Of all the theme parks near London, Chessington World of Adventures is the best choice for families with a wide age-range among their children.
While Thorpe Park is probably a better choice for teens (as it has a huge selection of thrill rides and not much else), and Legoland might be a good choice for families with only younger children, Chessington mixes these worlds together with a nice selection of rides and attractions suited for different age ranges.
The attractions at Chessington
Chessington World of Adventures has dozens of rides mixed in among nine different theme areas, ranging from Beanoland to Mexicana to Mystic East to Transylvania. These include large and modern roller coasters, as well as shows and other attractions well-suited for younger children. They have a nice list of all of them, including height restrictions, on the official Chessington website.
There is also an elaborate zoo incorporated into the park. There are two halves to the zoo, with one half being a walkthrough safari experience where visitors can see gorillas, tigers, lions, and leopards in realistic habitats. The other half of the zoo contains more traditional smaller enclosures with dozens of smaller creatures, as well as a new petting zoo stocked with the usual friendly farm animals.
In 2008 Chessington opened the SEA LIFE exhibit within the Children’s Zoo, which contains a 250,000-litre aquarium housing over 20 marine displays that are sure to fascinate children of all ages.
Ticket prices for walk-up visitors are:
- Ages 12 and up – £32
- Under 12 – £21
However, Chessington offers better deals for families of 3, 4, or 5, as well as for groups of 10 or more.
Buy online and save
If you go to the Chessington ticket page and then buy online you can save a substantial amount on all of the above tickets and packages.
- Ages 12 and up – £23
- Under 12 – £16
They also offer periodic online specials, so it’s worth checking out their specials page to see if you can qualify.
Hours and schedule
The park opens from Mid March through late December. During summer it goes 7 days per week, but before and after there are some weekdays when only the zoo portion is open. The park opens at 10am every day, and closes on 3pm on the zoo-only days, but between 5pm and 8pm most normal days. Check the schedule page for specifics.
Chessington World of Adventures is about 12 miles southwest of Central London, and fortunately it’s fairly easy to reach for tourists and locals alike.
By rail you’ll take one of the regular South West Train services that run from Waterloo Station, Clapham Junction and Wimbledon. Take the train to Chessington South Station. You’ll be left with approximately a 10-minute walk from the station to the park.
By car it depends on which direction you are coming from. They have good directions on the Chessington site, and parking is free once you get there.