If you’ve got a Merlin Annual Pass, you might have some favourite places to visit with it. A lot of passholders tend to visit the same two or three attractions, but it’s good to branch out a bit if you get the chance. This year we have been Merlin Annual Pass Ambassadors and we’ve made a conscious effort to get out and about a bit more, using our passes on holidays and weekends away to get the most out of them.
There are (I think) 32 UK attractions you can gain entry to with a Merlin Annual Pass. Whilst we’ve not managed to visit them all, we’ve had a lot of fun trying. Below is a list of all the (current) Merlin Attractions in the UK along with links to a write up of a visit there, either by myself or another blogger. It’s a cracking to do list if you’ve got a Merlin Annual Pass. How many have you visited?
The Ultimate Review Round up of Merlin Attractions in the UK
We’ve had our Merlin Annual Passes for a few years now and we’ve visited a lot of attractions during that time, but for a while, high on our to visit list has been Warwick Castle. It took a bit of planning to get there, but last month we made the journey down the M6 and finally crossed Warwick Castle off our list. We had such a brilliant day that we’re already planning a return visit!
Warwick Castle is about a half hour drive from Birmingham and is really easy to get to, with plenty of parking. We visited on a not too busy day; but the walk from the car park to the castle took a good 20 minutes; so be prepared for a good walk.
We showed our Merlin Annual Passes and we were handed a map and started planning our day. Our first stop was the Horrible Histories Maze which we loved. The maze leads you through a trail through history where you can find out more about different times in history – Horrible Histories style. It was very well done and a nice way for the kids to run off a bit of steam exploring the maze.
Throughout the year Warwick Castle have an array of different shows and activities going on. Depending on when you visit, different things will be available. We visited out of season, so we managed to catch the Bowman Show. This was a highly skilled archer doing his thing and the Birds of Prey Show which was absolutely fantastic.
The Birds of Prey Show showcased a number of beautiful and powerful birds including; Vultures, a Condor, Owls and Eagles which swooped over the watching crowds and onto the Castle ramparts. The show is absolutely not something you should go to if you’re scared of birds as they swoop down low over the crowds, sometimes brushing the spectators with their wings. We thought it was incredible and worth the admission price alone.
The castle itself could take a full day to explore if you were keen. The boy loves castles but is considerably less keen on steep spiral staircases and enclosed places. There are warning signs before you enter the ramparts. It’s a one way system and once you’re in it, you just have to stick with it. The first chance of escape is at the bottom of Guy’s Tower, but to get out you first have to climb to the top of the tower and back down again. I believe we climbed about 500 steps before we made our escape. This meant that we didn’t manage to explore the whole of the castle ramparts, as the boy had had enough.
The view from the top of the tower is absolutely breathtaking. You can see for miles and miles around. It’s 39 metres tall and although I’m pretty good with heights, I did feel a bit giddy when I looked over the edge. We made our way down the stone steps of the tower and explored the other areas of the castle.
There’s plenty to do. We explored the Great Hall and the inside of the castle. There are lots of exhibits inside including armour and it’s all decorated like the castle would have been a few hundred years ago. The boy loved this, and as it was raining outside we didn’t rush around it. We gave the dungeons a miss, we might go if we’re feeling braver next time.
We spent a lot of time exploring the Kingmaker area. No, it’s not dedicated to the 90’s indie band; it’s all about Richard Neville, the Kingmaker and you walk through his preparations for war and experience the sights, sounds and smells of medieval England. It’s very well done, really interesting and gave us a real insight into castle life.
The gardens are pretty spectacular too. It was raining so we didn’t explore much; but the area around the Conservatory Cafe is especially beautiful, with peacocks roaming around the fountain and lots of manicured lawns and lovely flowerbeds.
We were genuinely sad to leave at the end of the day. I think we all agreed that it’s the kind of place we could and should visit again and spend two days exploring properly. There are lots of themed events and special days on for the rest of the year. We have plans to return in the spring so we can see the trebuchet in action and maybe see some jousting. We’ll definitely watch the Birds of Prey show again and again and try our hand at some archery.
