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A Thrilling Day Out at Thorpe Park in Surrey

Hyperia roller coaster seen from across a lake

My daughter is a huge fan of theme parks and I often reluctantly take her to one. Don’t get me wrong, I love a roller coaster as much as the next person.

But as I’ve got older, I’ve become more adverse to long queues, rides that look more dangerous than entering a shark infested pool and the chance I might get whiplash from a coaster that boasts 10 twists (my neck is still trying to recover, 5 days later!)

Thorpe Park is situated in Surrey, around 20 miles from London and is one of the top 10 theme parks in Europe. It is famous for Stealth, which was one of the tallest and faster roller coasters in the UK until the newly openend Hyperia took its spot.

We visited Thorpe Park on a warm June weekend and decided to make a weekend of it, staying at the Thorpe Park Shark Cabins with my 10 year old daughter and my 11 year old niece. I was a bit apprehensive, especially reading the many reviews online about long queue times and rides closing for apparently no reason, but I was hugely impressed with the whole experience.

How to get there:

  • 🚗 From the M25 take junctions 11 or 13 and follow A320 to Thorpe Park. There is a car park there, and charges you £10 (I will never get why, when you’ve paid a vast sum to visit an attraction, it will then charge you to park?!). However, as we were staying the Shark Cabins, parking was free.
  • 🚆 The nearest Train Station is Staines. The 950 Express Bus operates to Thopre Park, running every 15-20 minutes
  • 🚌 The 950 bus departs from Stop 4 at Staines Bus Station and Stop S outside the ticket office at the rail station.

Top Tips:

  • 🌅 Try and arrive as early as possible. As we stayed overnight, we were one of the first visitors in the park on Sunday and it didn’t really start getting busy until after 11 am.
  • 🎟️ Buy tickets in advance. This can help save you money and also give you the opportunity to look for discounts such as Attraction Tix
  • 📱Download the Thorpe Park app before your visit. Honestly, this is the best thing I did as it shows you the queue waiting times and what rides are closed.
  • 👟 Wear comfortable shoes. You will be standing around a lot and shoes like flip flops and sliders will have to be removed before going on big rides.
  • 🥪 Take a packed lunch or snacks. There are plenty of places to eat, but it is expensive and there were huge queues in places like Burger King and KFC.
  • 🚰 Don’t forget a water bottle! Again, you can buy drinks there but they are expensive. Thorpe Park has plenty of places you can refill your water.
  • 💦 Take a towel, or change of clothes. If you go on the water rides, you will get wet. There are drying machines for £3, but always a queue.

Where to Stay:

Thorpe Park

As we drove up to Thorpe Park, you could see the towering roller coasters in the distance and we all started getting extremely excited. It is easy to find a parking spot and if you bought your tickets online, entering is pretty straight forward.

Your bags will be checked upon entry, and it’s straight through the turnstile, across the bridge (Thorpe Park is set in an idyllic location, with lakes and water all around the park), and enter The Dome. This is the hub of Thorpe Park, with a Costa Coffee, Information point, toilets, a shop, a large arcade and Vibes Bar and Kitchen. It also has lockers where, for £1 (non-refundable), you can place your valuables.

However, the kids wanted to get straight to the rides…

Thorpe Park Rides

Hyperia roller coaster at thorpe park
The monster that is Hyperia

The park’s layout is well-organized, with clear signage directing you to various attractions. A quick stop at the information kiosk for a map and the day’s schedule is a good idea to plan your adventure efficiently. However, as mentioned earlier, I highly recommend you download the Thorpe Park App.

Roller Coasters

Hyperia

Hyperia dominates the skyline at Thorpe Park and was by far the most popular attraction. It never really dropped below a 90 min waiting time and the kids didn’t want to wait around that long, so unfortunately, we didn’t go on it.

When the park opened at 10 am on the Sunday, there was a mad rush of people running to the Hyperia queue, so if you really want to go on it and don’t want to wait too long, get to Thorpe Park early. It did look amazing!

Stealth roller coaster
Stealth roller coaster

Stealth

One of the tallest and fastest roller coasters in the UK, the Stealth catapults you from 0 to 80mph and soars 205 feet into the air. We had a fast pass for this ride as we were staying at the Shark Cabins (this is a bit of pot luck, depending on what section of the Cabins you are put in, you get a fast pass on the 2nd day for a single ride).

The queues were not too bad on Stealth, we only had to wait around 10 mins with our fast pass and the general queue never really went above 40 mins.

the swarm roller coaster at thorpe park
The Swarm

The Swarm

This is Europe’s first winged roller coaster with seats positioned either side of the track, giving the sensation of flying. This is also an extremely popular ride with queue times never dropping below 70 mins.

We joined the queue at 80 mins and unfortunately had an announcement saying the ride had been closed (this happens frequently at Thorpe Park, normally because someone has dropped something from their pockets on the ride, or they’ve been sick!). So, not knowing how long we would have to wait, we left the queue and didn’t get the chance to go back.

Saw – The Ride

For horror enthusiasts, Saw – The Ride is a must-visit. Based on the popular Saw movie franchise, this roller coaster combines psychological thrills with physical drops and inversions.

