Thorpe Park

Attractions, Theme parks London
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Thorpe Park

The park is famous for its white-knuckle rides: the Stealth launches riders 205ft in the air, going from 0 to 80mph in 2.3 seconds; Detonator winches riders 100ft into the air and then fires them back to earth at 75km an hour; Tidal Wave is an 85ft drop through water; Colossus is a rollercoaster which climbs to 100 feet then hurtles riders through ten loops; Nemesis Inferno is a suspended rollercoaster featuring a journey through the heart of an erupting volcano; Quantum is a stomach lurching vertical repeating ride; and The Swarm, Europe’s tallest wing coaster offering ‘a head- first, inverted drop from 127 ft’ (since selected seats on 'The Swarm' face backwards). 

Rides are regularly updated, and any new additions a bit of big deal. 2016 saw the arrival of Derren Brown’s Ghost Train – an immersive experience with twists and turns beyond the usual rollercoaster. Think VR, zombies and the apocalypse and you won't go far wrong. 

Many of the rides - such as Saw, Nemesis Inferno and Quantum -  are designed for teens and older children, and have height restrictions. That said, parents with young (or short) children will find plenty to do at Octopus Garden (little, friendly rides) and the delightful Mr Monkey’s Banana Ride, with its slightly sinister commentary.

You can pick up tickets online for around £35 but do be aware that if you’re going during the school holidays Thorpe Park has the potential to be incredibly busy, so fast tracks may come in handy. It’s worth booking online beforehand as tickets on the door can be almost double the price, there’s also deals for group tickets available.

If you really don’t want to go home, there’s also the option to stay on site at the Thorpe Park Shark Hotel, prices start from £58 per person, and you get unlimited fast track passes for all the rides until 11am, beating the rush.

Top ride: The Swarm

There isn’t another ride in the country quite like Thorpe Park’s Swiss-made ‘winged-coaster’. Instead of sitting on the track, or dangling below it, riders perch beside it, and the sci-fi bat-shaped cars have plenty of near-misses with plane wrecks and ruined buildings.

Don’t want to go home?

Thorpe Shark Hotel is just a few steps away from the park entrance. It’s effectively just a place to sleep, but it’s cheap when combined with park tickets. Rooms that sleep up to four people cost from £58pp, which includes two days at the park and breakfast. 

Posted:

Venue name: Thorpe Park
Contact:
Address: Staines Road
Chertsey
KT16 8PN
Opening hours: 2017: Apr-Oct 31: daily 10am-5pm or 6pm; closed selected dates, check website for details. Late opening, selected dates Oct 6-31: 10am-10pm.
Transport: Rail: Staines rail then 10min bus ride
Price: From £52.50, from £29.99 online.
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Tara P
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Tastemaker

Thorpe Park has evolved a lot in my lifetime. As a child who lived nearby I used to spend hours there - in the early nineties it was focused mainly on the kiddie age bracket with an adorable farm alongside old favourites such as loggers leap. 


It was voted the most parent friendly park in the UK in 1997. X No Way Out - a backwards, indoor coaster - was the most intense ride, whilst the kids were terrified in Witches' Haunt. 


Oh how times have changed! Unfortunately for some, fortunately for others, the park was bought by the Tussauds group (now Merlin) and switched its focus to thrill seekers, with vast numbers of intense rides added in the last 15 years. 


If you're a fan of giant roller coasters and horror films, Thorpe Park is the place for you. Saw-themed rides and envelope-pushing coasters are prevalent, with younger children largely forgotten outside of a small kiddie area. Even the old Belle steamboat has been turned into a Saw-themed horror maze.


Perhaps it's progress, but it smacks more as cheap thrills - subtle theming and family fun gone out the window in favour of shock tactics as the suits move in. If you're a fan of Saw, then I'm sure it's great, but there's little left for the casual day tripper in the mood for a few water rides. You're squeezed for every penny now - with parking costs to boot. 


I realise that I sound like an old fogey, but it's sad to see something that used to have such charm slip away, overtaken by loud and brash homages to the violent interests of today's youth. I'd rather pay more and go on a day trip to Disneyland Paris!

Kirsty E
Tastemaker

There are arguably some of the biggest thrill rides in the country at Thorpe Park.. However I have 2 main gripes:

1) The queues are always far too long (well over an hour per ride even out of season)

2) The rides are far too short - to queue for an hour and a half to ride Stealth for all of 10 seconds just seems bizarre!

I love theme parks, and some of the rides here are great - my personal favourites are Colossus and the Swarm, the latter is very different to anything else I have ridden. However, the queues just really put me off. Would rather drive a bit further to Alton Towers where the rides are more interesting and you can actually experience more than 3 rides in a day!!