Special offers and discounts in and around London

Merlin Annual Pass - will it save you money?

Money saving pass offering big discounts on attractions in and around London

Merlin Annual Pass

The Merlin Annual Pass can be a real money saver if you are a regular theme park goer; many of the attractions are near London but it also has other attractions UK wide, including various branches of Sealife, Madame Tussauds and Dungeons.


The Merlin Pass for a family of four for one calendar year will cost a few hundred pounds so this is an investment you will have to make carefully before deciding if the discounts it makes for you are worth saving.


The Merlin Annual Pass includes 32 destinations UK wide, with many of them being different branches of the same attraction. There are 12 different attractions in total.


If you are looking for a different kind of pass, perhaps cheaper with more flexibility, Merlin also offer the Merlin Attractions Passes where you can choose from either three or five different London based attractions which you can visit over a 90 day period.


Merlin Annual Pass - Standard or Premium?

There are different grades of pass including the Standard, Premium and VIP. The main differences between the Standard and Premium are that car parking is no longer included in the Standard Pass (you have to purchase Premium) and also restrictions on days you can visit.


For example, during the whole month of August, all UK Bank Holidays and also the ever popular Halloween events you cannot attend the four London attractions - London Eye, Madame Tussauds, Sea Life Aquarium and the London Dungeon - on a Standard Pass without paying to enter separately.


In addition, during any of the weekends in August (Friday- Sunday) you cannot enter any of the theme parks (Thorpe Park, Chessington, Alton Towers and Legoland) or Warwick Castle. If you think you can work round these restrictions and you would rather save the £50 per person on the difference in price between these two passes, then the standard is right for you.


The VIP Pass is in a league of its own relating to cost and for a year's worth of use the only selling feature is the fast-tracking. You have to join a waiting list to purchase.


Purchase your Merlin Annual Pass here


How much will I save will a Merlin Annual Pass?

A savings calculator on the official website allows you to estimate how many times each year you might visit the attractions and how much money could save based on this. As a general guide, it is reckoned that you would need to visit at least four attractions in the calendar year to break even; clearly you would want more money saving than this so at least five visits would be recommended, with at least two of these needing to be the more expensive theme park entries.


If you only attended the cheaper attractions such as London Eye, Dungeon or Madame Tussauds just once, you would struggle to make your money back. The real savings come on any of the four theme parks - Alton Towers, Chessington World of Adventures, Legoland and Thorpe Park.


Annual sale of Merlin Pass in January

Merlin usually do an annual 'sale' of their Pass every January through to mid February where you can pick them up for around £30 per person less (roughly the same price as a renewal pass is sold for). Individual passes as well as family passes are available. The latter saves you money per person compared to the individual price, if buying for a family of four or five. If you purchase at sale time, you save even more - around £120 on the usual retail price.


If you order your passes online you will have the option of collecting or having your passes sent out to you. When your passes are put down for collection they then will not be activated until the day you collect them. You have 6 months from the day of purchase in which to collect your pass.


What attractions are covered?

The Merlin Annual Pass includes 28 destinations UK wide, with many of them being different branches of the same attraction. There are 12 differing attractions in total.


These include:

London Eye

Madame Tussauds

London Dungeon (and other Dungeons UK wide)

Sealife Centre London (and others UK wide)

Shrek's Adventure

Chessington World of Adventures

Thorpe Park

Alton Towers

Legoland Windsor

Warwick Castle

Jurassic Skyline

The Blackpool Tower


Benefits of Merlin Annual Pass

Standard Annual Pass

  • 12 months' entry into UK attractions

  • Up to 20% discount on food, beverage and retail

  • Exclusive discounts on overnight stays at Merlin Resorts

  • Up to 50% discounted entry for family & friends (this is worth having!)

  • Invites to exclusive Passholder Preview Events

Premium Annual Pass

  • All of the above plus:

  • FREE car parking at the Theme Parks and Warwick Castle

  • No restrictions on visit times

  • Priority entry to all UK attractions (subject to availability)

VIP Annual Pass

  • All of the above plus:

  • Unlimited Fastrack at UK Resort Theme Parks

  • x1 drinks capsule and unlimited drinks refills at Merlin Resort Theme Parks & Warwick Castle


How do I apply for a Merlin Annual Pass?

From the Merlin Pass website after selecting which type of pass you would like to buy, you then choose a 'home' attraction; typically your most local one to where you live. This will then take you through to the attraction's website itself. The actual purchasing of the pass is done through this website, not the generic Merlin website.


You will need to provide your personal details such as name, address and contact details as well as a recent photograph which you can either upload directly or choose the option to allow them to take your photo(s) on first arrival.


Note: if you are applying for a Family Pass each individual member will need their own Pass. (A Family Pass works out at around £40 cheaper per person than an Individual Pass.)


Renewing prices are also around £30 cheaper than first time passes (matching the 'sale' price that Merlin do every January.)


On the Standard Pass selection the terms and conditions of acceptance include the restriction days where you will not be allowed to enter using your pass. 


Once purchased, you have six months to collect your pass from you home attraction; or you can opt to have them sent to you (at a charge).


You can now pay for your Merlin Pass monthly rather than as a one-off annual payment. This is an online exclusive offer but allows you to spread the cost of an annual pass which should prove attractive.


Any other benefits to the Merlin Pass?

Consider getting the Premium Merlin Annual Pass if you are particularly interested in flexibility and the Halloween events. For some, both Thorpe Park's Fright Nights and Alton Towers’ Scarefest are not to be missed. The parks are open until 10pm... riding in the dark is its own special experience; combined with 'horror' mazes in the parks and lots of very spooky fun!


Other benefits vary in terms of their usefulness. For example, the London Eye fast track offer, will only save you around £2 per person on the normal fast track... you still spend £30 for a family of four to 'queue jump'... your decision.

  • up to 50% off Merlin international attractions; big savings if you plan on visiting anyway

  • London Eye fast track - down to £7.50 per person for queues down to 15 minutes. For £10 per person you get the fast-track plus champagne at the end

  • early access (9am) to rides at Alton Towers, before the rest of the public! Very useful to save queuing time.

  • 50% discount for London Eye River Cruise

  • Discounts on Q-Bots at Legoland Windsor

    Various 'partner' discounts at restaurants such as Hard Rock Cafe, Park Plaza Hotels, even a big over 16% discount with Big Bus London!


The Merlin Magical London Pass

This is a London specific pass that features five of the top London attractions. Namely, Madam Tussauds London, SEA LIFE London, The London Dungeon, Shrek's Adventure! and The London Eye. Find out more about the money saving Merlin Magical London Pass.


Discover great value at:

London Eye - Amazing panoramic flight on the world's highest observation wheel (fast track tickets available).

The Shard - Tallest building in Western Europe with viewing of London from the top.

St Paul's Cathedral - Cathedral of the Diocese of London famous dome & venue for royal weddings.

Westminster Abbey - Along with St Paul's, England's main religious building.

Tower of London - Home of the Crown Jewels and a rich thousand year history.

Madame Tussauds - See wax statues of the most famous people in the world (fast track tickets available).

London Dungeon - The creepiest attraction in town, the London Dungeon (fast track tickets available).

Hampton Court Palace - Henry VIII Medieval Palace set in vast grounds.

The London Zoo - World class zoo in the centre of London (fast track tickets available).

Every effort is made to keep all our information correct and the advertised prices up to date. We endeavour to be as accurate a source of information as possible but Travellers Toolkits cannot be held responsible for any price differential between our stated prices and those of the companies supplying the product or accuracy of information provided on our sites.