23/04/2024

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Complete Guide to Visiting Alton Towers

79 min read
Complete Guide to Visiting Alton Towers

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If you’re thinking of visiting Alton Towers, you’re in the right place. We’ve put together this detailed guide to help you plan your visit to one of the UK’s best-known theme parks.

Alton Towers is located in Staffordshire England and is currently the largest and most visited theme park in the UK, featuring a wide variety of rides and attractions from children’s rides to thrilling roller coasters. This guide is going to cover a lot, and is based on our personal experiences visiting Alton Towers.

We’ve visited Alton Towers a number of times, my first experiences were as a teenager and twenty-something old.  Most recently I visited with Jess and with friends who at the time of our visit had a three-year-old and a six-year-old.

My friends have also visited Alton Towers multiple times, and we’re going to be incorporating their experiences and thoughts of visiting Alton Towers into this guide. So hopefully we can give you some thoughts from the perspectives of young single people, a married couple in their 30s and 40s, and of a family with young kids.

We’re going to go through everything you need to know to have an awesome time at Alton Towers. While most of you reading are probably living in the UK, a trip to Alton Towers can also be a fun experience for international visitors as well!

We’ll cover all the rides and what to expect from each one, tips on how to make the most of your time and get the most time actually riding rather than queuing, share our thoughts on the Alton Towers accommodation and dining, and loads more.

Whether you are visiting as a family, a couple, with friends, or on your own, this guide is going to give you everything you need to know for your Alton Towers visit. Let’s get started.

Alton Towers Overview & History

Alton Towers (technically called Alton Towers Resort) is the most-visited amusement park in the UK. It’s also more than a theme park, as it also has a series of hotels, a water park, a spa, and a mini-golf course.

The theme park is found on a large estate which was once the home of the Earls of Shrewsbury and was owned by the Talbot family from 1412 until 1924. They also owned the nearby Alton Castle which dates back to the 11th century.

The mansion house on the Alton Estate, which largely dates to the 18th century, is still there, although it’s in a ruined condition. There’s also a large lake and landscaped gardens on site.

Alton Towers has been open to the public in some way since the 19th century, when visitors were able to pay to tour the gardens. Attractions were added throughout the 20th century including a boating lake, model railway, and chairlift. My mother remembers visiting Alton Towers during her childhood in the 1960s and having a lovely day out.

So when you are visiting here you are on the grounds of what was for centuries the large estate and home of the Earls of Shrewsbury. The magnificent ruins of the home and some of the outbuildings and follies, as well as the landscaped garden are still there. You can still stroll through parts of the gardens.

In some places you would have no idea you are in the middle of an amusement park as it feels like you are in a park or forest. A very unique and British setting for a theme park!

The theme park as it is known today, with thrill rides and permanent attractions, really started in 1973. Today, Alton Towers is operated by the Tussauds Group, who also operate locations including Thorpe Park, Madame Tussauds London, and the London Eye.

Today, the theme park is one of the most well-known and popular theme parks in the UK, with something to offer everyone from kids to adults alike.

It has had a number of impressive ride accomplishments, including the world’s first dive coaster, the world’s first “flying” rollercoaster, the roller coaster with the most inversions in the world, and Europe’s first inverted rollercoaster.

There’s a massive amount to see and do at Alton Towers, more than enough to fill two or three days even. That said, you can definitely do a lot with just one day at Alton Towers if you plan properly.

Alton Towers Hall

 

How to Get to Alton Towers

Alton Towers is in the county of Staffordshire near the village of Alton in England. The address is Farley Ln, Alton, Stoke-on-Trent ST10 4DB.

It’s essentially between Manchester (44 miles drive to the north) and Birmingham (47 miles drive south).

Here are the main options for getting to Alton Towers:

 

Driving to and Parking at Alton Towers

The easiest way to get to Alton Towers is definitely to drive. It’s fairly close to both the M1 and the M6 motorways, although the last stretch is on smaller roads.

When driving, after leaving the motorway we recommend following the brown “Alton Towers” signs rather than your sat-nav or GPS.

This is because the rural location of the park means that there are a lot of small country lanes around the park. The brown signs will keep you on the larger roads which will usually be quicker.

 

Parking at Alton Towers

There is a lot of on-site parking available, and stewards will usually direct you to the nearest car park as you arrive. This does depend on how busy the day is and what time you arrive.

There is a fee to park at Alton Towers, depending on where you park, which is as follows:

  • £7 for a day in the standard parking, 15-25 minutes’ walk from the main entrance
  • £19 for a day in express parking, 1-3 minutes away from the main entrance

There are also ways you can get free parking at Alton Towers.

  • Hotel guests staying overnight in the resort can park in the designated hotel carpark, and then either enter the park from the hotel guest entrance (near the Galactica ride and Rollercoaster Restaurant) or take the monorail to the park entrance.
  • Guests staying at CBeebies hotel can park for free in the Express Parking lot
  • Holders of Gold, Platinum or Premium Merlin passes can park for free in standard parking. They can upgrade to Express parking for £12.

Parking can be booked online in advance here. This is mandatory for Express Parking, with the exception of CBeebies guests, who must show hotel confirmation on arrival.

You can also normally add car parking to your purchase when buying your theme park entry tickets.

 

Public Transport to Alton Towers

Alton Towers is in a relatively rural location, so whilst it is possible to reach the resort by public transport it will involve some good planning.

The nearest train station is in Uttoxeter, which is 10 miles from the station. From here you can take a bus to Alton Towers. The X41, operated by D&G Bus, runs from Uttoxeter to Alton Towers Resort. You can see the schedule here.

You can also take a taxi from Uttoxeter train station, which is about a 20-minute drive from Alton Towers.

Other relatively close train stations are Stoke on Trent (15 miles from Alton Towers) and Derby (25 miles from Alton Towers). However, you will need to take a taxi from both of these locations to reach the resort.

You can book taxis online in advance here.

If you are relying on public transit, you might want to consider coming up the night before and taking the D*G bus or a taxi from a nearby train or bus station to an Alton Towers Resort hotel.

Then you can walk from any of the resort’s hotels to the park in the morning (or take the Monorail) without needing to rely on a taxi or public transit to get around.

X Sector Alton Towers

 

Alton Towers Opening Dates and Times

Alton Towers is open seasonally as well as for certain holidays and school breaks. It is normally open from March through to November. Outside of this time the resort has special themed opening times, normally for the Christmas period and also for school half terms.

In terms of opening hours, the park normally has the following opening hours:

  • Theme Park opens at 9am (rides open at 10am).
  • Theme Park closes at 6pm during peak times and on weekends, and at 4pm on off-peak days.

It’s important to note that the closing time is the time that the ride queues close. If you have joined a queue before theme park closing time, you will be able to finish queuing and complete your ride even after closing time.

You can check the latest opening dates and hours for Alton Towers online here.

For special events park hours do change so it is important to check what they are before visiting. Also during the holiday and special opening periods, some sections of the park may not be fully open so be sure to check which rides and attractions are open.

Note that the Alton Towers Waterpark and Extraordinary Golf mini golf are next to but separate from the park and operate with different hours.

The Alton Towers Waterpark (located in the Splash Landings hotel) is open the majority of the year.

The Extraordinary Golf course (next to the Splash Landings hotel) is also open the majority of the year, and is often open quite late into the evening. Hotel guests normally receive a complimentary round of mini-golf as part of their stay.

Note that both the above attractions can be visited separately from the theme park and you don’t need a theme part ticket for these attractions, which are charged separately.

Wicker Man Alton Towers

 

How to Get Around Alton Towers

The main way most people get around at Alton Towers is on foot. The park is fairly spread out, but there are footpaths everywhere.

One thing to be aware of is that there are not a lot of signs or maps around the park, and they also no longer offer paper park maps. Instead, you are expected to use the mobile app.

This is actually a pretty decent mobile app, and the map part of it has built in navigation. It even lets you avoid steps. However, it can be a battery drain, so we’d suggest bringing a USB battery pack like this to avoid running out of juice halfway through the day.

Note that those visiting in wheelchairs and those with mobility issues should check out the accessibility info for the park here.

There are two additional options for getting around Alton Towers. These are the Monorail and the Skyride.

 

Alton Towers Monorail

The Alton Towers Monorail runs from the main park entrance to the resort area. It’s also close to some of the car parks. This only has two stops, one near the hotels and more distant parking lots, and one at the main entrance to the theme park.

Use of the Monorail is free for all park guests. It can definitely be a quick way to get from the resort and some of the car parks to the main theme park entrance, however there are some caveats.

On busy days, and especially in the mornings and evenings, the monorail gets very busy. Queuing times can exceed 40 minutes. Given that it’s about a 15 – 20 minute walk from the Monorail station to the main theme park entrance, if it is particularly busy it is normally quicker to just walk.

Additionally, Alton Tower Resort hotel guests are eligible to enter the park from a park entrance near the hotels. This is just past the Monorail station, and brings you into the park next to Galactica.

We would definitely recommend hotel guests who already have their park tickets consider using this entrance rather than take the Monorail if there is a long wait.

Alton Towers monorail

 

Alton Towers Skyride

The Alton Towers Skyride is a gondola style cable car ride which provides transport around the park.

There are three stations, one near the main park entrance on Towers Street, one near the Blade ride in the Forbidden Valley, and one in the Dark Forest near Rita.

The Skyride is definitely useful for getting across the Gardens when travelling between the Forbidden Valley and the Dark Forest as otherwise there are quite a lot of steps up and down if you take the most direct route.

The Skyride is free to all park guests. However, in our experience it tends to be closed for maintenance fairly regularly and in fact the Skyride is closed for the remainder of 2023.

 

Alton Towers Map

This is a photo of the map in Alton Towers in 2023. However, we’d recommend using the map in the Alton Towers app.

Confusingly, the map in the app is inverted compared to the physical maps on signs in the park. On the physical maps, the entrance is at the bottom, in the app it is at the top (as it is geographically).

So just keep this in mind if cross referencing between the maps in the park and the map in the app, as it’s easy to get confused (as we know from personal experience)!

Alton Towers 2023 Map

 

Alton Towers Ticket Information

We’ll now go through the main ticket types available for Alton Towers as well as how much they cost and where to buy them.

Pricing information is correct as of August 2023, but prices can vary so do check the latest prices online here.

 

How Much Are Alton Towers Tickets?

Alton Towers ticket pricing varies depending on whether you purchase in advance or on the day.

Pricing also varies depending on the date, with peak dates normally costing a bit more. Peak dates are normally during holiday periods as well as at weekends.

Currently, pricing is as follows:

  • £34 – £39 for a 1-day pass for ages 3 and up (£68 on the day)
  • £46 – £51 for a 2-day pass for ages 3 and up (£80 on the day)
  • £29 for a parent and toddler pass. Toddlers are defined as being under 5, and an additional under 5 can be added for £5. This pass is only available on weekdays outside of holiday periods.
  • Free for those under 3 and carers

There are also occasional promotional prices and sales on the website, which you can see here.

The pricing for in-person purchases can be twice as expensive as buying online, so we highly recommend buying online to save money!

 

Discount Alton Towers Tickets

There are not that many ways to get discounted tickets for Alton Towers, although some options do exist.

If you don’t qualify for a discount, then the best way to save money on Alton Towers is to buy tickets in advance from the official website as this is a lot cheaper than buying tickets on the day.

You can also save by visiting on a weekday outside of holiday periods as these tend to offer the lowest prices.

 

Where to Buy Alton Towers Tickets

The two main options for purchasing Alton Towers tickets are either online on the official website here or in-person at the resort.

We would highly recommend buying online as the prices are significantly lower and then you also don’t need to wait in the ticket lines.

 

Passes Which Include Alton Towers

There are two main passes which include access to Alton Towers. These are best if you either plan on visiting Alton Towers multiple times a year, or if you plan on visiting the other included attractions. The passes are as follows:

  • Alton Towers Annual Pass. This offers yearlong access to Alton Towers (with some peak date exclusions) as well as discounts on food and drink and other benefits. Available from £99 for a year.
  • Merlin Annual Pass. This pass offers access to all the main Merlin attractions in the UK, including Alton Towers, The London Eye, SEA LIFE centres, Chessington World of Adventures and more. Starts from £99.

