The £622m deal, which includes the Madame Tussauds waxworks museums, Warwick Castle and Thorpe Park, will see Merlin continue to operate the ventures as normal under a 35-year leaseback agreement.

Merlin said it would use the money raised to pay off debts incurred during the £1bn purchase of the Tussauds group in March, though £270m will be reinvested into many of its sites.

A Merlin spokesperson said: "Merlin believes an SLB will leave the company able to focus on its core competency, that is operating successful visitor attractions.

"A landlord structure is standard for most major modern retail and leisure businesses today, and a number of Merlin’s attractions already operate in this way; including in recent years new attractions such as Madame Tussauds sites in the US, Dungeons, Sea Life, and only this month the first Legoland Discovery Centre in Berlin. This transaction will not in any way hamper the company’s ability to operate and develop the sites concerned, on a very long term basis."

The company is not thought to be seeking similar deals with its Legoland parks, Sea Life centres and Gardaland in Italy at this time.