UPDATE July 11 – In a recent news article in the Guardian as well as a video posted to Sky News, we find out further details regarding the proposed Universal Great Britain project.
We hear that if Universal does decide to go ahead with this huge project in the UK, it could generate almost ‘£50bn of economic benefits for the UK’. This figure is said to be made up of £35 billion created by the site itself with a further £14 billion in taxes.

It is proposed that Universal Great Britain would create 8,000 jobs on a day-to-day basis in a whole host of positions. Not only that, for every job onsite, it is expected that 1 and a half jobs would be created in the supply chain.
It is expected that the resort would be open 365 days a year. The timeline for this proposed project is again estimated to be by the end of the decade, so 2030.

Land clearing onsite continues and a number of feasibility studies are being conducted including environmental and archaeological studies.
The success of this project is inevitably dependant on the planning process which in this case will be a special development order, meaning that rather than the final decision being made by local authorities, it will instead be made by the Department for Levelling Up.
From the outset of this proposal it has been made clear that infrastructure would have to be significantly improved in the area in order to cope with the millions of visitors to the resort each year.
As we already know, Universal is in the process of assessing whether they will look to go ahead with this huge project. From the meetings Universal conducted back in April and questionnaires it seems as if 92% of people who took part were in favour of the project.

A decision on whether Universal Great Britain will get the green light or not is expected by the end of the year.
April 15 – Universal certainly appear to mean business with their proposed Universal Great Britain project as the first of the two public events in Bedford took place on Saturday 13th April.
In a new video posted to YouTube by Theme Park Worldwide we get to see the presentation at time stamp 2:40 given by two Universal Destinations and Experiences representatives as well as a tour of the site which Universal has purchased.

From the presentation we get to hear that Universal plan to work closely with the schools and colleges to create training programs and job opportunities in the area. Due to expected repeated visitation, new transport infrastructure is a key focus to ensure improved infrastructure for the area.

The key benefits are listed as:
The creation of 20,000 jobs during the construction period
When the resort opens there is projected to be 8,000 ongoing jobs rising to approximately 10,000.
As a knock on effect it is expected to create approximately another 12,000 jobs in the local community who are used to supply the resort with a range of products and services.
Host of training programmes for Team Members to ensure there are career prospects with 50% of the senior management team having started on an hourly-wage.
Confirmed investment in the Team Members and the community.

At timestamp 14:35 we get to see the plot of land which has been purchased. In relation to time frames, we know that the public consultation period ends on Friday 3rd May. There have been rumours that a decision could be made by the end of 2024 but this has not been confirmed as of yet. If this project does get the green light, construction is rumoured to start as early as 2025 with a projected opening date being 2030.
To have your say on this exciting proposed project and to see the host of information added at the beginning of April, visit the official Universal Project UK website. Here is a link to the detailed 16-page document titled, Potential Theme Park and Resort Project.
April 6 – Universal has now confirmed that is has “spent the last several months undertaking feasibility and due diligence work as well as discussing the project with local and national stakeholders.”

The next step is to begin a period of 28 days of public engagement to hear local feedback. This has now begun and will end on Friday May 3rd. Although this is an important step, Universal makes it clear that it does not mean that a final decision has been made regarding the final decision as of yet.
Two public events have also been announced on Saturday 13 April 11AM to 4PM at Kimberley College, Bedford and Tuesday 16 April, 4:30PM to 8PM at Bedford College. Universal has confirmed that they will not be sharing any new information at these events that has not already been shared on the website.
We are very excited to hear the results from the period of public consultation and hope to hear positive news in the coming months on this Universal UK Project.
April 5 – The news stunned UK theme park fans at the end of December 2023 when Universal confirmed that they had purchased a 480 acre parcel of land in Bedford and were considering building Universal Studios Great Britain. Considering Islands of Adventure is approximately 110 acres, this 480 acre parcel of land would certainly be big enough for two theme parks and resort hotels and facilities.

In a new video posted to YouTube by Universal Studios Great Britain Updates we get to see the latest developments on site. As you can see, concrete barriers have been added to the site. It also appears that land clearance is underway with big piles of dirt onsite and flag markers are appearing.

It will still be many months before we hear any confirmed details regarding whether Universal Studios Great Britain will go ahead. We will keep you updated with further details when they are announced.
March 15 – In a recent video posted to YouTube on 19th February by Universal Studios Great Britain we get to hear the latest developments on the new proposed Universal theme park.

