Newest Review: ... or heading towards the monorail station. I prefer to do it that way. You can buy tickets on the entrance or pick up pre ordered tickets th... more
Alton Towers - the UK oldest pleasure park is still top of the game.
Alton Towers (Staffordshire)
Member Name: sim6
Alton Towers (Staffordshire)
Advantages: The park offers the most complete theme park experience in the UK.
Disadvantages: Expect a diet of fast food during your visit.
Alton Towers is one of the grandaddies of British theme parks and is the second most visited theme park in the UK. In my opinion, Alton Towers offers the best overall them park experience in Britain, rivaled only by its sister park, Chessington World of Adventures. I have visited Alton Towers about 6 or 7 times in the course of my life, the last time being October 2009 for Halloween.
Alton Towers is a family oriented theme park, but generally offers something for everyone. It is well presented and a lot of thought has been put into the appearance of the grounds and the overall experience. If visiting by car, you'll arrive at Alton Towers having negotiated your way along narrow winding roads, which girdle the Staffordshire hills, driving through countless tiny villages.
The car parking facilities are sufficient and user friendly and a monorail provides easy access to the front gates of the Theme Park. Entry is easiest if you have booked ahead. Expect to queue for sometime if you need to purchase tickets on arrival.
The theme park is situated in the historic grounds of Alton Towers, a 15th Century hunting lodge for the Earls of Shrewsbury. The park grounds still contain the ruins of Alton Towers, though the current building dates from the early 19th Century. The park also boasts the historic landscaped gardens of Charles Talbot (15th Earl of Shrewsbury) complete with ornate pagodas, Victorian hot houses and many statues. These gardens were once renowned as the most spectacular gardens in Britain.
Alton Towers has an open and relaxed feeling. When you first enter the park, you get an amazing panoramic view of the estate and its vast artificial pleasure lake. The park has a Disney-esque main street, which is vibrant and sets a fun tone.
The park has some fantastic rides and the mix offers something for everyone. The park is split into 10 different zones. In my opinion, the best rides are found in The Forbidden Valley and X Sector, including classic roller coaster rides, Oblivion, Nemesis and Air. Newer rides like Rita and Sonic Spinball are also worth checking out in their respective zones. If you are looking for something more sedate or something for the kids, try Mutiny Bay, a pirate themed activity area, or Cloud Cuckoo Land, which hosts the new Charlie and The Chocolate Factory ride and simulator.
Alton Towers is truly unique and quintessentially British. What I particularly love about the park is the clever way it integrates the historic surroundings of the grade-two listed estate, complete with gothic tower and vast landscaped gardens, with the modern attractions. Indeed, some of the attractions, such as Hex, actually take place inside the tower and rely heavily on the castle's historical narrative for their own plot lines.
In my opinion there are two significant downsides to Alton Towers. The first is the amount of walking required to get around the park. Visitors do have the option of using the monorail or the rather precarious looking cable car, but these are not always convenient. If you are mobility impaired or you have small toddlers, navigating the park in full may be a challenge. The other significant downside is the quality of the restaurants. Expect to eat nothing but fast food during your visit.
Alton Towers offers a very complete theme park experience and does the job well. As well as the theme park itself, the resort includes two hotels, a water park and a few other fun attractions, like a crazy golf course. Clearly, a huge amount of effort is put into special occasions, like Halloween. I would definitely recommend attending at that time of year, so you can experience the park's excellent 'live zombie' walk through attractions. I would recommend Alton Towers to anyone.
Summary: A great attraction for young and old.
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