Brief history of Chessington

The history of Chessington is extensive, dating back to 1931, when it opened as Chessington Zoo. Under the ownership of Merlin, following its merger with The Tussauds Group in 2007, there has been new investment to create on-site accommodation and new high quality animal-themed attractions for families.

The trend

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the business has been significant, with long periods where Chessington was closed and at present the Theme Park can only operate at reduced capacity. Plans for new attractions have also been delayed. It is vitally important that as the leisure and tourism industry ‘re-opens’ Chessington is quick to respond to new opportunities to improve the attractions so it can maintain its market position and continue attracting guests. Pre COVID-19, the development history of Chessington has shown that periods of under investment often result in difficult trading periods, with visitors choosing other alternative attractions and leisure opportunities. Now more than ever before Chessington has to respond or it risks losing visitors to competitors.

A picture of a Zebra
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Zoo Attraction
Chessington aerial view
View from the air







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Zoo opened to public 

Later sold to the Pearsons Group with significant investment needed

Pearsons purchased by Madame Tussauds who becomes responsible for the Zoo

Tussauds work with the Council to prepare a Development Brief for future planned investment at 
the site

Planning Brief adopted by the Council

Chessington opened as a Theme Park and Zoo

Site acquired by Merlin


Safari Hotel opens

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Safari Vehicle
Snake Sculpture
Amur Tiger  (17 of 26).jpg







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Croc Drop opens – a 25m drop tower ride – replacing Rameses Revenge in Forbidden Kingdom

Land of the Tiger opens, retheming Mystic East

Go Ape high ropes opens on the south west part of the Resort

Azteca Hotel opens

ZUFARI: Ride into Africa! opens on the west part of the Resort

KOBRA ride opens as part of Wild Asia