The Alton Towers pass can definitely be worth it if you plan on visiting Alton Towers multiple times in a year (at least three I would suggest), although you will want to check which dates are excluded before purchasing.

The Merlin Annual pass makes sense if you live in the UK and plan on spending your year visiting the Merlin attractions around the UK. There are a lot of these (see full list here), but you will definitely want to check which days you can visit prior to purchasing.

If you are only planning on visiting Alton Towers once or maybe twice in a year, then a regular ticket will likely offer the best value.

 

Alton Towers Fastrack Passes

One way to potentially enhance your Alton Towers experience is to invest in a Fastrack pass.

A Fastrack pass gives you access to a special Fastrack line for many rides which has priority boarding, and which can significantly cut your queuing time.

In our experience, on a very busy day where standard ride queue times can be 1 – 2 hours, the Fastrack line will be between 3 and 30 minutes.

This will of course depend on how many Fastrack passes have been sold and how busy the park is, but in our experience on a busy day a Fastrack pass can significantly cut queue times and let you spend more time riding and less time queuing.

 

Fastrack Pass Versions at Alton Towers

There are different versions of the Fastrack passes, as follows:

  • Individual Fastrack tickets for specific rides. These can be bought on the day through the Alton Towers app.
  • Fastrack Bronze Pass – allows you to join the Fastrack line once for four rides: Congo River Rapids​, The Curse at Alton Manor​, Runaway Mine Train, and Spinball Whizzer
  • Fastrack Silver Pass – allows you to join the Fastrack line once for six rides: Wicker Man​, Oblivion, Rita, TH13TEEN​, The Smiler, and Galactica
  • Fastrack Gold Pass – allows you to join the Fastrack line once for fourteen rides: Wicker Man​, Oblivion​, Rita, TH13TEEN​, The Smiler, Galactica, Spinball​ Whizzer, Gangsta Granny,​ The Curse at Alton Manor, Hex,​ Marauders Mayhem​, Battle Galleons​, Rapids​ and Runaway Mine Train
  • Fastrack Platinum Pass – allows you to join the Fastrack line as many times as you like for the following rides: Wicker Man, Oblivion, Rita, TH13TEEN​, The Smiler​, Galactica​, Spinball​ Whizzer, Gangsta Granny​, The Curse at Alton Manor, HEX​, Marauders Mayhem​, Battle Galleons​, Rapids​ and Runaway Mine Train

With the exception of the individual Fasttrack tickets, all the other passes can be bought in advance online, in person at the park from the customer service office, or through the Alton Towers app.

Note that Fastrack Passes can sell out, so if this is something you are sure you want to invest in for your visit, we recommend buying them online in advance of your visit on the official site here.

Queue time board at Alton Towers

 

Fastrack Pass Pricing at Alton Towers

The pricing for the passes is as follows. Note that this does not include park entry, so you will still need a park entry ticket to access the park.

Fastrack is valid for a specific day, so if you are visiting Alton Towers across multiple days and want Fastrack on all of them, you will need to buy a pass for each day you visit.

 

How Fastrack Works at Alton Towers

With all the Fastrack passes the process is quite simple. When you have a Fastrack pass, whatever type it is, instead of joining the regular line, join the Fastrack line. This will be clearly signposted. Note it is not the same as the Ride Access line (this is for holders of Ride Access Pass tickets only).

Depending on the ride, someone will check your Fastrack ticket when you enter the queue or when you get to the ride boarding area, so have it ready. They will normally scan the barcode on the pass to validate it.

Depending on the pass you have, how it works will vary slightly.

With the individual Fastrack pass, bought on a per-ride basis, this is only good for one ride on one attraction.

With the Bronze, Silver and Gold passes these entitle you to one Fastrack per attraction. So you can ride all the rides included on the pass using the Fastrack once. If you want to ride a ride again, you will have to join the regular queue or buy an individual Fastrack ticket for that ride.

You can share these passes in a group, so if one person wants to do one ride and another person wants to do a different ride, this can be a good option.

For the platinum pass, this can be used for as many Fastrack rides as you want on the included rides, but it can only be used by one person.

On a recent visit to Alton Towers on a very busy school trip day in July we invested in four Gold Passes. This definitely saved us a lot of time, and meant that we were all able to ride all 13 rides operating that day (Hex was closed).

Given that queue times for the most popular rides were over 2 hours at some points on the day we visited, that would definitely not have been possible without the Fastrack. For us, queue times on the day varied between 1 minute and 30 minutes with our Fastrack.

If you’re wondering if Fastrack passes are worth it for your visit, see the frequently asked questions section at the end of this guide where we go into our thoughts on Fastrack in more detail.

Runaway Mine Train Alton Towers

 

Rides at Alton Towers

We’ll now go through all the rides at Alton Towers and what you can expect from each ride. There are a lot of different types of ride at Alton Towers.

Everyone likes different types of ride. For example, I prefer rides with a drop and am less keen on being spun around. Jess loves being spun around but doesn’t like being dropped! On our recent visit, one of the kids hated scary rides, whilst the other kid was generally fine with them.

In this section we’ll outline the main features of each ride. I’ll also include an idea of how scary the ride is and how thrilling the ride is.

For the scare factor, this refers to whether the ride has elements that might make you jump or which might be less suitable for younger riders. Of course, this will vary by individual.

For the thrill factor, this refers to how thrilling the ride is. So if the ride spins you around, drops you, or inverts you, I’m going to give that a higher thrill factor than a more sedate ride experience. Again, these scores are very subjective as everyone finds different things thrilling.

This should help you decide which rides to head for and which rides you might want to avoid, depending on the type of ride you like. We’ll also provide our thoughts on the ride experience.

Note that this section may contain ride spoilers so if you want to be surprised on the rides you might want to skip it.

For this section the rides are grouped together by which area of the park they are in. See more about the areas of the park in the section of this guide on park areas, which goes into more detail on theming.

 

Forbidden Valley Rides

A post-apocalyptic themed area with a mix of family friendly and high-end thrill rides. Rides are as follows:

 

Galactica

Galactica is a flying rollercoaster which debuted at Alton Towers in 2002, although back then it was called Air. It was rebranded to Galactica in 2016, although the ride experience remains the same.

Galactica is definitely a fun thrill roller coaster. After you board, the seats actually rotate 90 degrees so you are essentially dangling under the coaster rail, looking down at the floor. This lets you do your best flying impression, hence the name flying rollercoaster.

The ride itself is quite high-octane as you whizz around the track, experiencing up to 3.5G. It also inverts you twice, and can be fairly disorienting, although nothing to compare to Smiler.

Personally I do enjoy Galactica although I’m not a huge fan of being inverted and spun around so it’s not my favourite ride at Alton Towers. It’s definitely thrilling though, and recommended for those of you who like high-speed coasters.

One tip – if you are staying in the hotels on-site, there’s an exclusive hotel guest entrance which brings you in right next to Galactica. So if this ride is a priority, you can get here before the majority of other riders arrive and get on quickly, even without a Fastrack pass.

Included on Fastrack: Yes, Silver, Gold & Platinum
Scare factor: 0/5
Thrill factor: 5/5
Ride type: Flying Rollercoaster
Ride length: 1 minute 40 seconds
Ride height restriction: 1.4m

Galactica Alton Towers

Galactica Alton Towers

 

Nemesis Sub-Terra

Not to be confused with the currently closed Nemesis ride, Nemesis Sub-Terra is a dark drop ride themed around the mysterious Phalanx and Nemesis Creature. It originally opened in 2012, but closed in 2015, and reopened in 2023.

The ride has you entering a darkened area with a small group where you are given some backstory and instructions from a Phalanx operative.

After a short video, you enter an elevator and are transported down to a room where everyone is strapped into chairs around a central podium containing a mysterious alien egg.

Once everyone is secured, the experience continues. There’s fun lighting and effects, as inevitably the alien breaks free and “attacks” the audience. There’s a great drop (yes, I screamed), and fun effects throughout including water, prodding ,and leg tickling.

After the drop, you have to “escape” the ride through a scary lift and a small maze before bursting back out into the real world.

Overall, it’s a fun ride experience with a few different components which is a bit different to most of the other rides. If you don’t like the thought of a scary ride, being trapped in a lift, or are claustrophobic, it might be one to skip.

Included on Fastrack: No Fastrack available
Scare factor: 5/5
Thrill factor: 3/5
Ride type: Dark ride / walk-through / drop
Ride length: 8- 10 minutes
Ride height restriction: 1.4m
Other Notes:
Due to the drop chairs, this ride has quite restrictive size requirements.

Nemesis Alton Towers

 

The Blade

Found near Galactica and Nemesis in the Forbidden Valley, The Blade is the oldest ride at Alton Towers, dating from 1980.

Despite its age, this is still a very popular and really fun ride for those of you who like airtime in a ride. It’s also one of the more thrilling rides for younger visitors as the height limit is relatively low compared to other rides.

The Blade is basically a giant seated swing that looks like a ship, which is why this kind of ride is known as a Pirate Ship. Passengers sit in rows of five facing the centre, and the ride swings backwards and forwards, getting higher and higher as it goes.

At the very peak of the ride, if you sit at the very ends of the ship, it almost feels vertical (ok, it’s actually 75 degrees, but when you’re on the ride you’re unlikely to be measuring angles).

There’s a great sensation of airtime on this ride, and it is definitely not for those of you who don’t like that dropping sensation! However, it is a good ride if you don’t like spinning as there’s no spinning or inversion. Even Jess was able to enjoy this one.

On a recent visit to Alton Towers we rode the Blade four times just as the park was opening. We had stayed in the hotel the night before and came here just as it opened. Despite it being a busy day, the first half hour or so had very few riders, and at one point there were only 8 people on the whole ride.

It was a real hit with the younger members of our group and it was one of the more thrilling rides that we could all do together. Along with the Runaway Mine Train, this was the favourite family friendly thrill ride we did in Alton Towers.

Included on Fastrack: No
Scare factor: 0/5
Thrill factor: 3/5
Ride type: Pirate Ship
Ride length: 1 minute 30 seconds
Ride height restriction:1m (1.3m must ride with an adult)

The Blade Alton Towers

The Blade Alton Towers

 

X-Sector Rides

Home to some of the most extreme rides in the park, all with a 1.4m height restriction. Themed like a secret government test facility.

This contains two permanent rides, Smilar and Oblivion, as well as two carnival style rides, Spinjam and Twistatron. I’m just going to cover the permanent rides in this section.

 

The Smiler

Opened in 2013, at time of writing The Smiler holds the world record for the most inversions (basicaly how many times you are upside down) on a roller coaster at fourteen.

The Smiler is definitely one of the most thrilling rides at Alton Towers, and also one of the more popular rides. Whenever we visit, it always seems to have some of the longest queue times.

The ride itself is quite a marvel of construction. It takes up a relatively tiny footprint, with every stretch of track seemingly involving a twist, a turn, or a drop.

In terms of the experience, this ride definitely delivers. It is fast, thrilling, and it spins you around a lot. I’m not a massive fan of rides that invert me, but I did get a thrill from this ride, even if my head was spinning for a while afterwards!

I also liked all the theming throughout, with a repetitive sound track that gets in your head and lots of flashing lights and colors. It’s all designed to disorient, and it definitely succeeds.

The only downside of the rollercoaster is that due to its seriously complex design, it does seem to shut down quite regularly. This can be very frustrating, especially if you’ve spent a lot of time queuing only for it to close with no warning.

Included on Fastrack: Yes, Silver, Gold & Platinum
Scare factor: 1/5
Thrill factor: 5/5
Ride type: Roller coaster
Ride length: ~ 3 minutes
Ride height restriction: 1.4m
Other Notes:
Ride early or late in the day to skip the long queues or consider Fastrack. This is also one of the only rides to have a single-rider lane which can be a lot faster.

