Thorpe Park

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Thorpe Park
Thorpe Park logo.png
Location Chertsey and Staines, Surrey, England
Coordinates 51°24′17″N0°30′47″W / 51.40472°N 0.51306°W / 51.40472; -0.51306
StatusOperating
Opened24 May 1979;44 years ago (1979-05-24)
Owner LXi REIT [1]
Operated by Merlin Entertainments
General managerNeil Poulter (Divisional Director)
SloganThe Home Of Feel-Good Thrills
Operating seasonTheme Park
March - November
Thorpe Shark Cabins
March - November / December (Private Events)
Thorpe Park Marquee
March - November / December (Private Events)
Attendance2023: 1,500,000 (Increase2.svg23%)
Area410 acres (1.7 km2; 170 ha) *Total combined area including Lakes and all back of house areas
Attractions
Total27
Roller coasters8
Water rides4
Website www.thorpepark.com

Thorpe Park, formerly also known as Thorpe Park Resort, is a theme 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 as of Spring 2024, Hyperia , the United Kingdom's tallest and fastest rollercoaster. In 2019 Thorpe Park was the UK's third most visited theme park (1.9 million visitors), behind Alton Towers and Legoland Windsor. [2] 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.

Contents

After demolition of the Thorpe Park Estate in the 1930s, the site became a gravel pit, but in the early 1970s part of that gravel pit was flooded, creating a unique water-based environment for the park, with the intention of building a leisure attraction on it. Thorpe Park resort was built on that site in 1979, and being partially flooded it allowed visitors to view Thorpe Park as an island. It has since grown into a major theme park in the UK and one of the top 10 theme parks in Europe. Major attractions include Tidal Wave , a large water ride; Ghost Train , a dark ride; as well as a number of rollercoasters including Colossus , Nemesis Inferno , Stealth , Saw – The Ride , The Swarm , The Walking Dead: The Ride , and as of Spring 2024, Hyperia .

History

Thorpe Park Lake in July 1979, the year the park opened to the public Thorpe Park Lake in early days - geograph.org.uk - 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 transformed the grounds into a gravel pit, originally owned by Ready Mixed Concrete Limited. When the pits were exhausted, RMC flooded part of the site. In 1975 the Water Ski World Championships were held on the site. [3] 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. [4]

The park was formally 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. [4]

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

In the early 1980s, the park was redeveloped into a theme park with permanent themed rides and attractions. [5] New attractions were opened throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Space Station Zero was the park's first rollercoaster, opening in 1984. [6] 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 they started opening key attractions such as Tidal Wave in 2000, Colossus in 2002, Nemesis Inferno in 2003 and Stealth in 2006. [7]

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. [8] [9] Dubai International Capital also acquired 20% of Merlin Entertainments. [10]

On 17 July 2007, as part of the financing for the Tussauds deal, Merlin sold Thorpe Park to private investment firm Prestbury, under a sale and leaseback agreement. [11] The site is operated by Merlin based on a renewable 35-year lease. [8] As of 2023, the site is owned by LXi REIT Plc. [1]

The target audience for the resort is teenagers and young adults, with rides such as Saw – The Ride and The Swarm being added. In 2014, Merlin decided also to target a broader family-based market with new attractions such as Angry Birds Land and the park's onsite hotel. [12]

On 20 February 2019, the official Twitter account of Thorpe Park confirmed the permanent closure of Logger's Leap, a log flume that had opened in 1989 but had been closed since 2015 due to the Smiler accident at Alton Towers that year. [13]

In 2021, Thorpe Park announced plans for a new rollercoaster in the Old Town section of the park under the project name of Project Exodus. This ride is set to be the tallest and fastest ride in the UK, at a height of 236 feet (71.9 metres) and a speed of 81 mph (130 km per hour). [14]

On 30 October 2023, Thorpe Park announced that Angry Birds Land would be closing. It permanently closed the following day. On 16 November 2023, the park revealed that the land would be rethemed to Big Easy Boulevard, opening Spring 2024. [15]