Currently, Universal is in the middle of conducting feasibility studies to ensure the land is suitable for a theme park and we don’t have confirmation of this project coming to fruition just yet but with the new developments taking place over recent weeks we are certainly very hopeful.
Although we still have to wait for official confirmation that Universal Studios Great Britain will go ahead there are numerous factors pointing to a positive outcome for this project.
Firstly, it is in a very good location, less than 1 hour from London with approximately 49 million people living within 200km of the site. To put it in perspective 22 million people live within 200km of Disneyland Paris Resort. London Luton airport is only 30 minutes away by car giving international visitors easy access to the site.

The site is also served by two railway lines and if the current Kempston Hardwick station which is located right in the middle of the site was improved it could bring guests in from all over the UK.
In January 2024, Manor Road which cuts through the middle of the site was closed for a boar hole test to see if a bridge could be built crossing the railway which would potentially improve infrastructure in the future.
The M1 is also only a few miles away and the A421 is already having major improvements done on it. If a dedicated slip road was added off the A421 then there would be no need for traffic to go through local villages.
At timestamp 5:15 we get to see that in a recent update from February 2024, the UK government is officially backing Universal’s plans and Transport Secretary, Mark Harper said that road improvements would be funded to aid the bid.

In a more recent video posted to YouTube on 8th March by Universal Studios Great Britain, we can see that the government has given the green light to the next section of the long-awaited East West Rail (EWR) in the budget and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said works would be accelerated to allow services from Oxford to Bedford to run by 2030.

In a poll published by Living Life Magazine which asked people’s opinions on this potential new Universal Theme Park, 81% of those that voted approved or strongly approved of the idea of a Universal Studios theme park in the Bedford location.
In regards to what we are likely to see, it is clear that Universal are not going to want to do anything to stop the 1 million visitors from the UK visiting their Orlando parks so it seems we are unlikely to see any of the headlining attractions from Universal Orlando Resort coming to Britain.

We could however see duplicated attractions from Universal Studios Hollywood, Japan, Singapore or Beijing such as those based on the Jurassic World, Minions, Transformers and The Fast and the Furious IPs.
There still seems to be a question mark over whether Universal would add Harry Potter to Universal Studios Great Britain as the Warner Bros studios is just an hour away. There has also been speculation that Universal could try to acquire new IPs such as James Bond, Paddington and Lord of the Rings to use in the new park.
In January, Universal was looking to hire an intern from the UK. There has also been a rumor of 30,000 construction workers will be used which would be a huge boost to jobs in the local community.
Universal is proposing that they want guests to be walking through the gates in 2030 meaning we expect to hear further news during 2024 of their plans for Universal Studios Great Britain. We will keep you updated on all the latest developments here at Theme Park Tourist.

January 8 – Many UK theme park fans are still shocked by the news that in December Universal Destinations & Experiences had purchased a 480 acre plot of land in the small village of Kempston Hardwick. It is close to the A421 which leads to the M1.
In the video posted to YouTube by Theme Park Worldwide you get to see extensive aerial video footage of the whole site including the 240 acre former Kempston Hardwick Brickworks which is one part of the purchase. This parcel of land is mainly flat and includes 3 small lakes.

The second piece of land is 240 acres of open field which runs the other side of Manor Road which is also mostly flat and would be ideal for Universal to develop on.

Kempston Hardwick railway station sits in the middle of the two plots of land purchased by Universal. The current Station would be sure to undergo major improvements if Universal Studios Great Britain gets the green light as would other infrastructure in the area.
We now have to patiently wait to hear the next steps on this potential hugely exciting project for the UK and will bring you all the latest news and updates as soon as they are announced.
December 26, 2023 – If you speak to any UK theme park fan right now, you can guarantee that the hot topic of conversation will be the recent news that Universal has bought a large 480 acre parcel of land just north of London in Kempston Hardwick in Bedford where they plan to build a new theme park.
It was announced yesterday across the UK media that Universal had sent a letter to local residents explaining further about their plans for a potential UK theme park. You can view the letter here.

Since the original announcement on December 19, UK theme park enthusiasts have been excitedly trawling the internet to try to discover further details regarding this news. We initially collated a summary of all that was known in our article, Universal Rumored To Be Building A Theme Park In The UK: Is This A Game-Changer In The Making? and we now aim to expand on this with further findings to explore the question, Will Universal UK actually be built?