We headed first thing to Saw on our second morning and got straight on. This had to be one of my favourite rides, particularly the vertical climb before a thrilling drop.

Colossus

Colossus, a record-breaking coaster with ten inversions, is another highlight. This ride definitely tested my endurance, with its relentless twists, loops, and corkscrews. Most of the rides tell you to “brace” yourself and if you are a little older, like me, I would take this advice seriously! Ha.

It was another of our favourites and the queue was never longer than 40 mins whilst we were there, so we went on it 3 times!

nemesis at thorpe park

Nemesis Inferno

We loved this ride and left it until 6 pm to ride on a Saturday. It only took us around 15 mins in the queue and goes at speeds of 50mph.

The Walking Dead

A slower roller coaster that is indoors. After experiencing the thrills of the other coasters, this one was a little different. We were grouped with some teenagers and you have to go through lots of dark corridors to get to the ride, so we had lots of excitable teenagers screaming and running and ended up having to run with them.

At the end of the ride, you have to exit through more tunnels with a bonus of zombie actors at the end giving you another fright. My daughter was a bit disturbed by it all!

Water Rides

a queue at tidal wave ride at thorpe park
Queueing for Tidal Wave

Tidal Wave

This was a highlight of Thorpe Park for us. It is one of Europe’s tallest water rides and creates a huge tidal wave as you hit the bottom.

There is a viewing point and area around the wave where you can stand and get soaked, much to the amusement of Theme Park goers. As it was quite a hot day, many people were enjoying the spray from the ride.

We left it until 5 pm on the second day so we could get changed after and head home. You WILL get wet, I was surprised after the initial drop that we were OK until the tidal wave dropped on your head a few seconds later to lots of screams and laughter.

Storm Surge

A water raft that takes you 64ft into the air and then a gentler ride down. Again, you will get wet, but mainly because of all the water in the bottom of the raft.

There was a group of teenagers in front of us wearing brand new trainers and caused quite a fuss as they didn’t want to get in the raft, so left the ride. Don’t wear your brand new white trainers to Thorpe Park! 😆

Depth Charge

This is one of the first attractions as you walk into the park. It is a 4 lane super slide on inflatables and although not busy, we had to wait around for 10 mins to get an inflatable.

Rumba Rapids

After all the excitement in the park, this was a welcome break from being flung about. Again, the queues weren’t too bad on the Rumba Rapids and it was a firm favourite with littler kids.

Fairground Attractions

Thorpe Park is famous for its thrilling coasters, but I was surprised that the kids wanted to go on the fairground attractions more. This includes Samurai, Vortex, Rush, Zodiac (my kids favourite).

The queues for the fairground attractions are never more than 25 mins when we visited, so we went on them numerous times.

Little Kid Rides

Depth Charge and Amity Beach at thorpe park
Depth Charge and Amity Beach

Thorpe Park is mainly aimed at kids over 8 and adults (with a 1.4m height restriction on many rides), but as a family, you’ll probably end up taking smaller kids.

There are height restrictions on most rides, so you may find that kids under 8 will not be allowed on the main attractions, but there are still things for them to do. These include –

  • Mr Monkey’s Banana Ride – a swing ride
  • Flying Fish – a smaller roller coaster
  • Dobble Tea Party – waltzer style ride
  • Amity Beach – a manmade beach with large waterpark to splash in
  • Playground
  • Big Easy Bumper Cars

There were plenty of families with smaller kids enjoying a picnic on Amity Beach, but due to the lengthy time you will be waiting around to get on rides, I wouldn’t advise going to Thorpe Park if you only have children that are under 8. You’re probably best going to Alton Towers!

Is It Worth Planning Your Day?

The street at Thorpe Park

Before we went to the Thorpe Park, I did a lot of research to work out the best rides and come up with an itinerary to try and fit everything in. However, this was a bit pointless in all honesty.

Rides will close with no notice, sometimes there is no reason why a queue is short or the Hyperia queue jumps from 70 mins to 180 mins (which happened whilst we were there and were heading to the ride, but decided 3 hours was not worth it!).

The BEST advice I can give you is download the app and if you really want to go on a ride, don’t wait around to see if the queue gets shorter.

If it is short, jump in the queue! If a ride closes, I’d wait around if you’re already in the queue as often, it would only be closed for 10 mins tops. Many people would leave and you’d find yourself getting on the ride quicker, which is what happened when we queued for The Swarm.

The app is brilliant at giving you queue times and information, so every time we got off a ride, we would check the queues and head to our next attraction.

Is It Worth Buying a Fastrack?

Hyperia at thorpe park
Hyperia

I looked at buying a fastrack before we went to Thorpe Park. There are 4 different fastracks;

  • Hydration Fastrack from £10 – ride the 3 water rides.
  • Thrill Fastrack from £30 – pick from any of The Walking Dead: The Ride, Flying Fish, Vortex, Zodiac, Detonator, Quantum, Samurai, Rush and Big Easy Bumpers
  • Coasters Fastrack from £32 – Nemesis Inferno, Stealth, SAW – The Ride and THE SWARM
  • Ultimate Fastrack from £100 – entry to 18 rides including the top coasters, although not Hyperia

I was tempted, but you can also buy them at Thorpe Park, so I decided to wait and see and I’m glad I did! We went for 2 days, but even if we were there for one, we would have still managed plenty of rides.

