/ Money, Travel & Leisure

Theme park ticket prices rollercoaster out of control

Ride at Chessington World of Adventures

If you’re off to a theme park this Easter you could find yourself coughing up 17% more than usual. Do you think these attractions are worth it, or is low-cost entertainment on your family’s Easter agenda instead?

News that the cost of something else going up is hardly, well, news at the moment. Food, fuel and postage are all getting pricier – and now we’ve got family entertainment to add to the list.

Anyone who’s been to a themed day out (think Legoland, Alton Towers, Thorpe Park) will know it’s not cheap, but prices have shot up by an average of 10%, with some as much as 17% more.

These price rises came to light after a Sunday Mirror investigation looked at the cost of some of the UK’s most popular theme parks. And guess what? Most are hiking their prices just in time for the school Easter holidays. Nicely scheduled.

Fair enough, these places are costly to run, but are such steep increases really necessary? The biggest rise, on Chessington’s child ticket from £23 to £27, is a 17% increase. That’s nearly four times the rate of inflation. And when you can save up to 25% by booking online or on the phone I have to question why prices can’t be cheaper to start with?

How special are special offers?

I’m not quite at the ‘visiting theme parks’ stage of family life just yet, but other days out can be just as extortionate. Our recent visit to the London Aquarium was sweetened by a two-for-one deal – otherwise the £18 adult ticket price might have made us think twice.

Special offers can be great, but if prices are hiked just to make offers look appealing all that’s really being offered is a big con. It’s exhausting having to hunt around for vouchers or online booking discounts for everything you do, and many families just don’t have the time.

Add this hassle factor to the three-figure sum a family has to pay to get in, and I reckon the queues for the rides could be a whole lot shorter this summer.

Steve Kelly says:
5 April 2011

I think you’ll find that almost every theme park in the UK (Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, Legoland, and many other attractions … 22 in the UK alone) — are all owned / operated by one group – Merlin Entertainments Group.
As we are always told … Monopolies are bad for the consumer.