Alton Towers vs Thorpe Park – Which UK Theme Park Wins?

Alton Towers vs Thorpe Park – Which UK Theme Park Wins?

June 17, 2022 1 By Kerry

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When it comes to amusement parks, few compare to Alton Towers and Thorpe Park. Both parks offer a unique experience that you cannot find anywhere else in the world. One park features a collection of roller coasters that are some of the most popular in the world, while the other is home to some of the world’s most iconic Thrill rides. But if it is a choice of Alton Towers vs Thorpe Park, which one will be the victor? Read on to find out more.

What is the difference between Alton Towers and Thorpe Park?

To answer the question of what’s better, Thorpe Park vs Alton Towers, we first need to look at the key differences.

The two amusement park giants have a lot in common:

  • Both are in the UK; one in Staffordshire and the other in Stains.
  • They both boast high-speed thrill rides and
  • They also have both been around for over 50 years.

But when looking at Alton Towers vs Thorpe Park there is one key difference that sets them apart from other amusement parks worldwide. Alton Towers is home to The Smiler, the world’s first vertical loop roller coaster, which set a new Guinness World Record in 2004 for the tallest, fastest and longest looping ride in the world.

Alton towers vs thorpe park - oblivion vertical drop coaster

In terms of height, Thorpe Park is slightly taller of the two amusement parks: in other words, more extended drops. Alton Towers, which opened in 1980, has a maximum elevation of 116 metres (381 feet). The rides at each park are similar in design and include roller coasters, swings, and family-friendly attractions. 

Alton Towers vs Thorpe Park Ride Comparison

Another key difference between Alton tellers vs Thorpe Park is the number of rides each park offers and the type of ride each park has. For example, Thorpe Park has many more roller coasters than its northern competitor. It also has attractions such as The Carnage Coaster and The Swarm, which you won’t find at its sister park. That being said, Nemesis, an inverted coaster at Alton Towers, is one of the world’s top 50 steel roller coasters and has been on this list since its launch. 

Alton Towers Resort is known for its roller coasters, but Thorpe Park offers a more diverse range of rides, including several that are unique to the park. Alton Towers’ coasters tend to be taller and faster than their rivals. However, the Thorpe resort park coasters tend to be smoother and have longer lines. Both parks offer a wide range of amusement park experiences, but each has particular strengths.

Alton towers vs thorpe park - stealth roller coaster
Photo Credit: Attractiontix

Both parks were initially built in the late 1800s as Victorian-era theme parks. However, unlike Thorpe Park, rebuilt after a fire in 2003, Alton Towers underwent a multimillion-pound refurbishment in 2007 that added new rides and attractions. 

Both parks are part of the Merlin Entertainment Group, a bonus if you invest in the Merlin Annual Pass. 

What are the pros and cons of each theme park?

Alton Towers

One of the main attractions at Alton Towers is the acres of stunning natural woodland, gardens and architecture. Cable cars take you to different themed worlds, and the park has many rides and attractions to keep you entertained. 

Alton towers vs thorpe park - nemesis the famous steel roller coaster

PROS

  • The biggest theme park in the UK with acres of beautiful grounds framed by the infamous mansion 
  • Well-crafted themed areas that provide an immersive guest experience and enjoyable atmosphere 
  • The resort includes a well-designed onsite hotel that offers a variety of rooms and food options. 
  • Options to also visit Splash, the water park, or add crazy golf to your ticket package. 
  • The variety of rides suits all sorts of visitors, from families to groups of adults; there is plenty of choice for all ages. CBeebies land, in particular, is a great hit with younger guests. 

Cons 

  • Staying at the resort costs much more than the onsite accommodation options with Thorpe Breaks.
  • While the beautiful grounds are a pro, the vast park does take some time to navigate which can be a downside for people with mobility issues or young children.

How much does Alton towers cost?

Adult tickets start from £36pp but there are often 241 deals available or special offers.

Check out the latest ticket deals

Thorpe Park 

Thorpe amusement Park is a serious contender for the UKs best theme park, boasting several fantastic thrill rides. The themed areas and rides add a different dimension to the park, and it’s not that big that you spend a lot of time walking between zones. 

Alton towers vs thorpe park - ariel view of thorpe park resort

PROS

  • While not as grand as the Alton Towers hotel, the onsite Shark accommodation provided by Thorpe Breaks offers sea-themed rooms at affordable prices. 
  • Thorpe park resort has significantly invested in new rides and attractions and easily rivals Alton Towers for variety and thrill factor. Nemesis Inferno, Stealth and the Rumba Rapids are just a few of the favourites. 
  •  The cost is generally cheaper for tickets making this park a more affordable choice.

CONS

  • The general atmosphere of the park leaves something to be desired. The layout is one-dimensional, and you don’t have the luxury of natural features. 
  • Thorpe Park shouldn’t be your first choice if you’re looking for a park that caters to the whole family. While there are rides for younger children, they are limited, and the park tends to attract teenagers and adults. 

How much does Thorpe Park cost?

Adult ticket prices start from £37pp but there are often 241 deals and special offers available.

Check out the latest ticket deals

Conclusion – is Alton Towers better than Thorpe park? 

In the Thorpe Park vs Alton towers battle of the theme parks, it is clear that both attractions have their strengths and can easily rival each other for thrill rides. For fun for all of the family, the Staffordshire park will give you more variety, but if you don’t want to spend hours walking between rides, then the Staines park should be your go-to. If you’re tempted for a visit, be sure to buy your tickets in advance, especially in peak season. You can check availability and cost below:



Don’t forget, though, that there are plenty of other UK Theme Parks. Flamingo Land is another great northern park that emphasises animal attractions with its zoo. 

If you love rides, treat yourself or your family to a Merlin Annual Pass (from £89 per year). If you want to try different parks or even go to a park a few times in the year, then a membership is a great way to save money and have fun at the same time.  

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