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Merlin Annual Pass - will it save you money?

Money saving pass offering big discounts on attractions in London and the rest of the UK

Merlin Annual Pass
The Merlin Annual Pass offers great savings for top theme parks in the UK

About the 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 Warwick Castle, LEGOLAND Windsor Resort, LEGOLAND Discovery Centres, Madame Tussauds Blackpool, The Dungeons, Blackpool Tower, Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures, Alton Towers and Bear Grylls Adventure in Birmingham.

Also included are the 5 London Merlin attractions: London Eye, The London Dungeon, SEA LIFE London Aquarium, Madame Tussauds London and Shrek's Adventure! London, in addition to a London Eye River Cruise.

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.

Which type of Merlin Annual Pass to buy?   How much will I save with a Merlin Annual Pass?   What attractions are covered?   How do I apply?   Any other benefits?   Big City Saver pass

The Merlin Annual Pass includes 29 destinations UK wide, with many of them being different branches of the same attraction. There are 15 different attractions in total.

If you are looking for a different kind of pass, that only covers London attractions, Merlin also offer Big City Saver where you can choose from either 2, 3, or 5 different London based attractions which you can visit over a 90 day period.

Merlin Annual Pass - Discovery, Silver, Gold or Platinum?

Warwick Castle - included with Merlin Annual Pass
Thrilling Warwick Castle is a great family day out

London Eye - included with Merlin Annual Pass
Take a flight on the London Eye

Deciding which type of Merlin Annual Pass to choose comes down to how flexible you need to be. The main difference between the cheapest pass and the more expensive options for example, is days of availability.

Restrictions on when you can use your Merlin Annual Pass

There are different grades of pass including the Discovery, Silver, Gold and Platinum.

The main difference you need to be aware of between the passes is the restrictions on which days you are able to use your pass. This is essentially what your choices come down to.

The Merlin Annual Pass website has calendars for each of the passes with the dates of availability and exclusions so you can see at a glance whether the dates will work for you.

The cheapest Discovery Pass for example does not allow you to use it on certain Saturdays and Sundays if booking and in addition not during any of the UK school holidays or UK Bank holidays - basically anything 'peak rate.'

The Silver Pass - the next band up - allows over 300 days of entry, so includes some school holidays, but notably no entry during the entire August summer holidays.

If you are thinking to attend any of the seasonal events they host (for example, Halloween, Christmas) then these passes would not be suitable for you.

Once you get to the Gold Pass there really are very few exclusion dates when you can't visit Merlin attractions, these fall on certain selected Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays in the year.

The Platinum Pass really is for die-hard adventurers wanting ultimate access - and you do pay around another £60pp on top of the cost of the Gold Pass for this one. Bear in mind you would need to visit at least ten times to become worth the investment.

Other considerations

Other differences between the passes are that car parking is not included with either the Discovery Pass or the Silver Pass at theme parks and Warwick Castle, and you forfeit the 'freebies' such as lanyards and vouchers for discounts.

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 either of these passes might be right for you.

It is important to know that just having a Merlin Annual Pass doesn’t give you priority and does not guarantee you entry to a park on a certain day. You still need to book your tickets in advance before you go online and book far enough in advance for your chosen date if you want to make sure they haven't sold out.

Purchase your Merlin Annual Pass here

 

Discovery Annual Pass

  • Over 200 days entry into UK attractions
  • Off-peak entry only - restrictions apply
  • Smallest price annual pass - cheapest entry on all attractions

Silver Annual Pass

  • Over 300 days entry into UK attractions
  • Peak entry available - with exception of some exclusions and whole month of August

Gold Annual Pass

  • Over 340 days entry
  • Option to pay monthly or annually
  • FREE car parking at the Theme Parks and Warwick Castle
  • Discounts on food and drink
  • Discounts on Merlin hotel visits
  • Money off fast track tickets

Platinum Annual Pass

All of the above plus:

  • 364 days entry
  • No exclusion dates, except paid events
  • Share the fun vouchers - money off entry for friends and family

How much will I save will a Merlin Annual Pass?

Thorpe Park - with Merlin Annual Pass
The Swarm ride at Thorpe Park

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 (on the cheaper passes); 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, Dungeons 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 Windsor and Thorpe Park.

What attractions are covered?

