IT HAS given thousands of children a day out to remember But now it’s official – Paultons Park has been voted as the best theme park in the country.

A national competition run by parenting site saw the attraction beat off competition from theme parks around the UK to come out top in the voting.

Of the five different categories voted on, Paultons Park, in Ower, in the New Forest, scooped three out of a possible five top spots as Best Family Theme Park, Best Theme Park for Pre-Schoolers and Kids’ Favourite Theme Park – as well as coming runner-up in the poll for Most Improved Food.

The park first opened its doors on May 17 1983 under the name Paultons Country Park and Bird Gardens and housed the largest private collection of wildfowl in the south of England.

It has since grown into one of the south’s major family destinations and continues to grow, with currently more than 60 rides and attractions.

New ride Magma opened in March last year, costing £750,000, following on from one of its major attractions, Peppa Pig World, which opened last year. More than a million people came through the doors last year.

Parents praised the park’s choice of entertaining, engaging and educational rides and displays for children as well as the friendly staff and family friendly activities.

More than a million mums around the UK (the site has more than 1.4m members) were able to vote for the awards and Paultons Park will now be listed as the country’s best on the Netmums website.

Steve Lorton, commercial director of Paultons Park, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have won these three awards, particularly as they have been voted for by parents and acknowledge that Paultons Park and Peppa Pig World is the ultimate family destination.”

The theme park market is worth £315m to the UK economy annually, with 14 million people visiting a park each year.

Netmums founder Siobhan Freegard said: “It’s clear that both parents and children feel Paultons Park is Britain’s best, offering fantastic value for money in a family-friendly atmosphere.

“Our members voted it a great day out that they want to keep coming back to time and time again.”