Those looking for a proper theme park near London should look no further than Thorpe Park, billed as “the UK’s Thrill Capital.” Located about 20 miles southwest of the city center and just a few miles south of Heathrow Airport, this is the closest amusement park for London-based roller coaster junkies.
Opened in 1979 on the site of a former concrete quarry, the 500-acre Thorpe Park has continued to add new rides every year as it’s gained in popularity. It’s part of the Merlin Entertainment umbrella, a company that includes the London Eye, Alton Towers, the Chessington World of Adventures and Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museums.
Thorpe Park contains dozens of water rides and great big roller coasters with names like Stealth, Nemesis Inferno, Colossus, Tidal Wave, Rush, Samurai, Vortex, Slammer, Detonator, and X:\ No Way Out.
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The season generally runs from mid-February to early November. For the first month of the season, the park is only open on weekends, and in August the park stays open until 8pm; otherwise, the park is generally open every day from 9:30am -6pm. Times can vary, though, so be sure to check specifics on the park’s schedule page.
Prices and discounts for admission
Basic prices are about £38 per adult/£24 per child when purchased at the park, or £26 per adult/£18 per child through the park’s advance ticket purchasing site. Online, you’ll also find tempting discounts for families, as well as great specials for groups of 7 or more.
Getting to Thorpe Park
If you don’t have a car and you are staying somewhere near central London, take a South West train from Waterloo Station to the Staines Station. You can then hop a Thorpe Park shuttle bus directly from Staines; the shuttle runs every half-hour during opening times.
Those coming by car should get to the M25 ring road near Heathrow and then take junctions 11 or 13; follow signs via A320 to Thorpe Park. Parking is free.
Staines Road, Chertsey
Surrey, KT16 8PN