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Thorpe Park vs Chessington World of Adventures; which London area Merlin park do you prefer?

Thorpe Park or Chessington World of Adventures?

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Matt N

CF Legend
Hi guys. Merlin Entertainments, the owner of the 4 biggest theme parks in the UK, has two Resort Theme Parks in the London area; Thorpe Park and Chessington World of Adventures. In spite of these parks’ identical owner and close proximity to one another, they are very different theme parks; Thorpe Park is aimed at thrillseekers, and has one of the UK’s biggest selections of thrill coasters and thrilling flat rides, while Chessington is aimed at younger families and has a zoo and various family-orientated rides. With that in mind, I’d be keen to know; which of these two theme parks do you prefer?

Now I know you probably all think I’ve lost my marbles a bit here. I can imagine you all thinking “Come on, Matt; we’re all adults, and Chessington is a kid’s park. Obviously Thorpe Park and its thrill coasters and flat rides will win here!”. However, I made a poll because things I’ve read and heard would suggest that it isn’t quite that clear cut. It feels like most people absolutely despise Thorpe Park with every fibre of their being; no one ever has a good word to say about it. Chessington, on the other hand, seems to get fairly good reviews, and a lot of people heap praise upon it whenever they visit and cite good memories they’ve had there. So I was interested to know whether Thorpe Park’s thrill rides are enough to get it past some of its perceived inadequacies, and whether Chessington’s perceived advantages are enough to get it past its less thrilling ride selection, in your eyes.

Personally, I would (perhaps controversially) vote for Thorpe Park here, and by a comfortable margin. I do have a soft spot for it, and I don’t think it deserves much of the criticism it gets. The coaster selection is really decent, with some excellent headliners, they have a really decent selection of support rides, including two brilliant flat rides in Detonator and Rush (and I’m not the biggest flat ride fan, so that’s saying something!), the theming is stunning in areas, the landscaping is surprisingly nice in areas as well, and I overall get a really nice vibe from Thorpe Park! I do like it a lot, and while I rate Alton Towers a fair bit higher as a park, it is up there with AT as a park I try and visit at least once annually.

With Chessington, on the other hand… while I admittedly haven’t been since 2014, so I probably need a revisit with fresh eyes at this point, I’m not entirely sold on the hype it often receives. I don’t remember any of Chessington’s attractions really standing out to me even within the sphere of family attractions, and while it was nicely themed in places, I don’t remember the theming being anything spectacular. It wasn’t a bad park by any stretch, but even at only 11 years old (my last visit was just before my 11th birthday, so technically 10 years old), I remember me and my family had the overriding feeling that we were just a bit too old for it. Of the UK Merlin parks, I’d (surprisingly) even say I preferred Legoland on my recent visit there, although I would perhaps say I felt similar at that park. As I say, though, I do probably need a revisit to Chessington; I’ll see if I can get back there when the new coaster opens.

But which of these London area Merlin parks would you rate higher?
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Best Topic Starter
Thorpe has the better rides hands down. Yet if i was with friends and wanted a nicer day out which park would i goto? Chessington hands down.
I always prefered the ghosterforce day at Chessie to the Thorpe day.