Merlin Entertainments, which operates some of Britain’s most famous tourist attractions, has sold four sites to Nick Leslau’s investment vehicle, Prestbury. The Independent. Daily Telegraph. The Times

Prestbury paid £622m for Alton Towers in Staffordshire, Madame Tussauds in London and attractions such as Warwick Castle and the Thorpe Park amusement park in Surrey.

Merlin, which is owned by Blackstone, the American private equity group, will rent them back under a 35-year lease. It said that it planned to use the funds for a £270m investment programme in its estate and to repay deby finding for its £1bn-plus acquisition of Tussauds Group this year.

Merlin said that it would retain some freehold property assets, including its four Legoland parks, many of its Sea Life marine conservation centres and Gardalana, its Italian theme park.