Smiler Alton Towers

Smiler Alton Towers

Smiler Alton Towers

 

Oblivion

Oblivion was the world’s first dive rollercoaster when it opened in 1998. This design of rollercoaster offers basically a 90-degree drop from a significant height, offering a sensation of free fall.

The ride experience is quite straightforward. The cars are quite wide but only two rows deep. You get taken to the top of the track and pause for a thrilling moment over the drop.

You then freefall down 55 metres (180 ft), with the thrill being heightened as the car plunges into a dark tunnel under the ground. It then swoops around and is over.

Personally, I’m a big fan of drops so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this is one of my favourite rides in Alton Towers, despite the relatively short ride time. Jess, who doesn’t like drops, is definitely less convinced by Oblivion and skipped it!

This is a great rollercoaster if you don’t like being inverted or thrown around too much. It’s not a great option if you’re particularly afraid of heights or hate the sensation of free fall.

Included on Fastrack: Yes, Silver, Gold & Platinum
Scare factor: 0/5
Thrill factor: 5/5
Ride type: Dive Rollercoaster
Ride length: 1 minute 15 seconds
Ride height restriction: 1.4 m

Oblivion Alton Towers

Alton Towers Ride Photos

 

Dark Forest Rides

Themed as a haunted woodland, this area of the park is home to two thrill rides which are:

 

Rita

If you love speed and g-force, then Rita is likely the roller coaster for you. Launched in 2005, this roller coaster is the fastest ride in the park, topping out at 61.1 miles per hour.

It’s also the one with the highest G-forces, which go up to 4.7G.

The main thrill of Rita is the launch. The ride is themed like a drag racer, with slightly panicked voice over providing an air of anticipation as you get ready to go.

Then, like a drag racer does, you accelerate very quickly in a straight line. How quickly? Well, you get to the maximum speed of 61.1 mph in around 2.5 seconds, which certainly feels very quick when you release!

After the initial thrill of the launch, the ride then banks around some fairly sharp corners and also gives you a feeling of weightlessness as you crest a couple of hills.

This ride is definitely going to be good for those of you who don’t like being completely inverted as there are no inversions.

However the speed of the ride means that the g-forces are quite high at 4.7G, so you will want to keep your head firmly braced back against the headrest as otherwise it can feel like quite a rough ride!

The other downside to this ride is that it’s one of the shortest rides in the park, lasting around 25 seconds. So if there is a very long queue and you don’t have a Fastrack pass then you might want to return when it isn’t so busy.

Included on Fastrack: Yes, Silver, Gold & Platinum
Scare factor: 1/5
Thrill factor: 4/5
Ride type: Accelerator Rollercoaster
Ride length: 25 seconds
Ride height restriction: 1.4m

Rita Alton Towers

Rita Alton Towers

 

TH13TEEN

TH13TEEN (or Thirteen, for easier spelling and reading) was another world-first rollercoaster when it debuted at Alton Towers in 2010.

If you’ve not done this ride before and don’t know anything about it, the twist is quite interesting and worth keeping as a surprise. However, if you don’t like surprises and want to know what lies in store, read on.

Thirteen is found in the Dark Forest area of Alton Towers, and is themed to be a bit of a spooky ride. The ride itself is what is known as a drop rollercoaster.

The ride starts with you getting into standard roller coaster carts which are similar to the Runaway Mine train. Passengers sit two by two. 

The train sets off and drops a little around a curve before climbing the main lift hill. From here there are quite a few fun airtime hills and banked turns, which make for a really enjoyable ride. It’s particularly fun if you don’t like too much spinning around like me, but do like the sensation of airtime.

About half way through the ride the train suddenly enters a dark tunnel and the doors close behind you. This is where the surprise takes place. Ghosts light up and air blows at you, and the train and track literally drop out from underneath you.

Then the train takes off backwards and you complete the majority of the rest of the track in reverse.

This is one of my favourite rides at Alton Towers, especially the first time I rode it when I had no idea what was going to happen.

The ride itself is not hugely scary in terms of dark elements, although when it enters the “crypt” and the drop happens there are some spooky elements to be aware of. This is over pretty quickly though, so it’s not exactly a full haunted house experience! But if your kids do not like haunted houses, this part might be scary.

Included on Fastrack: Yes, included on Silver, Gold and Platinum
Scare factor: 3/5
Thrill factor: 4/5
Ride type: Rollercoaster
Ride length: 1 minute 40 seconds
Ride height restriction: 1.2m

Th13teen Alton Towers

Ride Photos Alton Towers

 

The Towers Rides

This part of the park covers all the rides found in the area of the original house at Alton Towers. It’s a bit spread out with no real theme. Rides are as follows:

 

Spinball Whizzer

Spinball Whizzer is a rollercoaster which is designed to give you the experience of being a pinball inside a pinball machine.

It’s essentially a rollercoaster with the twist that the four-person carriage spins freely around as it races around the track, so every ride is different.

It’s a fairly thrilling ride with vertical sections of track and lots of dips and dives, but there are no inversions. Despite not really enjoying spinning rides I did actually quite enjoy Spinball Whizzer.

It’s a relatively smooth ride (except at the end where there can be a bit of a janky moment when the cart is aligned to face forward again for loading and unloading).

Spinball Whizzer was a real hit with the six-year-old we visited Alton Towers with recently, as well as with the adults in the group. The relatively low ride height requirement makes for a nice family-friendly rollercoaster for kids looking to branch out into the bigger thrill rides.

It’s technically part of “The Towers” area, but is actually located very close to CBeebies Land.

Included on Fastrack: Yes, Bronze, Gold and Platinum
Scare factor: 0/5
Thrill factor: 3/5
Ride type: Spinning Rollercoaster
Ride length: 1 minute 15 seconds
Ride height restriction: 1.2 m

Spinball Whizzer Alton Towers

Alton Towers Ride Photos

 

Hex

Hex is a dark theme ride based on an actual local legend involving a chained up Oak tree, which is actually a location not too far from the park itself.

Given that it is based on the owner of the original Alton Towers property, it’s appropriate that the ride is found within the ruins of Alton Towers.

Like the other dark rides, Hex is definitely a ride that is best experienced as a surprise. So if you want to experience it with no spoilers, now is the time to skip to the next ride.

The main thing to be aware of is that the ride can be disorienting, so if you are prone to motion sickness it’s one to be careful of.

However there’s no drop, inversions or real spinning. The first part of the ride has you progressing on foot between rooms, watching an immersive story with various lighting, sounds and effects.

The latter part of the ride is seated with lapbars. You will move and tilt, with the effect greatly heightened by the clever design of the room and what is essentially a giant optical illusion. So it feels like you are moving and tilting a lot more than you actually are.

Hex is a fun experience but it is a bit divisive in that people either seem to love it or hate it. We think it’s different enough from the other rides to make it worth visiting, and if you don’t feel great you can always close your eyes.

Note that Hex is closed for the rest of 2023.

Included on Fastrack: Yes, Gold and Platinum
Scare factor: 5/5
Thrill factor: 2/5
Ride type: Walkthrough dark ride
Ride length: 5 minutes 25 seconds
Ride height restriction: 0.9m (1.2m must ride with an adult)

Hex Alton Towers

 

Cuckoo Cars Driving School

Found next to the David Walliams area of the park, Cuckoo Cars Driving School gives kids the opportunity to learn to drive their very own Cuckoo Car.

A fun track is set up with a range of traffic features, including pedestrian crossings, traffic signals and even a bubble car wash. The cars are electric, and the kids can steer them and make them stop or go with a pedal.

The cars are not on any kind of track, so the kids can choose where to drive them, just like in a real car. They are quite small and only go 4km/h, and there are also marshals all around the track to keep everyone safe and get the kids back on track should they veer off course at any point (there’s no reverse on the cars).

Cuckoo Cars was a massive hit with the kids we recently visited Alton Towers with. They’d literally finish and run back round to join the ride queue again! So this is definitely a kid friendly ride, as long as they meet the ride requirements.

The ride requirements for Cuckoo Cars are fairly specific, the kids must be at least 1 metre tall, 4 years or older, and under 1.4 metres.

So adults can’t join in on this one as this is for younger kids only. But there is plenty of viewing space so you can keep a close eye on your family members as they learn to drive.

Included on Fastrack: No
Scare factor: 0/5
Thrill factor: 1/5
Ride type: Kids Driving Ride
Ride length: 4 minutes
Ride height restriction: 1m minimum. Additionally, maximum of 1.4m and minimum of 4 years old.

Cuckoo Cars Alton Towers

Cuckoo Cars Alton Towers

 

Mutiny Bay Rides

A pirate themed part of the park with primarily family friendly rides, as follows:

 

Wicker Man

Opened in 2018, Wicker Man is one of the newest rides at Alton Towers. When it opened it was notable as being the first new wooden rollercoaster to be opened in the UK for 22 years.

As the name suggests, the Wicker Man is themed around the Wicker Man movie, a horror movie which dates from the 1970s and which involves a large woven effigy of a man made from wood which is set fire to.

The rollercoaster is also made from wood, and there’s a large effigy of a man that the ride passes through. There are also flame lighting and smoke effects throughout the ride which add to the themed experience.

Speaking of experience, the ride starts with a preshow that includes some video, light, and smoke effects. This does have a bit of a scare factor so is something to keep in mind if riding with younger children. You then board the train, and from this point it’s a wooden rollercoaster ride.

The ride experience is quite similar to the Runaway Main train or Thirteen, with dips, hills, and twists. There are no inversions or loops or anything like that, and the ride height restriction of 1.2m makes it a family option for many kids as well.

Wicker Man is found right next to Mutiny Bay, although it doesn’t follow the pirate theming.

Included on Fastrack: Yes, Silver, Gold and Platinum
Scare factor: 2/5
Thrill factor: 4/5
Ride type: Rollercoaster
Ride length: 1 minute 50 seconds
Ride height restriction: 1.2m

Wicker Man Alton Towers

 

Marauders Mayhem

Right in the heart of Pirate Bay is the Marauders Mayhem ride, which is basically a classic spinning tea cups ride.

This ride originally launched in 1987 as a tea cup ride, and was relaunched in 2008 with a pirate theme. So instead of sitting in teacups you sit in barrels.

Other than the theme, the ride experience is the same as a typical teacups ride. Up to 6 people can sit in each barrel, with four sets of three barrels arranged around the ride. Each set rotates, the whole ride rotates, and each barrel can also be made to rotate.

I think it’s fair to say that the Marauders Mayhem ride is not ideal if you don’t like spinning rides. But if you do like spinning rides, this is definitely one to go for. It’s a fun family ride with a fairly low height restriction.

Included on Fastrack: Yes, Gold and Platinum
Scare factor: 0/5
Thrill factor: 3/5
Ride type: Spinning teacups
Ride length: 2 minutes
Ride height restriction: 1.1m (1.3 m must ride with an adult)

Maurauders Mayhem Alton Towers

 

Battle Galleons

If you like rides where there’s a very solid chance of getting soaking wet, you’ll definitely want to head to the Battle Galleons ride at Alton Towers.

This ride has you boarding a pirate ship which “sails” around a part of the Alton Towers lake. The fun part is that there are water cannons on board, which you can fire at other vessels, as well as at anyone standing on the shore where your boats pass.

These water cannons are hand operated – you spin a wheel to make the water flow.

You don’t need to feel too sorry for the folks on the shore though, because they have access to their own watercannons. There are two versions on the shore – free ones where you can spin a wheel, and paid cannons. The paid cannons are definitely more powerful, with 10 “shots” per £1 when we visited.

This ride was popular with both adults and kids in our group but probably not a good one for anyone not wanting to get wet.

Assuming there are other people participating in the ride, there’s a very high chance you are going to get quite wet on this ride. There are some drying rooms nearby where you can pay around £5 to have some air blown at you, but this isn’t hugely effective in our experience so probably not worth the money.

