Thorpe Park

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Thorpe Park Resort
Thorpe Park logo.png
Location Chertsey & Staines, Surrey, England
Coordinates 51°24′17″N0°30′47″W / 51.40472°N 0.51306°W / 51.40472; -0.51306 Coordinates: 51°24′17″N0°30′47″W / 51.40472°N 0.51306°W / 51.40472; -0.51306
Opened24 May 1979;43 years ago (1979-05-24)
Owner Secure Income REIT PLC
Operated by Merlin Entertainments
General managerNeil Poulter (Divisional Director)
SloganAn Island Like No Other
Operating seasonMid/Late March – late October/early November
AttendanceDecrease2.svg 600,000 (2020)
Area74 acres (0.30 km2; 30 ha)
Water rides6

Thorpe Park Resort, commonly known as Thorpe Park, is an amusement park located in the village of Thorpe between the towns of Chertsey and Staines-upon-Thames in Surrey, England, 20 miles (32 km) southwest of Central London. It is operated by Merlin Entertainments and includes rides, themed cabins, live events and Stealth, the United Kingdom's fastest rollercoaster. In 2019 Thorpe park was the UK's third most visited theme park (1.9 million visitors), behind Alton Towers & Legoland Windsor. [1] However, in 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the park only had a 125-day operation season, along with limited capacity, leading to massively reduced visitor numbers.[ citation needed ] Despite this, Thorpe park was the second most attended theme park in the UK in 2020, behind Alton Towers. [1]


After demolition of the Thorpe Park Estate in the 1930s, the site became a gravel pit managed by Ready Mix Concrete (RMC). When the pits were expended, RMC regenerated the site for leisure, opening Thorpe Park as an outdoor activity park in 1979. It has since grown into one of the major theme parks in the UK.

Major attractions include a large water ride Tidal Wave , a number of rollercoasters including Colossus , Nemesis Inferno , Stealth , Saw – The Ride , The Swarm , The Walking Dead: The Ride and dark ride Derren Brown's Ghost Train: Rise of the Demon .


Thorpe Park Lake in July 1979, the year the park opened to the public Thorpe Park Lake in early days - - 771796.jpg
Thorpe Park Lake in July 1979, the year the park opened to the public

The demolition of the Thorpe Park Estate in the 1930s saw the grounds transform into a gravel pit, originally owned by Ready Mixed Concrete Limited. When the pits were expended, RMC flooded part of the site. In 1975 the Water Ski World Championships were held on the site. [2] RMC established a subsidiary, Leisure Sport Limited, to operate a 400-acre (160 ha) park for water sports, leisure and heritage exhibitions, at a cost of £3 million. [3]

The park was officially opened to the public by Lord Louis Mountbatten on 24 May 1979, his final public appearance shortly before he was assassinated by a bomb on board in a fishing boat planted by the Provisional IRA in Mullaghmore, Ireland. In addition to lakes and parkland, the park featured a replica Stone Age cave, Celtic farm, Norman castle and Viking camp as well as ancient water vehicles and aircraft. [3]

Between 1983 and 1989 it was regularly used as a filming location for The Benny Hill Show

In the early 80s, the park redeveloped into a theme park with permanent themed rides and attractions. [4] New attractions were opened throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Space Station Zero was the park's first rollercoaster, opening in 1984. [5] The last large attraction opened by the park's original owners was "X:\No Way Out" in 1996.

In 1998, The Tussauds Group bought the park. From the outset the park started opening key attractions such as Tidal Wave in 2000, Colossus in 2002, Nemesis Inferno in 2003 and Stealth in 2006. [6]

In May 2007, Blackstone Group purchased The Tussauds Group for US$1.9 billion and the company was merged into Merlin Entertainments, who took over operation of Thorpe Park. [7] [8] Dubai International Capital also gained 20% of Merlin Entertainments. [9]

On 17 July 2007, as part of the financing for the Tussauds deal, Merlin sold Thorpe Park to private investor Nick Leslau and his investment firm Prestbury, under a sale and leaseback agreement. [10] Although it is owned by Prestbury, the site is operated by Merlin based on a renewable 35-year lease. [7]