In response to a survey taken in late 2022, Thorpe Park revitalised their branding on 30 November 2023, with a brand new logo (previously unchanged since 2008) and slogan, bidding farewell to their iconic "infinity" symbol (used for the park since 2001) and light-hearted An Island Like No Other tagline - instead marketing itself as the home of Feel-Good Thrills. The new logo comes with six palettes and patterns for their marketing materials and merchandise, stating that this “encapsulates the spirit of Thorpe Park”. [16]

Rides and attractions

Rollercoasters

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. The Swarm is the only ride on Swarm Island. Minimum height 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. Minimum height 1.4 m (4 ft 7 in).
Stealth Stealth Thorpe Park.jpg Hydraulic Launched Coaster 2006Amity Speedway Intamin An Intamin hydraulic launch coaster, 205.1 ft (62.5 m) tall and accelerating from 0 to 80 mph (0 to 129 km/h) in 1.9 seconds. [17] It is the second tallest coaster in the UK and also the fastest, commonly recognised as the park's flagship attraction. It has a loose 1950s-era drag racing theme. Minimum height 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 A 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. Minimum height 1.4 m (4 ft 7 in). It was filmed for The Inbetweeners episode "Thorpe Park".
Hyperia Steel Hyper2024Old Town Mack Rides A Mack Rides Hyper Coaster currently under construction. It will be the UK's tallest and fastest rollercoaster upon opening in the 2024 season. Reaching a max height of 236ft and speeds of over 80mph [18]
Colossus Colossus (Thorpe Park).jpg Steel Sit down2002Lost City Intamin Opened in 2002, achieving the world record for 'most inversions on a rollercoaster', with 10 inversions (this record was beaten by The Smiler with 14 inversions in 2013), marketed as 'the world's first ten looping rollercoaster'. It is loosely-themed around traversing the ruins of a lost Atlantean civilization. Minimum height 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 (with a rave/dance music theme) and originally X:\No Way Out (with a computer virus theme). Minimum height 1.4 m (4 ft 7 in).
Flying Fish Thorpe Park flying fish 1.jpg Steel powered coaster 1984 (1990) (2007)Amity Beach 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 Amity Beach in 2007. Minimum height 0.9 m (2 ft 11 in).

Thrilling flat rides

NamePictureTypeOpenedTerritoryManufacturerAdditional Information
Samurai Samurai Thorpe Park.jpg Top Scan 2004Old Town 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. Minimum height 1.4 m (4 ft 7 in).
Quantum Thorpe Park Quantum ride.jpg Magic Carpet2003Lost City Fabbri Group Large magic carpet ride. Minimum height 1.2 m (3 ft 11 in).
Zodiac Zodiac thorpe park.jpg Enterprise 2000 (2001) (2006)Lost City HUSS HUSS enterprise that first opened in 2000 as 'Enterprise', intended as a temporary attraction. It was renamed to 'Zodiac' (and made a permanent attraction) in 2001. At the end of the 2005 season, Zodiac was removed, and replaced by another HUSS Enterprise, relocated from Drayton Manor, where it was known as Cyclone. The replacement opened at the start of the 2006 season. [19] Minimum height 1.1 m (3 ft 7 in).
Vortex Vortex in action - geograph.org.uk - 1294900.jpg Afterburner 2001Lost City KMG KMG Afterburner ride that opened in June 2001. Minimum height 1.4 m (4 ft 7 in).
Detonator Fasten Your Safety Belts^ - geograph.org.uk - 1165821.jpg Drop Tower 2001 (2014) (2022) (2024)Big Easy Boulevard Fabbri Group 35m tall drop tower. Originally named 'Detonator' and was added following the Thorpe Park fire. It was intended to be temporary addition to the park, but was later made a permanent addition. It was renamed 'Detonator: Bombs Away' for the opening of Angry Birds Land in 2014. in 2023 it was renamed back to 'Detonator'. Max speed 45 Mph, Max G-force of 5.5G. Minimum height 1.3 m (4 ft 3 in). Will receive new theme for 2024.
Rush Rushtp.jpg Screamin' Swing 2005Lost City S&S Power Screamin' Swing which opened alongside Slammer in 2005. Minimum height 1.3 m (4 ft 3 in).

