Why Thorpe Park is great for families with younger children

Thorpe Park is best known for their extreme roller coasters and adrenaline packed rides for teenagers and adults with some of the fastest and scariest rides in the country.

We arrived just after lunch after staying the night before at the Brooklands Hotel (read our review here) a luxury 4* family friendly hotel which was just a short drive away.

The early morning rush had passed, and there were no queues at the entrance and we walked straight into the park.

We didn’t realise that Thorpe Park is actually on its own island as we crossed the water into the giant circus like dome containing shops and places to eat and drink before you enter the actual theme park.

With our park map in hand we whizzed through the dome and a beach area called Amity in search of our first ride.


Amity Beach


What caught our eye was Amnity Beach and the Wave Wave Wave areas, which looked great for families, especially during warmer weather. There were water slides, a zero entry pool, plenty of deckchairs and even a beach in the middle of Surrey!

As tempting as this beach area was we were here for the rides.

Storm in a Teacup 

Minimum height: 1.1m Under 1.3m must be accompanied by an adult
Fasttrack: Yes


Only in Thorpe Park would you get a Tetley Tea branded tea cup ride. This was one of the most memorable rides of our visit basically because the girls loved the ride assistant who was making them laugh shouting “When I say Tetley you say Tea”. When the word “Tetley” was shouted they would scream back “Tea”.

There was no wait time which allowed the girls to ride this several times before excitedly heading off to Angry Birds Land.

The Angry Birds 4D Experience

Minimum height: Recommended ages 4+
Fastrack: No

If your children are fans of Angry Birds like Chloe and Holly then they will love the Angry Birds 4-D show. Run at set times throughout the day this immersive 4-D experience will have you literally jumping out of your seat with effects that include the feeling of bees on your legs, bubbles in the cinema and getting soaked with water.

It was so much fun and the girls loved it as it really did feel as though we were on the set of an Angry Birds film.

King Pig’s Wild Hog Dodgems

Minimum height: 1.1m- Under 1.3m must be accompanied by some aged 16+ years of age.
Fastrack: Yes


The classic dodgem ride has had an Angry Birds makeover and is now called the King Pig’s Wild Hog Dodgems.

Mr Monkey’s Banana Ride

Minimum height: 0.9m- Under 1.2m must be accompanied by 16+. .
Fasttrack: No

A smaller family friendly version of the swinging ship ride that was a big hit with the girls but not my husband, he only managed this once due to feeling a little queasy! The girls had a blast however and went on this five times, because of the practically empty queue for this ride.

Flying Fish

Minimum height: 0.9m- Under 1.1m must be accompanied by 16+. .
Fasttrack: Yes


Flying Fish is a brilliant family friendly rollercoaster that was one of our favourite rides of the day. It was nice that the girls could go on this together to experience the fun while we stood from the side watching their faces light up.

This was the only family ride that we really needed our Fast Track for which enabled us to ride as many times as we wanted. However even without a Fast Track the standard queue was only a 20 minute wait.

In the old town section of the park are the Rocky Express, Timber Tug Boat and Lumber Jump rides for children. All of the rides here were a hit with the girls especially as they could literally run to the front of the queue at the end of each ride due to the low crowd levels in this area of the park during our visit.

The Rocky Express

Minimum height: 0.9m- Between 0.9m and 1.2m must be accompanied by an adult aged 18+.
Fasttrack: No


The Rocky Express is another great train ride that’s perfect for family fun. The two seater train carriages speed up and down as it circles around the track which the girls thought was brilliant.

Timber Tug Boat

Minimum height: 0.9m- Between 0.9m and 1.1m must be accompanied by an adult aged 18+.
Fasttrack: No


Timber Tug Boat is a spinning boat ride very similar to the Rocking Bullstrode ride at Drayton Manor and is new for 2017. The ride is unusual, spinning around and side to side.

Lumber Jump

Minimum height: 0.9m- Between 0.9m and 1.1m must be accompanied by an adult aged 18+
Fasttrack: No

Lumber Jump is a mini version of the Detonator: Bombs Away ride in the park and new for 2017, but unfortunately was not operating during our visit.