The target audience for the Resort is Teenagers and Young Adults, adding rides such as Saw – The Ride and The Swarm for example. In 2014, Merlin decided to also target a more broad-family based market with new attractions such as Angry Birds Land and the park's onsite hotel. [11]

On 20 February 2019, the official Twitter account of Thorpe Park confirmed the permanent closure of Loggers Leap, a log flume that opened in 1989 but had been closed since 2015. [12]

On 25 February 2020, Thorpe Park announced the addition of a live action Black Mirror attraction, named Black Mirror Labyrinth, which was scheduled to open in 2020, but was postponed until 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. [13]

In 2021, Thorpe park announced plans for a new roller coaster in the Old Town section of the park, planned to open for the 2024 season, under the project name of Project Exodus. This ride will be the tallest ride in the UK, at a height of 236 feet (71.93 metres). [14]

Rides and attractions


NamePictureTypeOpenedTerritoryManufacturerAdditional Information
The Swarm The swarm drop, thorpe park, england.jpg Wing Coaster 2012Swarm Island Bolliger & Mabillard The UK's first winged coaster, opened in 2012. Was the first winged coaster to feature an inverted 'wing-over drop'. Between 2013 and 2016, the rear two rows were modified to face backwards. Height Limit 1.4 m (4 ft 7 in). Max Height Limit is 1.95 m (6 ft 5 in)
SAW -The Ride Sawopen.jpg Euro-Fighter 2009Saw Island Gerstlauer A custom Eurofighter featuring a 100 degree 100 ft (30 m) drop. Themed around the SAW movie franchise. It was branded as the world's first horror movie themed rollercoaster. Height Limit 1.4 m (4 ft 7 in).
Stealth Stealth Thorpe Park.jpg Hydraulic Launched Coaster 2006Amity Intamin An Intamin hydraulic launch coaster, 205 ft (62 m) tall and accelerating from 0 to 80 mph (0 to 129 km/h) in 1.9 seconds. It is the second tallest coaster in the UK and also the fastest. It has a loose 1950s-era drag racing theme. Height Limit 1.4 m (4 ft 7 in). Max height limit is 1.95 m (6 ft 5 in)
Nemesis Inferno Nemisis inferno.jpg Inverted 2003The Jungle Bolliger & Mabillard B&M inverted coaster opened in 2003, named after Nemesis at Alton Towers. It has a loose volcano theme and features the first interlocking corkscrews on an inverted coaster. Height Limit 1.4 m (4 ft 7 in). It was filmed for The Inbetweeners episode "Thorpe Park".
Colossus Colossus (Thorpe Park).jpg Steel Sit down2002Lost City Intamin Opened as the 'world's first ten looping rollercoaster' (record now beaten by The Smiler with 14) and has a loose lost civilization theme. Height Limit 1.4 m (4 ft 7 in). Max height limit is 1.95 m (6 ft 5 in)
Walking Dead: The Ride X-nowayout.jpg Steel Sit down1996 (2013) (2018)The Dock Yard Vekoma Located at the centre of the park in a pyramid. Based on The Walking Dead franchise. On peak days, the ride's exit also includes live actors. Previously known as X and originally X:\No Way Out. Height Limit 1.4 m (4 ft 7 in).
Flying Fish Thorpe Park flying fish 1.jpg Steel powered coaster 1984 (1990) (2007)Amity Mack Rides Powered coaster. Opened in 1984 as an indoor coaster named Space Station Zero. It moved outdoors in 1990, in the location now occupied by Stealth. It reopened next to the Beach in 2007. Height Limit 0.9 m (2 ft 11 in).

