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Check the weather before you go
Alton Towers (Staffordshire)
Member Name: Holland1
Alton Towers (Staffordshire)
Advantages: Fun day out, lots to do, get your money's worth
Disadvantages: Can be expensive at full price, not much fun if it rains all day
Alton Towers is a theme park based in Staffordshire, and offers rides and activities for the entire family. Most people associate Alton Towers with rollercoasters and high-speed rides, but they also have other activities which are suitable for the younger visitor, such as live shows, music, a waterpark and rides specifically for children.
The theme park is usually open between certain dates (usually March to November), as it's pretty miserable and probably slightly dangerous to go in the bad weather. Obviously, being based in Britain you're still likely to get showers in the summer months, which can interfere with some of the rides and make your day a bit miserable waiting in queues in the rain, but if it's only showers it's usually not so bad. It's well worth checking the weather forecast before you go though, because if you're taking kids there's not many places to shelter so you'll have a lot of moaning. Of course, if you're not bothered about getting a bit damp, the queues may be slightly shorter on showery days as people decide at last minute to give it a miss.
In general, my experience of Alton Towers has always been a good one, and I've always come home shattered from the rides and walking round all day. The rides are quite spread out so you need to be quite mobile to be comfortable walking round the park and standing in queues. Lots of people complain about the queues and I think it puts some people off going, but in general as long as you accept that you're going to have to wait, you can pick the rides with the shortest queue and come back to others. Also, if you're not taking kids, it makes sense to go out of peak season so not during the school holidays and generally not at weekends. (also look out for the week before kids break up for summer because they have lots of school trips here).
Alton Towers has some famous rides such as Rita (nought to sixty in a couple of seconds), Oblivion (huge drop) and Air (you're almost lying down and the ride takes you round facing head first). There are new ones being unveiled every now and then, but often these are closed in the initial stages, or there are huge queues, so I always wait a while before attempting to try them.
There's a mixture of food and drink options at Alton Towers, ranging from your standard burger bars to an all you can eat buffet (is this really a good idea when facing thrill seeking rides?!). The prices vary so it's worth shopping round a bit before deciding what to have, but in general you can get affordable food here. It helps that you don't really feel too hungry knowing that you'll be on fast rides straight afterwards, although a good trick is to eat and then pick the longest queue to let your food digest!
Lots of places do offers on Alton Towers tickets, which is the best way to purchase them as they can be expensive otherwise. I think full price they're about £35, but if you look out for deals in newspapers or use your Tesco clubcard vouchers, you can make a saving on this. I've never paid full price for a ticket as I've either used offers, or gone as a group which also works out cheaper.
Summary: Still one of the most popular family days out
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