The best rides in Thorpe Park
By Helen Wright
The best rides in Thorpe Park are some of the most thrilling theme park attractions in the UK. Colossus, Thorpe Park’s original major rollercoaster, has now been open at the park for 20 years and remains one of the most exhilarating coasters of all time. Thorpe Park is located in Chertsey, around 30 mins’ drive from London, making it a fantastic theme park to tag onto your London trip. However, with over 30 attractions, the theme park (which opened in 1979) can be a complete destination in itself, with themed areas and rides that appeal to all ages, as well as a choice of hotels.
Cover image: Thorpe Park/Daniel Lewis. This page includes affiliate links.
Theme park expert Helen Wright headed to Thorpe Park at the start of the 2022 season to check out what’s on offer, what’s new and what classic attractions have stood the test of time. Below, we have included a round up of the best rides at Thorpe Park so you don’t miss out on any of the greats:
A guide to Thorpe Park tickets prices
The best discounts on Thorpe Park tickets can be enjoyed when booking tickets in advance. If you purchase your tickets before the day of your visit, you can save up to 37% on the door admission price. When I visited Thorpe Park, my tickets were from attractiontickets.com. These are issued as a digital pass that is easily downloadable to your phone. We also had Adrenaline Fast Track passes. These can be purchased separately from thorpepark.com and also saved as a barcode on your phone. The process was very easy and we had no problems getting into the park, or using the FastTrack on the attractions.
Is FastTrack at Thorpe Park worth it?
If you plan to visit Thorpe Park at the weekend or during school holidays, you may find it worthwhile to buy a Fast Track pass for the major rides. These vary in price from £25 t0 (a probably unnecessary), £85 and allow different level, ‘queue jump’ access to selected attractions. Having the Adrenaline Fast Track definitely helped us ride many more attractions than we would have managed with the general admission. Just be aware that there will always be some waiting time (up to 15 minutes on an attraction with a 90 minute line, so it’s not always as ‘fast’ as you sometimes expect.
Thorpe Park Halloween Fright Night
Thorpe Park Resort host events throughout the year, including Mardi Gras and Oktoberfest, but their most popular separately ticketed event is Thorpe Park’s Halloween Fright Night. During this event, visitors can be chased by zombies, experience scare zones and horror mazes and experience some of the scariest rides at Thorpe Park in the dark. Tickets are available from late summer, check here for updates.
Coming soon: NEW ride at Thorpe Park
Just announced and starting construction this year, is the newest ride at Thorpe Park: EXODUS! This new (and massive) coaster will be visible from all over the resort because it is set to be the tallest roller coaster in the UK. Thorpe Park really means business when it comes to rides and this looks epic. Check out the exciting video:
The best rides in Thorpe Park
It goes without saying that for thrill seekers, the best rides at Thorpe Park include the super-fast, big drop mega coasters, but the theme park has other, less terrifying themed-rides that are lot of fun if the towering heights and rocket launch accelerations aren’t for you. After spending the day testing out all the attractions at the resort, this is our definitive list of the best rides at Thorpe Park:
The Swarm: Thorpe Park
I was so excited to ride The Swarm. This unique ‘winged’ coaster is the only one of its kind in the UK (and one of only two in the world), so it’s pretty special. The Swarm at Thorpe Park didn’t disappoint. The attraction has some fantastic theming, setting up the idea that an alien swarm is set to take over the planet. The ride itself is enormous, with a huge track and seats that are positioned either side of it (hence the name ‘winged coaster’). Legs dangle free, giving the real feel of flying through the air. The Swarm is not the fastest coaster at Thorpe Park, nor do you want it to be. The thrill of ‘free flying’ is enough to make this attraction one of my favourite rides at the park.
One of my favourite things about Thorpe Park The Swarm is the attention to detail and ride imagining that keep the theme rolling throughout. Think narrowly missing a plane crash, hurtling through a billboard and crashing through an overturned police car. Definitely don’t miss this one (which is right at the back of the park). So much fun. I loved it.
Best rides at Thorpe Park: Saw – The Ride
Despite huge competition for the best rides at Thorpe Park, SAW – The Ride is possibly the most popular attraction at the resort. Based on the creepy film franchise, SAW, the attraction has a spooky queue line to build up the fear factor with intermittent screams and the sounds of rusty machinery operating (we assume that isn’t from the rollercoaster itself!). As you make your way through the dark, bloodstained warehouse you are led to small coaster-style cars carrying only 8 people per train. The ride is short, but what it lacks in length, it makes up for in sheer thrill. The anticipation as you get pulled up a vertical track is almost too much (I had to stop myself closing my eyes). With just enough time to take a breath, you are dropped right back down to the floor again – face first! There is a short coast along the track after this, but most of it is a blur as you process ‘that’ drop.
Stealth: Thorpe Park’s tallest coaster
Just looking at this towering coaster makes me nervous! Stealth is so high, with an impressive 205ft top hat that can be seen from miles away and dominates the whole park. Certainly the most anticipated of the best rides in Thorpe Park, Stealth is a hydraulic launch coaster with a vintage Speedway theme. The train is designed as a cute 50s Cadillac, but that is where the sweetness ends. When the traffic lights turn green, Stealth launches its riders with an acceleration 0 – 80mph in 1.8 seconds. Oh. Yes.
