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UK theme parks a "rip-off"

In the News
Friday, 4th May 2007 By Dan Ketteringham

Theme parks in Britain are overpriced and queuing times are too long, according to a new report.

Holiday Which? magazine recently sent researchers to six of the country's most-visited parks: Alton Towers, Legoland, Thorpe Park, Drayton Manor, Chessington World of Adventures and Flamingo Land. They criticised not only the pricing of the parks, but also the length of the queues and the limited amount of healthy food available (see last year's report by The Soil Association).

The researchers highlighted the fact that a family ticket for two adults and two young children visiting Alton Towers costs £89, which was the most expensive of the six parks visited.

Although Legoland charges more per adult ticket than the other parks, it was criticised less than the others due to its "beautiful setting" and "good selection [of attractions]". It was also commended for the entertainment it provides for young children in the queue lines.

Lorna Cowan, editor of Holiday Which? said: "The whole family will have a great day out at a theme park, but if you've got teenagers, a family of four could end up spending almost £130 - and that's just to get in.

"Very long queues were the biggest downfall of our visits, and we felt there were some missed opportunities when it came to keeping everyone occupied during the dull wait for popular rides."

To make sure families got the best deal, she recommended that they book their tickets in advance.

In response to the report, a spokesperson from Alton Towers said they were "disappointed" with some comments, but contested that the park's continued popularity showed visitors were still satisfied.

They said: "Despite their high prices, Alton Towers is still the most popular theme park in the UK, with 42 per cent of the adult population having visited and a 90 per cent return rate."

They also cited the fact that many visitors pay less than full price by buying online or using special offers such as BOGOFs.

Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph had some more bad news for the parks when they revealed that the country's top attractions were charging visitors more than almost any other country in the world.

For more information on getting discounted tickets for Alton Towers, see our How to: Get Cheap Tickets page.

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