If you’re looking for a fun filled day in Staffordshire and have a slight passion for rides, then Alton Towers is for you. On a sunny bank holiday, we set off early for the theme park in the hope that every man, woman, child and their packed lunches were still in bed. Fortunately, it was not too busy and the journey there was without any delays until we reached the gates themselves but even here the delays weren’t too long. There’s ample parking with a daily charge of £6.00.
We’d prebooked our tickets to skip the queues at the entrance and saved a couple of pennies. You can catch the monorail from the main car park but we decided to take the short walk. The huts where you make payments for tickets are clearly marked making it easy to suss out where our reserved tickets were. We swiftly grabbed them and made our way to the gates and turnstiles to enter. We had a pushchair which made the gates quite tricky to negotiate. There was a queue per gate but if you needed to get through the turnstiles, you had to wait in the queue for a gate and then wait for an attendant to get a key to pass you through – I’m pretty sure there’s a more effective way to approach this in order to reduce queuing time for all especially those with wheelchairs or buggies.
Our mission of the day was to visit CBeebies Land and in particular, Iggle Piggle. As the day was young, we headed straight for this section of the park. It’s conveniently located as soon as you enter the park itself. We were pleasantly greeted by an attendant and immediately met by a character from the Octonauts to promote the new ride within this section for the older children. Characters are out and about around this section of the park throughout the day; we later met Tree Fu Tom for a Hi Five!
We headed straight for the In the Night Garden ride where we waited for 40 minutes to jump on board the boat for a gentle sail around. There are the usual favourites who pop out and say hello. The Ninky Nonk wasn’t working, sadly, but our little lady was pleased with the interaction from the ride. We sat at the back of the boat which gave us ample viewing as it’s fully open – we didn’t miss any views. Later in the day the queuing time for this reduced to 15 minutes so it’s worth planning your rides, it you can contain the excitement coming from the pushchair!
We had a spin on the Num Tums racing cars which allows parents on too. When you have the littlest of riders, this offers the reassurance that they are safe and means that they don’t miss out on the fun.
By far, my favourite was Post Man Pat. The little lady was driver in our van and escorted us around Glendale to deliver parcels to all of the main men and women. Even Jess made an appearance.
We left CBeebies Land for our lunch and grabbed some fast food from one of the many kiosks within the park. It’s not overly priced but I’m pretty sure a picnic would have been just as tasty. We enjoyed the views of the lake with the company of some over zealous ducks who entertained the little lady, while Mrs View from a Daddy did her best impression of an old fish wife shooing them away into the path of others.
The skyline carriages offer an easy option to get around the park and take in some of the views. These allow you to take the buggy on board too so we hopped on and off these to take a break from the rides midway through the day.
After lunch and with the sun still shining, we headed back to CBeebies Land where we saw a live show in the amphitheatre. This is artificially grassed so you could picnic here too minus the ducks. The main man Iggle Piggle was available for a meet and greet within this section of the park so we grabbed our slot and waited in anticipation. The queue for this wasn’t long at all and we were soon in there. Useful tip alert – take your own device to grab some snaps because otherwise you have to pay £5 for the privilege. The attendants where helpful in assisting you get your own pics and didn’t seem to mind that they weren’t making a mint out of the opportunity.
We took the CBeebies air ride around but had to wait another 30 minutes for the pleasure. I do appreciate that the rides aren’t speedy because they are for little children but the waiting does become tiresome especially when you don’t understand the reason for it. One of the talking vegetables came to entertain us while we waited (you’ll understand this reference if you watch CBeebies); the queues are generally interspersed with activities. Our little lady is patient but some of the toddlers there on that day weren’t so calm.
The nappy changing facilities in CBeebies Land were ample and clean – no complaints here. We used them a couple of times without having to wait.
Overall, we had a lovely day. The weather was certainly on our side and the rides were enjoyable for the littlest adventurer. On the down side, paying even more for parking when you’ve spent so much to get in is a bit cheeky. If I owned a theme park that attracted so many and wasn’t especially easy to get to, I don’t think I’d charge for the pleasure to park. But as it is, I don’t, and so, I just got on with it.
So, if you plan ahead, buy in advance or even save your cornflake wrappers, check your weather forecast and get on the road early, this is a great day for the family where now, even the little ones amongst us can have fun!