Before you can even think about screaming, you’ve been catapulted into the air and are about to plummet back down to earth. This is a fantastic coaster to tick off your white-knuckle bucket list. The only downside is that after the drop, you’re whisked straight back to the station. It’s short but definitely not sweet!
PRO TIP: One benefit to Stealth being only 15 seconds long (!!) is that lines are usually shorter. This ride is a fast-loader, often with multiple trains, meaning queues are shorter than on other attractions.
The best rides in Thorpe Park: Colossus
This one is not for the faint-hearted. Hell, no. In fact, because Thorpe Park’s Colossus coaster is 20 years old, I was guilty of underestimating this beast! From the minute we took off, I relaised this is no ordinary coaster. In fact, I would go as far to say it was one of the most inventive and terrifying coasters I have ever been on. When it was built in 2002, Colossus was the world’s first roller coaster to include ten inversions, including a vertical loop, corkscrews and a cobra roll. But the real tummy turner is the ridiculous four consecutive barrel rolls at the end. That section is absolutely wild! I didn’t know if I was coming or going. It’s so thrilling, it’s difficult to take a breath. It’s not often that a coaster shocks me, but this one did!
One thing to know: Colossus (having first opened in 2002) is a little old and faded these days. Yes, this attraction still packs the same punch as it did when I was a teenager, but it’s noticeably rougher and more violent than the new, smooth coasters we are spoiled with today. It’s still, without a doubt, one of the best rides at Thorpe Park (and anywhere) but this bone-rattler is not for anyone that suffers with neck or back problems. It’s a rough ride.
Nemesis Inferno Thorpe Park
This was the one everyone used to brag about riding when I was at school. Opening in 2003, Nemesis Inferno was a sister coaster to the popular ride at Alton Towers Park, simply named Nemesis. These days, this is one of the best coasters at Thorpe Park for an entry-level rider who wants to try out the bigger attractions, but doesn’t want to ride anything too crazy for their fast mega-coaster. FAR more gentle than Colossus, this has the traditional hill drop and loop track (which I love) and legs dangling means a smoother ride along the track. Don’t get me wrong, Nemesis Inferno still has plenty of thrills (a top speed of 50 mph and four inversions including a vertical loop, a zero-g roll, and a set of interlocking corkscrews) with the feeling of up to 5 times the force of gravity on the almost-two-minute ride.
I am such a sucker for a water ride! Log flumes with the steep drop always get all the attention, but I think you can have the most fun on the rapid rides (and get soaked). With a height minimum of 1.1m, this is one of the best rides at Thorpe Park because it’s a family attraction that everyone can enjoy together. That’s the real magic of theme parks.
However, if you are looking for a water ride with a drop, Tidal Wave has long been one of the most-loved and best rides in Thorpe Park. Opening in the millennium year of 2000, 22-years-later and you can still ride the Tidal Wave and plunge 85ft into the waters below, causing the most almighty splash! The best bit, if you stand too close the spectators get drenched too – making it so much fun to both ride and watch!
Best rides in Thorpe Park: Samurai
Fun fact: The music playing as you ride Samurai is featured on the soundtrack of Matrix: Reloaded. One of the best rides at Thorpe Park if you love mental, spinning attractions! I am more of a roller coaster girl myself, but on the Samurai you’ll be spun 360 degrees, creating forces of up to 5G while hovering 60ft above the ground. What can I say – teenagers LOVE this one and it’s easy to see why.
Zodiac at Thorpe Park
Zodiac at Thorpe Park has real nostalgic value for me as I remember riding this as a kid and loving it! I really do enjoy an old-school, classic fun attraction and this ticks all the boxes. The main difference on this ride to any other is that you are seated in little cages and not strapped in, making it extra thrilling! Centrifugal force keeps you in your seat without a restraint, but the feeling of freedom takes the ride to the next level. It’s educational too – I remember my dad (theme park Rog) teaching me and my friend Michelle about centrifugal force on this ride when we were kids. Every day is a school day, hey?
Family Rides at Thorpe Park
I don’t think anyone would deny that Thorpe Park is a white-knuckle theme park with high-octane rides, aimed at thrill seekers. Teenagers, especially will LOVE Thorpe Park and it’s a great day out for adult groups and large parties too. However, there is plenty to do for families and younger kids, with 10-12 rides that are probably* suitable for children aged five and older. (*based on the average height of a five year old).
There is a whole land aimed at children (Angry Birds Land), which has a 4D experience with no height minimum and fun fairground-style rides such as dodgems. There is a collection of child-friendly rides, such as Mr Monkey’s Banana Ride and the Timber Tug Boat, as well as a kids roller coaster too (get them started young!). And of course, how can anyone forget the iconic Tea Cups? In the same location at Thorpe Park since 1985 – when I was four! Surely one of the best rides in Thorpe Park of all time and with a height restriction of 1.1m, most kids will qualify.
TOP TIP: A plus of Thorpe Park being viewed as a theme park for teens and older, is that the collection of children’s rides have little-to-no queues, making you the most smug guests at the resort!
Our tickets were comped. Opinions my own, as always.
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