Theme Parks: How to Save Money as a Family

Theme park

When it comes to family days out, family theme parks in the UK are notoriously expensive. But there are a few simple things you can do to cut the cost without scrimping on the thrilling experience. I’ve put together this handy guide to help you save money on your next theme park visit.

Choose the date of your visit carefully

If you’re planning on visiting any UK family attractions in the near future, then the chances are that you will have already taken a look at how much it’s going to cost you. Prices generally vary depending on the day of the week that you visit and the time of the year. 

For example, you are likely to pay a premium if you visit theme parks for families at the weekend or during the school holidays. If you’ve been a parent of school-age children for a while, then this probably won’t come as a surprise. 

Nevertheless, it is always frustrating that you have to pay more for tickets unless you take your children out of school during term time.

If you’re able to plan your visit off-peak, then you can save a small fortune on your entry price. At the beginning of the school year, it’s worth taking a look at when your school has planned INSET days. Sometimes, these staff training days are placed seemingly randomly within the middle of the school term. 

If this is the case, then it’s highly likely that the vast majority of other schools will still be in school that day, so you’ll be able to take advantage of off-peak family theme park deals without taking your children out of school for an unauthorised absence.

Source: Min An / Pexels.

Take advantage of special offers

Many of the best family theme parks in the UK do have special offers you can take advantage of throughout the year. Here are some top tips to help you make the most of theme park special offers:

  • Collect vouchers

    You can often collect vouchers for theme park entry on packets of sweets, boxes of cereal and handwash. These offers can vary but you can frequently find buy one get one free or half-price entry offers.

    Look out for offers on Carex handwash, Cadbury’s chocolate bars and Kellogg’s cereal boxes. You can also ask family and friends to pass on their vouchers too.

  • Convert your Tesco Clubcard points

    If you shop at Tesco and you haven’t got a Clubcard, then now is the time to get one! Not only does your Clubcard save you money on your shopping, but you will also build up Clubcard points every time you shop. 

    One of the best things about Clubcard points is that you can convert them to vouchers for days out at a really wide range of kids theme parks and family attractions. At many of the attractions, you can get three times the value of your Clubcard points towards a family pass to theme parks. So, if you’ve got £10 worth of Clubcard points, this would actually equate to £30 in vouchers towards entry. That quickly adds up to big savings!

  • Book in advance

    As with many attractions, pre-booked tickets are usually cheaper than paying the entry price on the day. You can sometimes couple this discount with your 2-4-1 deals too, making it an even cheaper option.

  • Annual Passes

    If you’re planning to visit a theme park more than once a year, then you may save money by purchasing an annual pass. Many of the big theme parks and children’s adventure parks offer both individual and family annual passes, and it can work out cheaper to buy this way. 

    If you are able to take advantage of the 2-4-1 deals or half-price entry, then these do usually work out cheaper than annual passes, but it’s worth working out the difference if you plan to visit more than once in the year. Just make sure you read any small print though as some annual passes won’t allow you access on certain days such as Bonfire Night when you may still be expected to pay full whack even with your annual pass!

Which UK theme park is best for kids?

There is a great selection of children’s theme parks in the UK,but it really depends on the age and stage of development of the children, whether you are looking for a toddler-friendly park with play areas or a child-friendly rollercoaster park for thrill-seekers and small children. 

Here are a few of the most popular theme parks dotted around the UK that you could choose from:

How to buy cheap theme park family tickets

One of the best ways to get cheap family theme park tickets is to use your Tesco Clubcard points. Here is a guide on how to redeem:

sunset over themepark
Source: Lady Escabia / Pexels.
  1. Head to the Tesco Clubcard site and check which parks are on there. The easiest way to find attractions taking part, is to head over to the Reward Partners section and take a look through the Fun & Entertainment category.

  2. Check your Clubcard balance to make sure you have enough to cover your ticket price. You can find your balance by logging into your Tesco Clubcard account.

  3. Select your chosen tickets. For most theme parks, you will need to select a specific date for your visit, so make sure you check that you can use your points for your chosen date before you exchange your points for vouchers. Many parks will have dates when Clubcard points aren’t accepted, so it’s really worth double-checking before you exchange.

  4. Click convert. If you’re happy with your dates, you know you have enough points, and you’re raring to go, then it’s time to convert your points into tickets!

  5. Wait for the tickets to arrive. Now you can sit back, relax, and look forward to your family day out.


Do kids get cheaper theme park tickets?

This really depends on the theme park you’re visiting and the types of rides and attractions they have.

Some children’s adventure parks are aimed specifically at young children, and don’t really feature rides for adults. These parks may charge a premium for children and offer adult tickets at discounted prices.

Attractions that offer a wider range of rides for different age groups often do offer cheaper tickets for children and concessions.

It’s also always worth looking into buying a family ticket rather than individual tickets. Buying one family ticket can sometimes be cheaper than buying separate tickets. Do take the time to work out if buying a family ticket actually does work out cheaper though, don’t just assume that it does!

When is the best time to take the family to theme parks?

What are the cheapest theme park family passes?

About the Author

Clare is a working mum with three children and she's had to be pretty savvy with money over the years, particularly since being made redundant at the same time as her husband when she was pregnant with their middle child! Clare always likes to make sure her family are getting the best deal on their household bills as well as shopping around for bargains!

Clare runs My Money Cottage. Visit the site and check out the article on 101 Side Hustles for “I NEED MONEY” moments