Address: Farley Lane, Alton, Stoke-On-Trent, ST10 4DB
Price Band: £££
We have just returned home from absolutely the most magical Christmassy weekend ever!! From start to finish we have had such a fabulous time that we couldn’t even choose a ‘highlight’ of the weekend because it was all so good! Be prepared – this blog is a long one full of gorgeous festive photos and Christmas loveliness!
We arrived at the Alton Towers Resort after a long 2.5 hour journey and woke Lois and Cody just in time to drive past the big banners for CBeebies Land. They hadn’t had a clue where we were going so you can imagine their excitement! When we parked and walked into the hotel they couldn’t believe their ears when they realised we were also staying the night. Best surprise ever! We booked in and found that our room was already available for us (we didn’t expect to be able to check in until the afternoon) so of course we took our key cards and headed straight upstairs to explore. (P.S. how lush is this welcome desk?! Love all the old trunks and suitcases!).
Our bedroom was AMAZING. We had booked a ‘Moon Voyage’ themed room for the night. The decor throughout the room has an outer space theme to it but mixed with a time travel feel as well and lots of futuristic inventors features. There is a door which makes it interjoinable (is that even a word?!) with the room next door so if you are going as a group or a large family you can book two rooms that have direct access to each other – fab idea! We particularly loved the portal in the kids area which lights up and is touch sensitive to your fingertips. The kids area has bunk beds (with individual reading lights) and a TV with Xbox to play on! This kept the little monkeys quiet while we were getting changed to go out for dinner.
The ‘grown-ups’ area has a lovely king size bed with bedside tables and lamps, 2 armchairs, coffee table and large TV. We were also joined by ‘Beartrice’ the bear who lives in the room.
There is a wardrobe area with plenty of hangers and several shelves as well as an iron and ironing board in case you need it. One of the shelves contains a serving tray with kettle, mugs, tea, coffee, milk and biscuits plus there is a mini fridge in one of the cupboards. This is the first Merlin hotel we have stayed in with a mini fridge in the room and was perfect for keeping our bottles of water cool (had we known we’d have taken a few ‘adult’ beverages along too 😉 ). One of the drawers contains a hairdryer. Unfortunately we discovered that ours didn’t work (10 minutes before our dinner reservation with me stood there with soaking wet hair – AARRGHH!!). A quick phone call to reception though and housekeeping brought us another one up.
The en-suite bathroom is fully ‘themed’ out too. We particularly loved the picture of Sir Algenon sat on the toilet on the back of the door. It certainly got a few whispered giggles from the kids when they found it! There are plenty of towels plus soap, body wash and shampoo provided in the bathroom so no need to take any along. This is standard in all the Merlin hotels we have visited (Legoland and Chessington). The shower was very powerful and easy to operate.
We went to the car park where there was a shuttle bus service taking guests to the theme park entrance. On arrival we headed straight to CBeebies Land which of course was very exciting indeed. We were greeted by the familiar voices of Andy and all the other CBeebies presenters welcoming us to the park. Cody was desperate to go on Iggle Piggle’s boat ride so that was our first stop. We queued for about 15 minutes singing along to the theme tune then boarded our boat. It was a lovely gentle ride with running commentary on board as we passed the various characters. I have to admit – I loved it! When Lilian was little she was obsessed with In The Night Garden so we know it inside out and I loved our little trip down memory lane.
Our next ride was Postman Pat’s Parcel Post. The kids both sat in the front and ‘drove’ the van around Greendale, selecting the correct parcel on the driver’s panel to give each character as we passed them. I liked this added touch as it made the ride interactive rather than just a sit and ride round the track one that you often see.
The Get Set Go Treetop Adventure was a particular favourite of ours. You can sit up to 3 people in a pod that goes round a track which I believe is 4 metres high above Cbeebies Land. We listened to Andy from Cbeebies on the way round talking about the bugs and giving us a tour. Its a lovely gentle ride with fab views over the park and any age can ride.
There were lots of other rides and things to explore in CBeebies Land including the Octonauts rollercoaster, Justin’s House Pie Factory, etc. We loved the squares dotted along the pavement that had the handprints of various CBeebies stars including Mr Bloom, Nina, Mr Tumble, etc done in a Hollywood star style. Fab idea.
Although most of the theme park was closed for the winter there were a few things in Mutiny Bay and Cloud Cuckoo Land which were open including several rides, the sea life centre and the Ice Age 4D cinema (which was fab!). I would definitely like to go back in the summer months to explore the rest of the park as well.
After a fun few hours in the theme park we headed back to the hotel and went to see the pantomime of Aladdin. It had some lovely sets, fab costumes and the actors did really well. There were loads of bean bags at the front for kids to sit on which I thought was a great idea. The show was full of good humour and lots of songs. We really enjoyed it.
