Across the UK, we have an array of fantastic theme parks which cater to kids and adults of all ages. Whether you’re travelling as a couple, with a group of friends or as a multigenerational family, most theme parks offer a little something for everyone, and it’s also a great day out whilst on holiday.
We’ve crunched the data to find out which of the UK’s theme parks offer the best value for money by comparing the number of rides, cost of entry, parking fees, TripAdvisor ratings and Instagramability. So, if you’re in search of a cheap thrill this summer, here’s where we’d recommend heading:
1. Alton Towers, Staffordshire
Average cost for a family of 4*: £150
Average cost per ride: £0.90
Coming in first place is Alton Towers in Staffordshire, and it’s no surprise that the park has over 2 million visitors in a typical year. With 40+ rides to choose from, including 10 roller coasters there is something to please everyone, whether you’re a thrill seeker waiting to drop on Oblivion or keen to spend the day pottering around CBeebies Land. It’s also the most Instagrammable theme park, racking up over 400,000 hashtags from visitors. Be sure to book in advance though, as doing so can save you a whopping £29 per ticket, totting up to approximately £116 for a family!
2. Legoland, Windsor
Average cost for a family of 4*: £135
Average cost per ride: £0.58
In second place is Legoland is fantastically inclusive for all ages and all heights, with more than 22 rides without height restrictions, perfect for the little kids. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to appeal to the adults (and big kids) too - with 45+ rides, including 6 water rides and 4 rollercoasters. That’s not to mention the intricate artwork on show at Miniworld, where famous landmarks from across the globe have been recreated in miniature, and LEGO Mythica, the UK’s first flying theatre ride! Be sure to book this adventure in advance as it’ll save you around £30 per ticket, £120 for a family – which is a huge saving!
3. Flamingo Land, North Yorkshire
Average cost for a family of 4*: £140
Average cost per ride: £0.55
Next up is Flamingo Land, which has 52+ rides, and if you rode them all on the same day, it would average out at around 55p per ride! It’s home to Mumbo Jumbo, a record-breaking ride for having the most extreme drop in rollercoaster history - one not to miss if you’re an adrenaline junkie. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Little Monsters Wacky Races allows little ones to take the wheel of a Model T Ford and explore the grounds of Mischief Manor! Book in advance and families will save themselves around £10 per ticket - £40 in total!
4. Drayton Manor, Staffordshire
Average cost for a family of 4*: £116
Average cost per ride: £0.58
This iconic theme park, Drayton Manor, has an average satisfaction score of 4/5, so you can be confident that you’ll be in for a fantastic day all round. With 47+ rides, there is something for every member of the family. Thrill-seekers will be drawn to the likes of Shockwave, Europe’s first intimin stand-up coaster and still only one of two, and Thor an eagerly awaited Disk-O Coaster due to open this spring. The kids will be thrilled by all the rides in Thomas Land!
5. Crealy, Devon
Average cost for a family of 4*: £96
Average cost per ride: £0.40
At just £96 for a family day out, Crealy comes in as as the park with the cheapest average cost per ride (just 40p!) Crealy is certainly one of the most budget friendly options that made our best value. It has 60+ rides making it one of the best for variety, and is situated in Devon, a real family favourite holiday destination. There’s also more than 200 animals that you can meet on-site - which is why we’re not surprised that it’s been voted Devon’s best day out for a staggering eight years running!
Also featured in the top 10 are:
Despite not making it into the 10 best value theme parks, there were a few others we thought deserved a special mention, including:
- Woodlands in Devon, which had the most budget-friendly overall price at just £60.80 for a family of four.
- Lightwater Valley in North Yorkshire, which was the cheapest option for families with babies or toddlers at just £33 for two adults with two babies in tow.
Stay near the UK's best theme parks
Which cheap thrill will you be opting for this summer? If you’re planning a trip with friends, or your wider family, be sure to check out our selection of large properties in the UK where you can all kick back and relax after a rollercoaster of a day!
*Average cost is based on two adults and two children visiting the park in peak summer periods and includes any parking costs.
Data collected in May 2022 direct from individual theme park sites. The theme parks with the best value for money were determined by finding the number of Instagram hashtags, price for two adults and two children to visit in peak season, TripAdvisor satisfaction score, the number of rides for a set of 20 UK theme parks. Each of these factors was then scored by rank, with all scores added together to rank the theme parks overall.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.