Grandparents' guide to Alton Towers
3rd January 2023
Alton Towers in Staffordshire is one of the most popular UK theme parks and most recognisable attractions. Featuring incredible rides and many other exciting things to do, Alton Towers is an adventure to remember. As one of the best attractions in the UK, Alton Towers is a popular choice for a day out and a brilliant location for grandparents to take their grandchildren. If you are looking for things to do with your grandkids, this guide acts as an introduction to the theme park, informing you about all you need to know when bringing the grandchildren for a visit.
In this guide, discover helpful information such as where to get tickets, Alton Towers opening times, how to travel to the park, what to bring, and what rides can be enjoyed. For visitors with limited mobility or who might use stairlifts at home, you can also learn about how accessible Alton Towers is. So, click the contents links below to locate the information you need and start to plan an exciting day out at Alton Towers.
- How to get to Alton Towers
- Opening times
- Where to get tickets
- What to pack
- What is there to see and do?
- Food and drink
- Staying at Alton Towers
How to get to Alton Towers
Where is Alton Towers?
Alton Towers is located in Staffordshire, near the village of Alton. The Alton Towers postcode is ST10 4DB.
Travelling by car to Alton Towers
Getting to Alton Towers by car is very easy, with the resort being located between the M1 and the M6. Alton Towers is well signposted and below you can see the motorway exits you need to take:
- M1 Northbound – Junction 23a
- M1 Southbound – Junction 28
- M6 Northbound – Junction 15
- M6 Southbound – Junction 16
Alton Towers has plenty of parking options, including standard, express, and Blue Badge parking for disabled visitors. You can buy your parking at the park or online in advance.
Travelling by train to Alton Towers
You can travel by train to Alton Towers if you like but you might find travelling by car more convenient. The nearest train station to Alton Towers is Uttoxeter train station, which is 10 miles away (about a 20-minute drive or 30 minutes by bus).
Stoke on Trent station is 15 miles away from Alton Towers, so it would take you around 25 minutes to get to the park via a taxi, for example.
Travelling by bus to Alton Towers
It is possible to get a bus to Alton Towers, with the X41 from B&G Bus running between Stafford, Uttoxeter, and Alton Towers Resort, as well as the 32X which runs between Hanley, Cheadle, and Alton Towers. You can see the timetable here.
There is also the X52 service which runs between Nottingham, Derby and Alton Towers.
Further travel advice for Alton Towers can be found on the theme park’s website.
Alton Towers’ opening times
The main Alton Towers theme park is open seasonally between March and November each year.
When does Alton Towers open? The park always opens at 10am but closes at different times depending on the light and weather. The typical opening time in spring are from 10am-5pm and in summer from 10am-6pm. The theme park closes for the winter season at the start of November and reopens each spring.
However, the Water Park is open all year round, between 10am and 4pm (5pm on weekends), as are the Extraordinary Golf and Alton Towers Spa (the spa closes at 5pm on weekdays and 6pm on weekends).
Is Alton towers open at Christmas?
While the theme park might close for winter, the theme park does reopen for festive Christmas breaks, allowing you to enjoy rides, colourful lights, and lots of entertainment.
Where to get Alton Towers tickets
Getting Alton Towers tickets is easy, just visit their website and head to the Tickets & Passes page. Then click the type of ticket you want to purchase, for example, ‘Theme Park’ or one of their festive breaks.
After that, select which date you would like to visit and how many tickets you want, add any parking and then proceed to the checkout.
How much are Alton towers tickets?
Alton Towers theme park tickets start from £30 (it’s free for children under 3). The light rail experience ‘Lightopia’ costs £15, ‘Santa’s Sleepover’ costs £120, and the Alton Towers annual ‘Gold Pass’ costs £119 per person - this allows entry for 12 months and free parking - perfect if you plan on visiting regularly with grandchildren.
You can discover prices for Alton Towers hotels via the resort’s Accommodation page.
What to pack for Alton Towers
Knowing what to pack for any day out can be stressful, but if you are packing not only for yourself but for your grandchildren too it can complicate things even further.
Naturally, what you pack will depend on the time of year you are visiting Alton Towers. If you are visiting the theme park in the winter months, then you will need to consider packing some warm or waterproof clothes. There are, however, some essential items that you should pack.
Mel, from the travel blog Illumelation, says packing a reusable water bottle is an essential item: “Bottled water is expensive at the park, so having a refillable container is ideal. If you’ve got big coat pockets, you can keep an empty water bottle in there (it won’t get crushed during rides), or just stash it in the ride cages before you buckle up. You’ll then be able to use the free water refill dispensers located all around the park whenever you get thirsty.”
Adil, a London-based blogger who runs his own blog, recommends packing some snacks or lunch: “Make sure you stock up your snacks/lunch because the queue can get very long on peak days. Although it may be quieter during off-peak, you can expect long queues and prices just as high. Plus, you will have very limited options for food, as I only noticed one restaurant opened. There is an Asda on the way to Alton Towers (roughly 10 minutes), where you can stock up beforehand. However, we did order two wraps from the restaurant called Eastern Express (Halal) as we were hungry. Luckily it was just a 5-10min wait, so we didn’t miss out on much.”
