The Mr and I have been to Alton Towers a number of times over the years as we are a pair of thrill seekers and love the adrenalin rush from the large roller coasters there. We were really excited however to be invited for a weekend break, along with the Mini Mes, to check out the Enchanted Village Woodland Lodges and Splash Landings Water Park along with the family friendly rides the Staffordshire theme park has to offer.
Our lodge was magical. Set in quiet and relaxing surroundings it felt like a hobbit home from Lord of the Rings! You enter into the main bedroom with king size bed and there is a separate bath and shower room and another bedroom with bunk beds and truckle bed. We popped the kettle on and had a few biscuits while taking a peek at the park maps to decide what we wanted to see and do first. The Mini Mes were impressed to discover their own little toiletries had been left out for them along with the fairy light between our room and theirs. Their room was also beautifully decorated with a lovely fairytale feel.
We choose the Secret Garden for our dinner and we were all pleasantly surprised, not only by the look of the restaurant but by the quality of the food too. The large tree in the centre with twinkling lights sets the scene and there are blossoming branches twisted around the entire room. It had such a warm and welcoming atmosphere and the menu had lots of variety to suit everyone with vegetarian and healthy options available.
I took the opportunity to really indulge and I had a selection of breads with oil and balsamic dips to share, spinach and mozzarella risotto balls, a pulled pork burger with Jack Daniels glaze, cheddar cheese and chips followed by chocolate brownie cheesecake. With neither of us needing to drive due to the luxury of staying on site, I was able to have a few cocktails and the Mr teamed his forest mushroom bruschetta and piri-piri chicken breast plus sweet potato fries with a beer (or two).
Both of the Mini Mes love chicken wings so they were in their element! They had the BBQ version to start and then Minxy enjoyed a burger while Jamster had pasta shells served with tomato sauce.
Despite being reasonably busy we didn't feel rushed at all. The food was very tasty indeed, yet not too expensive, and the service was great.
After a great night's sleep (it was unbelievably peaceful) we got up quite early to get washed and prepared for the busy day ahead. We went to the Crooked Spoon for breakfast where there was a delicious buffet consisting of all the usual items to create a full English along with various cereals and drinks. We then caught the monorail to access the park an hour before it opens to the general public which we were all incredibly pleased by. This is certainly a highlight of staying on site as this enabled us to walk straight onto rides with no wait at all! We were even able to remain in the same seats for the Runaway Mine Train and go round three times in a row, a ride that the Mini Mes really enjoyed, and save our queue jumping VIP passes for when it was busier.
I managed to convince the Mini Mes to go on Th13teen which was the perfect ride for adults and tweens to enjoy properly together. I could feel Jamster's heart racing through his chest but afterwards he said how amazing it was and how eager he was to have another go so we went on a few more times throughout the day. We went on Duel, a fantastic indoor ghost train style shooting game, the Congo River Rapids and we had great fun drenching everyone on the Battle Galleons by using the water guns. We were literally stood for 40 minutes squirting the boats and although we got wet ourselves we were all in fits of giggles.
The Mr even had time to go on Oblivion and Air while we watched from below with our refillable drinks and hot dogs before going to Sharkbait Reef by Sea Life. The variety of fish, mesmerising lighting and interactive areas were superb and it was a full attraction within itself. It was great to find Nemo and walk through the tunnel with lots of sharks swimming above and around us and handle shrimp.
Lastly we went to CBeebies Land before heading to Splash Landings for an afternoon of swimming and water play. Aimed at pre-schoolers this is a superb zone for smaller children or the less adventurous. There is Postman Pat Parcel Post, In the Night Garden Boat Ride, Octonauts Roller Coaster and even a Something Special Sensory Garden to explore. With photo opportunities, meet and greets and a Tree Fu Tom Training Camp too there were smiles all round. The buggy parks and parent changing rooms are a really useful resource as are the bottle warming and highchairs in the Little Explorers Lunch Box area.
Splash Landings is situated within the hotel of the same name and it is incredible. I'd viewed a few images beforehand online but nothing prepared me for how large the water park is. After changing in the cubicles and placing our belongings in the lockers we had a quick shower and headed inside. The Mini Mes stood in awe and didn't really know where to start!
We used the rope bridges and nets to climb to the top of the Wacky Waterworks Tree House and had a go at some of the 70 interactive features along the way which included pouring buckets, canons and wheels much to everyone's amusement. The queue to the slides were very long so with over an hour wait we decided to give those a miss, although they looked really good with transparent parts, plenty of bumps, twists and turns. We spent some time outdoors in the heated Wubbly Bubbly pool and Volcano Springs, had a swim at Lagoona Bay and then spent the remaining time floating around on rings in the Lazy River to relax. You just need to watch out for the sneaky staff above that like to pour cold water onto you... the Mr was not expecting that one but we found it amusing.
We had an amazing break at Alton Towers and I've spoken highly about our experience to lots of family and friends since returning home. I'd love to head back this year with rumours of a new attraction being launched along the extended family in tow.
Have you stayed at Alton Towers before?