Included on Fastrack: Yes, Gold and Platinum
Scare factor: 0/5
Thrill factor: 1/5
Ride type: Splash Battle
Ride length: 3 minutes
Ride height restriction: 0.9m (1.1 must ride with an adult)

Battle Galleons Alton Towers

Battle Galleons Alton Towers

 

Heave Ho

If you or your kids like the idea of the Blade but all the dropping and height seems like a bit much, then you should definitely check out Heave Ho.

This pirate ship themed ride is found, as you might guess, in the Mutiny Bay part of Alton Towers.

The ride concept is basically a pirate ship which rocks backwards and forwards on rails, but which also spins as it goes. The spinning is not super-fast but it can be a bit disorienting, so if you aren’t a fan of rides which spin you might want to watch it first before boarding.

This was a really popular ride with our family group on a recent visit. The kids really loved it, and it’s also a good ride for viewers to watch from the sidelines and get nice photos.

Included on Fastrack: No
Scare factor: o/5
Thrill factor: 2/5
Ride type: Rocking Tug
Ride length: 3 minutes
Ride height restriction: 0.9m (1.1m must ride with an adult)

Heave Ho Alton Towers

 

Katanga Canyon Rides

Themed as an African village, this area of the park is home to the following two rides:

 

Congo River Rapids

The Alton Towers theme park doesn’t have a lot of water rides, but there are a couple of options, one of which is Congo River Rapids.

This has been getting park visitors wet since 1986, and remains a popular and relatively family friendly attraction to this day.

The ride consists of large circular rafts which seat around seven people. You start the ride going up a shallow lift, and then you float around the river rapids, parts of which have sections of choppy water.

There’s a reasonable chance you’ll get wet on this ride, although it’s normally just splashes of water rather than a full-on dunking. So just keep that in mind.

One really nice thing about this ride is that it’s relatively long by theme park standards, at 6 minutes. With a minimum height of 1.1m it’s also a good family friendly option for many families.

Included on Fastrack: Yes, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum
Scare factor: 0/5
Thrill factor: 2/5
Ride type: River Rapids
Ride length: 6 minutes
Ride height restriction: 1.1m (1.3 m must ride with an adult)
Other Notes:
Just be aware that you might get wet

Congo River Rapids Alton Towers

Congo River Rapids Alton Towers

 

Runaway Mine Train

Runaway Mine Train is one of my favourite family-friendly rollercoasters at Alton Towers. Jess isn’t a huge fan of big rollercoasters, but she really likes Runaway Mine Train.

As the name suggests, the theme is a mine train which has, well, runaway. Riders board carriages seated in pairs, and the train has some pretty good drops and twists as it goes, even pulling a fair bit of g-force. It also does the track twice, which makes for a nice long feeling ride.

There are no inversions or anything like that, but it’s definitely a pretty thrilling ride, and one of the most thrilling rides at the park with a low height requirement.

We went on it with a three year old and a six year old and they absolutely loved it. Just be prepared to join the queue again when you finish if your family likes it as much as ours did! We rode this one several times over two days.

Included on Fastrack: Yes, Bronze, Gold and Platinum.
Scare factor: 0/5
Thrill factor: 3/5
Ride type: Rollercoaster
Ride length: 1 minute 50 seconds
Ride height restriction: 0.9m (1.1m must ride with an adult)

Runaway Mine Train Alton Towers

Runaway Mine Train Alton Towers

Runaway Mine Train Alton Towers

 

Gloomy Wood Rides

Gloomy Wood is themed, as the name suggests, around a dark, likely haunted, forest. It has one ride:

 

The Curse at Alton Manor

The Curse at Alton Manor opened in 2023, making it one of the newest rides in Alton Towers. However, it builds on a long tradition of haunted house rides, with the original incarnation of this ride opened in the same location all the way back in 1992.

The ride tells the story of the long-deceased Emily Alton, who Alton Towers fans will recognize from previous rides in this location. The story goes that Emily was never invited to the parties her parents held, and this annoyed her so much that evil possessed her, cursing the house and all its occupants.

I guess the moral of the story here is to invite your kids to your parties from time to time.

Anyway, the ride itself has a few components. The queue is where the story starts, winding through the woodland, with various graves and spooky sculptures.

You then enter the house, and walk past various set pieces with lights and sound effects. Finally, there’s a six-minute ride which takes you through the somewhat dark and twisted world of Emily.

The ride is definitely dark, and if you like dark rides and haunted house style rides you will likely enjoy it. If you prefer rollercoaster thrills and spins , this probably won’t be the ride for you as there aren’t any drops, inversions, or twists.

In terms of being kid friendly, the ride is pretty scary with quite a lot of dark themes of death and revenge. So whilst the ride height restriction is fairly low, some kids might find the content rather terrifying. The kids we were with (age 3 and 6) hated this ride and found it too scary. The 3-year-old would not get on the ride at all.

Overall, one to check out if you like dark, haunted house type rides. Personally, Jess and I didn’t really like it as we never really got the full story for the ride and it isn’t a thrill ride.

Included on Fastrack: Yes, Bronze, Gold and Platinum
Scare factor: 4/5
Thrill factor: 1/5
Ride type: Dark ride / haunted house
Ride length: 6 minutes 15 seconds
Ride height restriction: 0.9m (1.1m must ride with an adult)

Curse at Alton Manor

Curse at Alton Manor

 

The World of David Walliams Rides

This part of the park focuses on the world created by the author David Walliams. It’s a very family-friendly part of the park, and most of the rides have low height requirements. Rides are as follows:

 

Gangsta Granny the Ride

Opened in 2021, Gangsta Ganny the Ride is one of the main rides in the area of the park devoted to the world created by writer David Walliams.

The ride is basically a carriage-based dark ride with a lot of special effects that has you helping the main characters attempt to steal the Crown Jewels from Buckingham Palace.

Everyone in our group on a recent trip to Alton Towers enjoyed this ride. The story is interesting and engaging for kids especially, and the experience is fun for adults as well. There’s also quite a bit of humour throughout the ride which should bring a smile to your face.

It’s neither a thrilling roller coaster nor a scary ride, but we think it’s well worth doing, even if you aren’t at all familiar with the characters in the books. We all enjoyed it.

One thing to note is that the theme of the ride does have characters stealing and committing a crime which might not sit right with all parents with younger children.

Included on Fastrack: Yes, Gold and Platinum
Scare factor: 1/5
Thrill factor: 1/5
Ride type: Dark ride
Ride length: 4 minutes
Ride height restriction: 0.9m (under 1.2m must ride with an adult)
Other Notes:
This ride has a fairly low maximum rider per hour limit, so queue times can be longer than you might expect

Gangsta Granny Alton Towers

 

Raj’s Bouncy Bottom Burp

Found in the David Walliams area of Alton Towers, Raj’s Bouncy Bottom Burp is a bouncing drop ride designed for young kids. It’s similar to the CBeebies Peter Rabbit Ride but the drops are a bit more pronounced, making it a bit more exciting.

The drops are also accompanied by a fart based soundtrack, and honestly, what kid doesn’t find toilet humor hilarious? So this ride is definitely popular amongst kids visiting the park.

The drop is not so terrifying (it’s more of a bounce really), and Jess who doesn’t really like drop rides didn’t mind this. Although accompanying a 3-year-old in hysterics at the sound effects probably helped!

Included on Fastrack: No
Scare factor: 0/5
Thrill factor: 1/5
Ride type: Bouncy drop
Ride length: 1 minute 45 seconds
Ride height restriction: 0.9m (under 1.1m must ride with an adult)

Rajs Bouncy Bottom Burp Alton Towers

Rajs Bouncy Bottom Burp Alton Towers

 

Royal Carousel

Have you even been to a theme park if you haven’t ridden the carousel? Jess would certainly argue no. It’s always a ride that we love to ride at least once at any theme park, fair, or carnival as it’s such a classic.

The Royal Carousel in Alton Towers is found in the David Walliams part of the park, and features a number of horses and carriages. Some of the horses go up and down (those with poles to the roof) and some are static.

It has a royal theme, with a crown on top and a voiceover soundtrack to match. Sure, it’s not the most thrilling ride in the park, but it’s fun for kids and adults who love a bit of theme park nostalgia.

Included on Fastrack: No
Scare factor: 0/5
Thrill factor: 1/5
Ride type: Carousel
Ride length: 2 minutes
Ride height restriction: no height restriction but those under 1.3m must ride with an adult

Royal Carousel Alton Towers

Royal Carousel Alton Towers

Royal Carousel Alton Towers

 

Flavio’s Fabulous Fandango

This carnival style twister ride found in the David Walliam’s section of the park is great for those of you who love being spun around. It’s actually one of Jess’s favourite rides at Alton Towers because she loves being spun around but doesn’t like being dropped.

The ride consists of twelve sets of chairs which are in groups of four. The groups of four spin together, and then all the groups also spin around a central point. This results in quite a lot of spinning, which at points can seem quite fast as you whiz past gondolas coming the opposite direction.

It is definitely a lot of fun. Just be aware that the minimum ride height of 1.2m is a bit higher than most of the other rides in this area. I’d also add that this is technically a temporary carnival style ride, but we’re included it as it’s themed and seems likely to stay.

Included on Fastrack: No
Scare factor: 0/5
Thrill factor: 2/5
Ride type: Twister
Ride length: ~2 minutes
Ride height restriction: 1.2m

Flavios Fabulous Fandango Alton Towers

 

CBeebies Land Rides

CBeebies Land is a really family friendly part of Alton Towers with rides, shows and activities designed to entertain younger visitors to the park. It has a huge amount of rides and activities. The main rides are as follows:

 

Peter Rabbit Hippity Hop

Peter Rabbit Hippity Hop is a gentle drop style ride designed for younger riders. The ride is themed around Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit character, with fun sound effects and music.

This ride is definitely not a crazy drop ride, it’s more of a gentle drop and bounce. So even adults who don’t like drop rides will enjoy riding this one with their kids.

It’s probably not a ride that thrill seekers are going to be heading for, but if you are in Alton Towers with younger family members you will definitely want to check this one out.

Included on Fastrack: No
Scare factor: 0/5
Thrill factor: 1/5
Ride type: Drop
Ride length: ~ 90 seconds
Ride height restriction: 0.9m (under 1.1m must ride with an adult)

 

Go Jetters Vroomster Zoom Ride

The Go Jetters Vroomster ride is another fun family ride. This one is themed around the Go Jetters, with ride participants boarding their very own Vroomster.

A Vroomster, for those of you not familiar, is basically a jet powered flying car. And the Alton Tower replica is pretty accurate!

The ride consists of a number of Vroomster cars, which can seat up to four people, which rotate around a central pod. The cars are attached to the pod by a yellow arm, and the riders can control the height of the car with a lever inside the car. This gives the riders the impression of controlling their very own flying car, which is pretty cool.

The ride is not particularly fast, so whilst it does go round in circles, it’s about the same speed as a carousel so it shoudln’t make you dizzy. The up and down motion is also pretty gentle, so all in all it’s a pretty relaxed ride.

Included on Fastrack: No
Scare factor: 0/5
Thrill factor: 1/5
Ride type: Aerial Roundabout
Ride length: 2 minutes
Ride height restriction: 0.9m (under 1.25m must ride with adult)

Go Jetters Vroomster Zoom Ride Alton Towers

Go Jetters Vroomster Zoom Ride Alton Towers

 

Octonauts Rollercoaster Adventure

Octonauts is a family focused rollercoaster which is likely to be one of the first rollercoasters younger visitors to Alton Towers are going to experience.

The rollercoaster, which is themed after The Octonauts show, offers probably the gentlest rollercoaster experience at Alton Towers. It is a good starting point for kids who meet the height restrictions and want to try a rollercoaster.

If they love it, the Runaway Mine train has similar ride requirements and is a bit more thrilling, with a faster ride and much greater drops and speed.

