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Dare to be scared?

For a heart-pumping, thrill-seeking adventure it’s got to be Thorpe Parks’ Fright Nights. Here’s everything you need to know.

New for 2018 – The Walking Dead: Do or Die horror maze

Six kids. Thorpe Park. Fright night.

Those six little words are enough to scare the life out of most sane parents. Throw constant drizzle and pretty cool temperatures into the mix, and it sounds positively disastrous.

Nonetheless, me and my kids and a couple of their friends braved the elements to brave the opening weekend of Thorpe Park’s Fright Night series. It launched last Thursday with a slew of c’lebs mincing around the park, Kerry Katona, the former Atomic Kitten (remember them?!) and Love Islander Kem Centinay, among them.

Forget the celebs though, we were there for the adrenaline-rides and scary fright-night mazes. This is the 17th Fright Night season at Thorp Park, and as well as returning faves The Walking Dead: Living Nightmare, SAW Alive, Platform 15 and Containment, several new horror experiences have been introduced, including The Walking Dead: Do or Die, Vulcan Peak, Blair Witch and Dead Creek Woods.

Also new this year, is the Screamplexx Cinema, showing horror films in gruesome 4D, and The Big Top showtime, featuring a troupe of unhinged clowns.

Derren Brown’s Ghost Train: Rise of the Demon

This is the park’s busiest season – Fright Nights run from now until 31 Oct – so in some ways the terrible weather on Saturday was a blessing: it may have kept some of the crowds away! And indeed, waiting times were not awful, ranging from 5 to 45 minutes depending on the ride.

We arrived at the park at a fairly early 11am to make the most of the day: Fright Nights kick off at 3pm and end at 10pm, so after 3pm is when it really gets busy. But for the truly dedicated, I’d suggest you splurge on the fast-track tickets. There are various packages, some that fast-track you on the adrenaline rides only and others for the Fright Night mazes. Or if you’re really splashing out, go for the ultimate fast-track that gets you past the crowds on the lot (except Containment).

The kids were mad for the adrenaline rides so we started with those: Stealth, Nemesis Inferno, The Swarm, Quantum, Vortex… to name a few. Derren Brown’s Ghost Train, introduced a two years ago, was still a favourite.

At 3pm, when the Fright Night horror mazes opened – we were first in line for the brand new The Walking Dead: Do or Die.

No spoilers here, except to say these mazes are not for the faint-hearted – they’re not recommended for anyone under the age 13 – and are guaranteed to get your blood pumping and your heart beating faster. And as the light fades, out come the ghouls, ghosts, killer clowns and zombies – all actors of course, but any encounter with this lot will get your heart racing.

But that’s the point isn’t it. Thorpe Park is all about the thrills and the excitement – and the adrenaline rush.


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