There’s no denying that family days out are expensive. Whether it’s theme parks like LEGOLAND or Chessington World of Adventures, or child-friendly attractions like Shrek’s Adventure or Cadbury World, you can spend an awful lot on just one day in the school holidays.

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But luckily there’s a way to see all these attractions and more with just one payment. With the Merlin Pass, you can gain free entry to 29 locations around the UK by paying a yearly or monthly subscription.

You can use the pass to get at least 200 days of access to all SEALIFE aquariums, UK dungeon experiences, Madam Tussauds, plus major theme parks.

Below, you’ll find everything you need to know about the Merlin Pass, including what is it, how to use, where it can take you and most importantly, what it costs.

For more fun-filled days out, here’s the best UK theme parks and the best LEGOLAND Windsor deals.

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What is a Merlin Pass?

Shrek's Adventure London
Picture: Shrek's Adventure London

The Merlin Pass is a membership card that gets you free access to 29 theme parks and family attractions across the UK. Some of the attractions include, LEGOLAND, Chessington World of Adventures, Cadbury World and the SEALIFE centres.

With the pass, you can get entry to all of these attractions without having to buy individual day tickets, plus you’ll get additional perks such as food and drink or gift shop discounts.

There is a limit on the number of times you can use your pass in the year, however this depends on which pass you buy as there are four different types of pass to choose from: The Discovery pass, Silver pass, Gold pass and Platinum pass.

Buy the Merlin Pass from £99 per person

How does a Merlin Pass work?

There are four different types of Merlin Pass: The Discovery pass, Silver pass, Gold pass and Platinum pass. All passes get you entry to the same 29 attractions, however as you go up in price, you’ll see an increase in the number of days you can use your pass.

For the more basic memberships, you’ll come across a greater number of “exclusion dates” where you can’t get free entry to the attractions. These dates tend to be during the school holidays and Bank Holiday Mondays so this would be the one to go for if your kids aren’t yet at school age. However for the higher priced memberships, you’ll have much fewer exclusion dates as well as extra perks like free parking.

Here’s a look at what each pass can get you:

  • Discovery Pass – over 200 days entry (excludes most Saturdays and school holidays)
  • Silver Pass – over 295 days entry (excluding peak days and the month of August)
  • Gold Pass – over 340 days entry (excluding bank holidays)
  • Platinum Pass – 364 days entry (excluding Christmas Day)

Your pass will arrive digitally and include a barcode and unique pass number. Once you have it you will still need to pre-book your visit to whatever attraction using the pass number, you won’t be able to just turn up on the day.

How much does a Merlin Pass cost for a family?

Merlin does not offer a dedicated family pass so you’ll need to purchase an individual pass for each member of your family.

Each pass can only be used by one person and will carry their name and photograph. This means that families will need to purchase a pass per each member for everyone to get access. Right now all children over the age of 3 will need their own Merlin Pass to enter the attractions and children under 3 will go free.

Here is the cost for each type of Merlin Pass:

  • Discovery Pass – £99 per person
  • Silver Pass – £169 per person or £11.99 a month (plus a £39.99 joining fee)
  • Gold Pass – £239 per person or £16.99 a month (plus a £49.99 joining fee)
  • Platinum Pass – £299 per person or £21.99 a month (plus a £59.99 joining fee)

This means that for say a family of four, you’ll need to spend at least £396 to get you all entry.

However, if you buy the Silver, Gold or Platinum Passes you can also get up to 5 family and friends’ tickets for 50% off. The passholder must be in attendance when you use these family tickets.

Full list of Merlin Pass UK attractions

Elephant Ride at chessington

The Merlin Annual Pass gives you access to 29 locations across the UK. Here is the full list of attractions you can visit:

  • Alton Towers Resort
  • Chessington World of Adventures Resort­­
  • LEGOLAND Windsor Resort
  • The London Eye
  • Thorpe Park Resort
  • SEA LIFE London
  • National SEA Life Centre Birmingham
  • SEA LIFE Manchester
  • SEA LIFE Blackpool
  • SEA LIFE Brighton
  • SEA LIFE Weymouth Adventure Park
  • SEA LIFE Great Yarmouth
  • SEA LIFE Sanctuary Hunstanton
  • SEA LIFE Scarborough
  • SEA LIFE Loch Lomond
  • SEA LIFE Bray
  • Warwick Castle
  • The Blackpool Tower
  • Madame Tussauds London
  • Madame Tussauds Blackpool
  • Shrek’s Adventure! London
  • LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Birmingham
  • LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Manchester
  • The London Dungeon
  • The Blackpool Tower Dungeon
  • The York Dungeon
  • The Edinburgh Dungeon
  • The Bear Grylls Adventure
  • Peter Rabbit: Explore and Play

Where to buy a Merlin Pass

You can but a Merlin Pass straight from Merlin’s own website. Simply head over and select “Buy Passes."

You can also but the pass through the website of whatever attraction you’re planning to visit e.g. Chessington World of Adventures or through gifting sites like Virgin Experience Days and Buyagift.

Buy the Merlin Pass from £99 per person

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Explore Merlin pass options at the official Merlin website

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