However, Octonauts is definitely a good starter coaster, with no inversions or particularly steep drops or curves.

Included on Fastrack: No
Scare factor: 0/5
Thrill factor: 1/5
Ride type: Rollercoaster
Ride length: 2 minutes 30 seconds
Ride height restriction: 0.9m (under 1.1m must ride with an adult)

Ride Photos Alton Towers

 

Get Set Go Treetop Adventure

This ride in CBeebies Land takes you high above the trees (ok, 12 ft) in your very own bug shaped car. It’s a fun ride for younger kids for sure and gives nice views of CBeebies land.

It’s also nice and relaxing for adults if you’re looking for a relaxing ride with no crazy thrills or scares.

One thing to be aware of is that this ride is quite popular and as it’s fairly slow moving the queue can get quite long. In fact, of all the rides at the park, this was the one where we had the longest wait on a recent visit!

So try to time your visit for first thing in the morning or later on in the day. There are activities in the queue to keep kids busy, but they’ll only go so far.

Included on Fastrack: No
Scare factor: o/5
Thrill factor: 1/5
Ride type: Flat track
Ride length: 4 minutes
Ride height restriction: No minimum but under 1.1m must ride with an adult.

Get Set Go Treetop Adventure Alton Towers

Get Set Go Treetop Adventure Alton Towers

 

In the Night Garden Magical Boat Ride

This is a popular water ride in CBeebies Land which has you boarding a boat for a magical tour around the Night Garden. The boat floats peacefully around a river, and whilst it’s a water ride you are very unlikely to get wet.

This ride has you passing by many of the characters and scenes from the “In the Night Garden” TV series, including the Tombliboos, Upsy Daisy and Iggle Piggle.

It’s a nice relaxing ride which should amuse younger visitors and be nice and relaxing for adults. It’s also a relatively long ride at 6 minutes.

ncluded on Fastrack: No
Scare factor: 0/5
Thrill factor: 0/5
Ride type: Boat ride
Ride length: 6 minutes
Ride height restriction: No height restriction but those under 1m must ride with an adult

 

Postman Pat Parcel Post

Postman Pat has been a stalwart figure on children’s television since the 1980s. I remember watching him delivering mail around the Yorkshire Dales with his trusty helper Jess the cat as a child, and kids today still get to watch Pat on CBeebies.

Now, you too can experience the life of Pat on the Alton Towers Postman Pat Parcel Post ride in CBeebies Land. This is a flat ride on rails which has you boarding Pat’s signature red post van and go trundling around a course.

The van has various buttons on the dashboard, which you can press to ensure you deliver the right parcel to the right person, giving it a good element of interactivity. There are also lights and a horn that you can control.

Overall this is a fun family experience for younger visitors and especially fans of Postman Pat. It is by no means a thrill ride, but not everything has to be!

Included on Fastrack: No
Scare factor: 0/5
Thrill factor: 0/5
Ride type: Track Ride
Ride length: 2 minutes 45 seconds
Ride height restriction: No height restriction but those under 1.1m must ride with an adult

Alton Towers Ride Photos

Postman Pat Parcel Post Alton Towers

Postman Pat Parcel Post Alton Towers

 

 

Thrill Rides at Alton Towers

Now that we’ve covered all the rides by area, we’ll list the rides divided into various categories. Starting with thrill rides.

If you’re looking for a list of the thrill rides at Alton Towers, I’d suggest the following all classify:

  • The Smiler
  • Oblivion
  • Galactica
  • Rita
  • TH13TEEN
  • Wicker Man
  • Spinball Whizzer
  • Runaway Mine Train
  • Marauders Mayhem
  • The Blade

Of course, how thrilling you find a ride will be personal preference, but we think most people would find the above rides fairly thrilling!

Alton Towers Ride Photos

 

Rides for Toddlers and Kids at Alton Towers

If you’re visiting Alton Towers with younger family members, you might be wondering what the best rides for them are going to be.

For the vast majority of rides, the main thing is not going to be the age of your child, but rather their height. This is definitely something to be aware of if you have children of differing heights, as some of them may be able to experience rides that the others may not. This can lead to challenging situations, as no one likes to be left out!

It is therefore a good idea to have an idea of which rides at the park are going to be suitable for which members of your group and which aren’t. That way you can make a plan for which rides to take who to. The Alton Towers app and website has a filter system so you can show only those rides which are going to be suitable.

The last time we visited Alton Towers we had four adults, a 3-year old who was 1.1m and a 6-year old who was 1.25m. So this meant they couldn’t ride every ride together.

We handled this by sharing duties between the adults, and splitting the rides we rode together. This was made a lot easier with the Fastrack passes we had as it meant we were not away for very long.

The good news is that there are also lots of great rides that are suitable for all ages and heights. We’d specifically recommend the following:

  • Gangsta Granny the Ride
  • Get Set Go Tree Top Adventure
  • Peter Rabbit Hippity Hop
  • Octonauts Rollercoaster Adventure
  • Postman Pat Parcel Post
  • Battle Galleons
  • Cuckoo Cars Driving School

For slightly taller and more adventurous kids, the following are bound to get their pulses going a bit more:

  • Blade (1m)
  • Wicker Man (1.2m)
  • Spinball Whizzer (1.2m)
  • TH13TEEN (1.2m)
  • Marauders Mayhem (1.1m)
  • Congo River Rapids (1.1m)
  • Heave Ho  (0.9m)
  • Runaway Mine Train (0.9m)

The two more scary rides (haunted house style) might also be suitable for kids but honestly this is going to be a personal decision as a parent depending on the kid. These are:

  • Hex (0.9m)
  • The Curse at Alton Manor (0.9m)

When we visited with a 3-year old and a 6-year old their ride highlights were Runaway Mine Train, Blade, Octonauts, Get Set Go Tree Top Adventure, Cuckoo Cars Driving School, and Heave Ho. The 6-year-old also really liked Spinball Whizzer, Marauders Mayhem, and Wicker Man.

They also really loved the interactive shows and experiences in CBeebies Land, as well as playing the games where you can win a toy like Hook-a-Duck.

Just be aware that the Hook-a-Duck and similar games are not free. The temptation of a giant toy is hard to resist though.

Hook a Duck Alton Towers

Hey Dugee Alton Towers

 

Ride Height Requirements at Alton Towers

Here’s a quick list of all the rides at Alton Towers with their minimum ride heights, ordered from high to low.

Some rides also have a different minimum height if riding without an adult, which is indicated in brackets if applicable.

The majority of rides with height restrictions have a measurement stick next to the ride entrance so you can verify riders’ heights. When you get to the ride, staff will usually check heights if they are unsure, so you’ll want to be sure everyone is the right height to avoid disappointment.

You can also get a bracelet which has the rider’s height on it at some of the rides to save having to be measured multiple times.

Here’s a list of all the rides which have a restriction, ordered from highest to lowest.

  • Nemesis Sub-Terra – 1.4m
  • The Smiler – 1.4m
  • Oblivion – 1.4m
  • Galactica – 1.4m
  • Rita – 1.4m
  • Spinball Whizzer – 1.2m
  • TH13TEEN – 1.2m (maximum 1.96m)
  • Wicker Man – 1.2m
  • Marauders Mayhem – 1.1m (1.3m must ride with an adult)
  • Congo River Rapids – 1.1m (1.3m must ride with an adult)
  • The Blade – 1m (1.3m must ride with an adult)
  • Hex – 0.9m (1.2m must ride with an adult)
  • The Curse at Alton Manor – 0.9m (1.1m must ride with an adult)
  • Gangsta Granny The Ride – 0.9m (1.2m must ride with an adult)
  • Peter Rabbit Hippity Hop – 0.9m (1.1m must ride with an adult)
  • Battle Galleons – 0.9m (1.1m must ride with an adult)
  • Go Jetters Vroomster Zoom Ride – 0.9m (1.25m must ride with an adult)
  • Octonauts Rollercoaster Adventure – 0.9m (1.1m must ride with an adult)
  • Heave Ho – 0.9m (1.1m must ride with an adult)
  • Runaway Mine Train – 0.9m (1.1m must ride with an adult)
  • Raj’s Bouncy Bottom Burp – 0.9m (1.1m must ride with an adult)
  • Royal Carousel – no height restriction but those under 1.3m must ride with an adult
  • Postman Pat Parcel Post – no height restriction but those under 1.1m must ride with an adult
  • In the Night Garden Magical Boat Ride – no height restriction but those under 1m must ride with an adult
  • Cuckoo Cars – 1m. Additionally, maximum of 1.4m and minimum of 4 years old.

 

Areas at Alton Towers

Alton Towers is divided into 11 areas. Each area is themed differently, with some areas more focused on high-octane thrill rides (like X-Sector) whilst others are more aimed at younger families (such as CBeebies Land).

Here’s a list of all the areas at Alton Towers and the rides they contain. When planning your day, it’s a good idea to try and do all the rides you are interested in in each area, to avoid spending a lot of time walking between locations.

 

X-Sector

This section of the park contains some of the more extreme rides in the park, all of which have a minimum height restriction of 1.4m. The rides are:

  • Oblivion
  • The Smiler
  • Spinjam (temporary carnival style ride)
  • Twistatron (temporary carnival style ride)

X-Sector is themed like a secret government testing facility, so expect lots of metal fencing and concrete.

 

Dark Forest

This section of the park is home to two rides, both of which offer fast-paced thrills. These are:

The Dark Forest area is themed as a sort of haunted woodland. The idea is you can only escape by riding the abandoned drag racer Rita. I’m not quite sure how you get out if you’re under the 1.4m height restriction for Rita.

Dark Forest Alton Towers

 

Forbidden Valley

This area of the park has a number of different rides which include some rides suitable for smaller guests. This is the area of the park you enter if you come in the hotel guest entrance.

Forbidden valley is where you’ll find the Blade, which is the oldest ride in Alton Towers, originally opening in 1980!

The rides in Forbidden Valley are:

  • The Blade
  • Galactica
  • Nemesis Sub-Terra
  • Funk n’Fly (temporary carnival style ride)

Forbidden Valley has a post-apocalyptic theme, with hints of alien infestation throughout linked to the Nemesis creature. Nemesis was a ride at Alton Towers until 2022, when it closed for refurbishment. It’s due to relaunch with a significant overhaul in 2024.

 

Gloomy Wood

Found between Katanga Canyon and Forbidden Valley, Gloomy Wood only contains one ride:

However it does have a walkthrough themed footpath which is home to various statues, gravestones and other installations, titled Haunted Hollow. Some of these make noises, including telling jokes.

As you would guess from the name, the theme of the area is a haunted woodland.

 

Katanga Canyon

Katanga Canyon is where you’ll find the park’s oldest rollercoaster as well as a water ride. Both these rides are a lot of fun, with the rollercoaster suitable for many younger visitors as well.

  • Runaway Mine Train
  • Congo River Rapids

Katanga Canyon is themed as an African village. The Runaway Mine ride has one of the lowest height requirements of any rollercoaster in the park (the same as Octonauts), and is very popular with families.

 

CBeebies Land

CBeebies Land is one of the most family friendly areas in Alton Towers, with rides, shows and activities focused around entertaining younger visitors.

Honestly, if you are visiting with toddlers and young visitors there’s pretty much enough to do here to fill a day. It’s a really fun area and you can tell a lot of thought has gone into creating an immersive world. As you can see there’s a lot to do here:

  • In the Night Garden Magical Boat Ride
  • Postman Pat’s Parcel Post
  • Get Set Go Treetop Adventure
  • Something Special Sensory Garden
  • Bugbie Go Round
  • Octonauts Roller Coaster Adventure
  • Justin’s House: Pie-O-Matic Factory
  • Go Jetters Vroomster Zoom Ride
  • Big Fun Showtime
  • CBeebies Photo Studio
  • JoJo & Gran Gran at Home
  • Andy’s Adventures Dinosaur Dig
  • Hey Duggee’s Live

If we had to criticize CBeebies Land for anything, it’s that queue times for some of the rides can be a bit long on busy days.

