We were extremely lucky to be invited by Wiki Places For Kids & Alton Towers to celebrate CBeebies Land’s 5th birthday - and what an incredible few days it was....If you haven’t heard about Wiki Places For Kids, it’s basically the Trip Advisor for family/ kids days out; reviewed by parents for parents. We have had such a pleasure of dealing with Susie and she would be an asset to any company involved in her business. There is such a niche in the market for Susie's concept, website and a potential 'parent friendly' future app.
Having told Ralphie in the days building up to this weekend that he was going to CBeebies Land, he hadn’t stopped talking about it and how he was going to see all his favourite characters.
As part of our stay, we had been gifted three days park tickets, express parking, access to the waterpark and an overnight stay in the new Stargazing Pods and the Enchanted Village.
After looking online we were really excited to see what these new “Pods” were about, but as a family who haven’t really ‘camped’ before we were a bit apprehensive about the whole shared facilities. But we were up for trying something different!
We arrived to Alton Towers just before check in, so were able to drop our luggage and decided to head to the park for the afternoon - the look on Ralphie’s face when he first saw CBeebies Land was a moment we’ll never forget. He ran straight in and started exploring to see what he could find. Luckily for us and him, he was just over the 0.9m height restriction so was pretty much able to get on everything. I think his age and height were just perfect for how magical it must have been for him.
We managed to get Ralphie on a few rides that afternoon - his favourite being the new Peter Rabbit ride then we headed over to watch the CBeebies birthday celebration where Ralphie was in awe of seeing all his favourite characters in one place. He was having the time of his life watching and dancing along with them!
After that we drove back over towards the hotel and decided to head into the CBeebies hotel, as we’d been fortunate enough to gain access for our PR trip. Normally the entertainment and foyer area is exclusive to CBeebies hotel guests only.
It’s safe to say that Ralphie absolutely LOVED the lobby area before he’d even seen anything - as you’d expect the staff were friendly and attentive to the children, showing Ralphie the various attractions and buttons he could press.
After we managed to prise him away from the lobby, we then showed him the live entertainment area - which to our delight had a bar right behind the adult seating area. Ice cold drinks in hand, we were both able to sit back, relax and watch Ralphie enjoying himself sitting on the beanbags and taking it all in.
I don’t think we’ve ever seen him so engrossed in entertainment like he was, it was just perfect and a lovely chance to get some time together just putting our feet up and chilling. Each evening there’s children’s entertainment until around 9:30pm so a perfect way to finish off the evening after a busy day in the park.
We then had an evening booking at the Secret Garden restaurant, but really we were so hungry and tired I think we could have eaten anything. But it did give us a nice chance to all sit down together and have something to eat.
From then it was onto our first night in the new stargazing pods.
Oh my god, these pods are one of the cosiest places to be. As soon as you open the door you’re greeted by the lovely smell of fresh wood (they’re recently built) and just a lovely warm feeling. They’re immaculately clean and have a couple of cool little star ‘Alton towers’ themed constellation posters on the curved ceiling, as are the curtains. The pods have a proper radiator that gives off excellent heat if needed, there’s plenty of plug sockets to go round - and lets be honest all you really need them for is to charge your phones. There’s two single beds on either side as you walk in, but the best bit is straight ahead in its own little section is the double bed that must be custom made to fit in that area. It’s so snugly fitted, all you have around you is the wood fittings - it really is nicely done.
As soon as we got in, got Ralphie changed and on the bed, he fell straight off to sleep as soon as his head hit the pillow. Luckily for us, he will co-sleep if he has to and we all snuggled up together in this double bed, and I have to say, had one of the best, most peaceful nights sleep we’ve had in a long time. (You wouldn’t fit a travel cot in to these pods, so unless your child is ok in a single bed or happy to snuggle in with you I wouldn’t book into the pods.)
There must be amazing sound proofing in these pods as we seriously didn’t hear a single noise from outside all night. It’s also worth mentioning that the curtains actually block out basically all the light too so the pods are lovely and dark.
We woke up feeling refreshed and recharged the next morning (the first words Ralphie said were ‘go on rides’) and I headed over to the hut where you check in to pick up our breakfast that’s included with your stay. It’s a choice of bacon roll, sausage roll or the vegetarian option, and also a hot drink or juice carton. Good choice of hot drinks and actually good quality too. A pretty good way to start our day ahead.
With the pods, you obviously have shared wash facilities (think camping but better quality), and we must say they’re very tidy and well looked after.
Although the map of the pods look massive, they’re actually all pretty close to the facilities, so really no matter where your pod is you won’t have that far to walk.
In the middle of the green are some telescopes so you can gaze into the stars at night time, and then just near to these there’s a large tipi tent which has a cosy little bar and live entertainment.
After getting ourselves ready, we drove up to the Express parking which we had been allocated for our stay (I believe you have to pre book this). This is one thing we can HIGHLY recommend (especially with a toddler), as it’s situated literally a stones throw from the park entrance, so it saves the walk to the park from the hotel, or fighting/ queuing for a spot on the monorail at the crack of dawn, keeping your legs feeling fresh before you start around the park. It’s a god send at the end of the day too when you just want to get back to the hotel in minutes.
Again, we headed straight over to CBeebies Land so Ralphie could get on some rides. When you stay at any of the hotels you get early access to selected rides which opened at 9.30am as opposed to 10am. So we chose to get on the rides that had big queues the previous day - mainly the Octonauts roller coaster, which Ralphie LOVED!
As Ralphie passed the height restrictions we thought we’d take him on Hex and see how he got in - very brave! He wasn’t too sure on the dark room at the start, but was absolutely fine when he got on the actual ride.
