…it’s a jawsome time – but pack carefully!
When Luka started going through his shark phase (though now I come to think of it, it may be more than a phase it’s been going on a while….) I started searching for sharky things to do and up popped The Shark Hotel at Thorpe Park. So of course 5 minutes later it was booked!
I paid £177 for two days park entry and one night in The Shark Hotel with parking and breakfast included for us both during the summer holidays. A pretty good deal I thought. Looking at 2018 prices here, by booking now you could get the same two days (Sunday 5th/Monday 6th August) for £145 or a mid-week Easter holiday break for one adult and one child under 11 for just £120. Bargain!
It was our first proper theme park, not including ones primarily aimed at younger children like Peppa Pig World and Thomasland, and we really enjoyed, however I would say that there is less to do there with younger children (i.e. under 1.4m tall) than there is at some other parks such as Legoland. I think that’s largely because unlike a lot of other places there aren’t additional attractions such as a zoo or an aquarium to take up time.
But I think it’s the perfect starter park for little ones who are getting bigger. Even in the height of summer it wasn’t crazy busy so the queues weren’t too long and it wasn’t too overwhelming, and because there wasn’t 50 rides to try and get through in 2 days it felt a little bit more relaxed. If you have older children there’s plenty for them to do too though, Swarm and Nemesis Inferno looked awesome!
*TOP TIP: The ideal time to go is in when the weather is good, easier said than done with our British weather I know, but there is Amity Beach at the park where we spent a good few hours relaxing and splashing around. Don’t forget your swimming stuff and a towel!
I love surprising Luka with on our adventures so I didn’t tell him we were staying in The Shark Hotel, and thankfully he didn’t notice it on the way in, so it was a really nice moment when I told him. Plus the benefit of surprise adventures is you don’t have to deal with the “how many sleeps” conversation for months in advance!
Walking through the shark’s mouth, the hotel is a really fun place to stay for kids and adults alike. The rooms are converted shipping containers with a comfortable double bed, a single bed and a pull down bunk too. It had a small wet room and tea and coffee facilities and while there’s not much floor space they’ve created some clever storage solutions in the room. And when there’s only two of you there’s plenty of space, yay a benefit to being a single parent!
We had so much fun playing with the mood lighting and Luka loved seeing our name on the TV (and the fact that they had Jaws on it)! But a few more shark touches would be nice in the rooms, or even the option to pre-purchase some shark merchandise to be there when you arrive would really help the hotel to live up to its name.
There’s a lovely area out the back of the hotel where the kids can run around and because each room has its own entrance , when Luka was asleep I was able to stand outside and enjoy some fresh air and look out over the lake which was perfect. What can I say, I have a bit of a thing for outside space and not being cooped up in a hotel room.
In fact the only thing I really did not like about The Shark Hotel was that you have to go through the same security and bag checkpoint for the hotel as you do for the park which means opening your suitcase and having in checked, in front of everyone. Now showing my underwear and personal items to a bunch of strangers is not my idea of relaxing holiday, well not a family one anyway ;-), so I really think there should either be a separate entrance or at least warning on the website that it’ll happen.
It wouldn’t put me off going again but I was not impressed at all at the time and I’ll definitely be packing differently next time!
One huge plus point of both Thorpe Park and The Shark Hotel was the staff, they were all really lovely and helpful. The waitresses in the restaurant, where they served nice food at a reasonable price especially for a theme park, really made a fuss over Luka and when he lost his toy shark (see said he was obsessed!) in the I’m a Celebrity attraction, the staff went right through the whole thing in the dark to find it for him.
All in all Single Adventure Mum would definitely recommend a trip to both Thorpe Park and The Shark Hotel, just make sure you pack your pants properly!