Mythica at Legoland Windsor
Mythica at Legoland Windsor

The Merlin Annual Pass includes 29 destinations UK wide, with many of them being different branches of the same attraction. There are 15 differing attractions in total.

These include:

How do I apply for a Merlin Annual Pass?

Simply go to the Merlin Annual Pass website (link above), select which type of pass you wish to purchase, and then enter your personal details such as name, address and contact details as well as a recent photograph which is required in order to complete your registration.

There is currently no option to purchase a family pass - all passes are the same price, whether adult or child. Children under three do not require their own pass - they go free. Children over three do.

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

All Merlin Annual Pass-holders now receive a digital pass. This will be e-mailed to you and is ready to use instantly once your purchase is complete.

Gold and Platinum Pass-holders will receive their physical passes and privilege packs (including lanyard, pop badge and vouchers) in the post within 30 days.

There is an option to pay monthly for all Merlin Annual Passes.

Purchase your Merlin Annual Pass here


Any other benefits to the Merlin Annual Pass?

Consider getting the Gold 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!

The cheapest pass of all - the Discovery Pass - does not include any of the 'frills' of the more expensive passes. Therefore discounts on food and drinks, merchandise, hotels and other experiences are not available on the Merlin Discovery Pass.

Discounts with Silver, Gold and Platinum passes only

  • Friends and Family discounts - up to 50% off when the Merlin pass-holder attends with the group. Merlin Pass-holders must pre-book their entry via the attraction's website in advance. We strongly recommend doing this prior to purchasing your Friends and Family tickets.
  • Between 10-20% off shopping and dining depending on type of pass
  • FREE parking at Theme Parks and Warwick Castle with Gold & Platinum passes
  • Up to 20% off hotel stays with Merlin Holiday Club
  • £5 off fast-track vouchers
  • Loads of extra perks & available on the Merlin Annual Pass website

Alternative pass - Big City Saver (previously Merlin's London Attraction Pass)

Choose from 2, 3, or 5 London based attractions to use within 90 days

Want a London-centric package that combines the top London only Merlin attractions?

The Big City Saver pass (still for sale as Merlin's London Attraction Pass through third party sellers) offers a range of options to combine 2, 3, or 5 different top attractions within London.

The 5 top attractions are: Madam Tussauds, The London Dungeon, London Eye, Shrek's Adventure! London and SEA LIFE London Aquarium.

Find out more about the money saving Big City Saver pass.

Big City Saver Merlin Pass

BIG CITY SAVER LONDON ATTRACTION PASS 2, 3 OR ALL 5 ATTRACTIONS

5-in-1 Merlin's Magical London Pass

HUGE SAVINGS: Buy a 2, 3 or 5 attraction pass for top London attractions

Off-peak prices available

including:

• London Eye • Madame Tussauds London • London Dungeon • Shrek's Adventure! London • SEA LIFE London Aquarium •Tower of London • Big Bus Tour

Adult from £50 for 2 attractions Child (age 2-15) from £45

Adult from £70 for 3 attractions Child (age 2-15) from £63

Adult from £100 for all 5 attractions Child (age 2-15) from £90


5-in-1 Merlin 5 Attraction London Pass

MERLIN'S LONDON ATTRACTION PASS 2, 3 OR ALL 5 ATTRACTIONS

5-in-1 Merlin Attraction London Pass

HUGE SAVINGS: Buy a 2, 3 or 5 attraction pass
for top 5 London attractions

• London Eye • Madame Tussauds London • London Dungeon • Shrek's Adventure! London • SEA LIFE London Aquarium

Adult from £50 £48 for 2 attractions,
Child (age 5-15) from £45
£43.20

Adult from £70 £68.50 for 3 attractions,
Child (age 5-15) from £63
£61.65

Adult from £100 £87.50 for all 5 attractions,
Child (age 5-15) from £90
£72.92


POPULAR LONDON ATTRACTIONS - ADVANCE PURCHASE AND/OR FAST TRACK TICKETS

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. » Fast track tickets available.
St Paul's Cathedral Cathedral of the Diocese of London, venue for royal weddings. » Pre-book to guarantee entry.
Westminster Abbey Along with St Paul's, England's main religious building.» Pre-book to guarantee entry.
Tower of London Home of the Crown Jewels and a rich thousand year history. » Fast track tickets available.
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. » Pre-book to save money.
The London Zoo World class zoo in the centre of London. » Flexi 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.