Water rides

NamePictureTypeOpenedTerritoryManufacturerAdditional Information
Rumba Rapids Rapids Thorpe Park 2021.jpg 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 as Ribena Rumba Rapids from 2002 until 2006 until 2007 when 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. Minimum height 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. Minimum height 0.9 m (2 ft 11 in).
Dobble Tea Party Storm In A Teacup.jpg Teacups 1986 (2023 Retheme)Amity Mack Rides A teacups ride. Minimum height 1.1 m (3 ft 7 in). Originally sponsored by the Tetley brand of Tea, and was called 'Storm in a Tea Cup'. Received a Dobble card game sponsorship in 2023.
Dodgems Gas Station Dodgems 2014 (2024)Big Easy Boulevard Bertazzon Dodgems ride added in 2014 for Angry Birds Land. Minimum height 1.1 m (3 ft 7 in) (with guardian over 1.3 m (4 ft 3 in)). Will receive new theme for 2024. Formerly called King Pig's Wild Hog Dodgems
High StrikerJumpin' Star2017 (2022)Amity Zamperla A Jumpin' Star ride, relocated from Weymouth Sea Life, and opened in Old Town, as 'Lumber Jump', in 2017. Was rethemed and moved to Amity in 2022 as High Striker.

Minimum height 0.9 m (2 ft 11 in).

Dark rides and other rides

NamePictureTypeOpenedTerritoryManufacturerAdditional Information
Ghost Train Dark Ride 2016 (2017) (2023)The Dock YardMerlin Magic Making, Intamin, SimworxMulti-sensory dark ride featuring live actors. Rethemed from Derren Brown’s Ghost Train at the start of the 2023 season.
4D Cinema 4D Cinema 1999 (2008) (2014)Big Easy BoulevardInitially opened in 1999, showing Pirates 4-D , operating until the end of the 2007 season. [20] From the start of the 2008 season, it featured Time Voyagers instead, operating until the end of the 2011 season, and remaining dormant throughout the 2012 and 2013 seasons. [21] It reopened in the 2014 season, as part of Angry Birds Land, featuring the Angry Birds 4D Experience. [22] This operated until the end of the 2023 season, with the rebrand of the area into the Big Easy Boulevard for 2024 [15] - but it is unknown if the cinema will continue to operate year-round from 2024, or if it will only be used for seasonal events (such as Fright Nights).
Amity Beach Thorpe Park fly motion.jpg Beach Area with Pool and Waterslides1979AmityThorpe ParkOriginally named "Fantasy Reef", and 'exclusively for families with young children'. This attraction is intermittently open, generally only being open on certain days in the summer, weather permitting. [23]

Attractions under construction

NameTypeExpected OpeningSiteManufacturerAdditional Information
Hyperia Hypercoaster 2024Part of the area known as "Old Town" Mack Rides Set to become the UK's tallest and fastest rollercoaster at 236ft and 81mph respectively. The ride will be located in the area formerly occupied by Old Town and Loggers Leap.