Thrilling Flat Rides

NamePictureTypeOpenedTerritoryManufacturerAdditional Information
Samurai Samurai Thorpe Park.jpg Top Scan 2004Saw Island Mondial Top scan ride, formerly at Chessington World of Adventures Resort under the same name. The ride was repainted when it moved to Thorpe Park. Height limit 1.4 m (4 ft 7 in).
Quantum Thorpe Park Quantum ride.jpg Magic Carpet2003Lost City Fabbri Group Large magic carpet ride. Height limit 1.2 m (3 ft 11 in).
Zodiac Zodiac thorpe park.jpg Enterprise 2001Lost City HUSS HUSS enterprise that opened in 2001. Relocated from Drayton Manor Theme Park where it was known as Cyclone. Height limit 1.1 m (3 ft 7 in).
Vortex Vortex in action - - 1294900.jpg Afterburner 2001Lost City KMG KMG afterburner ride that opened in June 2001. Height limit 1.4 m (4 ft 7 in).
Detonator: Bombs Away Fasten Your Safety Belts^ - - 1165821.jpg Drop Tower 2001Angry Birds Land Fabbri Group 35m tall drop tower. Originally named 'Detonator' and was added following the Thorpe Park fire and was intended to be temporary but was then decided to be made permanent. It was later renamed 'Detonator: Bombs Away' for the opening of Angry Birds Land in 2014. Max speed 45 Mph. Max G-force 5.5 . Height Limit 1.3 m (4 ft 3 in).
Rush Rushtp.jpg Screamin' Swing 2005Lost City S&S Power Screamin' Swing which opened alongside Slammer in 2005.

Water Rides

NamePictureTypeOpenedTerritoryManufacturerAdditional Information
Rumba Rapids Rumba Rapids.png River rapids ride 1987The Jungle Intamin It opened in 1987 as Thunder River and is one of the earliest remaining rides at Thorpe Park. It was sponsored by Ribena from 2002 until 2006 but in 2007 the sponsorship was removed.
Storm Surge Thorpe Park - Storm Surge.jpg Spinning Rapids Ride2011Amity WhiteWater West The ride has a 19.5 m (64 ft) lift and spins riders down a spiral chute. Originally located at Cypress Gardens, until Merlin acquired the park and made it Legoland Florida.
Tidal Wave Tidal Wave Thorpe Park.jpg Shoot the Chute 2000Amity Hopkins Rides When the ride was opened in 2000 it was the tallest water ride in Europe. The ride has had many sponsors including Dr Pepper and Oasis. Height requirement 1.2 m (3 ft 11 in).
Depth Charge Thorpe park skyline.jpg Water slide 1991Amity BeachNV AquaticOpened as the first four lane dinghy waterslide in the UK.

Family Flat Rides

NamePictureTypeOpenedTerritoryManufacturerAdditional Information
Mr Monkey's Banana Ride Banana Boat.png Pirate Ship 1994The JungleMetallbau EmmelnA small banana themed swinging ship ride themed to one of the Thorpe Park Rangers. Height limit 0.9 m (2 ft 11 in).
Storm in a Teacup Teacups 1986Amity Mack Rides A teacups ride. Height limit 1.1 m (3 ft 7 in).
King Pig's Wild Hog Dodgems Dodgems 2014Angry Birds Land Bertazzon Dodgems ride added in 2014 for Angry Birds Land. Height limit 1.1 m (3 ft 7 in) (with guardian over 1.3 m (4 ft 3 in)).
High StrikerFrog Hopper2017 (2022)Amity Zamperla A Frog Hopper ride, relocated from Weymouth Sea Life, and opened in Old Town, as 'Lumber Jump', in 2017. Was later rethemed and moved to Amity in 2022.

Height limit 0.9 m (2 ft 11 in).

Dark Rides & Other Rides

NamePictureTypeOpenedTerritoryManufacturerAdditional Information
Derren Brown's

Ghost Train

Derren Brown's Ghost Train .jpg Dark Ride 2016The Dock Yard Intamin, Merlin Magic Making,

Simworx and Figment Productions

Multi-sensory virtual reality dark ride created in collaboration with Derren Brown.
Black Mirror LabyrinthMaze Attraction2021Old TownMerlin Magic Making, FusionLX

and Figment Productions

A maze using cutting-edge technology & sensory-defying environments. Based on the Netflix series Black Mirror .
Angry Birds 4D Experience Angry Birds 4D.png 4D Cinema 2014Angry Birds LandSimworx4D Cinema showing the Angry Birds 4D movie. Replaced Pirates 4-D and Time Voyagers.
Amity Beach Thorpe Park fly motion.jpg Beach Area with Pool

and Waterslides

1979AmityThorpe ParkOriginally named "Fantasy Reef".

