Thorpe Park has firmly established itself as one of Britain's leading theme parks, with a huge array of thrill rides in its growing line-up of attractions. Packing everything you want to experience into a single-day visit can be a challenge, particularly on days when attendance at the park is high and queues are long. A family day out at the park can also be expensive, with the cost of tickets, parking, food and souvenirs all stacking up.
Fortunately, it is possible to save both time and money the next time you visit Thorpe Park if you're prepared to plan ahead. Just use the simple tips which we've collated below.
- Take advantage of special offers and discounts - you should rarely, if ever, have to pay full price for Thorpe Park tickets. The park frequently offers "two-for-one" deals in conjunction with newspapers and stores, and Tesco shoppers can use Clubcard Vouchers to save up to 66%. You can find tickets available at a 10-30% discount from the Thorpe Park website.
- Pick up an Annual Pass - if you're a regular visitor to Thorpe Park, buying an Annual Pass could save you money in the long-run. Individual passes can be purchased online for £84. If you're planning on visiting any other attractions owned by Merlin (including Alton Towers, Chessington World of Adventures and LEGOLAND Windsor), you can buy a Merlin Annual Pass, costing £140.40 for a Standard Pass (with some restrictions) or £167.40 for a Premium Pass. Assuming that 2-for-1 deals are available at the parks, you'll need to visit 4-5 times in order for the pass to pay for itself (though it also offers discounts on food and drink).
- Take your own drinks and snacks - food and drink can be quite expensive at Thorpe Park, but as it is located close to several supermarkets there is always the option of bringing your own selection of drinks and snacks (or even a packed lunch). All of the park's major attractions offer racks or lockers where bags can be stored while you ride.
- Visit on the quietest day possible - if you can, avoid visiting Thorpe Park during the school holidays and on Saturdays. If possible, head to the park on a Sunday or a weekday - but don't worry if not, it is still possible to have a great time on any day by following the tips below.
- Arrive early - aim to get to Thorpe Park at least 45-60 minutes before rides open, to give yourself a chance to park and pick up your tickets (if you haven't ordered them in advance). Opening times vary throughout the season, so be sure to check in advance using the calendar on the park's website.
- Hit the most popular rides straight away - for a headline attraction, Saw - The Ride has a relatively low throughput. This can lead to long queues for much of the day, so if you want to ride it make it your first stop in the morning. Stealth, Nemesis Inferno and Colossus perform better, but their popularity means you should hit them soon afterwards. If the weather is forecast to be hot and you fancy getting soaked on water rides such as Tidal Wave and Loggers Leap, try and ride them soon after experiencing the rollercoasters as they'll be very busy during the middle of the day.
- Choose when you plan to eat carefully - Thorpe Park's restaurants are very busy between 11am and 1pm. If you can eat either side of this window, then do - the queues for the most popular rides will be shorter during this period.
- Eat breakfast before you arrive - breakfast at Thorpe Park is both expensive and time-consuming, so make sure you eat before you head to the park.
- Turn to the dark side and buy Fastrack tickets - we're not fans of Thorpe Park's Fastrack tickets, which allow guests to skip the regular lines for specific attractions at an extra cost. In addition to making everyone else in the park feel like second-class citizens (not to mention profiteering from its own rides' low capacity), the park often oversells them resulting in waits of 30 minutes or more even for Fastrack holders. If you follow the other tips in this article, there'll usually be no need to use them.
- Cram in one last ride - Thorpe Park closes its queues, not its rides, at the scheduled closing time. This is important as it means you can join the queue just prior to the closing time, and still be allowed to ride.
Share your Thorpe Park tips!
Do you have any tips that could help others save time and money on their Thorpe Park trips? Why not share them with others through our theme park tips section?