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  • 'Pay for a day, come back all year/season for free'. That's how Merlin is billing its Thorpe Park and Alton Towers annual/season passes, but are they as good as they sound?

    While it's true the Thorpe Park and Alton Towers passes - which are the same price for adults and kids - are either as cheap or cheaper than the most expensive on-the-gate tickets, easily-obtained 2for1 vouchers and discounted online tickets bought in advance mean you'd have to visit the same park at least a twice for the pass to save you any money.

    The cheapest way to visit can depend on group size, how many kids are going and whether it's a peak or off-peak day. Our table below breaks down all the costs for Thorpe Park, Alton Towers, Chessington World of Adventures and Legoland Windsor, so you can work out what's best. See our theme park guide for more deals.

    The attractions are generally open every day from April to October, though pass holders sometimes have to pay an extra charge during special events and on peak weekends in Aug-Sep.

    Theme park annual/season pass vs single day ticket costs
      Pass price per person, any age Pass expiry Full-price on-the-gate day ticket Tickets booked online 5-7 days in advance
    Thorpe Park (buyT&Cs) £49 12 months £49-£55 adult, £44-£50 child £30 per person

    Alton Towers (buyT&Cs)

    £55 Nov 2018 £55 adult, £48 child £33 adult, £27.50 child
    Chessington (buyT&Cs) £65 12 months £50 adult, £46 child £29 per person
    Legoland (buyT&Cs) £70-£110 12 months £47-£60 per person £32-£47 per person


    If you live near Thorpe Park, we think it offers the best-value pass - it's the only one that can be cheaper to buy than an on-the-gate ticket. However, if you live closer to one of the other attractions, or just prefer a different one, a pass may still save you money but you'll likely have to visit more times for it to beat using a 2for1.

    Want to visit multiple theme parks?

    If you plan to make multiple trips to Merlin attractions, you should consider buying an annual Merlin pass, which gets you unlimited visits to 32 attractions including Legoland, Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, Sea Life, Madame Tussauds, London Dungeon, London Eye and the Blackpool Tower. They cost £179 per person at full price, or if you're buying for between three and five people (max three over-12s) you can get them at the reduced 'standard family' rate of £139 per person.

    Merlin annual passes are usually discounted a few times per year, normally in January and June by £40-£50 (or £20-£30 for family rate ones). Given you could also go to many attractions using a 2for1 voucher (see our Theme Parks guide), you need to make multiple visits during the year to make it worth buying an annual pass, so you’d need to weigh up whether you’re likely to save money or not.

  • If you register and print a voucher from Days Out Guide then buy a National Rail ticket, you can get 2for1 entry to over 300 UK attractions, including SeaLife Centres, Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures, Alton Towers and Legoland Windsor when you present both at the attraction. See the full theme park list or the zoo and wildlife list

    You need to print a voucher for the relevant attraction (follow the link above and search for it) AND have a valid rail ticket bought from National Rail on the same day for a single or day return ticket, or within the days of travel for a return ticket. 

    What if I live near the attraction/am travelling by other means?

    It's worth doing this even if you are not travelling by train as a cheap single ticket can be available for a couple of quid, far cheaper than the entry ticket price (Legoland Windsor is the most expensive at up to £60 on the gate).

    Just stop by the nearest station on your way and pick one up, then present both to get your 2for1. Crucially, your rail ticket must show that you have travelled to one of the stations nearest the attraction. So for Thorpe Park, you need to have a ticket with an end destination of Staines or Chertsey. 

    The offer's ongoing, but check the voucher for each individual attraction's restrictions, as these vary. See the full T&Cs including which tickets are valid.

    • Excludes Oyster cards, Freedom Passes, and tickets and travelcards bought from London Underground. Can't be used with other offers or promotions.
  • There are always ways to save money at Legoland, so even if there isn’t a cracking deal out there that works for you, don’t assume you can’t cut your costs further.

    Ways to save include:

    • Offers for email subscribers. If you sign up to the Legoland email newsletter you'll receive MoneySaving offers direct to your inbox.

    • Get an annual pass. If you’re planning multiple visits, you can buy an annual Merlin pass for 12 months' unlimited entry into a range of attractions including Legoland. It normally costs £179, or less per person if you're buying for a family, but look out for promotional discounts.

    • Check out similar theme parks. If you’re not committed to visiting Legoland, have a look at other Merlin attractions including Alton TowersChessington World of Adventures and Thorpe Park.

    • Want more? Read our Cheap Theme Parks and Cheap Days Out guides for more MoneySaving tips.

    • Had a problem with Legoland? There’s a free online tool you can use to complain – it helps draft, manage and if necessary escalate your complaint. It’s offered by a firm called Resolver, which we like so much we work with it to help people get complaints justice – you can use it to complain to Legoland*.

    If you spot any hot deals out there we have missed (we are human after all!), please let us know in the MSE forum, email us at msedeals@moneysavingexpert.com or via MSE Facebook and Twitter @MSE_Deals.

  • Convert Tesco Clubcard points into Tesco Boost tokens* and on some theme parks you get three times the vouchers' face value to use on tickets, eg, £5 in points converts into £15 worth of Boost rewards.