Former attractions

NamePictureTypeOpenedClosedTerritoryManufacturerAdditional Information
Slammer Slammer at Thorpe Park - - 467533.jpg Sky Swat20052017Old Town S&S Worldwide This was the last Sky Swatter in the world. It was permanently closed in 2017 after being plagued with technical issues for much of its period of operation. Height limit 1.4 m (4 ft 7 in).
Loggers Leap Off to get wet - - 1293811.jpg Log Flume 19892015Old Town Mack Rides Was the tallest log flume in the UK. The ride was last operational during the 2015 season, with the closure being officially confirmed during the 2019 season. Currently in process of removal for Project Exodus.
Rocky Express The Rock Express - - 1294763.jpg Sea Storm19892021Old Town Mack Rides Family friendly spinning train ride. Height limit 0.9 m (2 ft 11 in). Closed to make way for Project Exodus. [15]
Wet Wet Wet 3 Lane Water Slide 19792021Amity Beach Water Slides


Since 2016, Thorpe Park is zoned into eight 'island territories'.

Themed 'island territory' areas at Thorpe Park 
  •  Port & Basecamp 
  •  Amity 
  •  The Jungle 
  •  Angry Birds Land 
  •  Old Town 
  •  Lost City 
  •  Swarm Island 
  •  The Dock Yard 

Port and Basecamp

The 'Basecamp' area contains security, the turnstiles, toilets, business/staff reception and bridge where guests enter the park. This leads to 'The Dome' which acts as a hub for the park, which houses 'Vibes Bar & Kitchen' (formerly Infinity Bar & Kitchen), an arcade area, The Coffee Shack, toilets, lockers, the Island Gift Shop, guest services, first aid, photo points and staff areas (canteen, 'The Core' and offices).

The dome was previously known as 'Port Atlantis' with an underwater Atlantian themed interior. Much of the scenery and underwater effects went missing since Merlin's acquisition of the park and was removed altogether after the building's change of theme.

The Dome remains open outside park operating hours to provide entertainment and dining facilities for guests staying at Thorpe Shark Cabins, including a breakfast buffet.


Amity is set as a 1950s-era American fishing village hit by a tidal wave and opened with Tidal Wave in 2000. It was previously named 'Amity Cove', as still named on themed signage. The area was expanded in 2006 with Stealth, set at 'Amity Speedway' racetrack. It later took on attractions from the former 'Neptune's Beach' family area, Depth Charge, and Amity Beach outdoor water park.

It also includes attractions from the former 'European Park' area, Flying Fish and Storm In A Teacup. Flying Fish was originally located beside Tidal Wave (where Stealth sits today) but was removed following construction of Stealth in 2005. It was reopened, in its present location near The Swarm, in 2007, due to popular demand. In 2011, the raft water ride Storm Surge was re-located from Cypress Gardens in Florida, USA, before it was rethemed into Legoland Florida. Storm Surge was built on the former site of the Octopus Garden children's area.

The Jungle

The area's main attractions are Nemesis Inferno , a Bolliger & Mabillard inverted coaster set in a volcano, and Rumba Rapids a river rapids ride. The area was previously named 'Calypso Quay', the area now also includes part of the former 'Ranger County' family area, including Mr Monkey's Banana Ride a small swinging ship ride, as well as shopfronts and restaurants from the former 'European Park' area.

In 2021, Trailers, a Fright Nights maze, opened in the building formerly housing the I'm a Celebrity... attraction.

Angry Birds Land

Angry Birds Land opened in May 2014 and is themed to the Angry Birds video game. Attractions include Angry Birds 4D a 4D cinema, King Pig's Wild Hog Dodgems a dodgem ride and Detonator: Bombs Away a drop tower ride.

The Dock Yard

This area is primarily the plaza for Derren Brown's Ghost Train: Rise of the Demon an indoor dark ride and also contains The Walking Dead: The Ride an indoor rollercoaster. The area has no major themed features, other than buildings and scenery remaining from 'Octopus's Garden' (a since-closed children's area) which was later themed to Amity such as the Megastore, various buoys and a carnival game that resembles a cargo ship.

