This time last week I was still cooking and getting ready for out big family trip to Alton Towers. We were so excited to go, I’ve never been before and I love a scary roller coaster and I couldn’t wait to see the littles in CBeebies Land!
Tuesday morning we were up ridiculously early, but I was bouncing off the walls like a kid on Christmas morning. We packed up the massive picnic, overnight bags for us all (hotel booked – no one needs a 3 hour drive home after an early morning and a long day at a theme park!) pram and changing bag into the HerniVan (is that catching on yet!?) and the three of us set off, meeting everyone else there.
It was a pretty easy drive, a quick stop for bacon rolls at the services about 2 hours in, but the last half hour seemed the longest. Alton Towers is in the middle of nowhere! The theme parks that I’ve been to before, you can always see the top of a roller coaster in the distance. I couldn’t even find one when we reached the front gate! We got there about half an hour after opening, so we didn’t really notice how empty the car park was. A twenty minute wait to get the little shuttle train to the main entrance too, so it seemed fairly busy despite the recent events.
After meeting everyone at the main entrance (mother in law, father in law, brother in law, Gran, Nan, nephew, Aunty, Uncle and cousin!) our first stop was CBeebies land! The littles (4, 2 and 1) weren’t exactly sure what we were going on about, but the adults were very excited! Especially when the ‘bug cars’ were spotted going over head! We took a ride in Postman Pat’s van, raced the Numtums, explored Charlie and Lola’s house, took over Justin’s house (G was too small for this, he wasn’t amused!) and went sailing on the Night Garden boat. G was very excited to see Upsy Daisy (his absolute favourite) but was a bit miffed when she didn’t follow us!
2 grown men, a grown woman (me) and a 15 year old went on the Sonic roller coaster, a taste for the big coasters. I don’t really know what the ride was like because I was crying with laughter at the 2 “grown men” screaming in fear!
We stopped for lunch before moving on to the bigger rides. And the middlish rides! Charlie and the Chocolate factory was great for all ages from 2 – 76! The 1 year old (G) was busy with a nap so an Aunty kindly stayed with him whilst the rest of us went on. The 4 year old got her license in driving school, and dragged my 15 year old brother in law on the hopping frog ride. The carousel was great for all ages too, however it was probably the scariest ride I went on all day as I’d sat on the horse with G instead of standing by the side and holding him on. I was terrified of sliding off the whole ride!
We only managed 2 of the big roller coasters which was a bit disappointing. But Rita and Thirteen were brilliant, and we did get to do Thirteen twice because there was no queue for anything. You could really see inside how badly the park has been affected. There were a lot of people there, but nowhere near as many as there would have been during the summer holidays, usually you can expect at least 30 minute queue for most of the big coasters, but they were all 0 minutes! I don’t think you’d be able to do a family day out for all ages when there were longer waits for the rides. The park is so big it takes forever to get from one area to another, and although the Sky Ride is lovely, it’s not very speedy! I think to do more of the big coasters you’d have to have more of a plan and rush from one to the other. Not realistic when you have small children, or a Gran with a wheelchair in the party. Or want to stop and chat to your family and friends.
It didn’t feel like we had enough time for the roller coasters, and the time we spent getting to the bigger rides meant we wasted time that could have been spent back in CBeebies land with the littles. It felt a bit disappointing not to have been able to do more. I’d like to be able to go back and visit the park over two days, and get to do more of it; we had such a brilliant time, but not enough!
The best decision Mr H and I made about the whole trip was to stay in a hotel that night! After a long and busy day walking all round a theme park, the last thing any of us needed was a three hour drive back home. We’d already booked the Travelodge at Hilton Park, Birmingham, which is about an hour away from Alton Towers.
It was a lovely little hotel in the services and there was a friendly welcome (and offer of a breakfast box for the morning…we declined, preferring a bacon rolls from Greggs instead). The room was a decent size, for such a small hotel, and very clean with a big comfy bed. There was also tea and coffee making facilities and a TV with freeview.
After a quick meal and a bit of ‘shopping’ in the services, we settled down in our comfy bed for the night. Well me and Mr H did, G got stuck with a travel cot!
It was great to spend the day with lots of our family.
Do you have any trips to theme parks planned for the summer?
Mrs H xxx
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