If you love castles, Warwick Castle is an absolute must. It’s packed full of history, presented in an interesting and entertaining format and there’s something for everyone. There is a lot of walking and not a great many places to sit down. The walk to the car park and back really adds an extra 40/45 minutes onto your walking time, so do factor that in if you visit.
We loved the history, we loved the castle, the maze, the birds of prey. It’s the kind of place you need a good day to explore. We’ll be back!
The Merlin Annual Pass BIG SUMMER SALE starts at 10am on Thursday 1st June and ends at midnight on Monday 3rd July 2017. So there’s never been a better time to start planning adventures for your family this summer. With access to 32 top attractions across the UK, grab a Merlin Annual Pass in the sale for just £119 per person.
Escape this summer to the Alton Towers Resort, home to some of the world’s most iconic rollercoasters. While you’re there, visit CBeebies Land which has new additions for 2017, including a live and interactive show hosted by the fuzzy puppets from The Furchester Hotel and the Go Jetters Vroomster Zoom ride which little thrill seekers will love.
Go in search of The Gruffalo at the Chessington World of Adventures Resort. Visit Sea Life Centres across the UK; explore the wonders of the ocean and come face to flipper, fin, tentacle, turtles, sharks, rays and octopuses. Or start your ninja training at the new Lego Ninjago World at the Legoland Windsor Resort.
We have had so many wonderful days out with our Merlin Annual Pass. It’s very easy to quickly clock up excellent savings, especially over the long summer holidays. So whether you’re planning a staycation or just some fun family days out, a Merlin Annual Pass is a great way to maximise the good times this summer.
Start your year off as you mean to go on and bag the ultimate bargain – 52 weeks of family fun with a Merlin Annual Pass, from just £109 per person in their New Year sale. A Merlin Annual Pass opens the door to 32 magical adventures across the UK, so wherever you live, a Merlin Annual Pass is the ultimate passport to fun!
Last year our family had a Merlin Annual Pass and we really squeezed a lot of value out of it. With regular visits to our local SEA LIFE Centre and LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Manchester, to several days out in Blackpool enjoying the Merlin attractions there, and to various attractions around the country. They really do represent good value for money.
With a Merlin Annual Pass, you can experience the UK’s biggest and best attractions, including the Coca-Cola London Eye, Thorpe Park Resort, Dream Works Tours Shrek’s Adventure! London, Chessington World of Adventures Resort, Alton Towers Resort, LEGOLAND Windsor Resort, SEA LIFE Centres across the UK and many more.
Watch history come to life in re-enactments at Warwick Castle, come nose to fin with fascinating underwater creatures at SEA LIFE centres across the country, go selfie mad with the Hollywood stars at Madame Tussauds in Blackpool and London, transport to the future on Galactica at Alton Towers Resort or how about gazing over London’s beautiful skyline on the Coca-Cola London Eye?
There are also some amazing new additions coming in 2017. In May, the LEGOLAND Windsor Resort will challenge guests to become Masters of Spinjitzu at the all new LEGO NINJAGO World. In this brand new world, families can join their favourite NINJAGO heroes in a series of training activities before putting their Ninja skills to the ultimate test on LEGO NINJAGO The Ride.
One of the UK’s best-loved children’s characters, The Gruffalo, is set to bring a brand new experience to Chessington World of Adventures Resort in 2017!. Expect excitement, an awesome adventure and lots of fun. Alton Towers Resort will have a new CBeebies Land Hotel, uniquely designed for young families and bursting with music, stories and adventures for little ones to enjoy. Plus, the UK’s only LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Manchester is re-launching with a Ninjago themed area that little ones will love!
Upgrade to a Premium Merlin Annual Pass and get priority entry to all of Merlin Entertainments’ UK attractions, automatic membership to the Merlin Holiday Club (an exclusive club with magical treats for Passholders who stay overnight!), discounted entry for family and friends, invites to exclusive Passholder preview events, complimentary standard parking at Resort Theme Parks and a Privilege Pack containing three £5 off Fastrack vouchers for a single use at selected theme parks and three Share the Fun vouchers where a friend can join holders for just £15 each.
The BIG New Year Sale starts at 10am on Sunday 1st January 2017 and will end at midnight on 13th February.