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Last Updated: Friday, 25 May 2007, 08:42 GMT 09:42 UK
Dickens theme park open to public
The Great Expectations boat ride at Dickens World

A 62m theme park that celebrates the life and writings of Charles Dickens has opened after a six-week delay.

Dickens World, a four-acre attraction in Chatham, Kent, was supposed to open to the public on 20 April.

Visitors to the site will be able to experience the sights, sounds and smells of a bygone age, according to the owners.

Managers said the six-week delay was caused by a problem with materials supplied for interactive shows.

The attraction's centrepiece is a boat ride which takes visitors on a journey through Dickensian England, from the depths of London's sewers to a flight over the rooftops.

The theme park has recreated Newgate Prison, Ebenezer Scrooge's haunted house and a Victorian classroom from Dotheboys Hall.

Card shark at Dickens World

Also adding to the atmosphere are staff dressed as Dickensian characters such as rat catchers, pick-pockets, card-sharks and flower sellers.

Dickens World has been built on derelict dockland close to where the writer lived as a child.

It is hoped the theme park will attract 300,000 visitors a year.

Medway Council expects the local economy to receive a boost as well, with an estimated 200 jobs created at the site alone.


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