The sunny weather is here at last, but succumbing to the siren call of
Buying entry tickets on the day is almost always more expensive than booking in advance. For a family of four at
If you are simply accompanying others, but don't want to use the rides yourself, check for a reduced price. Blackpool Pleasure Beach, for example, charges pounds 6 for an entry pass plus access to the maze, a water show and the Pleasure Beach Express, in contrast to pounds 19.99 for a peak-time adult wristband, booked ahead online.
Grab a two-for-one deal
Find deals on websites such as TopDogDays.com or MoneySavingExpert.com. Available now, for example, are vouchers on selected Kellogg's cereals, which can be used this summer at 27 attractions allowing one adult free entry with each full-price child or adult ticket.
Note that a few attractions, such as
Cash in your loyalty points
Loyalty points can be cashed in for days out. Tesco Clubcard holders, for example, can convert their voucher points into tokens, worth up to five times the vouchers' face value, towards entry into many
At the time of writing, pounds 2 in Clubcard vouchers will get you pounds 10 of tokens towards entry at attractions including Sea Life centres,
Meanwhile, from 23 July to 12 August, Nectar loyalty points will be worth up to quadruple their usual value when used on tickets to attractions.
Take a package
A short-break package can sometimes offer good value if you plan to spend a couple of days at a park. A family of four with two children would pay pounds 226 for a two-day entry ticket booked in advance to Legoland Windsor. But a package deal, booked through the Legoland site with two-day park entry on 5 and 6 August, plus overnight bed and breakfast at the
Take food and drinks
Most theme parks have dedicated picnic areas. A notable exception is Blackpool Pleasure Beach, which says that picnics are not permitted beyond the main entrance - although exceptions are made for school parties, and there is a picnic area with umbrellas just outside.
If you plan to buy meals on site, an "all you can eat" ticket bought in advance may save money.
An "all-day dining" ticket for our family of four at
Travel by train or coach
Several attractions charge for parking: pounds 6 at
An alternative is to travel by train or coach, getting a two-for-one entry deal into the bargain. National Rail's Days Out Guide website (daysoutguide.co.uk) offers downloadable two-for-one entry vouchers for a wide range of attractions that can be used if you travel by train.
Beat the queues
The only free way to beat the queues is to arrive as soon as the park opens, and run straight to the most popular rides. Alternatively, you can save time, but certainly not money, by paying extra to skip the queues on major rides. At
At Legoland Windsor you can rent a "Q-Bot", a device that allows you to "virtual queue" for your rides. There are three types of Q-Bot: the Q-Bot Regular is pounds 15 per person, while the Q-Bot Express, which cuts your waiting time by half, is pounds 30, and the Q-Bot Ultimate, which gives "near instant access" to rides, is a hefty pounds 70.
The Thirteen ride at
sky high prices at family attractions
can be trimmed with forethought
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