Inverted loops, beyond vertical drops, 5G spins, 0-80mph in two seconds – you can’t beat Thorpe Park for raw nerve-shredding excitement and genuine scares. There’s plenty here for all the family, but some of the rides are very much adults only: Saw is based on the gruesome horror series and The Walking Dead is an indoor rollercoaster that plunges you into the TV show’s zombie apocalypse.
It’s a bit of a jolt when you head back onto the sedate streets of Surrey, but with the M25 and the M3 on the doorstep, it’s easy to visit from most parts of the country. If you stay in a caravan park near Thorpe Park, you can spend time in London or visit some of the southeast’s other iconic attractions – and some of the local sites are surprisingly rural. We’ve chosen five family-friendly campsites near Thorpe Park, all within a 25-minute drive, and listed them in order of distance, from nearest to furthest.
WHAT ELSE CAN WE DO IN THE AREA?
Theme-park lovers might want to combine a trip to Thorpe Park with a day at nearby Legoland Windsor – it’s worth checking out campsites near the latter in our listing XREF HERE???. Chessington World of Adventures is close at hand, too. Most of our sites are near a railway station offering services to central London, so you can spend time in the capital without worrying about traffic jams and the dreaded congestion charge.
Fans of royal residences can visit Windsor Castle or Hampton Court Palace, petrolheads can book a driving experience at Mercedes-Benz World and walkers can lose a day or two yomping in the Surrey Hills. Green-fingered types can visit three Kew Gardens, the Savill Garden and RHS Garden Wisley, and there are plenty of excellent pubs along the Thames and the River Wey.
Chertsey Caravan Park, Lyne, Surrey KT16 0BH
Open all year
Just eight minutes from the gates of Thorpe Park, and near the M25/M3 intersection, this isn’t the most scenic option on our list, but it’s a simple and convenient base for a good night’s kip after a day of theme-park madness. Chertsey Caravan Park has hardstanding pitches with metered electric hook-up, showers, toilets, a laundry and a licensed cafe. There’s a farm shop with a tearoom down the road and you can take the dog for a walk in nearby woodland or in the village of Lyne, a mile away, finishing up in the beer garden at the Royal Marine pub. It’s a short drive to Chertsey for Sainsbury’s and Aldi.
Thorpe Park not enough for you? Chertsey Caravan Park is 21 minutes from Legoland Windsor and 23 minutes from Chessington World of Adventures. If you prefer racetracks to rollercoasters, book a driving experience at Mercedes-Benz World, 20 minutes away – you can get behind the wheel of a Mercedes AMG GT R under the supervision of a pro driver. Just don’t apply your newly acquired braking skills to the caravan on the journey home.
Prices: tbc for 2021
Top tip: the park offers long-stay options, so you could bolt a Thorpe Park trip onto a holiday abroad. Heathrow airport is only 20 minutes away
Laleham Camping Club, Laleham, Surrey TW18 1SS
Open from April to October
Laleham styles itself as a village, but it’s basically a suburb of Staines-upon-Thames, so guests at this volunteer-run campsite on the banks of the Thames get the best of both worlds – classy pubs such as the Three Horseshoes within walking distance, and fast trains to London from Staines station, a 10-minute drive away.
Laleham Camping Club is a 10-minute drive from Thorpe Park, 25 minutes from Hampton Court Palace and half an hour from Legoland Windsor and Chessington. It’s a basic but secluded site with showers, toilets, a laundry, electric hook-up, a play area and direct access to the Thames Path. Rugby union fans are 20 minutes from Twickenham, if they can swing a ticket for an England game – or you can bring your own odd-shaped balls for an impromptu match in Laleham Park, next to the campsite.
Prices: from £32 a night for two
Top tip: Staines is good for shopping, but the nearest supermarkets are across the river in Chertsey, six minutes’ drive from the campsite
Apps Court, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey KT12 2EG
Open all year
Here’s another surprisingly secluded spot in the London suburbs – 80 acres of grassland by a working farm on the south bank of the Thames, with river fishing and a pair of well-stocked lakes. It’s a 20-minute drive to Thorpe Park, eight minutes from Hampton Court Palace, 26 minutes from Chessington World of Adventures and a 10-minute drive to Walton-on-Thames, for shopping, pubs, restaurants and trains to central London. You can walk to the riverside Weir pub from the site or go cycling on the towpath.
The site has electric hook-ups, a laundry and new showers and toilets, with accessible facilities for disabled guests. You can let the kids run free in the grounds, but you’ll have to keep the dog on a lead.
Prices: from £20 a night for two
Top tip: the site’s owners can arrange activities such as archery and quad biking, so ask about these when you book.
Walton on Thames Camping and Caravanning Club Site, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey KT12 3QG
Open from April to early November
Still going strong after more than 100 years in the business, this is a little slice of country heaven just 15 miles from central London – it’s set in fields next to the River Mole and near Island Barn Reservoir, with riding, sailing, llama trekking and golf all on offer in the vicinity. It’s a 25-minute drive to Thorpe Park and only 12 minutes to Hampton Court Palace. There are trains to London from Hersham station, a mile and a half away.
The site is run by the Camping and Caravanning Club and is members-only. It has WiFi, electric hook-ups and a designated dog walk, but no showers or toilets. You’ll have to drive to the nearest pubs and shops, but there are plenty of options within a 10-minute drive – Walton-on-Thames has good shopping and the Swan, with a lovely beer garden next to the river.
Prices: from £5.85pp a night
Top tip: look out for the resident parakeets flying overhead
Horsley Camping and Caravanning Club Site, East Horsley, Surrey, KT24 6PE
Open from April to early November
If you’re looking for a proper fix of countryside as well as an adrenaline rush, this is just the ticket: you’ll see foxes, rabbits, ducks and deer in the grounds, and there’s fishing in Horsley Lake, right next door. The site is in open fields in the rural heart of Surrey, 15 minutes’ drive from the Surrey Hills and RHS Garden Wisley, but it’s a 25-minute drive to Thorpe Park and about the same to Chessington World of Adventures.
This is a Camping and Caravanning Club site, with discounts for members, but all are welcome. It has electric hook-up, WiFi, showers, toilets, a dog-walking area and a children’s playground. There are excellent pubs and restaurants in West Horsley, East Horsley and Ripley, all within a 10-minute drive, and the nearest big supermarket is a Waitrose – this is Surrey, after all.
Prices: from £7.10pp for members
Top tip: if you want to get a flavour of (posh) local life, head to the farmers’ market in Ripley on Saturday morning