Winners of Blue Peter badges will no longer get free entry to Legoland Windsor, Chessington World of Adventures or dozens of other attractions run by Merlin Entertainments from the start of next year, after the firm ended its long-standing agreement with the BBC.

Currently Blue Peter badge holders can visit any of Merlin's UK attractions for free, as long as they show their badge (and corresponding badge ID card) and are accompanied by a paying adult - but this will come to an end on 1 January 2017.

Merlin wouldn't tell the specific reasons why it was choosing to end the free entry deal, but in a statement it said: "We regularly review our partnerships to ensure we are offering fair value and great benefits to our visitors of all ages.

"As part of this review, we've agreed with the BBC to end the long-standing relationship to give Blue Peter badge holders free access to attractions.

"This is not a decision we've taken lightly as we have been involved in the scheme for many years, but we hope badge holders may take advantage of many other attractive Merlin offers in the future."

Merlin's announcement came just days before it was fined £5 million over a rollercoaster crash at its flagship theme park Alton Towers. Six people were injured and two needed leg amputations as a result of the accident on the Smiler ride in June 2015.

Attractions close over winter

Blue Peter badge holders still have around three months to use their free entry perk at Merlin attractions before it's gone - though many of the firm's venues shut down over the winter, with Thorpe Park and Legoland Windsor closing on Monday 31 October.

There are more than 150 UK attractions not run by Merlin that currently offer free entry to badge holders, including London Zoo. You can see the full list of current participating venues on the CBBC website.

If your kids don't have a Blue Peter badge and would like one, the good news is they're fairly easy to get. See our blog post for full details of how to do it.

Which UK attractions does Merlin run?

The Dorset-based firm runs dozens of high-profile attractions in the UK, including:

  • Alton Towers
  • Chessington World of Adventures
  • Thorpe Park
  • Legoland Windsor and Legoland Discovery Centre Manchester
  • Warwick Castle
  • Shrek's Adventure! London
  • Madame Tussauds London and Blackpool
  • The London, York, Edinburgh and Blackpool Tower Dungeons
  • The Blackpool Tower Eye and Blackpool Tower Circus
  • SEA LIFE centres, sanctuaries and adventure parks across the UK

What does the BBC say?

In a statement on the BBC News website, the corporation said: "Your Blue Peter badge gives you access to lots of amazing places around the UK, but this list can change from time to time, so please always check the CBBC Blue Peter website before setting off."