Former attractions

NamePictureTypeOpenedClosedTerritoryManufacturerAdditional Information
Slammer Slammer at Thorpe Park - geograph.org.uk - 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. [24] Minimum height 1.4 m (4 ft 7 in). [25] Slammer remained standing-but-not-operating at the park for several years, with its removal finally confirmed for the start of the 2024 season. [26]
Logger's Leap Off to get wet - geograph.org.uk - 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. [27] It has now been nearly entirely removed to make way for Project Exodus.
The Rocky Express The Rocky Express - geograph.org.uk - 1294763.jpg Sea Storm19892021Old Town Mack Rides Family friendly spinning train ride. Minimum height 0.9 m (2 ft 11 in). Closed and removed to make way for Project Exodus. [28]
Canada Creek Railway Canada Creek Railway - geograph.org.uk - 1294757.jpg Miniature Railway 19892011Old Town Severn Lamb [29] A miniature railway inside the park, which used to take guests from the (previously known as) 'Canada Creek' area of the park to the (now closed) 'Thorpe Farm' area of the park, with the return journey taking a detour through the woods behind the Old Town area, following a similar route to Logger's Leap. After the closure of Thorpe Farm in 2006, [30] the railway only traversed the loop by Logger's Leap. [29]
Pirates 4D 4D Cinema19992007Calypso QuayIwerks EntertainmentReplaced by Time Voyagers
Wicked Witches Haunt Dark ride1983 (1994)2000Central ParkOriginally opened as Phantom Fantasia in 1983, with a tudor style building facade. The ride had a circular revolving loading platform area (similar in style to the one used on Rumba Rapids) with the ride vehicles themselves were being of a black ‘Clam Shell’ design, which were capable of turning 360 degrees, with a single lap bar that came down as you left the station area. These cars were different to those on most other rides as they were part of a continuous chain of cars rather than being part of separate trains. Scenes included an undertaker nailing down a coffin lid whilst the person inside tries to get out, Sweeney Todd gave his latest customer a ‘close shave’, Henry the VIII having a banquet with guests while one of his wives ghostly disappeared and reappeared beside him, a knights graveyard, a ballroom scene with dancers who are later revealed to be skeletons and a sorcerer and his apprentice mixing up a potion. When the ride had finished , you exited through a gift shop themed around the ride. In 1994, it was re-themed to become Wicked Witches Haunt. As part of this re-theme, the entrance building was re-decorated and the entrance to the ride itself was moved around the corner from the original entrance, with a large cackling animatronic witch being placed above it. Inside all the scenes were painted in bright coloured UV paint to glow under the new UV lighting with new scenes being added such as witches cooking up a brew in a cauldron,large spiders and a new finale scene, in which the main Witch was stuck in a cell rattling the door as you had an On-Ride photo taken. However, on Friday 21st July 2000, after a major fire at the park which destroyed the ride buildings for both Mr Rabbit’s Tropical Travels and Wicked Witches Haunt, the latter never reopened, being burnt to the ground, eventually being replaced by Detonator.
Thorpe Farm Thorpe Farm (geograph 2993444).jpg Petting farm 19822006Thorpe FarmN/AA petting farm, accessible via the Canada Creek Railway or a ferry over Manor Lake (formerly being reachable by foot until 1992). This area was intended to be somewhat educational, not only allowing guests to get up close and personal with farm animals, but also to learn a bit about caring for these farm animals (and general farm activities). This area also featured a play area, and several shops and food outlets. Thorpe Farm was closed due to dwindling guest numbers in 2006, with the animals being rehomed. The area is currently inaccessible to guests, and is now used for storage and horticultural purposes. [30] [31]
Wet Wet Wet 3 Lane Water Slide 19982022Amity Beach WhiteWater West [32] Three waterslides, primarily designed for younger children, located in the Amity Beach area. This ride was rarely open; being part of Amity Beach, it could only be open when the rest of the attraction was open, but even then, this was not guaranteed to be open as well.
Eclipse
Thorpe Park rides from the lake - geograph.org.uk - 4405459.jpg
Ferris Wheel 20032004Lost City Fabbri Group A ferris wheel. Closed at the end of the 2004 season due to negative guest feedback. [33] Replaced by Rush for the 2005 season. Eclipse was relocated to Chessington World of Adventures, where it reopened as Peeking Heights in 2005.
Angry Birds 4D Experience 4D Cinema 20142023Angry Birds LandSimworx4D Cinema that showed the Angry Birds 4D movie. Replaced Pirates 4-D and Time Voyagers. Closed to make way for new experiences.
Black Mirror LabyrinthMaze Attraction20212023Old TownMerlin Magic MakingA maze that used cutting-edge technology & sensory-defying environments. Was based on the Netflix series Black Mirror . Closed at the end of the 2023 season. [34]

Territories

In 2024, with the addition of Big Easy Boulevard, Thorpe Park is zoned into eight 'island territories'.