In fact, the longest queue we had on a recent visit to Alton Towers was for Get Set Go Tree Top Adventure.

Other than that though, this park, which is themed around a whole range of CBeebies programs, is a really fun spot for families visiting Alton Towers offering everything from rides to live shows to fun photo opportunities.

CBeebies Land Entrance Alton Towers

 

The Towers

The Towers are actually the ruins of the original house at Alton Towers, and is where the park gets its name from. It is home to a number of rides, which are found around the main building.

The Towers area is a bit spread out, with part of it right next to CBeebies Land and the rest close to the World of David Walliams. Rides are as follows:

  • Hex – The Legend of the Towers
  • Cuckoo Cars Driving School
  • Spinball Whizzer

There’s no particular theming around the rides to be honest, they just happen to be in the area of the original house.

This area is also where you will find the Alton Towers Dungeon. This is a separate attraction which requires its own ticket, which you can purchase here. This is a walk through attraction with costumed actors.

We haven’t visited the Alton Towers Dungeon but we have visited the dungeon in Edinburgh, London and San Francisco, which offer a similar experience.

It is fun, however there is already quite a lot to do at Alton Towers so we wouldn’t say it was a must-see attraction. That said, it is a good value especially if you book in advance and it is a fun experience.

Alton Towers

 

The World of David Walliams

Found just beyond The Towers, the World of David Walliams offers a range of rides which are primarily aimed at primary school aged kids.

In our experience though younger kids also enjoy the majority of the rides here as they are not particularly extreme and the ride heights are not overly restrictive. The rides here are:

  • Gangsta Granny: The Ride
  • Raj’s Bouncy Bottom Burp
  • Royal Carousel
  • Flavio’s Fabulous Fandango

This area is themed around the world and characters created by David Walliams and is another good spot for families visiting Alton Towers.

 

Mutiny Bay

Found near the main park entrance, Mutiny Bay is home to a lot of family-friendly rides as well as a number of paid fairground style games like Hook-a-Duck and toss the ball type of games. The rides are:

  • Battle Galleons
  • Heave-Ho
  • Marauders Mayhem
  • Wicker Man

With the exception of Wicker Man, all the rides here have a nautical / pirate theme, and this is another great location in the park for families as the majority rides have low height restrictions and the queues are not normally too long (except for Wicker Man).

This is also where you’ll find Sharkbait Reef by Sea Life Aquarium, an aquarium you can visit which is included as part of your ticket. This is an entirely indoor attraction so is a good option if it is raining.

Finally, there’s also a bar serving drinks as well as a seating area at Mutiny Bay.

SeaLife Alton Towers

SeaLife Alton Towers

Beer at Alton Towers

 

Towers Street

When you enter the park through the main entrance you will arrive onto Towers Street. This area is themed like a town high street and is home to various services and facilities, including food and drinks outlets and customer service.

There’s a Skyride station here, but no actual rides. From this area you can see across the lake to the Towers. To your left as you face away from the entrance is Mutiny Bay, and on your right is CBeebies Land.

So if you are visiting with kids you don’t have to go far to find your first rides.

 

The Gardens

One of the oldest areas at Alton Towers, and one that has been drawing visitors for years, are the gardens. These take up a large area of the park between Mutiny Bay and the Dark Forest.

Many visitors only experience the gardens from above, as the Skyride passes over them, but it is worth taking some time to explore them as they are quite lovely and make for a nice spot for a break.

You’ll find all sorts of features, from neatly trimmed topiary hedges, fountains, old trees, greenhouses, and follies.

Just be aware that the gardens are set across a valley, and there can be quite a few steps to navigate. So this is worth bearing in mind if you have limited mobility or are navigating a children’s buggy.

Gardens at Alton Towers

Gardens at Alton Towers

 

Accessibility at Alton Towers

Alton Towers provides a lot of information and options for people with various disability and mobility needs, and this information is covered in detail on the page dedicated to accessibility on the Alton Towers site.

The accessibility approach at Alton Towers is designed to assist anyone with accessibility needs have a safe and enjoyable visit to the park, and the site has information to help you plan your visit as well as what to expect on site.

In general, the park and the resort accommodation options cater well for accessibility requirements. All the toilets have accessible wheelchair features as well as accessible changing rooms. Wheelchairs are available for free, and mobility scooters can be hired for the day. The latter can be booked online in advance here.

Alton Towers also offers a Ride Access Pass, which is designed for visitors who find it difficult to stand for prolonged periods of time. This gives access to a separate line and a virtual queuing system.

Ride Access Pass holders don’t get to skip the line per se, but they don’t have to stand in a line for a prolonged period. This process is explained here.

For Ride Access pass access this needs to be booked in advance of your visit as applications are approved by a third-party who assesses visitors’ needs on an individual basis.

 

Photos at Alton Towers

Photography is generally allowed at Alton Towers, however for the most part photography is not allowed on the rides (with some exceptions).

So if you want to get photos of yourself and your family enjoying the rides, you’ll need to consider investing in a photo package.

On a recent trip to Alton Towers we bought the digital photo pass for both of the days we were there. This was £20, and we thought it was pretty amazing.

The way it works is as follows. As you finish a ride, all the ride photos are displayed on a screen with a number. Using the Alton Towers app, you can type in that number, and the photo will appear in the app on your device.

You can also pick up a QR code that links to your account and have the photo attendant scan it for automatic delivery to your app.

If you haven’t bought the digital photo pass, the photo appears in the app with a big watermark and you can’t download it. However, when you pay for the photo pass (either in app on in person), the photos all become available without watermark, and you can download them to your phone for sharing.

The nice thing about this system is that even with six of us, we still only needed to buy one photo pass. I just had all the photos delivered to my phone and then shared them. Over the two days we were there we had around 80 photos, many of which you can see in this guide.

It’s also worth noting that there are more photo opportunities than just ride photos. One good example is the The CBeebies Land photo stop. This is a really fun experience, where a green screen is used to add you and your group to many CBeebies Land scenes.

As well as digital photos, you can also pay for printouts of ride photos, although this is a separate fee.

You can buy the digital photo pass online in advance of your visit here. You can also buy it on site in person, or through the app. The cost is the same.

Honestly, while it is convenient to buy it in advance, you might want to wait until the end of the day so you can review the pictures in the app and then decide if you want to buy them.

I believe the pictures are available for purchase for up to 90 days in the app, and once purchased they can be downloaded from the app for up to a year from when they were taken.

Alton Towers Group Photo

 

Restaurants at Alton Towers

Alton Towers has quite a wide choice of dining options across the park. There are restaurants in the theme park area itself, as well as restaurants at the hotel resorts which serve breakfast and dinner.

There are also picnic areas and a number of places selling snacks which can be found all around the park.

The main dining options are as follows.

 

Restaurants in the Theme Park

  • Woodcutter’s Bar and Grill (near Dark Forest / Towers)- focuses on grilled foods
  • Rollercoaster Restaurant (Forbidden Valley) – has a variety of options, with the twist that all the food is delivered via a mini rollercoaster.
  • Explorers Pizza Pasta (Katanga Canyon) – buffet restaurant with a range of pizza, pasta and a salad bar
  • The Burger Kitchen (near David Walliams area & Alton Towers Dungeon, also Mutiny Bay) – Primarily burgers, as you would imagine
  • Just Chicken (X-Sector) – Primarily focuses on fried chicken
  • Corner Coffee (Towers Street) – As well as coffee it also has sandwiches, pastries, and cakes
Woodcutters bar and grill Alton Towers
Woodcutters bar and grill food

 

Woodcutters bar and grill Alton Towers
Woodcutters bar and grill food

 

Rollercoaster Restaurant Alton Towers
Rollercoaster restaurant serving platter

 

Rollercoaster Restaurant Alton Towers
Rollercoaster restaurant

 

Rollercoaster Restaurant Alton Towers
Rollercoaster restaurant

 

Restaurants in the Resort Area

Note these generally only serve breakfast and dinner. It’s also good to know that the Rollercoaster Restaurant is also open after the theme park closes, although reservations are required.

Secret Garden Restaurant Alton TowersSecret Garden Restaurant Food

Secret Garden Restaurant Alton TowersSecret Garden Restaurant Food

 

Accommodation at Alton Towers

For an extended Alton Towers experience, you can actually stay on site at one of the resort accommodation options. There are six different accommodation options at Alton Towers across a range of different price points.

We think staying on site can make sense, especially if you are visiting with kids as the on-site accommodation is really set up towards enhancing their experience with additional activities and themed rooms.

However if you want to stay somewhere a bit quieter with more flexibility in choice in terms of price, dining options and so on, then check out the section on nearby accommodation further on in this guide.

All the accommodation is found to the east of the main park. Depending on which option you choose, the accommodation is about a 5-10 minute walk from the monorail, which will whisk you to the main park entrance in a few minutes.

You can also walk to the main park entrance in 20 – 30 minutes, or to the exclusive hotel guest entrance which is about 5 – 10 minutes’ walk from most of the hotels.

Here’s a rundown of all the accommodation options at Alton Towers to give you an idea of what to expect.

 

Alton Towers Hotel

Alton Towers Hotel was the first hotel to be built at the park, opening in 1996. It’s a 4* hotel with a large restaurant, bar and almost 200 rooms.

The hotel is themed after the fictional character Sir Algenon Alton, a famed explorer and inventor. Different areas of the hotel are themed to match his different exploits, including a hot-air balloon pirate ship in the bar area which doubles as a stage.

Various room types are available. On our recent visit we stayed in an Arctic Explorer room which was very comfortable and quite large, especially for two of us. It had an en-suite bathroom with bathtub, air-conditioning, a small fridge and tea/coffee making facilities.

Most of the rooms can sleep up to four people – two adults and two kids. They are fairly large rooms and even though we visited when it was busy the rooms were quiet.

We really liked the theming in the rooms, which has a lot of thoughtful details throughout, from the carpet to the massive stuffed polar bear on the bed. Different rooms have different themes, as well as different amenities.

Air conditioning for example is not available in all the room, so do check if that’s important to you.

You can see all the room types and their amenities here– there are a lot of options to choose from!

Artic Explorer Room Alton Towers

Artic Explorer Room Alton Towers

Artic Explorer Room Alton Towers

Alton Towers Resort Hotel

 

Splash Landings Resort

Opened in 2003, Splash Landings Hotel is also a 4* hotel. It’s the closest hotel to the Monorail station and hotel guest theme park entrance. It’s also where you’ll find the Alton Towers Waterpark.

Splash Landings is themed, as you might imagine, around water, with a sunny Carribean theme running throughout. There are water features and themed installations, and the rooms are also themed along various nautical styles.

On site there’s an all you can eat restaurant, Flambo’s Jambo, which has a Carribean theme. There’s also a Caribbean themed bar on site, as well as regular entertainment.

Splash Landings is definitely a good option, especially with kids. The only thing to be aware of is that it can get quite warm in the hotel as the waterpark is on site, and the rooms don’t have air conditioning. So the rooms can be quite warm, even in the cooler months of the year.

You can see all the room types and their amenities at Splash Landings Resort here.

Splash Landings Alton Towers

 

CBeebies Land Hotel

CBeebies Land Hotel is the newest hotel at Alton Towers Resort, opening in 2017. On a recent visit to Alton Towers with friends they stayed here with their two kids ages 3 and 6 years old.

CBeebies Land is firmly aimed at younger visitors to the park and is themed around the characters found in CBeebies shows. This theming extends throughout, from the rooms to the restaurant and reception.

There are also many CBeebies shows and entertainment experiences which take place here which are included for guests. There’s also a restaurant and bar on site.

There’s a range of rooms available, our friends stayed in the Swashbuckle themed pirate room which slept up to five and had two TVs as well as pirate theming throughout.

The description for CBeebies Land Hotel suggests that it is best for visitors with kids aged up to around three. However, we’d say that this very much depends on your kids and what they are into, and kids up to 9 or 10 will probably love it.

