PAULTONS Park has been named the best value family theme park in the UK, to the surprise of some of its regular customers. 

The family run attraction at Ower, which celebrated its 40th birthday earlier this week, has come out on top in two surveys designed to give families an idea of the best value days out this summer. 

A newly published piece of industry research compared the true cost of family-friendly theme parks around the country, with Paultons, home of Peppa Pig World, topping the table ahead of Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Legoland, Chessington and Alton Towers, owing to competitive ticket pricing, free parking and no fast passes. 

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A second study, commissioned by Touch Casino, evaluated factors including ticket price and Trip Advisor rating, to create a points-based index determining value for money. Paultons Park grabbed top spot in the UK, ahead of Adventure Island and Blackpool, and was third in Europe. 

Some visitors expressed their surprise at the news. 

Emily Arthurs, from Totton, who takes her two children to the park occasionally, said: "I think the £1,000 cost of a family season ticket has alienated local people and there are never any deals available. Having said that, it's immaculately clean, there are no hidden costs and you can take a picnic. We're lucky to have it on our doorstep."

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Another mum of three, from Ashurst, added: "I often find cheap or free tickets for Legoland or Chessington, but the costs do add up. At least you know what you're getting with Paultons."

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Operations director James Mancey told the Daily Echo: "Ever since we opened Paultons Park 40 years ago, we’ve always made it our priority to create a wonderful all-round family experience which offers fantastic value for money.

"Ensuring that our queue times are one of the lowest in the UK - allowing our guests to enjoy many more attractions during their visit - is just one part of the puzzle. By offering free car parking, and great quality food, we know that our guests won’t end up with any unexpected costs.

"We’re thrilled that our value for money approach has been recognised independently, and we believe that this is why our guests return time and again to experience a magical day out."

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