How to get two-for-one, Kids go free and other deals to save money and get you cheap theme park tickets.
I love a good theme park – though it’s a good few years since I’ve been to one. In fact the last roller coaster I went on was while answering questions about ISAs and insurance for BBC One’s Right on the Money, alongside a terrified Dom Littlewood (you can watch a clip of it here).
But ticket prices for UK theme parks such as Alton Towers and Thorpe Park can be more terrifying than the fastest ride, especially for a family. But it’s actually really easy to pay less.
Here are some of the best deals right now to get cheap theme park tickets.
Cheap theme park ticket rules
These are the basics that should help you avoid paying full price.
Use a promo code
Every single year there are discount codes, usually offering 50% off or two for the price of one tickets, to all the major theme parks. I’ve listed below some of the best ones available right now from products you’re likely to buy.
Book in advance
Whether you’re using one of the codes below, or just paying full whack (why?), it makes sense to book in advance as prices are much cheaper. You can sometimes stack a 2-4-1 code with these cheaper prices, meaning you’ll pay even less.
The annual pass trick
You can often pick up a season pass, giving unlimited access to one or multiple Merlin theme parks for the cost of a single ticket. Of course, if you’ve used the other promotions listed on this page you should only have paid 50% of the entry price. But if you are going to go at least twice in a year, then you may as well buy the season pass – even if you don’t go again.
Do check again for any restrictions, for example August weekends and special events are often excluded unless you buy a premium pass.
You can get season passes at locations including:
- Alton Towers
- Thorpe Park
- Chessington World of Adventures
Latest theme park special offers
You can regularly get deals on promotional packs of anything from cereal to soaps. Many do have exclusions though, including weekends in August for all attractions, and it looks like October’s half-term too. So do check. I’ve put in links with the exclusions and also the lists of participating theme parks where I can.
2-4-1 with train tickets
These offers are good as you can still use them on weekends in August, though there are still some blackout dates. You claim your voucher from the Days Out website and present it along with your train tickets to the attraction at the gate. The vouchers are only valid on the day of your train travel.
2-4-1 tickets with Cadbury’s
You’ll need to find promotional packs (the full list is here), then cut out the voucher to use at places such as Alton Towers, Legoland, SeaLife and Madame Tussauds – essentially all the Merlin venues. There are excluded dates, including Friday to Sunday during August. You can use the vouchers until 30 September 2021.
Grown-ups go free with Kellogs
Though the wording is different, it’s essentially the same thing – unless you’re going with a big group of under 12s. Any vouchers you collect will be valid until 30 June 2022. Details here.
50% off with Carex hand wash
This offer ran in 2020 but packs are still valid. It’s only for Alton Towers, Sea Life centres and Chessington only. You can normally pick up the hand wash for around £1, and since it’s something most households are going to use, I think it’s a really good option. You can also use it on weekends in August. However it is one per person. You can use your vouchers up until 31 May 2022.
Tesco Clubcard points
If you’re earning points, you can get triple value at theme parks including Alton Towers. Personally I’d say you’re better off using your points elsewhere, particularly for the Merlin owned attractions.
That’s because although this promo is in theory better than the 2-4-1 style offers (you’re getting 66% off rather than 50%), the prevalence of the latter means you’re effectively only getting 30% off that lower price. More on Clubcard deals here.
Kids Pass / Little Bird
These subscription-based membership sites offer money off at the major theme parks. More on them and how you can get cheap trials here.