Our friends’ kids honestly thought the hotel was amazing. They loved pretty much everything about it. Their parents particularly appreciated the room layout which had the kids in their own alcove in bunk beds, meaning they felt almost like they had their own room whilst still being in the same room.

They also enjoyed the food, the entertainment, and the theming throughout.

One important thing to be aware of with this hotel and its facilities is that it is only open to guests staying in the hotel itself.

So if you are visiting the park as a group and some of you are staying in CBeebies Hotel and some of you are in other accommodation, this is something to keep in mind if you plan on dining together or watching entertainment.

Guests of the other accommodation options can’t visit CBeebies Land Hotel or use its facilities.

We got around this by having our meals at the Alton Towers Hotel on a recent visit, but the kids did still get to have their breakfast in CBeebies and also they took part in some of the activities like the evening Stargazing.

Overall, if you are visiting Alton Towers with a younger family the CBeebies Land Hotel would be my number one pick if it’s available. You can see all the room types here.

CBeebies Land Hotel Alton Towers Resort

CBeebies Land Hotel Alton Towers Resort

CBeebies Land Hotel Alton Towers Resort

CBeebies Land Hotel Alton Towers Resort

CBeebies Land Hotel Alton Towers Resort

 

Stargazing Pods

The remaining three accommodation options at Alton Towers fall into the Enchanted Village area of the park, which offers a range of less traditional accommodation options.

The first of these we will cover are the Stargazing pods, which opened to the public in 2019. If you’ve ever been glamping, then these pods will be quite familiar.

They’re basically small wooden structures that offer an experience similar to camping but with the benefit of real beds, lighting and heating. Each pod can sleep up to four, with one double bed and two single beds. Linen is provided.

There are no toilets, showers or other washing facilities in the pods themselves, these are all centrally located at a separate block which offers toilets, showers and baby change areas.

There’s also no cooking or refrigeration facilities, you will need to dine at one of the restaurants (unless you bring your own picnic style meals).

Stargazing pods are definitely the most basic accommodation option which can make for a really budget friendly camping-like experience at Alton Towers.

They are normally the lowest cost accommodation option at Alton Towers Resort, and they also tend to have the best availability whenever we’ve looked for last minute accommodation.

Stargazing pods Alton Towers

Stargazing pods Alton Towers

 

Woodland Lodges

The original accommodation option in the Enchanted Village were the Woodland Lodges, which opened in 2015.

The Woodland Lodges are styled as log cabins, each of which can sleep up to five people. There’s a main room for adults, and a separate kids sleeping area with bunk beds and a truckle bed.

All the rooms have en-suite bathrooms, flat screen TVs and free WiFi. For dining, breakfast is available at the Crooked Spoon restaurant in the Enchanted Village, and guests can also have their evening meal here or at one of the other restaurants.

We haven’t personally stayed at the Woodland Lodges but we have friends who stayed here with their kids and they enjoyed it.

These tend to be amongst the more popular options for accommodation at Alton Towers Resort, and can sell out quickly.

Woodland Lodges Alton Towers

 

Luxury Treehouses

The most exclusive accommodation option in the Enchanted Village area are the Luxury Treehouses, which are found in a secluded part of the Enchanted Village.

There are five luxury treehouses, and they can all sleep up to eight people in four bedrooms. The luxury treehouses all come with a kitchenette, which includes a fridge, kettle, toaster, microwave and dishwasher. So these are currently the only accommodation option at Alton Towers where you could prepare your own meals.

Other luxuries include a 50″ TV with games console, private hot tub and deck, and the use of an exclusive takeaway service for meal delivery.

Of course, all this luxury and amenities does mean that the treehouses are the most expensive option at Alton Towers. However if you are visiting the resort with a group or just want something extra special, then they are definitely worth checking out.

Luxury Treehouse Alton Towers

Woodland Lodges Alton Towers

 

Accommodation Near Alton Towers

Whilst there are plenty of accommodation options at Alton Towers, it’s not the only option for your visit.

We do like the on-site accommodation but if you are not visiting with kids or would just like a bit of variety in terms of dining options, then there are lots of nearby alternatives across a wide range of budgets.

These can make a good location for staying the night before Alton Towers, or for further exploration in the area as part of a longer trip.

Here are some to consider, ordered by driving distance from Alton Towers.

  • The White Hart – a popular inn in the village of Alton, offering a range of en-suite rooms. 7 minutes’ drive from Alton Towers
  • The Laurel’s B&B – This is a well-rated B&B which serves breakfast. Rooms are en-suite with tea/coffee making facilities. 8 minutes’ drive from Alton Towers
  • The Bay Tree – a very well-reviewed B&B with en-suite accommodation and breakfast available. 8 minutes’ drive from Alton Towers
  • Peakstones Inn – This 3* hotel offers a range of en-suite rooms and there’s an on-site restaurant and bar. Breakfast is available. 10 minutes’ drive from Alton Towers.
  • Heywood Hall – This property offers a number of self-contained apartments, each with a small kitchen an en-suite bathroom. There’s also a hot tub and garden for guests use. 12 minutes’ drive from Alton Towers.
  • Whiston Hall – A beautiful 19th century hotel with its own golf course and landscaped garden. A range of en-suite rooms are available and breakfast is offered. 13minutes’ drivee from Alton Towers.
  • The Duncombe Arms – This pub/hotel is found in Ellastone and offers air-conditioned rooms with coffee machines and en-suite facilities. Breakfast is available and there’s a restaurant and bar for other meals. 13 minutes drive from Alton Towers
  • The Royal Oak – This inn offers a range of comfortable rooms in the town of Ashbourne. There’s a restaurant and bar on site with meals available. 19 minutes’ drive from Alton Towers.
  • YHA Ilam Hall – This youth hostel is found in a gothic hall set in 84 acres of parkland. There’s an on-site breakfast, kitchen for self-catering, and a choice of shared or private accommodation. 22 minutes’ drive from Alton Towers.

Of course, there are lots more options to consider. You can see a full range of accommodation options near Alton Towers on Booking.com here, which includes a number of holiday rentals as well.

 

Other Activities at Alton Towers

As well as the theme park, there are a number of other activities at the Alton Towers resort that you can enjoy. These are as follows.

 

Waterpark

Found inside the Splash Landings Hotel, the Alton Towers Waterpark is open the majority of the year.

There are a number of pools, both inside and outside, as well as various water slides. It’s a lot of fun and well worth including as part of your visit. You can book tickets online here.

Splash Landings Alton Towers

 

Extraordinary Golf

Right next to the Splash Landings hotel is an 18-hole miniature golf course which is themed around the main rides at Alton Towers.

This is actually a really fun mini-golf course which we had a lot of fun playing. The holes are very unique, and it’s a nice way to spend an hour or two.

A complimentary round of 9 holes is normally included for resort guests, and we highly recommend taking advantage of this. We did it on the day we left, before visiting the waterpark. It’s also open relatively late, so if you have the stamina you could do it after a day at the theme park!

Find out more and book tickets online here.

Mini Golf Alton Towers

 

Spa

Alton Towers is very much designed to be fun for the whole family, and adults will definitely want to consider a relaxing trip to the Alton Towers Spa as part of their visit!

The Spa is found in Alton Towers Hotel, and is open year-round to everyone, including non-residents of the hotel and those without theme park tickets.

A range of treatments are available and booking is advised. Find out more on the website here.

 

Alton Towers Dungeon

The Alton Towers Dungeon is actually found inside the Theme Park, so you do need theme park tickets to visit. However, it is an additional charge to visit, so I thought I should also include it in this part of the guide.

The Dungeon is a walk-through experience with costumed actors, and is similar to other Dungeon experiences including the London Dungeon.

We think it is fairly priced, however given how much there already is to do at Alton Towers it is not a must-see attraction.

Find out more and book tickets here.

Alton Towers Dungeon

 

Tips for Visiting Alton Towers

We’ve visited Alton Towers a number of times, and based on our experiences we wanted to share some tips to help you get the most from your day at the theme park.

 

Make a Plan

If you want to make the most out of your day at Alton Towers, we highly recommend putting a plan together. This should at least cover which rides you and your group are most interested in riding.

Once you know which rides you want to do, you can then plan a route around the park. We’d suggest heading for the rides which are likely to have the longest queues first (usually the more extreme thrill rides), and tackling all the rides in the same area together to minimise walking times.

If you are visiting with kids who don’t meet the ride height requirements for all the rides, or folks who aren’t interested in specific rides, you’ll also want to plan for how to handle splitting your group up if necessary so everyone can have the experience they want. This might require some compromises, so is best handled in advance.

You can also avoid the drama of kids discovering they aren’t the right height to take part in a ride by measuring them in advance, and planning your route so they don’t feel they are missing out on anything. For example, you could take them to CBeebies Land or Mutiny Bay and then members of the group could pop off for other rides.

We’d also recommend thinking about where you want to eat and when. You can either bring your own picnic or eat at one of the on-site restaurants. These obviously get very busy around lunch time on busier days, and reservations are not possible, so you might want to eat earlier or later in the day.

 

Bring a Smartphone Charger

The chances are that you are going to be using your phone a lot at Alton Towers. From taking photos to communicating with friends to using the app to change ride times and find your way around, it’s going to be used a lot.

Having your phone go flat partway through the day, especially if you’re relying on it to capture memories, find your way around, or display a Fastrack pass, isn’t going to be ideal.

For this reason we recommend bringing a USB charger for your phone. There are lots available, we currently use one like this which worked well to charge our phone and our friends’ phones on our last visit to Alton Towers.

 

Download the Alton Towers App

In the days of yore, Alton Towers had a paper map that you could use to find your way around the park. If you wanted to know how long a ride queue was, you had to either physically go to the ride itself, or try and find one of the elusive boards displaying ride queue times and statuses across the park.

Nowadays, pretty much everything is handled via the Alton Towers App, which is actually surprisingly good. Although it does require you to have a smartphone of course.

The App lets you do a lot, including:

  • Navigate around the park, with directions, estimated walking times and routing available. It can also suggest routes with fewer steps.
  • Find rides based on a variety of criteria, from ride type through to ride height restrictions
  • Display live ride queue times and open statuses (only works on site)
  • Book and use Fastrack passes
  • Save and display your Alton Towers ticket
  • Find toilets, restaurants, show times, buggy parks, water refill stations and lots more
  • Get digital previews of your ride photos which you can purchase in-app
  • Add any hotel bookings
  • Get information about heritage locations in the gardens
  • Find out about parking, getting to the park and accessibility

And lots more! Honestly, the app is a must-have when visiting Alton Towers, and it’s worth downloading in advance of your visit so you are fully prepared. You can find download links for it here on the official site.

Alton Towers Queue Times
Alton Towers Queue Times

 

Book Your Meals if Staying Overnight

If you are staying overnight at one of the on-site accommodation options, it’s really important that you book your meals in advance. You need to book a timeslot for your breakfast and evening meals.

Normally, your breakfast meal will be at the hotel where you are staying. Even if it’s included, you need to make a reservation for a timeslot. These do fill up, so the further in advance you book the better the chance of getting a good time.

For your evening meal you can choose any of the restaurants, including Rollercoaster Restaurant. However, depending on the restaurant you may still need to book.

Restaurants where bookings are recommended for dinner are the Secret Garden Restaurant, Rollercoaster Restaurant and Windmill Restaurant.

Flambo’s Jambo and the Crooked Spoon only require reservations for breakfast.

The Rollercoaster Restaurant is usually the most popular and has the least seating, so can book out weeks in advance for dinner.

Note that only guests staying in the CBeebies Hotel are able to dine at the Windmill Restaurant. Booking links for all the restaurants are as follows:

Reserving a reservation is free and only takes a couple of minutes. Note that a day or so before your reservation you will normally be contacted by e-mail to confirm your reservation, which just requires clicking a link in the e-mail.

 

Visit Splash Landings if Staying Multiple Days

If you are staying overnight at Alton Towers, consider using some of your time whilst you are on site to visit Splash Landings, the on-site waterpark.

