The history of Thorpe Park dates back to 1979, when the Resort opened. The theme park consists of 30 rides and attractions including THE SWARM, the UK’s only winged rollercoaster; SAW – The Ride with a 100ft vertical drop; and Tidal Wave, one of the UK’s wettest water rides. More recently, improvements at the Park were informed by the Medium-Term Development Plan which set out a vision for new rides and enhancements.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the business has been significant. Thorpe Park Resort had to close for 96 days in 2020 and 17 days in 2021 and when open, operated at a reduced capacity for extended periods impacting the number of people Merlin could welcome to the Resort. Prior to the pandemic, emphasis was placed on refreshing the theme park experience in the context of increased competition from other leisure attractions.
The development history of Thorpe Park has shown that periods of under investment often result in difficult trading periods, with visitors choosing other alternative attractions and leisure opportunities. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic it is vital that Thorpe Park Resort continues to revitalise its rides and attractions to sustain interest and maintain admission numbers.
Thorpe Park was officially opened by Lord Mountbatten and a number of rides and buildings were introduced throughout 1980’s and 1990’s
The Tussauds Group acquired the Park and subsequently made significant investments including Pirates 4D and Tidal Wave
Colossus opens, the first ten looping rollercoaster
Nemesis Inferno rollercoaster opens – the ride included the first interlocking corkscrews on an inverted coaster
Stealth opens, the UK’s fastest rollercoaster
Site acquired by Merlin Entertainments
SAW – The Ride opens
Storm Surge opens
THE SWARM opens
Crashpad hotel opens which was subsequently rebranded as The Shark Hotel in 2014
Angry Birds Land and 4D Experience open
Derren Brown’s Ghost Train opens; a one of a kind ride crafted by Derren Brown
Derren Brown’s Ghost Train Rise of the Demons opens, an extension to the original ride
The Walking Dead indoor attraction which combines a rollercoaster and live actors opens