Advice on Merlin Annual Passes

(9 Posts)
mamabluestar Mon 25-Apr-16 21:47:43

I'm considering saving to buy the kids (DS 5 and DD8) a family merlin pass for Christmas.

Other than what is already advertised, although I'm yet to read it properly, can anyone recommend them? have any tips as to how to get value for money using them? And generally any advice at all?

We live in the North East so will need to think about booking hotels or similar for attractions south of Alton Towers.

Thanks all

AuditAngel Mon 25-Apr-16 22:47:20

We have Merlin passes, but don't use as often as we should. We are within easy reach of Legoland/Thorpe Park/Chessington.

Unfortunately DHZ works weekends, now DD2 is 5 we will probably try to use it more this summer.

Look at Travel lodge etc for overnights stays

noramum Tue 26-Apr-16 12:32:36

We had them for one year but we live SE London and used them a lot. Chessington and Legoland are a short distance away, so we had the price of the pass back by just going twice to each of them.

There are normally lots of Travelodges, Premier Inn etc around these attractions and they are decent, you only need them for sleep anyway. I stayed a couple of times in a Premier Inn recently and was more than impressed by the standard.

I would make a plan what you think you would visit and calculate things like cost of petrol, hotel stay, going out for food etc. Most of the parks are packed during holidays, so for Legoland you may want to include paying for Qbots when you visit, otherwise you may leave with just having done 3-4 rides. Inset days are better. Would you be able to afford all this on top of the price of the pass or would you say, for example, you just do one Legoland visit incl. hotel/drive if this is what your children like to do and save the rest for something else.

Also, some attractions close between October half-term and Easter, take this into account if you think about it. Would the pass sit there for months unused because nothing is open.

WisestIsShe Thu 05-May-16 22:50:46

We are on our second year of them. DC are 14 and 10. We've loved them but are very close to Blackpool with lots of places and have family close to Alton towers. Also had a weekend in Warwick which was great.

We have had value from it but I don't think we'd have bothered if we didn't have so many places within easy reach. Also I found that although entry is free you end up buying souvenirs, photos etc because the day out was "free".

We are considering a London weekend to do all the things there.

If you do go for it, give the kids a home made voucher for it and buy it in the January sale. It goes down to £99 each then.

mamabluestar Fri 06-May-16 06:36:20

Thanks for your help. I think we would definitely need to really plan how we would use the passes, especially with a lot of the attractions being in the south.

I have taken note that they could be sat unused Oct to Easter. It's a great idea to make vouchers so we can buy them in the sales.

Thank you

madasamarchhare Sat 14-May-16 22:18:59

I second what wise said. That's a great piece of advice to buy them in the sale. We have passed but we are down south so have many attractions nearby. During school holidays the parks are busier but you do feel as though you are having a free day out and as you can go back again you don't feel you need to spend the entire day there or stress if it's busy and you don't get to do all the rides. Damp days are good as all still open but puts many people off. With your pass you will receive 20% off food and poss gift shop can't remember. With premium
Passes you don't pay for parking which I know if £6 per day at Thorpe park alone. Be aware if you go for standard passss there are certain restrictions such as you can visit London attractions in August. Be sure to
Compare carefully. Having said all that we love ours and although the initial outlay is a lot we have had many great days out on these. Premier inns are great, lovely rooms always next to a decent restuarant and if
You search you can often find rooms for £29 a night. Bargain.

LazyMilk Tue 31-May-16 13:11:53

We just bought ours with our tesco clubcard vouchers, £50 in vouchers is one pass. Might make it a bit more affordable. Now just to decide whether to pay the additional £50 in cash per pass to upgrade to premium passes. I'm not sure if it's worth it.

Stinkyfeet Tue 31-May-16 13:26:27

You might want to consider just upgrading one of the passes so you can get the free parking and discounts on food/gift shops.

BoGrainger Tue 31-May-16 13:28:06

We had them via Tesco when dp was out of work. It meant the dds could still have some fun, just with picnic food and no extras. We live in the SE though so apart from petrol it was good value for money especially as at the time 5 passes only cost £100 in vouchers.
We had extra luck as our passes were first used in the Easter holidays which were late that year and they ran out the following year after the Easter holidays which were early so we felt we got extra value from them!

This has reminded me that we had a wish that when dp got work again we would buy a large TV. We had just come off the log flume at Thorpe Park when he got a phone call offering him a job. We all danced around in a circle shouting BIG SCREEN TELLY!! BIG SCREEN TELLY!! We were so happy I've got all emotional just thinking about it.grin

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