Lost City

The Lost City theme is that of ruins of a recently unearthed Atlantean civilisation with the Colossus roller coaster as the main attraction opening in 2002. The area first opened in 2001 with the Vortex and Zodiac rides as the only attractions. In 2003 Quantum, a magic carpet ride opened. More attractions have since joined the rides line up with Rush an S&S Screamin' Swing which opened in 2005.

Old Town

The main ride in this area is Saw - The Ride , a Gerstlauer Euro-Fighter with a 100 ft (30 m), 100-degree beyond vertical drop. The ride is themed to the Saw movie franchise and is set in a derelict warehouse/sawmill. A flat ride called Samurai was relocated from Chessington World of Adventures in 2004. The area is also home to the brand new 2021 experience Black Mirror Labyrinth and will be home to the planned "Project Exodus" hyper coaster. Old Town also includes a Burger King.

The area was previously named 'Canada Creek' and was the plaza for Loggers Leap log flume, opened in 1989. When it opened it was one of the tallest log flumes in the world. It had a loose Canadian forest theme, although this has mostly been lost through redevelopments and resembles more of a Western town theme. The main attractions listed in the area sat outside the plaza.

Logger's Leap has remained nonoperational since 2015 and its permanent closure was confirmed in 2019. [12] This area also was home to Slammer a S&S Sky Swatter flat ride, which also still stands but is not operating (SBNO), and has been confirmed to be permanently closed. This area has been closed for the 2022 season due to construction for Project Exodus. [15]

Swarm Island

Swarm Island is the plaza area for The Swarm , a Bolliger & Mabillard wing-rider rollercoaster, opened in 2012. The area was built on land reclaimed from the surrounding lakes. The area is themed as the scene of an apocalyptic disaster/alien invasion with a crashed plane, various damaged emergency vehicles like a helicopter and fire truck, a destroyed church and other destroyed structures. Many of the areas facilities are based within these structures, such as the ride station being housed in the church, the shop being housed in a shipping container, and the ride operating room being based in a wedged police truck.

The Wasteland

An area of empty land behind The Swarm .

Records held by the park


In the 2022 season, Thorpe Park will run the following events:

In recent years, Thorpe Park has held a range of unique events such as Zombie Hunt (2018), GameFX (2019), ParkVibes (2021) and many more.

Fright Nights

Fright Nights, [18] formerly "Fright Nites" is Thorpe Park's terrifying annual Halloween event and also its largest Halloween event in the UK. It's an event that has been running at Thorpe Park since 2002, celebrating Halloween with the park staying open until late at night, as well as operating a range of temporary Halloween attractions. Roaming actors in costume or with make up can also be found around the park. [19] During Fright Nights, the park stays open until 10pm, with a range of scare mazes available for guests, who normally enter in groups of 8–10. "Face it Alone" has sometimes been available as an upcharge, where a guest enters unaccompanied and must sign a disclaimer before entering. [20]

In 2013, Fright Nights was relaunched with a horror movie theme, courtesy of a three-year contract with Lionsgate. All of the pre-existing Fright Nights attractions were removed with the exception of The Asylum and SAW: Alive to make way for new horror-film themed attractions.

In 2014, when the Thorpe Shark Hotel opened, Thorpe Park offered two overnight scare attractions, one of which involved a 'night terror' character appearing in guests' hotel rooms during the night. The other attraction, the 'Extra Cut', involved guests being 'kidnapped' from their hotel room during the night and chased throughout the park. [21] [22]

In 2017 Fright Nights was reinvented with a Walking Dead theme. The addition of two Walking Dead attractions coincided with the season 8 premier of the show. SAW Alive, The Big Top and Platform 15 remained in operation from previous years, with Containment returning as an upcharge attraction.

