
The application confirms the intent to develop two theme park gates, a water park, conference and convention centre and e-Sports facility.
If approved, the theme park will be the first European development of its kind to be built from scratch since the opening of Disneyland Paris in 1992.
But work is yet to commence on site of the development, first announced nine years ago, despite numerous public consultations and redrawings of the proposals.
The project has also faced opposition from some environmental groups over its proximity to marshes home to thousands of endangered invertebrate species, as well as brownfield sites occupied by local businesses.
Earlier this month the BBC's studio arm was urged to withdraw from the project amid claims of incompatibility with its aims of "creating a positive environmental impact".
More by this authorSean Delaney