Alton Towers – Review
By Richard Jones
In a far corner of Alton Towers, next to the enchanted forest, lies a small village. Here guests are invited to follow the glowing Mushroom Trail to see if they can spot the little fable folk. My two daughters, Isla, eight, and Evelyn, four, listene ever so carefully. For although these mischievous little spirits can’t always be seen, they are often heard. And as dusk falls on the first night of our weekend at the resort, the woodland comes alive with elves’ whisperings. All courtesy of some creative costumes and state-of-the-art sound effects.
We are guests at the grand opening ceremony of Alton Towers’ new Enchanted Village. It is a captivating hideaway in the woods next to the Alton Towers Hotel. It consists of 120 fairytale semi-detached lodges and five luxury treehouses. The self-service lodges sit in clusters of eight. Each cluster includes a shared play area for kids, while the treehouses have a private spa pool on an outside deck.
“World’s most famous rides”
Setting foot inside the new lodges, it is instantly noticeable that the Enchanted Village offers an alternate style of accommodation to Alton Towers’ existing two hotels. This is all part of a different experience: An outdoor living holiday. The resort is looking to become one of the leading destinations in the UK’s short break market – not just a single day destination. People who book into the Enchanted Village also get a second day’s park entry for free. This means you can make the most of your stay by going to the theme park before and after your stay in one of the comfortable brand-new lodges or treehouses.
In addition to the accommodation, the Enchanted Village also has a village store laden with gifts and essentials. A delicious yet unusual breakfast and dinner menus is served in the Crooked Spoon Restaurant. The owners at Alton Towers are also in the process of installing a new high ropes course, the Enchanted Forest Treetop Quest. Here, guests will negotiate a number of obstacles before returning to the ground via an 85m zip wire, adjacent to the resort’s Waterpark and Splash Landings Hotel.
But of course, the big pull of of Alton Towers is that it is still the UK’s most thrilling theme park. Home to some of the world’s most famous rides.
“Meet your TV heroes”
Isla is thrilled to find out she is 1cm above the 140cm height restriction required to ride all the park’s rollercoasters. So she drags daddy along on a mission to complete the Big Six. A stomach-churning challenge which means riding Oblivion, Nemesis, Thirteen, Air, Rita, and the newest, biggest and fastest of the lot – The Smiler – all in one day.
Meanwhile, Evelyn is more than happy spending the majority of her day in the new Cbeebies Land section of the park. Here she meets Upsy Daisy and Igglepiggle from In The Night Garden. As well as her TV heroes from Octonauts, Postman Pat, ZingZillas and Tree Fu Tom.
One thing I notice is that Edvard Greig’s ‘In The Hall of the Mountain King’ theme tune seems to have left recently. An all-new soundtrack now plays out in the park, with music from The Smiler and the Enchanted Village infectiously playing out.
The magic of Alton Towers is still there. With new bigger and better accommodation and rides springing up in the the Staffordshire forest each year. Visitors, like the four of us, are sure to be thrilled and enchanted in equal measure at the UK’s No.1 theme park.
For more information on short breaks to Alton Towers visit: altontowers.com