Back in June, we travelled up to the Alton Towers resort for a visit to the theme park and an overnight stay. We stayed in a woodland lodge in the enchanted village, which opened in 2015 as an alternative to the Alton Towers and Splash landings hotels for families wanting to stay at the resort. Having stayed at the Alton Towers hotel before, we knew that the resort takes it’s theming very seriously so we were excited and expecting big things.
The theming for the enchanted village is based around the idea that forest sprites and little fable folk live amongst the tress and help to run the village behind the scenes. From the red spotty toadstools that line the paths, to the big ‘fairy tree’ full of twinkling lights, to the little fairy doors that are in each lodge and also in The Crooked Spoon restaurant, the enchanted village is full of quirky little touches that all go together to make your stay just that bit more magical. I love keeping the magic alive for my children, so we decided not to tell them anything about the fairies before we arrived, knowing that the experience would be even more special if they discovered it for themselves.
It’s safe to say that the girls loved every bit of our stay in the enchanted village (except maybe bedtime, but then that’s never been their favourite). In the middle of each semi-circle of lodges there is a play area, each with a different set of equipment to explore, and even in the pouring rain, it took us a lot longer than necessary to go anywhere because of course we had to stop at each one and have a play! We also loved that there was wildlife roaming about, we saw a lot of ducks (well it was their favourite kind of weather) and even a peacock! The lodge itself was lovely, we especially loved that it had a separate sleeping area for the kids because it’s nice to be able to put the tv on for the 5 minutes after they’ve gone to sleep before we collapse exhausted too. The girl’s were really impressed with everything as usual and did the normal routine that they do whenever we arrive somewhere new of running around and pointing out every single thing in the room with equal enthusiasm from a fairy window that really lights up, to a no-smoking sign and the toilet roll…. There was even a story book all about the enchanted village on the bed which I thought was a really lovely touch.
After we had settled in, we walked up to the hotels and bumped into Mike the Knight who was doing a little meet and greet in the Alton Towers hotel lobby. It’s a very short walk from the enchanted village to the other two hotels and we liked the fact that we had full access to them, but we could also retreat back to our lodge for a bit of peace and quiet come bedtime. We had dinner at Flambo’s which is a buffet style restaurant in the splash landings hotel, the food was average but it was abundant and there was a lot of variety. Of course the girls ate just a couple of pieces of cucumber each and then gorged on the desert table, but at least Ernie helped us get our money’s worth now he’s eating too. After dinner we popped over to the kids entertainment, again in the Splash Landings hotel. The girls loved the chance to do the usual party dances and shouting at ‘Ringo the Lemur’ and we made the most of the chance to sit down with a drink and chill out for half an hour. We didn’t let them stay for long though because we knew they had an exhausting day in the park ahead of them tomorrow so we headed back to our lodge, past the fairy tree and following the toadstools, with a quick stop off at the see saw, to put everyone to bed.
Breakfast the next morning was in The Crooked Spoon, which is the restaurant in the enchanted village. We had booked a time slot online before we came, so although that added a bit of extra pressure to get everyone up and dressed on time, at least we knew we wouldn’t have to wait for a table. It does get quite busy at breakfast so I can see why they like you to book a timed slot, and again I thought there was a good selection of food of average quality. After breakfast we dropped our luggage to the car and walked up to catch the monorail into the park.
Overall we thoroughly enjoyed our stay, it was a great experience and the little details and extra touches made it truly magical for the kids. From the woodland themed colouring pages at a little tree stump table while we were checking in, to the talking car complete with aquarium in the boot in the lobby of the Splash Landings hotel, there was plenty to keep the girls entertained. The whole resort really is designed to delight little eyes, there is something interesting to see nearly everywhere that you look, and that’s before you even get to the theme park or water park! The one main tip that I would give anyone going to the Alton Towers resort for a stay is to treat it as a holiday and give yourself enough time to truly appreciate it. We had an epic journey up and didn’t arrive until 4pm which with hindsight was a big waste of the day. I was worried that because we didn’t have theme park tickets for our first day that we would have been bored but we could have actually spent a whole day just exploring and going to the water park. We didn’t get to go swimming because I didn’t realise that it shut at 5pm so we arrived too late to go in. I should have looked it up online but I assumed it would stay open after the theme park had shut. Personally I think that it would be nice to be able to come back for a swim after a day on the rides and if it was open later it would be easier to make the most of your time at the resort. Because we only had a little over 24 hours at the resort, I definitely felt like we were rushed and didn’t get to experience as much as I would have liked. For my little under fives, I actually think one day in the park is enough, they did the whole of CBeebies land in the morning, sat and watched the tree foo tom show whilst eating lunch, said hello to iggle piggle, and then we did the shark bait reef, Congo river Rapids and runaway mine train in the afternoon. However, it would have been nice to have more time at the hotel and to be able to go to the water park. They even have adventure golf and a high ropes course, which Mabel was really keen that she wanted to have a go on next time we come. On our next trip to Alton Towers, I will definitely make sure that we leave home super early so we can make the most of our first day, and maybe even book a second night to extend it into a little holiday because in my opinion it is worth it.
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