X

Minimum height: 1m- Under 1.2m must be accompanied by someone aged 16+.
Fastrack: Yes

This is an indoor junior rollercoaster mixed with a clever use of light and sound.

There were water rides that the girls could experience but as the weather wasn’t that warm during our visit they did not fancy getting wet, these were Storm Surge, Rumba Raids and Depth Charge.

Rumba Rapids

Minimum height: 0.9m- Anyone under 1.1m must be accompanied by 18+.
Fastrack: Yes


Similar to the Viking River Splash at Legoland Windsor, this is a family friendly boat ride down the islands river.

Storm Surge

Minimum height: 1.1m – Under 1.2s must be accompanied by 16+.
Fastrack: Yes


A raft ride that wouldn’t look out of place at an Orlando water park, that spirals down the 64ft descent whilst you try to stay dry from the water cannons.

Depth Charge

Minimum height: 0.9m- under 1.2m must be accompanied by an 16+
Fastrack: No


There are four giant slides that you can race each other down sitting on an inflatable raft.

Zodiac

Minimum height: 0.9m – Under 1.4m must be accompanied by an adult 16+
Fastrack: Yes


We were going to ride this with the children as it has a minimum height requirement of 0.9m, but when we saw it in action we all had second thoughts. Unless your children are extreme thrill seekers I would give this gravity defying spinning ride a miss.

Quantum

Minimum height: 1.2m
Fastrack: No

Even though this is listed as a family friendly magic carpet ride this again is only one for the extreme thrill seeking children, as it looked quite extreme and one that you would definitely avoid if you don’t have a strong stomach.

Given the girls age and height, the extreme rides such as Stealth, Nemesis Inferno and Swarm were out of the question but we had fun just walking through these areas.

With ice creams in hand we loved watching all of the adrenaline rides plus standing near the soak zone of Tidal Wave watching the huge wave come so close to us was great fun.

 

An X-Factor Themed Visit

Unknowingly, we didn’t realise it was also the same day as the X-Factor auditions and had luckily escaped the morning rush. We did like the thrill of looking for Simon Cowell and the judges but unfortunately, we had missed them. We did however manage to go into the X-Factor tent for a photo with the famous sign.

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Good for families with younger children?

What was great about Thorpe Park for families with younger children was that as the perception of the park being for older children and adults the queues for the children’s rides were practically non-existent.

Do we need to buy a Fastrack Pass?

Even though we had a fast track ticket which enabled us to bypass the main queue for the family friendly rides we didn’t really need to use it and we visited on a busy summer weekend.

Where to eat at Thorpe Park?

I was impressed with the variety of food and drink outlets at Thorpe Park from chain restaurants such as Burger King and KFC to the parks themed restaurants serving a variety of options from Mexican, Italian and traditional British cuisines. As tempting as these restaurant were we were too excited to stop for any meals.


However did come across Nitrogenie a cool new Australian ice cream company that we first encountered during our visit to Chessington and their range of ice creams are amazing. They only use natural products plus the magic of liquid nitrogen, like all the great chefs use in their restaurants when making their ice cream.

Before you visit

The Thorpe Park website has a really slick way of checking what rides are suitable for your child based on their height so its worth checking this out when planning your visit.

We used this interactive slider before our visit so we could easily locate which rides would be suitable Chloe who is 1.3m and Holly is 1.1m. Although as I mentioned earlier in the article there are some caveats to some of the rides suggested based on height namely Zodiac and Quantum.

For reduced entry costs you can use your Tesco Clubcard points to convert them into tickets for Thorpe Park (read our guide here) or use 2 for 1 vouchers which can be found on promotional packs of Kelloggs cereal and Cadbury chocolates.

The Thorpe Park app is worth downloading for when you are at the park which will give you ride wait times, deals on food and drink and an interactive park map.

Overall

After our first ever visit to Thorpe Park it turns out there are plenty of things for younger children to enjoy as well with enough family friendly rides to keep the girls occupied.

We had a great day out at Thorpe Park and although it isn’t as nicely themed as the likes of Legoland and Chessington it was a pleasant change and more importantly lots of fun.
My youngest daughter enjoyed so much she is already trying to pencil in a return visit.

 

 

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