THEY SAY: One of the first theme parks in the UK. 20 miles from central London.
WE SAY: Best for older children. The highlight for us was the splashpark and beach.
I nearly passed out as I opened my car door and stepped out from the air conditioning into a 34C heat. I chose the hottest day of the year to visit Thorpe Park theme park and it felt like we were abroad.
Due to the weather, we headed straight for the beach and splashpark area. There was no way I was going to queue with two young children for rides in that sort of heat!
Armed with swimming costumes and buckets and spades, we headed straight for Amity Beach, which lies in the heart of the resort.
TIP: Use the one-time height check for younger guests to avoid having to get them measured at every ride.
We got ourselves a couple of sun loungers, a parasol and made a base, where we stayed for the next few hours enjoying the slides and paddling in the pool.It was so relaxing you could easily forget you were in the centre of a theme park.
I could have stayed there all day actually. I can honestly say it was one of the best family days we had in summer 2015. There’s slides for different age groups and the kids were having a brilliant time but with more than 30 rides and attractions, it was time to explore.
For the younger riders, there is the Flying Fish rollercoaster, (need to be a minimum of 0.9m tall), the Teacups (need to be 1.1m tall) Mr Monkey’s banana ride, (need to be at least 0.9m tall), the rocky express train ride (need to be 0.9m), the dodgems (minimum of 1.1m tall) and the Angry Birds 4D experience. However I don’t really think Thorpe Park is the place to go if you’ve only got pre-school aged children. It’s definitely more of a place for older kids. Check the resort map here.
For those who are a little taller, there is the log flume, rumba rapids, quantum magic carpet ride and the Vortex giant spinning pendulum.
And for the real daredevils, there’s the Swarm, which is the UK’s first winged roller coaster; Samurai, which reaches forces of up to 5Gs as you spin 360 degrees; and Stealth, one of Europe’s fastest and tallest rollercoasters.
TIP: If your children are under the height restriction but you still want to ride, try Parent Swap, where one parent queues on behalf of both.
There are plenty of places to eat and drink and, with free wi-fi, you can tweet your experiences as you go.
Parents can also still enjoy the height- restricted rides when visiting with toddlers, and you only have to queue once. After swapping over, the second rider gains entry to the ride via the ride exit. A voucher is required to use this service, pop in and collect one from guest services.
And the fun doesn’t have to end at the end of the day.
During the summer months, there are a programme of evening events including Island Beats and Ministry Of Sound music nights.
As the sun goes down, the park comes alive with a soundtrack of swooshing rides and amazing music.
Guests can upgrade their tickets for just £10 to book in for Island beats.
There is a Thorpe Park Hotel on site. If you stay over in this hotel, your second day in the theme park is free. Hotel rooms include a buffet breakfast. Hotel guests can also get a free Fastt-track pass which is valid until 11am. Parking is also free at the hotel.
Due to cost, and the fact we were going into Windsor the next day, we choose to stay at the Christopher Hotel in Eton.
Just 20 minutes drive from Thorpe Park, Eton is a beautiful town best known as the location of Eton College – a famous public school attended by the Royals.
The hotel was really nice and family friendly. The rooms had their own front door onto the driveway so there was no traipsing through corridors or faffing about with lifts and stairs. We parked right outside our room.
Need to know…
LOCATION: Staines Road, Chertsey, Surrey, KT16 8PN
OPEN: Seven days a week. Opening hours depend on season. Check website.
- Free wifi
- Buggy hire (£9)
- Three baby changing facilities
- First Aid point
- Wheelchair hire (£50 deposit)
PARKING: £6 per day. They advise to buy a car parking ticekt online in advance. There’s a barrier system so make sure you have your ticket handy when leaving.
PRICES: Vary. Online booking in advance is cheaper. Online day ticket: £27.99. Children under the age of three enter for free.
CALL: 0871 663 1673.