In 2020, restrictions put into place due to the COVID-19 Pandemic meant that only two mazes operated: Platform 15 and Roots of Evil, both of which took place primarily outdoors. This led to a wide selection of scare zones introduced for the first time to Fright Nights, with The Swarm: Invasion located on Swarm Island, Creek Freaks Unchained in Old Town, The Fearstival Arena in The Dockyard, The Howling of LycanThorpe High in Lost City (on the site near Zodiac and Rush typically used for a scare maze), and Terror at Amity High returning for its third year on the Stealth Plaza. The Crows were also added as roaming actors dressed as scarecrows, based in a few main locations but found anywhere around the park, including interacting with other scare zones. [23]

Fright Nights attraction history
YearAttractions (number of seasons)
Freakshow 3D
2004Carnival of the Bizarre
2005The Asylum
2008The Curse
2010SAW: Alive
Dead End
2011Experiment 10
2012The Passing
2013My Bloody Valentine
Cabin in the Woods
Blair Witch
2014Studio 13
Extra Cut
The Big Top
2016Platform 15
2017The Walking Dead:
Living Nightmare

The Walking Dead:

2018The Walking Dead:
Do or Die

The Big Top: Showtime
Blair Witch
Terror at Amity High
Screamplexx Cinema
Vulcan Peak
Dead Creek Woods
2019Creek Freak Massacre
2020The Swarm: Invasion
Roots of Evil
The Howling of LycanThorpe High
Creek Freaks Unchained
The Fearstival Arena
The Crows
2021Platform 15: End of the Line
Creek Freak Massacre
Amity High vs LycanThorpe: LoveBITES!
The Crows of Mawkin Meadow

  – Previous Fright Night attraction.   – Current Fright Night attraction.


Guests can stay over on-park at the 'Thorpe Shark Cabins', comprising 90-rooms converted from shipping containers with a link to facilities in the adjacent Dome. The accommodation takes its name from its shark head entrance feature built from recycled park signage.

The hotel initially opened in 2013 as 'The Crash Pad', run by external company Snoozebox. The temporary development was purchased by the park the following year and rebranded as the Thorpe Shark Hotel. [24]

Thorpe Park had originally been planning to build a permanent 250-bed hotel as far back as 2006. This would have been located on the opposite side of the lake, on the site of former excavation works, featuring a lakeside bar, health club and restaurant.

The development was pitched again following the installation of 'The Crash Pad' to "test market conditions". The park received planning permission to construct the permanent hotel in 2014, with construction planned to begin in 2016 and an opening in 2018. However, the hotel was never constructed and the Shark Hotel's planning permission was extended by 10 years instead. [25]

Operations and developments

Thorpe Park has a maximum capacity of 15,000 guests. [26] [27]

In 2010, the park outlined a 5-year development plan that outlined new rollercoasters for 2012, which was later realised in The Swarm. The plan outlined another rollercoaster scheduled for 2015 as well as a permanent lakeside hotel, both of which have not come to fruition. No application was ever submitted for the 2015 development and the earmarked site behind The Swarm remains undeveloped.[ citation needed ]

On 26 November 2021, the park launched a public consultation website outlining a proposal for a brand new roller coaster. [28] Alongside this, leaflets were handed out to local residents, stating the proposal will 'involve the removal of existing old rides and replacement with a new roller coaster in the Old Town part of the resort'. Consultation began on 10 December 2021, with plans detailing a 236-foot (72 m) tall steel hyper coaster codenamed "Project Exodus", and the intention to submit planning permission in early 2022.[ citation needed ]


Main gallery: Thorpe Park Resort at WikiCommons

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Wing Coaster is engineering firm Bolliger & Mabillard’s designation for its winged roller coaster designs. Winged roller coasters are a type of steel roller coaster where pairs of riders sit on either side of a roller coaster track in which nothing is above or below the riders. B&M began development on the first Wing Coaster between 2007 and 2008 leading to the opening of Raptor at Gardaland on 1 April 2011. There are currently sixteen B&M-designed Wing Coasters either under construction or operating worldwide as of December 2020.

The Smiler Steel infinity roller coaster

The Smiler is a steel roller coaster located at Alton Towers in Staffordshire, United Kingdom. Manufactured by Gerstlauer, it opened in 2013 as the world's first Gerstlauer Infinity Coaster. It is located in the X-Sector area of the park. With 14 inversions, The Smiler holds the world record for most inversions on a roller coaster.

Motiongate Dubai is a Hollywood-inspired theme park located in Dubai Parks and Resorts, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, showcasing themed areas and attractions based on DreamWorks Animation, Columbia Pictures, Lionsgate, and The Smurfs and was opened on December 16, 2016.


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