I had the opportunity to visit Thrope park a couple of years back in 2013, but had not the time to write an article covering the theme park till now. Thrope Park is a thrill seeker’s theme park resort located between the towns of Chertsey and Staines-upon-Thames in Surrey, England. The park is operated and owned by Merlin Entertainments and had been operating for almost 40 years, having opened since 1979.
The 494 acre park despite its small land area is full of notable rides. This is in contrast to other theme parks with more high intensity rides to suit the thrill-seeker generations and millennials.
The park itself is small in comparison to typical theme parks, but is very compact with its space well utilized to house several renowned rides and roller coasters. It is situated just off the M25- a short stone throw about 30km or an hour away from the city of London itself.
You enter the main park entrance into a dome with several food and merchandise stores. The park’s resort and water park section can be seen here too in the Amity section of the park. The areas of interest will be of course the thrill rides which lies beyond.
The park is well-laid out over 7 main sectors, each with a distinct theme (e.g. jungle, old town, lost city, etc.) with a notable ride and roller coaster to represent each sector.
Stealth Hyper coaster
Moving north bound into the park is the Amity section just right at the park entrance, we have an Intamin launched hyper coaster called Stealth. As misleading the name might sound, it is a dragster drag-strip style hydraulic weighed pulley based acceleration coaster.
Stealth is a short closed loop launched hyper coaster. It is themed after a 1950s drag racing car and drag strip. The coaster train is propelled by a weighed hydraulic pulley launch system. This launch system propels riders from 0 to 100 in under 2 seconds up a vertical tower (and it can be seen dominating from everywhere in the park), before just having enough speed left to crest the top apex of the tower before coming back vertically down into a brake run.
Check out the on-ride video of the launch coaster!
Stealth on-ride POV video
Short sweet, simple and an exciting ride it is for all adrenaline junkies out there. Each ride acceleration is calculated based from the weight of the train, ensuring that enough energy is provided just for the coaster train to crest the main tower which stands at about 65m tall.
The Amity park area are also where most of the park’s water rides are centrally situated. You can recognize a water tube ride or two, with their hill-lift conveyor and a number of make-shift sandy beaches to go with the beach theme. Various food and drink stores are littered around the park, offering park goers meals on the go in the busy park.
If you are looking to beat the queue on the hot rides in the park. You can consider purchasing a fast pass at one of the many internal ticket kiosks, which will dispense paper slips you can use on the ride express queues. Beats having to wait hours in-line and most importantly will guarantee you a queue wait time under 5-10 minutes (even on peak periods) and a priority choice of desired seating position on rides.
There are various flat rides through the park too, such as Rush, Samurai, the Carousel/Merry-go-round, Vortex and the Detonator vertical freefall Tower.
A major ride in the park is the Swarm coaster. Located in its own dedicated sector in “Swarm Island”, it is a B&M steel winged coaster, with riders sitting dangling from both sides of the roller coaster.
You might potentially mistake the coaster too to the widely popular 4th-dimensional roller coaster, such as X or X2 in the USA with a similar design, only that the seats of the Swarm coaster are firmly fixed to the ride train itself and does not rotate. This gives riders an experience of flying without the track rushing below them.
You board the ride after navigating a series of queue lines before entering to what looks like the remains of a church with its roof blown away from the alien invaders. The winged coaster trains are even themed to the alien raider ships, complete with evil LED-lit eyes.
Check out the on-ride video of the Swarm coaster.
The ride train humorously runs through a couple of bill boards and does a barrel roll over the platform station itself. During my visit, I had the opportunity to experience the Winged coaster in both front and rear directions. Check out the ride going backwards too!
On-ride video of the Swarm coaster backwards!
The Swarm coaster is nicely themed to the aftermath of an alien invasion zone too, with several emergency vehicle props, complete with a crashed full aircraft wing and helicopter situated on site. A nice touch to attention in detail.
Colossus in the Lost city
Colossus is one of the few most intense coasters you can ride in Thrope park. It is an Intamin looping steel roller coaster which lives up to its name featuring 10 inversions through its looping closed track circuit. It held the record once for the coaster with the most number of inversions, including the rare heart-line roll inversion at the end of the closed circuit.
Situated in the Lost city section of the park, it is nicely themed to an ancient city in this sector of the park, running through several tunnels, below-ground areas, with water features and at times even ducking over a pedestrian pathway. It is a fantastic coaster which is not too intense despite the number of times you get to go upside down.
Go for a ride on Colossus at the front:
What makes the coaster a joy to ride is the incorporation of several inversion back to back without making well use of tunnels, terrain and dig in area to give riders a good feel of speed and excitement without spinning riders too much and making them nauseous (moderate intensity rating). This is despite the coaster putting riders speeds up to 72km/hr with G-forces up to 4.2G.
When you had completed a thrill ride in Thrope park, you can reward yourself by buying a trophy medal of completion or a T-shirt in one of the many gift shops littered around the park. Usually each ride attraction will have their own gift shop at the end of the ride exit, often hawking several unique attraction-only merchandise only available at that shop. Amusing as it seems, its worth checking out those, especially from rides/coasters you adore.
Also in the lost city sector is SAW- The ride is another very well themed roller coaster with a story-telling elements tied closely to the gruesome horror movie franchise. The coaster is a custom Eurofighter steel coaster by Gerstlauer which is a heavily themed to the SAW horror movie franchise flick, with several gruesome props and fixtures to boot.
Riders ride in a 4 in-line over two rows of seats per coaster train. The ride starts off with a pre-ride dark area passing by Jigsaw’s equipment and Billy on his tricycle, who laughs and then gives a speech to all riders, where he will try to “kill” you by throwing several elements at your coaster train, such as swinging axes and spikes before plunging into a dark drop and spiraling out into the outdoors where you go on the highlight of the ride- A vertical hill lift climb and drop into a “saw mincer”. The ride is also very compact, able to squeeze a full-fledged ride on the edge of the park boundaries on the edge of the lake which surrounds the park.
Check out the SAW on-ride POV video:
Located in the Jungle sector of the park is a B&M favorite known as the Nemesis Inferno. The coaster is a take-on the legendary Nemesis roller coaster in Alton Towers. It is a steel inverted roller coaster where riders sit with their legs dangling from the coaster seat with the track running above head.
The coaster runs through theming of lush foliage, going with the Jungle theme, complete with B&M suspended roller coaster trademarked loops, corkscrews and barrel rolls.
Go for a ride on Nemesis inferno in an on-ride video.
Nemesis inferno goes on the additional alien theming of a trapped live-being lying dormant and breaking out from the ground from the crust of the earth. However, I found the ride not as engaging as Nemesis in Alton towers.
In all, Thrope park is a must-visit if you are a theme park thrill seeker in the London area. The sheer number of rides in the park makes up for the small land area of the park, which is well-thought through and well planned to deliver sufficient content to last an entire day out at the park.
Definitely worth an entire day out.
Check out more photos of Thrope park here.