    Here are some of the places you can visit:

    The London Dungeon*
    Alton Towers*
    Blackpool Pleasure Beach*
    Chessington*
    Drayton Manor*
    Legoland*
    Lightwater Valley*
    Legoland Discovery Centre*
    Longleat*
    Madame Tussaud's London*
    Thorpe Park*
    Warwick Castle*

    For how to fully maximise Clubcard points, see the Loyalty Schemes guide.

Latest Expired Deals

  • Legoland Windsor 30% off annual pass

    Legoland Windsor 30% off annual pass

    Pay £62 instead of £89

    Until 11.59pm on Sun 3 Nov, you can get 30% off the Legoland Windsor annual pass, making it £62 (norm £89) per person. You'll get a year of entry on all Legoland Windsor open days with some exclusions (see 'More info' for details) as well as discounted parking.

    You can purchase the pass online, or in person at the resort. You'll need to upload a photo - this will appear on your pass. Collect your pass from Legoland Windsor. The year of membership begins from the day of collection.

    The offer's only available on the Legoland annual pass - not the saver pass or Merlin passes. The annual pass is suitable for kids and adults - the price remains the same.

    We've plenty more ideas for keeping the wee'uns entertained in our Things to do with the kids guide.

    • The discount can't be used alongside any other promotional offer.

      Annual pass exclusions:

      • 'Red Event Days' which are marked red on Legoland's operating calendar
      • Fireworks Spectacular event tickets (an additional £10 surcharge applies)
      • 'Legoland at Christmas' is discounted but not free: £26 for Father Christmas ticket (norm £36), £15 for Theme Park Only ticket (norm £25)

       

  • 2for1 Legoland, Alton Towers etc with £3ish cereal

    2for1 Legoland, Alton Towers etc with £3ish cereal

    Adults go 'free' voucher on selected Kellogg's cereals

    Look for promotional packs of Kellogg's cereal and snacks, including Rice Krispies, Frosties, Crunchy Nut and Squares (norm £2ish-£4ish at most supermarkets), to get 'free' adult entry via a voucher for 30 Merlin attractions until 30 June 2020.

    Effectively this is a 2for1, as you must buy a full-price on-the-gate child or adult ticket to get the free adult entry, but this could actually work out better than a 2for1 ticket if you're an adult going with a child as generally child tickets tend to be cheaper than adult ones.

    The vouchers can be exchanged for entry on the day at Merlin attractions including Legoland, Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, Chessington, Sea Life centres and sanctuaries, the Dungeons and Madame Tussauds. Some dates are excluded and these vary between attractions - see 'More info' below.

    Promotional packs will be readily available in stores until May, after which they'll be harder to find. 

    How strong is this deal?

    While attraction prices vary, the most you could save with this offer is £57ish based on peak Legoland Windsor ticket prices (norm £60 each on the gate, so £120 for two, but you could get two for £63ish with this deal).

    As it covers a large range of attractions and the vouchers are valid for over a year, this is a particularly strong deal if you and one other person are considering visiting one of the participating venues.

    However, if you’re only interested in visiting a specific attraction, possibly more than once, and aren’t going in a pair, it’s worth checking to see what other deals are available. Find ticket prices for other attractions and see our round-up of theme park deals to check which works best for you.

    You can also book online

    To guarantee entry and beat the queues at selected attractions, there's also an option to book your tickets online in advance using unique codes found inside Kellogg's cereal packets (though you'll still pay the on-the-gate price). Technically, these codes can be combined with the physical vouchers to obtain two free adult tickets with two full-price child tickets purchased - see 'More info' for full details.

    • Ensure you take the voucher with you on the day. It can only be used against the gate price, not the discounted online price. The age classification for an adult ticket varies between attractions so make sure you check before you go. Valid for standard entry tickets only.

      Also check the venue's individual opening dates as some are closed at certain times of the year. There are also some extra excluded dates in 2019 listed below (2020 exclusion dates will be available from the end of the 2019 season):

      • 19-30 Aug and 25 Dec at all attractions
      • 8-10 Nov at Alton Towers Resort
      • 19-21 Apr, 21, 22 and 27-28 Jul, 3, 4 and 10-11 Aug, and 31 Dec at the Coca-Cola London Eye
      • 1-31 Aug at SEA LIFE London
      • 25-31 Oct at The London Dungeon
      • 6-Oct-4 Nov at The Blackpool Tower Circus (The Blackpool Tower Eye is open subject to weather conditions)
      • 18-31 Oct at Thorpe Park
      • 27-31 Oct at The Blackpool Tower Dungeon, 26-31 Oct and 26-31 Dec at The York and Edinburgh Dungeons
      • 30 Nov, 1, 7-8, 14-15, 18-24 Dec at Legoland Windsor
      • 25 May-2 Jun, 26 Oct- 3 Nov, 31 Dec- 5 Jan at The Bear Grylls Adventure

      Promotional vouchers aren't valid at secondary attractions and don’t guarantee entry into attractions in the event of venue capacity being reached. Offer can't be used with any other offer or concession, reward or loyalty schemes.

      Or book online in advance using promo codes on cereal packets

      To guarantee entry in advance, you can book tickets online (excludes The Blackpool Tower Circus) at a special Merlin website ahead of your visit. To do this, you need a unique code found inside promotional packs of Kellogg’s cereal only, on the underside of the carton flap.

      This method of redeeming the offer requires you to pay the gate price in advance and print out your tickets. At selected attractions, you can scan these tickets and walk right through the gates, enabling you to beat the queues.