As its award cabinet becomes ever more cluttered with each passing year - including last year’s new maze The Village picking up a hefty haul of ‘Best Scare Maze’ gongs across the growing scare park industry - the questions that comes to visitors of Leicester’s Xtreme Scream Park at the Twinlakes Theme Park, Melton Mowbray, are ones of attrition.

Will it be as good this year? What’s new? And, crucially, should I go again?

Thankfully, despite being a transitional year - with no new mazes until the park replaces its oldest, circus-themed attraction in 2019 - Xtreme still once again cements itself as one of the UK’s truly must-visit attractions of its kind. Everything we praised about the park in our glowing, 2017 review, including the sheer size, scope and invention of The Village in particular, stands.

And whilst all six mazes (not a weak link in sight) are the same as last year, every fan will tell you that each scream maze walk-through is a unique experience, and the variety and distinctiveness of each of Leicester’s offerings - from the psychedelic swamp dwellings of Hoodoo Voodoo to the hillbilly horror of The Pie Factory - make a re-visit essential fare for fans of being frightened.

For complete newcomers (brace yourselves!), you have six of the longest, most well-defined scare experiences that the UK has to offer, with a level of intensity that similarly rises above most of the competition. Whilst we’re not quite in the territory of those disclaimer-requiring terror experiences in the US and Europe that see you getting locked into a freezer overnight or something similarly unpalatable, the actors here are still entitled to do with you as they see fit, so expect to be taunted, grabbed, held against your will, and even separated from your fellow party members (this happened to me four times in total over the course of the night).

If all that seems a little too intense, there are a handful of fairground-lite rides, live open music throughout the night, a handful of stage shows and a bar and great atmosphere to soak up in the park’s central outdoor hub.

There’s a strong sense of mixing things up outside of the mazes, too - with the numerous actors that patrol the park adorned in all sorts of interesting new gear. Some of the new costumes and creatures spotted prowling around, terrifying visitors this year included a towering, Cyclops police officer, something that can only be described as a horrifying mash-up the Joker, a Critter and a Cupcake, and a disturbingly morose and drifting Mr Blobby.

It’s not all perfect, but the very few gripes are minor and certainly not deal breakers by any means. Voodoo Hoodoo has sadly stuck with an extended opening that sees visitors hooded and blindly following a rope, an approach that was something of a scare park fad a few year’s back but has always come across as more frustrating and monotonous than frightening, but, as with 2017, the rest of Hoodoo more than makes up for its misjudged start. 

And, chalk it down to being so early in the season, but The Village seemed more sparsely populated in terms of its actors and residents than last year, with far fewer of the deranged Scarecrows which leapt down and out from every nook, cranny and even ceiling!

This really is picking fault almost for the sake of having something to say, though. Line it up against even some of the major theme park offerings, and Xtreme Scream Park still stands taller - and scarier - than most. The winding, geniusly disorienting route of The Village (do we seriously have to go into the toilet cubicle!? Wait, is that a doorway or a trap? Are those holding cells occupied?!)is one of the longest and most complete scare experiences you can hope to visit this Halloween, surpassing even the park’s own expansive Stilton Hall Hotel and Hell Spa in terms of thinking it’s all over, only to be met with a whole new fresh hell to explore. 

With entry mostly around the £24.99 mark (though peaking at £33.99 for the Saturday before Halloween), Xtreme Scream Park is very fairly priced indeed, though you’re going to want to try and secure a 7pm slot if possible; the later 8pm entry will mean trying to squeeze a lot of mazes into a relatively brief time window before everything closes up at 10:30pm - something that will only be compounded by the park getting busier as October progresses.

Regardless of when or how you experience it, though, if you are a fan of being frightened, a newcomer to the scare park industry, or even a seasoned veteran, Xtreme Scream Park absolutely deserves to sit right at the top of your Halloween visit list on an annual basis. 2018 may not benefit from a flashy new maze to boast (hey, you got two new ones last year!), but when the thrills, jumps and chills are this brilliant, it’s still an Xtreme-ly satisfying night out for anyone who enjoys the things that go bump - or grab - in the night!

XTREME SCREAM PARK 2018 runs at the Twin Lakes Theme Park until Wednesday 31 October 2019.

To book your tickets, head on over to the official website by clicking HERE.

Press tickets to Xtreme Scream Park were provided courtesy of Twin Lakes Theme Park directly. The author gratefully acknowledges their generous invitation.