Thorpe Park
Themed 'island territory' areas at Thorpe Park 
  •  Port & Basecamp 
  •  Amity 
  •  The Jungle 
  •  Big Easy Boulevard 
  •  Old Town 
  •  Lost City 
  •  Swarm Island 
  •  The Dock Yard 

Port and Basecamp

The 'Basecamp' area contains security, the turnstiles, toilets, business/staff reception, 'Island HQ' 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

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. Amity and Amity Speedway are no longer physically connected, being divided by Big Easy Boulevard.

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.

The Dock Yard

This area is primarily the plaza for Ghost Train , 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's theme is that of the ruins of a recently unearthed Atlantean civilisation, with Colossus as the main attraction (since 2002). The area first opened in 2001 with the Vortex and Zodiac rides as the only attractions. In 2003, this area was expanded further, with the additions of Quantum (a magic carpet ride) and Eclipse (a Ferris Wheel). Eclipse was removed after the 2004 season (being relocated to Chessington World of Adventures); [33] in its place, Rush , an S&S Screamin' Swing, was opened in the 2005 season. At the end of the 2005 season, Zodiac was removed, and replaced with a new HUSS Enterprise (relocated from Drayton Manor, where it operated under the name Cyclone, until it had to be closed down due to noise complaints). The replacement Zodiac opened (without fanfare) for the 2006 season. [19]

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 horror 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 will soon be home to Hyperia . Old Town also includes a Burger King.

The area was previously named 'Canada Creek' and was the plaza for Logger's Leap, which opened in 1989 as 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 ceased to operate after the 2015 season, and its permanent closure was confirmed in 2019. [13] It also used to have the main station for the Canada Creek Railway, a miniature railway which used to take guests to and from the (now closed) 'Thorpe Farm' area of the park, and around the backwoods of Canada Creek (after the closure of Thorpe Farm, it only traversed the backwoods of the Canada Creek area). The railway was closed during the 2008 season (and the track had to be partially rerouted due to the construction of SAW - The Ride), before being closed permanently at the end of the 2011 season. [29] In the years since its closure, the trains, station, and route used by this ride were utilized by several Fright Nights attractions. [35] The area was also home to the experience Black Mirror Labyrinth from 2021-2023.

Most of the rides in this area have been closed since the start of the 2022 season, due to construction work for Hyperia. [28]

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 from "The Swarm" which is intertwined with the area and ride station. Major theming pieces include a crashed plane, various damaged emergency vehicles like a helicopter and fire truck, a partially destroyed church (used as the ride station), 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 control room being based in an overturned police trailer wedged in the roof of the church.

Records held by the park

Events

Thorpe Park events for the 2024 Season:

In recent years, Thorpe Park has held a range of unique events such as Zombie Hunt (2018), GameFX (2019), ParkVibes (2021), Carnival (2022 - 2023) and many more.

Fright Nights

Fright Nights, [38] formerly "Fright Nites" is Thorpe Park's annual Halloween event and also its largest Halloween event in the UK. It is 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. [39] During Fright Nights, the park stays open until 9pm, 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. [40]

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. [41] [42]

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. [43]

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. [44]

Fright Nights attraction history
YearAttractions (number of seasons)
2002THE FREEZER
(3)
Freakshow 3D
(3)
     
2003
2004Carnival of the Bizarre
(5)
2005The Asylum
(9)
Hellgate
(6)
2006Se7en
(6)
2007
2008The Curse
(5)
2009 
2010SAW: Alive
(9)
Dead End
(1)
2011Experiment 10
(2)
 
2012The Passing
(1)
2013My Bloody Valentine
(3)
Cabin in the Woods
(4)
Blair Witch
(4)
2014Studio 13
(1)
Extra Cut
(1)
2015Containment
(5)
The Big Top
(3)
2016Platform 15
(5)
2017The Walking Dead:
Living Nightmare

