London is absolutely packed full of fantastic things to see and do for all the family and there is any easy way to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the fun.
The Merlin London Attraction Pass gets you access to four superb stop-offs for tourists – Madame Tussauds, the SEA LIFE London Aquarium, the Coca-Cola London Eye and Shrek’s Adventure! London.
You can start off by getting up close and personal with the stars at Madame Tussauds. There, you will find sporting icons, Hollywood A-listers, world leaders and much more, recreated in glorious detail as waxworks.
Venture into the film area and you will find everyone from Audrey Hepburn to Steven Spielberg. Sports fans may prefer to check the uncanny likenesses of Muhammad Ali, Usain Bolt and David Beckham.
Head into the royal quarters, meanwhile, and you can take a look at monarchs from down the years or those in line for the throne, such as Princes William and Harry.
It also cannot be said that Madame Tussauds does not move with the times. That much is proven by the presence of YouTube sensations within the waxwork hall. Vloggers Zoe and Alfie’s models sit in a recreation of the duo’s bedroom from which they record their smash hit videos.
It is not just waxworks though, there is also the brand new Sherlock Holmes Experience.
Billed as a ‘theatrical detective challenge’, the exhibit allows you to team up with Dr Watson and test yourself against a fiendishly clever case.
The Madame Tussauds museum was founded by Marie Tussaud. The French artist crafted her first waxwork in 1777, before opening the London site in 1835. Since then it has gone from strength to strength. So much so that this iconic attraction is a landmark in its own right and pulls in more than 2.5 million visitors each year.
SEA Life London
Just a 15-minute hop away from Madame Tussauds you will find the SEA LIFE London Aquarium.
Located on Westminster Bridge Road, the centre opened in 1997 and is visited by around one million people every year.
It is no surprise that it has proven such a hit either, as this attraction is home to one of the largest collections of marine life in Europe.
The sharks are a huge pull for visitors to the centre. You will need to be brave though, as you can walk over the glass floor as these magnificent creatures swim just beneath your feet. Those with a real iron nerve can even book a VIP experience to snorkel with the sharks. Not for the faint hearted.
Away from the sharks, you will be able to catch a superb view of stingrays, triggerfish, and stunning green sea turtles. These are among the creatures you can see in incredible detail thanks to the centre’s glass tunnel.
Moving away from the ocean and on to the predators of the rainforests, Cuban crocodiles are among the top attractions of the centre.
The Antarctic is also well represented thanks to the family of Gentoo penguins that you are able to see in all of their glory.
Special feedings and events are held throughout each day, starting with the octopus at 11am. The rays are next, followed by penguins and sharks. The coral is the focus of attention at 3:30pm, before the seahorses and terrapins round off the day.
Next up for tourists with a Merlin London Attraction Pass could be the Coca-Cola London Eye.
This 443-foot tall ferris wheel allows incredible views across the capital.
Take your seat in one of the Eye’s 32 capsules and you can look east and see St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Canary Wharf, the Tower of London and the Gherkin.
To the west you will find Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square, Hyde Park and Windsor Castle.
A glance north, meanwhile, and Alexandra Palace and Crystal Palace will come into view.
As you can see, a treasure trove of sights are on offer whichever way you look.
The fact that the wheel is made up of 32 capsules is no coincidence, as each represents one of the city’s boroughs. Up to 25 people can be transported in each of the air-conditioned pods.
The Eye opened in 2000, and was initially referred to as the Millennium Wheel, however its history stretches back far further than that.
Back in 1895, the Great Wheel stood at 308-feet tall and later influenced what would become the London Eye. The Wheel remained in place until 1906.
The Eye itself was designed by a team of architects and when it was built it was the largest ferris wheel in world. Today it remains the largest in Europe.
It was also home to the tallest observation deck in London until the opening of the Shard.
Last, but by no means least, comes the newest adventure available with the Merlin pass – Shrek’s Adventure! London.
Just in case this smash-hit franchise has passed you by, Shrek has spawned four movies since its 2001 debut, with a fifth set to follow in 2019.
The Mike Myers/Eddie Murphy/Cameron Diaz series has produced some of the highest-grossing films of all time – and now it has its own London extravaganza dedicated to it.
Located on the South Bank just a short walk away from the Coca Cola London Eye, this attraction takes you right into the thick of the DreamWorks series’ world and into the Kingdom of Far Far Away.
First stop is an incredible 4D bus tour, an attraction which has won rave reviews. The Guardian described it as ‘amazing’ and said that it was the best thing about the entire exhibition. With the ever-popular Donkey as your tour guide it is little wonder that this is such a much-loved experience.
Next up comes a trip around Shrek’s swamp and Rumplestiltskin’s carriage before you’re able to get a glimpse of Puss In Boots at the Poison Apple Pub.
The Game Show and Wheel of Torture come next, before the Mirror Maze, Muffin Man’s House and DreamWorks Arrival Hall. The latter allows you to interact with other characters from the company’s canon, including those from the Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and How To Train Your Dragon movies.
As you can see, there is plenty to see and do. The whole thing somehow fits into an action-packed 75 minutes.
Getting there is no problem at all either. Shrek’s Adventure! London is just a few minutes away from Waterloo rail and Underground stations, situated at the Riverside Building on Westminster Bridge Road. It is also accessible via riverboat. The attraction is open seven days a week. The 211, 77 and 381 buses also run to and from this part of London.
Doors open at 10am and close at 5pm on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. On Saturdays, doors remain open for an extra hour, while Thursday hours are 11am to 5pm.
As you can see, the Merlin pass affords entry to some of the finest attractions that the capital has to offer.
To make the deal even sweeter, travel between all four attractions is a piece of cake, as Madame Tussauds, the SEA LIFE London Aquarium, Coca-Cola London Eye and Shrek’s Adventure! London are all located in Zone 1 and are therefore just a short hop on the Tube away.