…a fun filled trip for everyone, made magical with a stay in the Enchanted Village.
For a theme park trip for all ages you just cannot go wrong with Alton Towers. From Cbeebies Land for the little ones to mega rides for the thrill seekers and beautiful grounds for a sedate walk, it really does have something for everyone.
We first went to Alton Towers last November for the closing weekend with fireworks and it was absolutely spectacular but we didn’t get to experience everything so we were both really excited to go back on our road trip.
We got in to the park around 11am and while you’re directed to the main car parks, if you’re heading to the accommodation car parks they’re a bit tricky to find as you kind of head for the exit. I carried on driving and eventually found a staff member to ask but really it could have done with being sign posted as it very nearly ruined the surprise I had planned for Luka.
Just around from the accommodation (and main car parking area) is the monorail to get into the park. The queue can be rather daunting looking when it’s stretched out of the door but it does move fast, with so many people able to get on in one go it was actually just a 10 minute wait.
The queue for tickets at that time was HUGE and very slow moving so where possible I’d suggest buying online (plus it’s cheaper) or going in early like I did the next day when my friend had joined us and I had to pick up her ticket. Luckily though as we have our Merlin Passes we got to just walk on through the turnstiles without queuing and get on with the fun.
As my best friend and her two year old were joining us the next day I figured we would leave Cbeebies Land and the smaller rides until then, so after a small white lie to Luka about it being quieter there on a Saturday we headed off to the bigger rides.
TOP TIP: Check your child’s height before you go so you can find out what it is that they can go on and manage their expectations. Nothing worse than an upset youngster who has their heart set on a ride they’re not big enough for. You can see the Alton Towers height restrictions HERE.
The good thing about Alton Towers is that there is plenty to go on for little ones, even outside Cbeebies Land. Once they’re over 0.9m there is lots of choice. Luka’s 117cms and there are only 8 rides in the whole park that he’s not able to access and they’re the big stuff like Nemesis which I wouldn’t expect a 5 year to be able to go on, or want to in most cases!
Obviously every child is different so will have different ideas of what’s fun and scary but things like the Congo River Rapids and Runaway Train give a good thrill but aren’t too much and if I let him I’m pretty sure Luka would sit and ride on the Pirate Ship all day!
We also tried out Hex, which is described as a multimedia ride set inside the old castle. It’s a bit like a haunted house and you end up in a room where the walls spin around you so it feels like you’re upside down even though you’re not. Despite being the one who wanted to go on, Luka did get a bit nervous while we were waiting in the queue but ended up absolutely loving it. However the minimum size ride is only 0.9m so a very young child could go on and it was pretty scary with ghosts and curses.
TOP TIP: Talk your child through the rides to help them decide if they want to go on and what they can expect. This can be watching them as they go around or for something like Hex where you can’t see having a quick google. While we were queuing we checked out what to expect from the ride and so Luka knew what was coming, we even came up with a funny plan for what we were going to do in a scary bit. Not only did it ease his nerves it also kept us entertained while we waited.
The one ride that surprised me slightly is Enterprise, where you are in a cage with no belt which spins around extremely fast raising to a vertical so you are going upside down held down by gravity. If you’re tall it’s fairly easy to sit up properly and wedge yourself in with your feet with your child between your legs. However being short it always ends up with me and Luka lying pretty much flat. Now it’s obviously safe and the Mini Adventurer thinks it’s amazing fun but the height limit on it is only 0.9m meaning my friends 2 year old could have gone on. Again obviously every child is different and some may love it but it’s the one ride I particularly would say to exercise a little caution on as it is a real “thrill” ride and quite disorientating even for adults.
TOP TIP: If you’re going on Maurauders Mayhem (a ride where you go around in a boat squirting people and being sprayed) prepare to get very, very wet. I came off soaking down to my underwear and very grateful my bag was waterproof. As it was a beautiful day it wasn’t too bad as we did dry off somewhat, however on a cold day it would have made for a very miserable afternoon. Definitely one to leave for the end of the day where you can go and get changed after!
After a full day of fun I was ready to give Luka a little surprise, one of my favourite things to do on an adventure, and took him over to the Enchanted Village to “see” the Lodges. The look on his face when I sprung it on him that we were actually staying there was just priceless!
We went to check in and it was really set up for kids with colouring in sheets and bugs to look at while the parents do the boring bit which was great as I usually find myself trying to fill in forms, pay etc while also trying to keep an eye on the Mini Adventurer and entertain him. Him being busy also gave the second half of the surprise a chance to sneak in, his Godmother arrived with her two year old daughter which doubly made his day.
TOP TIP: Book any meals you require before you arrive. The Crooked Spoon restaurant services the whole area and the only evening meal time they could offer when checking in at 4pm was after 9pm and the only slot for breakfast was 7am, way too late/early for us.
I have a sneaking suspicion though that a lot of people book and don’t actually turn up as we popped in to see if there was any chance of a take away and they were able to seat us straight away in a pretty much empty restaurant. The food, while not exactly cheap (about £80 for 2 adult and 2 children’s 2 course meals with drinks) was delicious and plentiful and the staff were wonderful with the kids. The Crooked Spoon menu can be found HERE.
After our impromptu dinner it was time to go and check out our home for the night, a Woodland Lodge in the Enchanted Village, and how enchanting it was! There is a large porch, which was perfect for drinking wine on once the kids had gone to sleep, a large bedroom/living room, a bathroom and a second bedroom with bunk beds.
However my favourite part of it was the gorgeous little magical touches around, like the light up elf door, the flooring in the children’s bedroom and the animal shaped bubble bath. It really made the stay super special.
Luka’s favourite part though was definitely the outside, where in front of each pod of houses is a different activity, like climbing frames and seesaws, perfect for a mini adventurer to enjoy whilst you relax on the porch, wine optional but recommended!
After a great nights sleep in the very peaceful location the four of us were on the monorail and into the park.
With a two and a five year old we took a right at the entrance and headed to Cbeebies Land. It really is a great addition to the park for little ones as there is a wide range of rides from a sedate boat ride around In the Night Garden to the more thrilling Octonauts rollercoaster, which are suitable for such a wide range of ages.
There are also a different shows throughout the day featuring different Cbeebies programmes which are fab especially for the younger ones as it’s a break from the queuing plus they (and their Mums!) get to meet their favourite characters, Luka’s Godmother was more excited than the kids to get a Duggee hug!
Outside of the Cbeebies Land there are lots of other things to do with little ones, take a trip to Cloud Cuckoo Land where there is a carousel, froggy hoppers and over 4s can get their driving licence, be warned the queue for this can take a long time even when it doesn’t look that long.
There is also a small Sea Life Centre (yes I do feel like I spend my entire life at aquariums!) which is obviously great for the whole family and on wet days gets you out of the rain for a bit.
Finally, how to fuel yourself through your adventures at Alton Towers. There are numerous options to grab a bite around the park but my personal top choice is to head to the Explorers Pizza and Pasta Restaurant. It’s all you can eat and drink so fills up the family for a very reasonable price, there are lots of different choices to keep everyone happy and it tastes really good.
TOP TIP: Get a refillable drink! They cost £7 each (we just share one) but you can get as many top ups as you like throughout the day where as a cost of one bottle of Coke/Oasis etc is around £3. They previously only did fizzy drinks in them (which neither of us drink) but now they also serve Oasis at most of the outlets, which has saved us a fortune.
Overall I would recommend a trip to Alton Towers for the whole family any day of the week, but if you can afford it (keep an eye out for deals or share with friends) I would definitely suggest adding a night in their accommodation to make it a really, really special adventure.