(3)
The Walking Dead:
Sanctum

(1)
2018The Walking Dead:
Do or Die

(2)
The Big Top: Showtime
(1)
Blair Witch
(2)
Terror at Amity High: High School SUCKS!
(3)
Screamplexx Cinema
(3)
Vulcan Peak
(1)
Dead Creek Woods
(1)
2019Creek Freak Massacre
(1)
  
2020The Swarm: Invasion
(2)
Roots of Evil
(1)
The Howling of LycanThorpe High
(1)
Creek Freaks Unchained [as a Scare Zone]
(2)
The Fearstival Arena
(1)
The Crows
(2)
2021Platform 15: End of the Line
(1)
Creek Freak Massacre
(1)
Amity High vs LycanThorpe: LoveBITES!
(1)
Trailers
(3)
The Crows of Mawkin Meadow
(3)
Birthday Bash
(2)
Legacy
(2)
 
2022Survival Games
(2)
The Terminal
(1)
Creek Freak Massacre: The Final Cut
(1)
Amity High vs LycanThorpe: Graduation SUCKS!
(1)
Creek Freaks Unchained [as a Roaming Team]
(1)
Death's Doors
(2)
 
2023Creature Campus: Trouble's Brewing
(1)
Lucifer's Lair
(1)
Stitches
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  – Previous Fright Night attraction.   – Current Fright Night attraction.

Thorpe Shark Cabins

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. [45]

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. Planning permission was granted in 2011. [46]

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. [47]

In 2023, new Swarm, Nemesis Inferno and Stealth themed rooms opened in the Thorpe Shark Cabins. They feature special theming in the room and unlimited fastrack on each rooms roller coaster on your 2nd day. [48]

Operations and developments

Thorpe Park has a maximum capacity of 15,000 guests. [49] [50]

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. [51]

On 26 November 2021, the park launched a public consultation website outlining a proposal for a brand new roller coaster. [52] 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'. The public consultation began on the 10 December 2021, with plans detailing a 236-foot (72 m) tall steel hyper coaster codenamed "Project Exodus". [52] An application for planning permission was submitted on the 14 March 2022. [53]

Objections to the planning permission application were raised by Surrey Wildlife Trust, Natural England, and the Environment Agency; citing concerns regarding biodiversity impacts, pollution, and flood risks. [54] The concerns raised by Surrey Wildlife Trust and Natural England were addressed, leading to their objections subsequently being withdrawn, [55] however, the Environment Agency's concerns remained unresolved as of October 2022. On the 5th of October 2022, Runnymede Borough Council approved the application for "Project Exodus", but, due to the unresolved objection from the Environment Agency, the application had to be referred to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities for approval [56] (under the terms of The Town and Country Planning (Consultation) (England) Direction 2021).

On the 1 November 2022, a letter sent to Runnymede Borough Council on behalf of the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities stated that 'He is content that it should be determined by the local planning authority'. [57] Subsequently, Runnymede Borough Council granted planning permission for "Project Exodus" on the 2nd of November 2022. [58] [59]

Construction for the project has begun[ when? ] with the manufacturer being confirmed as Mack Rides, the site of Old Town (and the remaining rides have been flattened for the project), and the ground pins for the ride's footers have arrived at the park. On the 17th July 2023, the first supports arrived for the coaster.

On the 16 August 2023, Project Exodus was confirmed to be the UKs fastest roller coaster, and the colour scheme of black, gold and white was confirmed.

On the 5 October 2023, the name for Project Exodus, Hyperia, was revealed.

Transport

There are no direct rail connections to Thorpe Park; the nearest railway station is Chertsey, 2 km away.

Thorpe Park is served by the 950 express bus, which runs from Staines railway station, [60] from which journeys from London Waterloo or Reading can be made. Other local bus routes that serve the park include routes 461 and 446. [61] There is also the seasonal 951 bus between Watford and Thorpe Park, operating once daily (arriving in the morning, departing in the evening) although there are two return journeys during Fright Nights. [62]

Incidents

See also

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