We investigate the popular annual membership for Merlin Entertainment and its big list of popular attractions
There are a lot of perks to annual memberships for families. They can encourage us to get out and about more in a bid to make use of them and there are potential cost savings. Here we explore one of the most popular – the Merlin Pass.
What is it?
The UK’s biggest annual pass offering entry to 32 Merlin attractions including Alton Towers, Legoland and more with prices starting at £99.
What do you get?
Entry to 33 attractions including:
- Thorpe Park Resort
- Alton Towers Resort
- Chessington World of Adventures Resort
- LEGOLAND Discovery Centres Manchester and Birmingham
- LEGOLAND Windsor Resort (LEGOLAND Winsor review , how to beat the queues and our top tips for visiting).
- The London Eye
- Madame Tussauds London and Blackpool
- 10 SEALIFE centres across the UK in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Blackpool, Brighton, Weymouth, Great Yarmouth, Hunstanton, Scarborough and Loch Lomond
- Blackpool Tower
- The Dungeons (London, York, Edinburgh, Blackpool)
- Warwick Castle (Warwick Castle review)
- Dreamworks Tours: Shrek’s Adventure! London
- Dungeons – The London Dungeon, The Blackpool Tower Dungeon, The York Dungeon, The Edinburgh Dungeon
- The Bear Grylls Adventure, Birmingham
- Peter Rabbit: Explore and Play, Blackpool
- Cadbury World, Birmingham
The different types of Merlin passes offer other savings depending on which you choose including free parking, discounted fastrack and cheaper food and drink.
Different Merlin Passes
There are four standards of Merlin passes – Merlin Discovery Pass, Merlin Silver Pass, Merlin Gold Pass and Merlin Platinum Pass.
The cheapest option is the Merlin Discovery Pass. It gives off-peak entry only (so excludes entry during school holidays, some weekends and special events) and access to Merlin attractions for over 200 days. Excludes entry during school holidays, some weekend dates and special events.
Next cheapest is Merlin Silver Pass which also includes some weekends and school holidays, giving over 300 days of entry and 10 per cent off shops, food and drinks. It also includes discounted friends and family tickets.
The Merlin Gold Pass has even less exclusion dates, giving access over 340 days. It also includes free parking, fastrack vouchers and benefits like 20 per cent off shops, food and drinks.
The most expensive option is the Merlin Platinum Pass which gives 364 days entry, with no excluded dates other than paid events. It also includes free parking, £5 off fastrack and Share the Fun vouchers and £19 tickets for friends and family.
How much are the Merlin passes?
Merlin Discovery Pass is from £99 per person.
Merlin Silver Pass is from £169 per person (renewals from £119 per person).
Merlin Gold Pass is from £239 per person (renewals from £169)
Merlin Platinum Pass from £299 per person (renewals from £229).
Can I pay monthly?
Yes you can spread the cost with a monthly membership, on all but the cheapest Merlin Discovery Pass option.
You need to pay a joining fee and then a set monthly rate.
Silver Pass – joining fee £39.99, £10.99 a month, total cost £171.87.
Gold Pass – joining fee, £49.99, £15.99 a month, total cost £241.87.
Platinum Pass, joining fee, £59.99, £20.99 a month, total cost £311.8.
What about the small print?
The passes are delivered digitally to your email inbox ready to use.
You still need to pre-book tickets to attractions online.
How much could you save?
This depends on which pass you go for and how often you visit Merlin attractions.
Merlin have an online calculator tool to show you how much you can save.
For a family of two adults and two children with Merlin Discovery Passes, visiting just Alton Towers once a month, could save £2,868, so a huge saving.
In fact just going to Alton Towers twice would save you £148. But you would have to go to a Legoland Discovery Centre five times to make your money back.
Nobody should be paying the full price for tickets though with offers available on cereal packets and in newspapers – although always check as often booking online in advance can work out cheaper.
If you are a fan of Merlin attractions, know you will be going anyway and can afford it, these passes would seem like a fantastic investment which will encourage you to get out and make the most of them for a fun-filled year.
Carers of Merlin Annual Passholders with additional needs who require assistance, can receive a free Merlin Annual Pass.
The passes are transferable between carers. They just include the name, date of birth and a photo of the guest with additional needs.
You need to submit your request here.
Look out for Merlin Pass discounts – this usually happens in January and June.
We investigate Merlin and other popular family membership schemes including National Trust, English Heritage, RHS and Chester Zoo – Annual passes and membership at top attractions across the UK in 2024 – our tips and advice
Another popular article tells you How to beat the queues at LEGOLAND Windsor Resort with the Reserve & Ride (formerly Q-Bot) Ride Reservation System.