Well, thanks to a recent video posted to YouTube by Theme Park Worldwide which is embedded above we get to discover further details about this potential Universal UK project. We are splitting the information down into a number of sections to make it easier to digest, beginning with the location…
Location: Outskirts of Bedford VERY GOOD
Image: Universal
When a company looks to build a theme park there are a number of key factors to consider, the most important one though is always likely to be location. Universal has recently purchased a 480 acre plot of land just north of London in Bedford in Kempston Hardwick on the site of the former Bedford Brickworks site.

It has been reported that this location is within 2 hours of half the population of the UK (30 million people) making it a highly desirable location for a theme park and one which would essentially be guaranteed good attendance figures.
Surrounding Infrastructure: GOOD
The site is close to good road infrastructure. It is near to the M1 which is one of the major motorways which runs right through the UK and also there is the nearby A6 and dual carriageway.
As the project progresses we would expect further infrastructure to be put into place in the local area.
Is the plot of land big enough for a Universal Resort? 480 acres…
Well, if we compare this plot of land to the other Universal resorts across the globe you quickly get a picture that 480 acres is a very good size. So, here is the list of the current 5 Universal resorts in terms of total acreage:

Universal Orlando – 541 acres
Universal Hollywood – 415 acres
Universal Japan – 130 acres
Universal Singapore – 120 acres
Universal Beijing – 130 acres

As you can see 480 acres is plenty of land, only being beaten by Universal Orlando Resort with 541 acres.
Universal Resorts have a main Universal Studios Park with a park size ranging between 49 – 415 acres.

Universal Studios Hollywood  – 415 acres
Universal Studios Japan  – 130 acres
Universal Studios Beijing  – 130 acres
Universal Studios Florida  – 125 acres
Universal’s Islands of Adventure  – 110 acres
Universal Studios Singapore  – 49 acres

There will often then be a second gate which is the case in Orlando with Universal’s Islands of Adventure as well as hotels, Citywalk and more.
So, read on to learn more about what will likely be in a potential Universal UK theme park and when we are likely to see it opening…

What would Universal UK likely have?
Well we can say with a lot of certainty that there would be a main studios park. There could also be a second gate park with further IPs and attractions. There would also likely be a Citywalk with restaurants and shopping opportunities as well as potentially a cinema.
We must remember that at this point, Universal has made it clear that the Universal UK project is very much at the beginnings of the planning process and nothing has been officially confirmed regarding the creative content. As the UK is the home of Harry Potter, a Wizarding World would surely be top of the list for most UK theme park fans in a Universal UK theme park project for the future.
Will Universal UK Project actually happen? LIKELY

There has been so much hype and excitement from UK theme park fans since the initial announcement of the purchase of land back on December 19. Recently we have also discovered that there is now a new official website, universalukproject.co.uk giving more details and collating information all in one place for about the potential Universal UK Project.

The website says that although the parcel of land has been purchased, Universal Destinations & Experiences confirms “we are only at the beginning of our feasibility study as part of our evaluation of potential sites. It may well therefore be many months before we decide whether this potential project will proceed.”
It also reassures that “Collaboration and community engagement are at the core of any new experience we explore, and if we do proceed with a project in Bedford, there will be opportunities to meet with us and discuss any plans as they develop. 
If you consider everything that we do currently know including the size of land acquired and that Universal appears to be in a rapid period of growth with Epic Universe opening in Orlando in 2025 and Universal Kids Resort being constructed for Frisco, Texas it seems likely that we will see a Universal Park in the UK in the near future.
Although we don’t have confirmation as of yet regarding whether the Universal UK Project will definitely be taking place on this recently acquired plot of land in Bedford, we will keep a close eye on news and will look forward to bringing you all the latest updates.
Not only would a Universal UK project bring a fantastic opportunity for UK theme park fans but it would also give Merlin a good competitor for it to up its game further as well as the other popular theme parks in the UK including Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Drayton Manor.

Here is a link to the copy of the letter which is on the website to local residents explaining the current position of Universal from John McReynolds External Affairs, Universal Destinations & Experience and Gidon Freeman Government and Regulatory Affairs, NBCUniversal.
When could Universal UK Project open?
As the Universal UK Project is very much at the start of its journey, we don’t have any timeline confirmed. Approximate plans currently predict that we could see the Project opening by the end of the decade, 2030.
As further information is discovered and confirmed about this ridiculously exciting potential upcoming Universal theme park in the UK we will update you on what we are likely going to see along with exactly where and when we expect to see it.

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