For example, we recently spent two nights at Alton Towers. We visited the park on the first two days, and on the day we departed we spent the morning at Splash Landings. It was a lovely way to end our trip and meant even on the day we were leaving we still had a lot of fun.

Splash Landings tickets are best purchased in advance, which you can do online here. At busier times of year you need to pick a timeslot for your visit, so it is definitely best to do this in advance to be sure you can visit at a time that suits you.

Splash Landings Alton Towers

Splash Landings Alton Towers

 

Arrive Early and Leave Late

There is a huge amount to do at Alton Towers, and your ticket gives you access for the whole day. So we highly recommend taking full advantage of that, and trying to be at the park from opening time to closing.

Normally, the park opens around an hour before the rides start operating. We definitely recommend getting here at opening time so you can head to a popular ride you really want to do. This way you’ll be able to get in the queue before they get too long.

It’s also worth staying as close to closing time as possible. As the day progresses people start to leave, and if you have the stamina for it, we suggest waiting right until closing time to leave so you can maximise your riding times. Queues definitely get shorter as the day comes to an end, so you’ll be able to squeeze a few more rides in.

 

Alternatives to Alton Towers

You might be wondering if there are any alternatives to Alton Towers in the UK. The answer is yes, there are certainly other theme parks in the UK.

However, Alton Towers generally has the widest choice of rides spread out across the largest area. However, here are some alternatives to consider:

  • Thorpe Park
  • Blackpool Pleasure Beach
  • Chessington World of Adventures
  • LEGOLAND Windsor Resort
  • Drayton Manor Park

 

Alton Towers Frequently Asked Questions

We’re now going to go through some commonly asked questions about Alton Towers.

 

Are Alton Towers Fastrack Passes Worth It?

You might be wondering if you should invest in an Alton Towers Fastrack Pass. We have visited Alton Towers both with and without a Fastrack Pass, and had a good experience both times.

The passes can definitely be worth it, but a lot will depend on how busy the park is as well as how many rides (and which rides) you actually plan to ride.

If you are visiting at a quieter time of year, then you might find that a Fastrack Pass is not necessary as queue times might not be so long.

If you are visiting at a busy time of year, such as during school holidays, on a weekend, or during a time when many school trips are visiting (often around the last week of school), then a Fastrack pass might be a good investment.

We have visited during a busy time at Alton Towers, when lines for the most popular rides were in excess of 2 hours. With the Fastrack, lines were between 5 minutes and 25 minutes. The latter was more unusual and usually only happened if the ride had paused for a technical reason, causing the queue to build up.

Without the Fastrack, we probably would have struggled to ride more than 3 or 4 rides in the day, and most of our time would have been spent in queues. As we were visiting in a group and taking turns to look after the younger members of our group, this wouldn’t have worked out so well.

As it was, members of the group could pop off and ride a larger ride, and be gone and back in around 30 minutes. We were also able to ride many rides, I personally did at least 15 rides in one day. So for our visit the Fastrack Pass was absolutely worth it.

If you do decide to get the Fastrack, you also have to decide which one to get. This will depend greatly on which rides you want to ride Personally I’d recommend the Silver or Gold passes, as these include the rides which tend to have the longest lines.

Whilst these two passes are only valid for one ride on each attraction, if you manage your time well at the park you can normally fit in at least one non Fastrack ride at the start and end of the day when the park is quieter if you did want to ride anything multiple times. You can also buy one-off Fastrack passes on a per attraction basis.

The platinum Fastrack pass is best for those of you who really want to ride multiple rides multiple times, in which case it can make sense.

You can buy Fastrack passes in advance of your visit here, on site at customer services, or on-site through the app.

The price is the same, however Fastrack passes do sell out, especially at busier times of year.

If you are visiting at a busier time of year and want to buy a Fastrack, it is highly recommended you do so in advance on the website here.

If you are visiting at a quieter time of year you may prefer to purchase in person when you arrive after you have seen how busy the park is. Just bear in mind that passes can sell out.

 

How Long Do You Need at Alton Towers?

I would recommend spending the whole day at Alton Towers, from the time the gates open to the time it closes. It is a relatively expensive day out, so you might as well get your money’s worth.

For an even more comprehensive experience, you can also plan to stay overnight on the resort or at a nearby hotel, and then visit for a second day.

You can often get a second day entry ticket at a lower price when purchasing your original ticket, making this a good value option.

There is definitely more than enough to do at Alton Towers to fill two full days.

 

Are the Alton Towers Hotels Any Good?

We were actually very impressed with the Alton Towers hotels. On our recent visit we stayed at the Alton Towers Hotel, whilst our friends with their younger kids stayed at CBeebies Land Hotel.

We thought everything was well done, the theme throughout, the seamless check-in process, the attentive staff, the evening entertainment and the food were all excellent.

It really added to the overall experience and felt like an extension of the theme park. The kids in particular loved CBeebies Land, which we can recommend for families with kids up to around 9 or 10.

We also appreciated that staying at the hotel meant that our parking was included, and that there was a hotel guests only entrance just a few minutes’ walk from the hotels. This got us close to Galactica and The Blade at entry time, meaning we were amongst the first riders on board.

The only downside for our stay was that we had to book timeslots for all our meals in advance.

We were staying for two nights so had to book breakfast and dinner slots. As we booked last minute there wasn’t a lot of availability, and it also meant we couldn’t be flexible with our plans.

It all worked out in the end and the food at the restaurants we ate at was actually very good. Just be aware that you do need to plan and book in advance.

Alton Towers Resort Hotel

 

When is Alton Towers Busiest?

Alton Towers is usually busiest at the weekends and during school holidays.

There are also often school trips to Alton Towers in the last couple of weeks of the school term in July, although school trips can visit at any time of course.

We have visited Alton Towers at various times of year, including during July school trip time. It will certainly be busier, and you may want to invest in a Fastrack ticket on busier days.

 

Is Alton Towers Good for Families?

Yes, Alton Towers is a fantastic day out for families. There is such a wide choice of rides, attractions and activities that everyone in the family will be able to have a great day out.

 

Is Photography Allowed at Alton Towers?

Yes, photography is allowed at Alton Towers.

There are some exceptions. You are not allowed to take photos or videos during rides due to safety, and this will be clearly stated when queuing for and boarding the ride. Using your phone or camera on rides can get you ejected from the park and may shut down the ride temporarily. Keep yourself, your phone, and other passengers safe by stowing your phone and cameras before each ride.

If you want to get photos of you and your friends and family enjoying the rides, then we recommend checking out the digital photo pass, which covers most of the rides. We all loved that and got lots of photos that way on the rides of all of us. You can buy this online in advance here or in person on site.

In addition, photography and videography is heavily restricted at Splash Landings, for obvious reasons. If you are inside Splash Landings when it is open you can generally take limited photos of your own friends and family, but that’s about it. You are not allowed to take photos of other guests. Best to leave your phone or camera in the locker unless you really need it.

When Splash Landings is closed and empty, you can take photos of the area.

 

Can I Take My Own Food and Drink to Alton Towers?

Yes, you can take your own food and drink to Alton Towers, and there are picnic benches all around the park where you can consume your own food and drink.

The only real restriction to this rule is that you can’t bring alcohol into the park, although it is served on site.

You also can’t take your own food and drink into venues where they serve food and drink, as the tables are only for paying customers only.

There are a few picnic areas located here and there with picnic benches that you can sit and use, including on the main grassy area by the lake in front of Towers Street, and next to Hex.

Alton Towers Picnic Tables

 

Are there Drinking Fountains at Alton Towers?

There are lots of water refill stations around the park where you can refill a water bottle. We’d definitely recommend bringing your own refillable water bottle to Alton Towers so you can stay hydrated as you go.

Water refill stations are marked on the map in the Alton Towers app.

Alton Towers Water Refill Station

 

How do I Eat at the Rollercoaster Restaurant?

The Rollercoaster restaurant is one of the most fun dining experiences at Alton Towers, and kids in particular love watching the food fly around the various tracks before arriving at your table. Honestly, adults love it too!

Unfortunately, this does mean that the restaurant is also popular and can get booked up.

For hotel guests, it is possible to dine at the Rollercoaster Restaurant in the evenings. This requires a reservation, and these can sell out months in advance.

The good news is that you can still get the rollercoaster dining experience. The secret is just to go during park opening hours. During this time reservations are not possible, and dining is first come first serve.

If you turn up at close to opening time (around 11am), and don’t mind having an early lunch, then you shouldn’t have any problem getting a table.

We did this recently on a very busy day at Alton Towers and had no problem getting a table at around 11.20am. However we weren’t able to book for dinner as it was fully booked out for the whole month.

Rollercoaster Restaurant Alton Towers

 

How Long Are the Queues at Alton Towers?

Queue times at Alton Towers vary hugely, from a few minutes to over two hours.

There is huge variability in queue time which depends on how busy the park is, the time of day, the number of Fastrack Pass holders and so on.

Generally if you visit in off-peak times (basically during the week outside of school holidays) the queue times will be shorter.

Additionally, normally in the mornings before around 11am and in the afternoons after 3pm most queue times will start to reduce.

 

Is There Wi-Fi at Alton Towers?

Yes, there is free Wi-Fi throughout the resort including at the theme park and in all the accommodation options.

You just have to sign up to access it. We recommend doing so because the Alton Towers app works a lot better when you are connected to the Wi-Fi network, and using Wi-Fi tends to drain your phone battery slower than using your mobile data.

 

Does Alton Towers Have Tall Rollercoasters?

One thing you will notice when you visit Alton Towers is that it doesn’t have very tall rollercoasters such as you might find at other theme parks around the world.

The reason for this is that Alton Towers is not allowed to build any ride that goes above tree height. This is why many rides are cleverly constructed in sunken areas or to even go below ground. So there are still several thrilling rollercoasters here!

 

Does the Weather Affect Rides at Alton Towers?

The UK is not necessarily known for year-round glorious weather, so you might be wondering how rain and wind can affect the rides at Alton Towers.

The good news is that most rides will normally run in the rain, unless it is very heavy rain. If there is thunder or lightning this can also impact rides. High wind can also lead to ride closures.

Otherwise though, visiting on a wet day can actually be beneficial in some regards as there will often be fewer visitors and shorter queues.

Finally, Alton Towers offers a rainy-day guarantee. This means that if the weather results in ride closures to the point that Alton Towers deems it a “Rainy Day”, then you will be able to return on a different day for free.

If this happens during your visit, instead of writing off the day, consider visiting the Waterpark. There is a fee to do so but as you are already on site it might turn the day around. You’ll just need to remember to bring your swimwear.

You can read more about the Rainy Day guarantee and what it covers here.

Oblivion Alton Towers

 

Further Reading

That’s it for our guide to visiting Alton Towers! We hope you found it useful.

Before you go, we wanted to share a few of our other guides that you might find useful.

  • For wider UK trip planning, we have suggested one week and two week UK itineraries
  • We have guides to many other cities in England. See our guide to things to do in Manchester,  things to do in Stratford upon Avon,  things to do in Bristol,  things to do in Portsmouth, tips on a weekend in York, tips on Visiting Oxford on a Day Trip, and things to do in Cambridge
  • If you’re heading to Scotland, check out our 2 day Edinburgh itinerary, our Glasgow and Loch Lomond itinerary, our guide to the best day trips from Glasgow, our guide to things to do in Edinburgh, our itinerary for Skye and the Highlands, our guide to the best day trips from Aberdeen, and our guide to the best day trips from Edinburgh to get you started. We also have a guide to getting from London to Edinburgh.
  • We have a guide to 10 of the best Stately Homes in England, some of which are not that far from Alton Towers

And that’s it! Have you ever visited Alton Towers? Do you have anything you’d add to the above, or a question about an upcoming visit? Just let us know in the comments below!

A detailed guide to visiting Alton Towers. Information on tickets, ride, fastpass, accommodation, food and more!

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