Our Alton Towers Weekend

Just before the kids went back to school this autumn, we took the Powder Monkey to the UK’s own Magic Kingdom, Alton Towers in Staffordshire.

Now I’m not really a theme park person, but aside from the monster horrible rides like Nemesis and Oblivion there is still stuff for a 50 something hypertensive to enjoy like the Congo River Rapids

Let’s face it we could not get anymore wet

and a small Sea Life Centre with some amazing tropical marine fish and a pool where shrimps will nibble the old dead skin off your fingers.

Moray Eel

It even has a walk through shark tunnel with White Tipped Reef and Hammerhead Sharks and Rays.

Here comes Ray

Better still since the last time we visited the management have turned down the volume on the irritating pirate Ghost of the Sea projection.

I made up my own version of his rhyme anyway:

The Ghost of the Sea

The Ghost of the Sea

Lost a pound

But found 50p

The Ghost of the Sea

The Ghost of the Sea

He drank lots of Rum

So he needed a Wee

Typically for September the weather was pretty rubbish, but the stately home looked pretty cool in the mist.

Looking a bit Hammer Horror the Stately Home

This Gothic pile dates back to 1811 when the 15th Earl of Shrewsbury redeveloped Alveton Lodge, which was itself built upon a Norman castle that was destroyed during the English Civil Wars. New entrance and banqueting halls, along with several other rooms were later added by architect Augustus Pugin, the designer of the interior of the Palace of Westminster. Sadly during the inter war years the house fell into disrepair because the Bagshot family stripped out and sold off the roofing lead along with much of the interior fixtures and fittings.

Fortunately further decay was stopped when the estate was redeveloped  as a theme park in the 1970s, although comparatively little work on restoring the house and gardens has been done.

Italian Gardens

You get a pretty spectacular look at the grounds from the cable car.

Cable Car

We stayed at the Alton Towers Resort Hotel , which is a delightfully eccentric explorer themed establishment. I have to say that the staff all made us feel very welcome, nothing seemed to be too much bother and there was always time for a smile with none of that management school insincerity that you often find in large hotels.

Clock – Alton Towers Resort Hotel

It has a pretty good restaurant too. We had a lovely waitress called Lydia and, OK I know it’s a bit retro, but I could not resist the prawn cocktail, it came in a flower pot! How cute is that?

Flower Pot Prawn Cocktail

It was good too, large tiger prawns and a good chili hit in the sauce. The Powder Monkey started with melon while Mab and Nick had the pate. This was followed by a very good proper homemade beefburger for the Monkey and me, while the other two enjoyed the steak with peppercorn sauce. Only two of us (not saying who) had room for the chocolate pot desert complete with white chocolate pot and edible soil, a very clever piece of the confectioner’s art.

Chocolate Pot.

Complete with wine the damage came to £120 for the four of us.

The following morning I looked out of our hotel room window to behold mysterious tracks in the frost.

Mysterious tracks in the lawn

They were caused by this little chap’s family.

“Are you my Mommy?”

The ducks at Alton Towers are remarkably confident little chaps, as were the pheasants who I found hanging out in the car park, as I stowed our gear for the journey home.

Female Pheasant

To keep the cost down, we did the Australian thing and crammed the four of us into one room, with one double bed and a set of bunk beds. With a really good breakfast included in the price, it cost £204 for the one night.  This didn’t include the theme park tickets, however there are lots of different deals and promotions so it’s worth checking out what’s on offer. We got the corporate rate of £43.67 for a two day pass through my former employer.

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