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Information: Chessington, Thorpe Park & Legoland offers for Guide groups


Veteran (100+ posts)
Just thought I'd let you all know about a really interesting meeting some of the Guiders from our District had recently with Paul Tidy, the Account Manager for Merlin Entertainments (with responsibility for Legoland, Chessington and Thorpe Park).

We were invited to Chessington to meet with Paul to discuss possible opportunities for Guiding events, offers and discounts. We had a really interesting chat and had the chance to put forward some ideas of what would be useful for Guide groups visiting the parks. And then we got to spend the rest of the day in the park too :)

The parks' basic offer is:
- further reductions on their group rates
- free adult places on a 1:5 ratio for Rainbows and Brownies and 1:10 for Guides
- child tickets available up to age 15 (normally 12)

The members section of girlguiding.org.uk already shows discount prices for Guide groups visiting the parks, but the prices suggested by Paul were slightly lower than this, so if you're thinking of taking a group it's worth giving him a call before booking anything, especially if it's a big group as you may be able to negotiate better rates.

We also spoke to Paul about our experiences of the Alton Towers and Warwick Castle Great Guide Getaways - what worked well and what we felt could have been improved. He is keen to look into the possibility of organising something similar at Chessington or the other parks (although Chessington seems to be the best balance for Guide age). Perhaps doing an evening safari/animal meet & greet and then a spending the following day in the park, with the opportunity to complete a badge. We explained to him about GGUK's camp/ovenight licence requirements so that he knew what would be involved.

If you're thinking of doing any trips at one of the parks, it's really worth giving Paul a call as he'll be able to arrange good prices and even bespoke packages if it's a large-scale event. He's also happy to provide leaflets, posters etc for any events we want to organise.

Paul is keen to hear from other Guiding groups and asked me to pass on his contact details, so here they are:

Paul Tidy
Trade Account Manager- South Parks

Email: paul.tidy@merlinentertainments.biz
Mobile: 07921 742 176
Mail: THORPE PARK, Staines Road, Chertsey, Surrey, KT16 8PN

Mods - Paul Tidy gave his specific consent for me to post his contact details here, I hope this is OK?


District Commissioner
That is brilliant especially the ratio thing being linked to the free tickets, often it is only ever 1:10 for free ones regardless of age of chidlren.


Veteran (100+ posts)
I've done Legoland with the Brownies twice (once on a Guiding only day and once on a general public day) and often lamented the fact that the Guides need an equivalent. Chessington would be perfect and i've called them a few times to see about discounts with no luck so its interesting to hear they have changed their position. Well done for getting the concessions!


Brownie Guider
If they could do an overnight like Guiding PGL's are run then Leaders wouldn't need their own license.
The Guiding HQ Leader's license then covers everybody.
I'll take his details to the training on Sunday and pass them 'up the line'!


Veteran (100+ posts)
That would be great thanks Lotty!

Presumably you'd still need someone with a large-scale licence and then enough overnight licences to cover everyone? I don't know how it works with PGL, as I know groups don't need their own licences for the Guiding PGL weekends - is that because there are enough licence holders already there to cover everyone? I think you did have to have an overnight licence to go to Warwick Castle or Alton Towers though.


Brownie Guider
At the Guiding PGL weekends no-one needs a license except the one large scale license.
All the Units attending would need to send an A/J form to 'join' that leaders holiday - I believe this is how the centenary weekends worked.
I'll know more after Sunday but looking forward to be one of the large scale license holders so others can experience a PGL Adventure.
Hope that answers a few questions.


Brownie Guider
Yes you would need overnight licenses for other venues but I see no reason why the same idea can't be adopted by GGUK for these too.
I'll ask on Sunday if GGUK would consider a similar partnership to extend opportunities they could offer members of GGUK.


Veteran (100+ posts)
just a comment on the tickets for alton towers, it works out cheaper to use their group bookings (£19 per adult (over 12) ) and they also give 1:10 free tickets, but extra adults cost £25 via the guide deal, and only £19 via alton towers!!!!


Veteran (100+ posts)
we have met with Paul as well and our district are having a sleepover at chessington in september
found that group ticket prices are far better via Paul then through their group bookings or even N&L scouts...
we are all looking forward to it!
overnights start at £40pp going up to £50pp - which inc some meals and 2 day park ticket - great value when a days ticket in the park is going to be £39 this season.


Veteran (100+ posts)
there is a large field area at the back of Wild Asia land (used to be Beano Land) which has a seperate access too and thats where you all stay.There is a large marquee which has kitchen facilities too which is 2 mins walk from the field. Only thing we are trying to sort out at the moment is having toilets that are more accessible for the night as you have to use the ones in Wild Asia land which would mean children having to be accompanied at night... as its their first season of doing this sort of thing they want to make sure its proftable for investing in more permanent solutions.
The field can hold up to 250 people and all you need to bring are your own tents.


Veteran (100+ posts)
My rainbows (and me) were gutted that we missed out on the Christmas trip to gullivers kingdom Milton Keynes last year because they'd sold all the tickets by the time we had commitment from enough girls to go. but Lego land would be even better. I was really keen to do gullivers as it was a rainbow only take over style event and would of given them chance to see that they are part of something much bigger than just our district.