UK theme parks from another point of view!

 
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maverick2007
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Short London Trip - Help Needed!

Tue Sep 03, 2019 4:14 am

Hey everyone,

So I'm making a trip in to London for work in a couple of weeks and managed to stay for one extra day on a Saturday and wanted to hit one of the parks in the UK. I'm an American and am not very well traveled internationally so I apologize in advance if there's anything stupid I say! So the two parks I was really looking at were Thorpe Park and Alton Towers. Alton Towers is definitely my number 1 choice. I've been reading about Oblivion and Nemesis for years and would love to get out there and ride them but I'm concerned that transportation would be an issue for me. Since I'm staying close to where I have my meetings at, I don't plan renting a car which seems like it might be an issue to get out to AT and back in time for my flight on Sunday afternoon. Is there any short of public transport from London out to AT that you think someone really unfamiliar with the UK's transit system could easily use? Not to mention, I'm going before AT's Halloween event starts so I'd only get the park from 10-5 vs 10-10 at TP. So for those reasons I'm leaning Thorpe, especially since I could get a cab or Uber from London and be there in a reasonable time. Do you agree with that, that Thorpe seems to be the way to go for me? Are there any other parks in the area I should consider (I am a lot more thrill oriented which led me to AT and TP in the first place). In addition I plan on making a proper trip to the UK in a few years anyways so whichever park I don't get out to now I can get out to later.

Thanks for all of your help!
 
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Re: Short London Trip - Help Needed!

Tue Sep 03, 2019 5:10 pm

Thorpe Park is definitely the easiest option for you. It is easily accessible by train/bus/taxi whereas getting to Alton by public transport from London would be a massive struggle in one day.
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Swarm Chris
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Re: Short London Trip - Help Needed!

Tue Sep 03, 2019 6:22 pm

If you have just a single day to travel and enjoy a park, I think Thorpe would be the better option of the two. Whilst it is possible to get from London to Alton Towers by public transport, you would probably spend the bulk of your time traveling. Thorpe Park has the benefit of being practically next door to Heathrow.

You've picked out the two best suited UK parks. When you return in a few years, you may also want to consider some European parks that are fairly simple to get to from the UK, including Phantasialand in Germany and Efteling in the Netherlands. There is also a direct train from London to Disneyland Paris.

Given you say Thorpe Park is on a 10pm closing on your chosen day, that will mean the park's Halloween events will have started. So in addition to the rides, from 3pm there will be a number of houses (they'll be called mazes) that are included with your ticket. Unlike many US Halloween events, the actors in the UK parks are allowed to touch you, so be aware of that!

If choosing Thorpe, I would recommend purchasing your ticket online from the park beforehand, so you have a scannable ticket either on your phone or printed out. The queues for ticketing can be quite long and inefficient, so this would mean you would just go through security and then the turnstiles.
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maverick2007
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Re: Short London Trip - Help Needed!

Wed Sep 04, 2019 4:55 am

Awesome, thanks for the help!! I think Thorpe Park is the way to go here even though Alton Towers is definitely my #1 but no worries, it'll just give me another reason to come back! And thanks for the heads up that the actors can touch you, that's definitely not a thing here in the U.S. If I hadn't known that I would've been going to guest services to complain or worse! As far as hotels go, do you all think that Thorpe Shark is worth it? I tend to enjoy staying on resort at a park when I can (Cedar Point, Universal Orlando etc) and don't mind paying a little extra if it's worth the price. At the very least it seems like a crazy quirky place which is pretty cool! 

Ohh and one more question: are there any rules or anything I should be aware of with respect to photography or lenses in the park? I know most of the Six Flags parks here in the States give you a hard time if you bring in any camera lens that looks professional/expensive. I have an SLR with a bunch of lenses I'd love to bring along but it's not worth taking them across the ocean if Thorpe won't even let me bring them in!
 
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Swarm Chris
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Re: Short London Trip - Help Needed!

Wed Sep 04, 2019 6:44 pm

I've not stayed at the Shark Hotel, so sadly can't give much of an input in that one. I know the rooms are very small, but you are inside the park, which given the park is open until 10pm could be beneficial! There are also meant to be scare actors at the hotel between 3-4pm and 9-10pm each day, which could be a unique experience.

In terms of photography equipment, you should be fine. One of our organising team brings a lot of equipment with him when we have events, and as far as I'm aware has never had an issue. Your biggest problem would be carrying it all day, as whilst there are lockers around, bags typically are left in the station on rides.
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DeadJack5
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Re: Short London Trip - Help Needed!

Wed Sep 04, 2019 8:57 pm

I've stayed on the Shark Hotel before and for a low price it is worth it :) If you just want somewhere to stay for the night it does the job, it isn't the biggest or most spaceous but it does offer some nice views of The Swarm and also some benefits of an hours FastTrack at the beginning of the 2nd day.

If you just require a bed for the night then and not too concerned about luxuries then I would recommend Shark Hotel. I hope this helps!
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maverick2007
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Re: Short London Trip - Help Needed!

Thu Sep 05, 2019 4:48 am

Perfect, that's exactly what I'm looking for, I think I'll make Shark my #1 choice as long as it's a reasonable price! Thank you all so much for your help and I look forward to sharing the details of my trip and how I thought it stacked up with American parks with y'all!

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