Welcome to part seven of our series on family-friendly days out. Despite all the negative press around theme parks since the tragic accident at Alton Towers earlier in the year, we decided to head to a theme park that we haven’t visited before, Thorpe Park.
Thorpe Park is part of the Merlin Entertainments Group, located just 20 miles from Central London.
What to expect
- Expect to pay a higher ticket price on the day – if you book in advance you could save a huge amount per person
- Expect to get very wet on some of the rides – perhaps pack a change of clothes for family members
- There is a beach and a water play area so if the weather is nice you might want to take swimming things and towels (this is quite near the entrance/exit so you could either do that at the start or end of your day and return your things to the car)
- You will need to leave your pushchair outside for the 4D cinema experience – this is the only fully-inclusive activity for all ages, you can ask to sit in a de-activated seat it you are pregnant or have a small child with you
- You will need to pay for parking before you can leave the car park
What they have spot on:
- Lots of ‘big’ rides for thrill seekers
- Toilets and baby change available only when a member of staff unlocks the door – whilst this might sound annoying, it actually means only those who actually need the room use it, so it is much better
- Great for children from around 8 years upwards, this would be a great day out if you had thrill-seeking teenagers especially
- Very clean – staff constantly going around picking up any litter to ensure it maintained its cleanliness
- Lots of bins and recycling points
- Lots of lockers all around the park so you don’t have to carry bags, wet things etc all of the time
- Lots of picnic spots, many are covered as well to shelter from sun or rain
- Live music during the day
- A beach and water slides which makes it a bit different
- It is a nice park to walk around if you are not taking part and there are some excellent viewing options for spectators
- Lots of fantastic photo opportunities and lovely backdrops, especially around near the beach and waterpark area
- Lots of ‘different’ rides, rides with a twist on the norm, making it interesting
- Lots of parking and the car park is not a huge walking distance to the park
What they need to work on:
- The attraction is quite pricey – but not dissimilar to other theme parks
- There are a disappointing number of things that cost extra when inside the park
- Aside from the beach, there is nothing for small children- With a few strategically placed play areas around the park there would be much wider appeal for families with children of a range of ages. This would be quite a simple thing to do but would make quite a difference.
- The beach closed early the day we were there which was a bit disappointing as there was no prior warning – don’t get caught out saving it until the very end of the day!
- We felt that the park was quite hard to navigate, we weren’t sure if we had completed everything but that might just have been due to building work at the time
- £5 for parking is a bit excessive – with high ticket prices, parking should really be free
We give Thorpe Park a Mummy Fever rating of 3.5/5 . With a few play areas for small children, this would easily be a 4.5 as it would instantly be so much more inclusive and family-friendly.