After the pantomime we hopped back on the shuttle bus to the theme park and went to visit Santa in his grotto. We had booked a specific time slot however, due to the panto over-running, we arrived late and in a bit of a panic. It wasn’t a problem though and our guide elf Crackers introduced himself and led us through the enchanted wood to Santa’s log cabin. I am so glad we opted for a time slot when it was dark as the pathways and log cabin looked beautiful all lit up and it created such a magical atmosphere. Inside the cabin itself the decor was beautiful with a gorgeous tree in one corner, writing desk , armchair and cosy furnishings. Santa was lovely and talked to the kids about what they would like for Xmas and asked them to leave him a mince pie out on Xmas Eve (just don’t tell Mrs Claus!). They then chose a gift each from his box to take home.
Our sleepover package included a 3 course Christmas carvery meal in the Secret Garden Restaurant at the hotel. Now I have to admit this is where the standard of things slipped slightly and we felt a little disappointed, although not enough to be a big issue. You are supposed to order your starters and drinks on arrival from a waiter, then help yourself to the buffet style carvery, then order your desserts from a waiter. After waiting quite some time though it became apparent that we weren’t going to be served as it was just so busy and we were so hungry we decided just to go straight for the carvery. The food was lovely, really good quality meat sliced from the joint in front of you (turkey, beef or honey glazed ham) plus lots of different vegetables to choose from. The kids buffet options included roast chicken, sausages, mash potato, chips, peas, beans, macaroni cheese, etc so plenty to keep everyone happy. You could eat as much as you liked and it was all delicious. After 3 attempts we managed to order some drinks and then our desserts which were also lovely. I was so hungry and busy stuffing my face I forgot to take any food pics apart from my dessert (rubbish blogger – sorry!).
The entertainment after our meal was a group of 3 singers and a guitarist called ‘The Fabulous Scott Family’ who sang all the best Christmas songs such as ‘Walking In A Winter Wonderland’ and they were absolutely brilliant. The atmosphere in the place was so festive and lovely it really gave you that warm fuzzy feeling inside (you know what I mean?!). If you head over to my facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/mumof2point5/) I will post a video on there so you can see for yourselves. Don’t forget to like my page while you’re there!
After a very comfortable nights sleep in our lovely hotel bed we awoke to find letters under the door from Santa. The kids had written him a letter each the day before and posted it in the special letter box in reception. It was very exciting to read their replies and I thought it was a lovely little extra touch which we weren’t expecting.
We filled ourselves up at the buffet style breakfast which had everything from cereals and fruit to continental and full english. You just helped yourself to whatever you wanted. We then did a little souvenir shopping in the hotel shop and explored. The hotel was so beautiful with all the Christmas decorations up and all the staff were incredibly friendly. It definitely got a 10/10 from us.
We headed over to the adventure golf course and played a fun 18 holes. Of course Cody didn’t really understand how to play so we mostly let him do his own thing but somehow by sheer fluke he scored a hole in one on the very first hole!! I wish I’d got it on video as his celebration was hilarious. We were all gobsmacked! The holes were each themed around a ride in the theme park and each start board had a map of the hole and information about the ride it was representing. It was so cleverly done! We had a fab time and I would highly recommend paying a little extra to do this.
Finally we headed over to the Splash Landings Waterpark and donned our swimsuits. Now I kid you not, this place is every child’s dream! It literally is awesome! The waterpark is a huge indoor resort with loads of different pools, flumes, lazy river, water jungle gym, etc. You can easily spend all day in here and not get bored. There are even pools outside with flumes for all ages to ride. We particularly loved the ‘Bubbly wubbly’ pool ouside which was almost a jacuzzi style pool. It was so surreal being outside on a freezing cold day in November just in our swimsuits. I did feel a bit sorry for the lifeguard though who was just a little cold! There are loads and loads of seats and tables around the pool and a cafe serving drinks and food. So if you feel a little peckish, no need to get dressed, just sit and eat on poolside! Love it! Sadly I was a rubbish blogger again at this point as I was too busy having fun to take photos apart from this one taken through a window on the way out. This pic shows only half of it!
All in all we had the most amazing time at the Alton Towers resort and I would very highly recommend doing the Santa Sleepover weekend if you can. It was definitely great value for money and we would do it again in a heartbeat. We’ve done the Chessington and Legoland hotels before but this one definitely tops the leader board.
Thank you Alton Towers for an amazing experience – I promise you we will be back!
If you decide to book a Santa Sleepover at Alton Towers then check out our Top 10 Tips For Alton Towers Santa Sleepover
Disclaimer: Alton Towers and Merlin have had no involvement in this review and all words, opinions and photos are that of my own 🙂