Possible England Trip

My wife and I are thinking about going overseas to England this summer.

The parks we want to go to are Thorpe Park, Alton Towers, Blackpool and possibly Drayton.

Am I correct in that we would probably need to fly into Heathrow in London or is there another airport that we could look at?

Also any help with transportation in England between the parks and Lond on (if that is the only airport) would be appreciated as we would prefer not to drive if possible.



Skol Vikings
Let's shoot us some deer Joe Joe!!!!

Your best bet is to search the park's websites...they will direct you to the appropriate train/bus services. I took a train and then a hopper bus to Thorpe and also for Alton. The train takes you to the proper station and then a bus takes you to the park. Usually you can get an all-for-one deal that gets you transportation and the park ticket.

Have fun and hit up Nemesis Inferno a couple of times for me!


Rick_UK's avatar
Hey C4C,

Thorpe, Blackpool and Drayton to a slightly lesser extent are quite easy to get to by public transport. Alton is in the middle of nowhere but there is a bus service from the local mainline station.

Look at coming into Manchester, or Heathrow. Manchester isn't too far from Blackpool. Heathrow isn't too far from Thorpe.

You could come into Heathrow, see London, do Thorpe. Train up to Manchester and go to Blackpool. Train down to the midlands and do Alton & Drayton (pretty close), and back down to Heathrow.


Nothing to see here. Move along.

Unless I'm remembering incorrectly, on the train ride from London to Windsor Castle, we passed the platform for Drayton Manor. *** Edited 1/6/2008 6:10:16 AM UTC by Willh51***
There is a Drayton near on that route, but Drayton Manor is near Birmingham. The closest town is Tamworth, there is a train station there at getting to DM by bus or Taxi would be pretty easy.
There are lots of alternative airports to Heathrow, but the question is where in the US you're coming from.

The nearest to Alton Towers is East Midlands, but as far as I know there's nothing from the United States directly there. You can take Continental from Newark to Birmingham (BHX) which is very close to Drayton Manor and about an hour up the road from Alton Towers.

Thorpe is about ten minutes away from Heathrow. As for Blackpool, Rick is right - Manchester is the way to go. Though you could take an internal flight from London Stansted to Blackpool with Ryanair; just be aware that the bag weight limit is fairly low and that might catch you out as a foreigner. Also Stansted is quite a distance from Heathrow - you need to take a train from London Liverpool Street which takes 45 minutes or so. In reality it might be best to go straight to Blackpool!

If we go, we would fly from either Minneapolis or Chicago (midwest really). We were looking at 10-11 days maybe end of July.

We were looking at flight prices between flying ino London and or Manchester and there is maybe 100 dollar difference.

We also looked at maybe renting a car to get to the parks and it was reasonably priced so we might look at getting a car now but still undecide.

Would there be a better time to go than late July-early August for when the parks would be less busy?

Thanks for everyone's input so far.

Skol Vikings
Let's shoot us some deer Joe Joe!!!!

Rick_UK's avatar
2008 school holidays;Wednesday 23 July 2008 - Tuesday 2 September 2008

You would be best avoiding those for Alton/Thorpe/Drayton. Doesn't matter too much at Blackpool.


Nothing to see here. Move along.

It doesn't matter which airport you fly into, you can get to anywhere you need via train or bus. I would look at the price of flights and take connections into consideration when deciding which airport to fly into. For instance, this past summer we flew into Gatwick because that was the only direct flight offered from Dallas/Fort Worth. It was easy to get into London from Gatwick. When we ended our Scandinavian trip with the European Coaster Club at Heathrow, we just took a the National Express bus to Gatwick to fly home.

I might add, that of all the airports I've been to in the world, Heathrow was without a doubt my least favorite. It was built in various stages and it looks it. The layout is all wrong, I think terminal two was converted from a parking garage, it's small and claustrophobic. Just getting from your terminal to baggage claim and then public transportation is like walking through a fun house maze--minus the fun. They say you need to allow 75 minutes to get from terminal 4 to terminal 1. I would avoid it like the plague.

Jeffrey Seifert said:
It doesn't matter which airport you fly into, you can get to anywhere you need via train or bus.

I don't think the original poster was asking about Japan!

There are many places in England you can get to via train or bus, but just as many that you can't.

Okay so it was probably poorly phrased. But you can get from one major airport to another via bus or train, so I wouldn't eliminate any of them, particularly Gatwick. Once you get to central London, you should be able to bus or train to all the parks the original poster mentioned.
Well we are looking at maybe end of March as airfare from Chicago to London is very inexpensive.

I know that I might not get on all the coasters but would this be a better time to go and what is the weather like?

Skol Vikings
Let's shoot us some deer Joe Joe!!!!

The end of March could make things a little more difficult. I think Pleasure Beach is still weekends only, but Thorpe and Drayton start to go daily around that time. Alton's schedule isn't online yet, but they probably go daily too.

It looks like Blackpool would be open everyday in March when we would be over there but you are correct in Alton hours aren't up yet.

Skol Vikings
Let's shoot us some deer Joe Joe!!!!

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