Merlin Annual Pass Sale
The sales have started and one sale I would recommend that you check out is the Merlin Annual Pass sale!
What is a Merlin Pass
There are two types of passes available in the sale, the standard and premium passes. Premium Merlin Pass allows you unlimited access to the 31 Attractions which are owned and run by the Merlin Group. The pass is valid for 12 months from date of issue (notice, its not the date of purchase, and so the date will only start on the day you collect your passes). There is a mixture of attractions from theme parks such as Alton Towers, Thorpe Park to Legoland. There is some culture thrown in with the inclusion of Warwick Castle or London Eye to the Sea Life and Dungeons. For the full list of attractions, click here. There is so much included that there is enough for families with young children like mine but even those with teenagers can have some fun packed days”
There is also a standard pass but a number of exclusions apply to these which can be found here http://www.merlinannualpass.co.uk/compare-passes.aspx .
Be aware of exclusions of the standard pass, for example the London attractions are not included in the months of August. If you are planning of visiting during this month, then a Standard pass may not be be for you. in addition, dependent events you are hoping to attend i/.e. Halloween fright nights, these are not free for Standard pass holders.
We originally purchased the passes in February 2012 as we lived in Warwick. This would mean I could bring the kids to the Castle (we had the 2 adventurers then) and were within easy reach of the London attractions. We are originally from the Lancashire, and we made regularly journey up the M6 during which we made good use of pass, which included the north west attractions such as Blackpool Tower and the attractions within it, and in the Trafford Centre (Legoland Discovery, Sealife)
So what is the saving?
At the moment a family of 3, 4 or 5 (maximum 3 adults over 12) can purchase a standard pass for £99 or a premium pass for £119 per pass. This compares to £129 or £169 per pass normally. The Premium pass also gives you free parking (if available on site), and this year extra features such a birthday club, whereby you get to visit with up to 3 friends to any of the theme parks within 10 days of your birthday for £10 each. Another new aspect is the ‘Fast Pass’ for a theme park. Each pass holder will get a Fast Track pass worth £15 (£5 each for Alton Towers, Thorpe Park and Chessington) included with the premium package. We really used these during 2015 as my niece and nephew love the adrenaline rides and the queues are normally huge so this was a great way to save time.
So is it worth it?
For us, it really was! We used to visit Warwick Castle once or twice a week. The kids loved running around the grounds, finding ‘Teepops’ (Peacocks to the rest of us), having picnics and playing in the playground. This alone made it worthwhile. In addition, we visited many of the theme parks (Alton Towers, Chessington, Legoland), the major London attractions (London Eye, Maddam Tusauds) and the Blackpool tower, and so we really got our money’s worth. I will be reviewing each of these separately, but just as an overview the theme parks we visited were great even for young children. There was enough for them to do and keep them entertained for the whole day and more. Plus they have tons of open, green spaces so the kids can burn off some steam whilst you have a picnic or lunch.
I am a bargain hunter by nature so spending over £550 for the family of five, may seem excessive to some, but I believe it is good value for money when you see the attractions that are included. By booking reasonably priced accommodation, you can turn days out in the UK to mini holidays. As you are all aware that holidaying in the UK is really expensive but building a trip around one of these great attractions means that you can visit various parts of the country, have a full day planned out which is already paid for and you could use the next day do other things in the locality.
For example, these are weekends we’ve actually arranged:
We arranged a road trip in August and did the following sites and attraction
Saturday – Warwick Castle
- 3 nights stay in Travelodge Woking Central (£105 per family room for 3 nights)
We visited Thorpe Park, Chessington and Legoland (all within 20-30 mins driving time of the hotel)
- 4 nights Travelodge Covent Garden (£200 per family room for the 4 nights)
We visited the London Eye (daily as our little adventurers adore it), we got our own capsule the first time we went, Dungeons and Sea Life and on the return home we went via Alton Towers. It was excellent to combine attractions with the sights and sounds of London.
It was a fantastic break and there was lots to do within minimal costs to actually pay for the big things once you are there.
We have done smaller breaks to Warwick and the Midlands too. Book in advance and you can find a bargain!
I believe these passes are really good value for money and if you haven’t got plans to holiday out of the country, with some careful planning, its quite easy to make one of these attractions into a cheap break.