Holiday giants charge adult prices for 12-year-olds 

Cash-strapped parents are being forced to pay adult prices for children at many of Britain’s most popular attractions, a Mail on Sunday investigation has revealed.

Astonishingly, dozens of theme parks and historical sites – which will be packed this week with families enjoying the schools’ half-term break – define anyone aged 12 and over as an adult and bump up the price.

Politicians and campaigners accused ‘cynical’ bosses of ‘bleeding families dry’.

The Mail on Sunday has discovered holiday giants and theme parks are charging adult prices for children aged 12

Even holiday companies are joining the rip-off. In one of the most shocking examples, online travel company advertised a half-term break on the sunshine island of Majorca for a family of four that shot up in price if both children were 12 or over.

Flights and seven nights at a four-star hotel for parents and two 11-year-olds costs £3,682. But the price of same holiday leaps to £4,832 once the children are 12.

Four days at Disneyland Paris costs £616 when children are 11 but £688 when they turn 12.

Warwick Castle also hikes prices at the same age, with a £102 trip jumping to £108.

At Thorpe Park in Surrey, a family of four with two 11-year-olds pays £200.80 – with two 12-year-olds the price rises to £214. Nearby Chessington World of Adventures charges a family of four with two 11-year-old ‘young adventurers’ £204. But that rises to £211 when the children are 12.

Our investigation also found that the Natural History Museum and Somerset House ice rinks, both in London, charge full price from age 13, while Odeon and Vue cinemas also increase their prices at that age. 

Sports presenter Gabby Logan, who has 12-year-old twins, Lois and Reuben, with her husband Kenny, said: ‘Anything that prevents a family from an activity because of this kind of price hike is really quite disgusting. This is a miserly and cynical practice.’

Sports presenter Gabby Logan blasted the price hike as 'disgusting', calling it a 'miserly and cynical practice'

Sports presenter Gabby Logan blasted the price hike as ‘disgusting’, calling it a ‘miserly and cynical practice’

Conservative MP Nigel Evans, who sits on the Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Industry All-Party Parliamentary Committee, said: ‘Twelve is way too young to start charging adult prices.

‘The way these attractions are artificially turning children into adults is absurd.’

He accused companies of ‘bleeding hard-pressed families dry’.

Paul Kelly, chief executive of the British Association of Leisure, Parks, Piers and Attractions, defended the price rises.

‘Once customers turn 12 they are able to enjoy the entirety of the experience available, as much as any adult visiting the attraction,’ he said.

But Ms Logan countered: ‘All 12-year-olds look very different but they’re certainly not adults. They don’t have any adult rights, responsibilities or privileges, so why do they suddenly have to live a more expensive life?’

Last night, a spokesman for Merlin, which owns Chessington World of Adventures, Thorpe Park and Warwick Castle, said: ‘We aim to provide good value for everyone at all our attractions and strongly refute any suggestion that we charge unfairly.’