The park was extremely busy, but I never felt the queues were too long, apart from Hyperia. It is really well run, with plenty of information so you can decide on the day what is worth queueing for.

I nearly spent £150 for 3 of us to use the Coasters Fastrack (it is cheaper off peak and during the week) and having visited the park, the fastrack queues were still around 10 – 20 mins!!

Food and Drink

As with all theme parks, their are plenty of places to eat and drink. We loved the “Disneyland style” street set up around Nemesis where you will find Burger King and KFC and the newer food outlets near Hyperia. However, being a theme park, you will find the prices expensive.

You can choose from;

  • Burger King, KFC, Costa Coffee, Cape Cod fish & chips
  • Spice Kitchen, Tacotaria, Veggie Box, Pizza & Pasta buffet, Amity kebabs and Boulevard
  • For snacks – Cadbury Chocolate Lodge, Donut factory, Cloud 9 Treats, Churros & Shakes
  • For drinks – Costa Coffee, Bubble Tea Bar (my daughters favourite), Calypso Bar, Camden Junction Bar and Last Call Cafe

Our Stay at Thorpe Park Shark Cabins

entrance to thorpe park shark cabins
Not sure what the smiles are about! :)

I wanted to get the best out of our trip to Thorpe Park, so we decided to stay the night. It cost £460 for 3 of us to stay the night and have a 2 day pass.

You can check into the cabins at 3 pm, so I left the girls in a queue for the ride and went back to our car to collect our bags and check in. The cabins are next to the entrance and have their own bar area outside with views of the lake.

a small cabin
Shark cabin rooms

The rooms themselves are compact, with a double bed and bunk bed, so it can sleep up to 4 comfortably. There is coffee making facilities, a wet room with toilet and a TV, although we were so exhausted after several hours in the park, we were asleep by 9 pm!

The rooms have excellent air conditioning too, which was welcome after a hot and muggy day in the park.

Breakfast is included in your stay, which is in the Vibes Bar & Kitchen inside the Dome. It is a buffet style breakfast with pastries, cereal and a full English breakfast.

We were advised to book a slot, but couldn’t do it online and when I asked at the Cabin reception, they said they were having problems with their booking system, but that it didn’t matter and we could just turn up.

Courtyard and Shark Cabins
Courtyard and Shark Cabins

You can also book a buffet dinner in Vibes and there is an evening quiz, although we had a late Burger King before heading to our rooms so didn’t bother. There is a lovely little set up outside the cabins with plenty of picnic benches and a large food van serving pizza, kebabs and drinks, all lit up with festoon lights.

With your stay, you get a fastrack pass to go all on rides (except Hyperia) between 10 and 11 am on the second day and this was priceless. We were in the Park before the gates opened and ran straight to the Saw Ride. There were no queues so we went on it twice and managed to get on another 3 rides before our time slot ran out.

You also get a fastrack for one ride on the second day and as I said before, it depends on what room you are given. We were given a Stealth fastrack and went on the ride 3 times.

I highly recommend a stay at the Thorpe Park Shark Cabins. I think it is good value for money and took the pressure off a little to try and get as much out of the Park as you can in one day.

Practical Tips for a Perfect Day

amity beach at thorpe park

To make the most of your visit to Thorpe Park, consider these practical tips:

  1. Arrive Early: Beat the crowds and enjoy shorter wait times by arriving when the park opens.
  2. Stay Hydrated: Bring a refillable water bottle to stay hydrated throughout the day. Water fountains are available around the park.
  3. Dress Comfortably: Wear comfortable clothing and footwear suitable for a day of walking and riding.
  4. Check Height Restrictions: Ensure that all members of your group meet the height requirements for the rides you plan to enjoy.
  5. Bring Sun Protection: On sunny days, don’t forget sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun.
  6. Faster Access: If you don’t mind riding separately from your group, single rider lines can reduce wait times significantly.
  7. Avoid Peak Times For Food: Plan to eat early or late to avoid lunchtime crowds.
  8. Stay Until Closing: Lines for popular rides can be shorter towards closing time.
  9. Special Attractions: Thorpe Park hosts various seasonal events, like Fright Nights for Halloween, which offer unique experiences and attractions.
  10. Meeting Points: Set a designated meeting point for your group in case you get separated.
The rides at thorpe park

I’ve always been a bit wary of theme parks, I dislike the queueing times and sometimes the over-commercialism of it all (I’m looking at you Disneyland 👀). But this wasn’t a problem at Thorpe Park.

It didn’t feel commercial at all, it is all about the rides and making your visit as enjoyable as possible. The Park itself is laid out well, with lots of information and maps. The staff are efficient and friendly and it is clean, including the toilets, with a strict policy on queue jumpers, safety and anti-social behaviour.

I was initially apprehensive of our visit, but I loved every minute and would gladly go back again. When my neck has recovered from the 10 twists on Colossus! :)

a weekend visit to thorpe park pinterest pin

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