Lunchtime came, and as can be the way with theme parks you’d expect the choice to be limited and prices extortionate.
Throughout our stay, we were actually pleasantly surprised. We tended to grab food over at Mutiny Bay as there was an area which had a good selection - jacket potatoes, curry, chicken tikka wraps and lots more. The prices aren’t too bad either, obviously they’re not what you call cheap, but I think the tikka wrap we had was around £5, so not bank breaking.
After lunch as we’d pretty much done all the bits we’d wanted to, we headed back towards the hotel to go in the Splash Landings Waterpark which we’d been granted access to for our trip. You don’t have to stay at the Splash Landings hotel to go here either, day tickets can be purchased.
There’s plenty of room in the changing facilities and they’re very clean too, always things we look out for. We went for the family changing room which was ample size for the three of us to change and has baby changing inside too. Ralphie was in his absolute element here. There’s a lazy river, plenty of slides indoors and outdoors, a small pool with kids interactive type area, and then in the main pool there’s a large splash play area where the kids can climb up and play with various water cannons, buckets and more.
We had so much fun in the waterpark, I think Ralphie would have stayed there all day, going up and down the slides. He even sat on our laps going down some of the bigger slides where you have to sit on the rubber ring, and then when you need a minute to chill there’s a handy little cafe pool side too - and everywhere is just so clean and well looked after, in fact the poolside walkways were IMMACULATE!
From the waterpark we headed up the the bar in the Splash Landings hotel to grab a slush puppy and some snacks to chill out for a little bit.
From there it was onto our next evening at the resort, but this time we’d be staying in a Woodland Lodge in the Enchanted Village. We went to check in to grab our keys and just had time to drop our bags as we had an early evening meal this time, but at the Crooked Spoon, which is the restaurant situated in the Enchanted Village.
What’s also nice, is that the Village, as you’d expect does have a community type feel with various little parks or park equipment dotted around, and also a small convenience type shop centrally located too which is open until 9pm.
We had a one bedroom lodge for the night, and what’s great is these are themed with a pixie/enchanted elves theme. So Ralphie was engrossed in looking at the various decorations around the lodge, complete with a little elves door which he kept knocking on to get them to come out!
Our lodge had a double bed in the main area and then the separate bedroom also had a bunk bed too - which we didn’t actually use as we put up the travel cot that had been provided for us for Ralphie for him to be close.
Over to the Crooked Spoon then for dinner and to relax over some food.
The choice and quality is pretty much the same as you get in the secret garden restaurant, all pretty reasonable and not overly priced too much as long as you’re sensible with your choices.
(We would highly recommend pre booking your evening meals the restaurants get very booked up and to ensure you get a reasonable seating time it’s advised to book as soon as you plan to go. )
As we knew Ralphie enjoyed it, we decided to head over to the CBeebies Hotel again for Ralphie to watch some of the entertainment and meet the characters again before getting to bed to make sure we were ready for more rides in the morning!
Breakfast was pre-booked for 7.40am at the Crooked Spoon, and I must say I was actually more impressed with the breakfast than I was with the dinner, but maybe that’s just personal preference. Good choice of hot drinks on fancy digital machine and fresh juice on offer too. Continental breakfast, ranging from cereals to fruit and also a cooked breakfast with a good selection available - including pancakes all very tasty!
This time we didn’t hang around too long as we wanted to get over to the park early to make the most of it, knowing it should be quiet being a normal Tuesday. We checked out of our lodge and drove over to the express parking again, then headed into the park where we got ourselves to the very front of the queue! Again, early access being hotel guests, so this time we got in at 9.30am, straight to CBeebies Land again!
Another BIG recommendation is that if you can book a days holiday from work, it’s so worth coming here as the park is much quieter.
Ralphie was able to get on ALL the CBeebies rides today; and some of them we were even able to stay on for a second time round as it was so quiet. It was just a much more relaxed day for us, as you’re not stressing rushing around to get on all the rides.
Another nice touch was that one of the staff members actually allowed Stace to come right up to the ride through the exit barrier while Ralphie and I were sitting on it so she could get a good picture of us - a nice touch and so friendly.
As Ralphie had been on all the CBeebies rides - and LOVED them all we thought we would have a walk over to the main part of the park and try and get on some of the bigger rides. But before we could do that we managed to get Ralphie on the Runaway Mine Train ride, which years ago was actually one of the main rides at Alton Towers!
After that I think he was exhausted and went for a nap in his buggy, so time for me and Stace to try out some of the other rides. I managed to get on Nemesis, and try out the new Wicker man ride (INCREDIBLE!!!). It then got to around 1pm and the choice was either we could go on the rest of the big rides or go back to the Waterpark for our last few hours as closing time today was 4pm.
So glad we chose the waterpark though because we all just loved it and it was so pleasantly modern and immaculate.
Overall we had one of the most enjoyable weekends we’ve had as a family, making amazing memories.
We’d say that actually if you weigh up the facilities and entertainment that’s on offer for guests it’s actually pretty good value for money to do an overnight stay here.
For our next stay we’d probably either try out staying in the CBeebies hotel, as we know Ralphie would absolutely love the themed rooms, and the entertainment for the kids in the evening is brilliant, which normally you’d only get if you’re a guest at that hotel. While we did really like the Lodge accommodation, we’d be inclined to stay in one of the pods again as it was just such a novelty, different way to stay overnight somewhere - and honestly I don’t think we have ever had such a cosy nights sleep!
So if you’re looking for somewhere to take the kids (or you're a big kid yourself), and depending how close you live to the park, we would highly recommend Alton Towers with an overnight stay at one of their lovely family friendly/ magical hotels.
Thank you for hosting us,