Merlin Entertainments main aim is to deliver memorable experiences to more than 65 million visitors worldwide, through its iconic global and local brands. They are a global leader in location-based, family entertainment. Merlin Entertainments are Europe’s Number 1 and the World’s second-largest visitor attraction operator, after Disney based on annual attendance. At the time of writing, Merlin Entertainments operate over 120 attractions, 18 hotels and 6 holiday villages in 25 countries, across 4 continents.
Merlin Entertainments – A Global Organisation
Merlin Entertainments are listed on the London Stock Exchange, with their headquarters based in Poole, Dorset, UK. In 2017, Merlin generated over £1.5million in revenue with Earnings before tax just short of £500 million. Merlin now generates over 70% of profits from outside of the UK. Since its formation in 1999, Merlin’s strategy has been to create a high growth, high return family entertainment company. Merlin Entertainments operate two distinct products, Midway Attractions and Theme Parks.
‘Midway’ attractions are high quality, branded, indoor attractions. These have a typical 1-2 hour dwell time, located in city centres, shopping malls or resorts. There are over 100 Midway attractions across 22 countries, with five established chainable brands:
SEA LIFE, Madame Tussauds, The Eye (observation attractions), The Dungeons and LEGOLAND Discovery Centres.
Merlin’s Theme Parks are large multi-day outdoor destination venues, often incorporating on-site themed accommodation. The Theme Parks are organised into two specific Operating Groups, based on the brands.
• LEGOLAND Parks – LEGO themed interactive theme parks appealing to younger families with children aged 2-12. The LEGOLAND Parks estate currently spans seven countries across three continents with Windsor being the location of the UK park.
• Resort Theme Parks – Nationally recognised destination Theme Parks arranged around a central theme. UK Resort Theme Parks include Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures and Warwick Castle in the UK. Merlin Entertainments also operate Gardaland in Italy and Heide Park in Germany.
The trend towards shorter, more frequent breaks has supported the growth of Merlin’s themed on-site accommodation within its theme parks. Merlin has over 4,100 rooms across a variety of accommodation formats including four-star hotels, lodges and glamping.
Merlin Entertainments have recently implemented global exclusive partnership agreements with ‘The Bear Grylls Adventure’ and ‘Peppa Pig’. They are currently rolling out new location-based entertainment centred on these two market-leading brands. ‘The Bear Grylls Adventure’ is a unique, activity-based attraction designed around the challenges experienced by world-famous adventurer Bear Grylls. The first ‘Bear Grylls Adventure’ opened in Birmingham, UK in 2018.
Merlin are in the process of extending their experiences for the pre-school market with an exclusive agreement to develop a range of attraction formats based on Peppa Pig and family. This agreement excludes the UK market. The first Peppa Pig in-park areas opened in 2018 at Gardaland in Italy and Heide Park in Germany. A Peppa Pig World of Play opened in Shanghai in 2018.
Merlin Magic Making
Merlin Entertainments are supported by its unique internal department, Merlin Magic Making, providing development, creative, production and project management expertise. Merlin also operates a function dedicated to opening new attractions which incorporates site finding, construction, resourcing and initial operation.
Being a Force for Good is at the heart of Merlin’s ethos and the company aims to make a difference to the communities linked to its business. Merlin’s Magic Wand is a charity helping disadvantaged and sick children experience the magic of Merlin’s attractions, and SEA LIFE Trust promotes and contributes to marine conservation around the world.
For an insight into how Merlin delivers memorable experiences to its many millions of visitors to its attractions visit Merlin Backstage.
Visit Merlin Entertainments Official Website for more information.
UK Attractions owned and operated by Merlin Entertainments include:
Merlin Entertainments midway attractions are often grouped together in major cities, for example in Central London you will find:
* The London Eye
* Madame Tussauds
* The London Dungeon
* Shreks Adventure
* SEA LIFE London Aquarium
In Manchester’s Trafford Centre (a large indoor shopping centre and leisure complex), you will find two of Merlin Entertainments Midway attractions located alongside each other:
* Legoland Discovery Centre
* Manchester Sea Life Centre
* Legoland Discovery Centre
* National Sea Life Centre Birmingham
* The Bear Grylls Adventure