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Thorpe Park

View over some of the rides.View over some of the rides.

This is a great family day out within easy reach of central London, although it does specialise in white-knuckle rides for themepark aficionados, with few concessions to younger visitors. As with all themeparks, it’s not a cheap day out.

Best for: Those with slightly older kids, although there’s a mini-rollercoaster, playgrounds, beach, carousel and live shows for younger kids. Still, those with tots might be happier at the nearby sister themepark Chessington World of Adventures.

Read our review of a visit to Thorpe Park with kids.

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What to do

With older adrenaline junkies, make a beeline for the Slammer giant freefall ride, the Vortex, which resembles an oversize egg whisk, and the horror-film themed, not-for-the-squeamish Saw: The Ride. Check out Storm Surge, a sky-high spinning water ride with a spiralling descent through water cannon fire, and The Swarm Backwards – a refitting of Europe's first winged rollercoaster to include some backwards-facing seats. New-in-2016 was Derren Brown's Ghost Train, a reworking of a traditional favourite using VR headsets to increase the scares; for 2017, the ride gets a new destination.

With younger kids, head to Octopus Garden, Neptune’s Kingdom, the Flying Fish first-timers’ rollercoaster, the Canada Creek scenic railway and Angry Birds Land.

In high season, think about upgrading to a fast-track ticket to whizz to the head of certain queues.

Take note of height restrictions on rides – you don’t want your kids to queue up only to be disappointed.

Take advantage of the Parent Swap facility for those who want to go on rides that their children are too young for (the second parent is let onto the ride as the first exits, meaning you don’t have to queue twice).

Get your children free wristbands from Guest Services just in case you get separated. 

Where to stay

Stay on-site at the THORPE SHARK hotel, which offers rooms for 4 in comfortable container-style cabins with a double and bunk-beds. Thorpe Breaks offers nearby hotels for various budgets, recommended by Thorpe Park themselves. Or you might stay in the capital itself, in which case see our London with kids destination guide for our family-friendly holiday recommendations.

 

When

The park is open from mid-March until early November, with times varying by day and season. 

How

Just 32km southwest of central London, Thorpe Park is easy to reach by car or public transport (there’s a regular shuttle from Staines station, 35 minutes from London’s Waterloo train station). 

Eat

There are lots of places to eat within the park, serving both fast food for those who don’t want to break from the fun and sit-down meals and snacks. You can take in your own food but there’s not much place to spread out a picnic.

Cost

As with all themeparks, Thorpe Park is not a cheap day out, but you can usually save quite a bit by booking online in advance as well as checking the website for seasonal offers.

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