If you are visiting Alton Towers with your grandchildren for the first time, then Rebekah Frankcom, the writer behind the Bespoke Family blog, shared some more tips about grandparents visiting Alton Towers for the first time.
“When visiting Alton Towers with your grandchildren for the first time there are a couple of really key things to think about – how are you going to keep the children safe and how can you make sure they have a fantastic time.
Before you go:
- Plan your day – ask each of the grandchildren to say one thing they want to do so they have one thing each
- Take snacks and think about what you might need for the journey home
- Reserve tables at restaurants
- Get a fast pass (if the rides you want to do have them)
- Look at the weather and make sure that you have all the right clothing for the day but also footwear, you will do a lot of walking so make sure that shoes are comfortable
When you arrive:
- Arrange a meeting place in case anyone gets lost
- Take note or a photo of each of the children so you know what they are wearing should they get lost
- Write your phone number on each child’s hand
- Get a map of the park and look to plan the day so that you can tick off what everyone wants to do
- Don’t try and do it all!
- Split into groups to get more done
- Have regular rest stops
- Keep everyone hydrated
Items to wear or pack for a visit to Alton Towers
- Reusable water bottle
- Lunch or snacks
- Comfortable shoes
- Motion sickness relief
- Powerbank for your mobile phone
- Light clothing (for summer)
- Shorts (for summer)
- Gloves (for winter)
- Foldable travel pram (if your grandchild uses one)
- Grandchild’s favourite toy or teddy
How accessible is Alton Towers?
For grandparents with limited mobility who would like to visit Alton Towers, the theme park is accessible with Alton Towers saying: “We care deeply about creating magical and inclusive experiences for everyone.”
There are a number of disabled parking spaces for Blue Badge holders, available on a first-come, first-served basis, located next to the Admissions Plaza.
The park itself is accessible to those with limited mobility but there are some steep inclines to contend with.
There are free carer tickets available for those who need them and a Ride Access Pass for guests who cannot stand for long periods of time.
There are accessible toilets at the park, and the option to hire both wheelchairs and mobility scooters. Assistance dogs are welcome at Alton Towers, but they cannot go on the rides and must be left with a member of your party before getting on a ride.
You can discover the restrictions for Alton Towers rides here, helping you to make a decision if a ride is suitable for you.
Accessibility at Alton Towers
- Accessible toilets
- Wheelchair/scooter hire
- Guide dogs allowed
- Ride Access Pass
- Carer tickets
- On-site disabled parking
Further accessibility information can be found on Alton Tower’s dedicated accessibility page, and you can also contact their customer services team for any accessibility questions: firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is there to see and do at Alton Towers?
Some say the fun never stops at Alton Towers, with a wide range of fantastic things to do for visitors of all ages, making it perfect for grandparents and grandchildren.
Kerry, from the travel blog, VeggTravel, highlights just some of the reasons to visit Alton Towers: “One of the main attractions at Alton Towers is the acres of stunning natural woodland, gardens and architecture. Cable cars take you to different themed worlds, and the park has many rides and attractions to keep you entertained.”
Read on to discover what rides are at Alton Towers, what young children can look forward to, and other fantastic features of the resort.
What attractions and rides are at Alton Towers?
The main draw for people visiting Alton Towers is the rides and attractions and there are plenty to choose from. There are height restrictions on some of the rides, but if your grandchildren are 1.4m or taller (around 4 feet) then they will be able to go on all the rides on their own. Many rides will allow children to go on a ride if they are going on with an adult.
Rebekah Frankcom from the Bespoke Family blog said that she loved all the Alton Towers rides and experiences: “The best thing about Alton Towers is that it has rides and experiences for everyone (and every age!) – for teenagers you have the speed and thrill of Smiler, Rita and Oblivion, you can get wet on the Congo River Rapids and there is CBeebies Land for the little ones!”
Popular rides and attractions at Alton Towers
Here are just some of the most popular rides you can enjoy at Alton Towers:
- Wicker Man – rollercoaster
- Nemesis – rollercoaster
- The Smiler – rollercoaster
- Oblivion – rollercoaster
- Galactica – rollercoaster
- Th13rteen – rollercoaster
- Rita – rollercoaster
- The Alton Towers Dungeon – experience
- Congo River Rapids – boat ride
- Runaway Mine Train – rollercoaster
- Property Repossessed – haunted house
- Hex – The Legend of The Towers – family ride
- Enterprise – family ride
- The Blade – thrill ride
What is there to do for young children at Alton Towers?
Alton Towers doesn’t just cater for older children and adults as there are lots of rides and attractions which can be enjoyed by young children.
This ranges from adventure areas and themed attractions to shows and films that are aimed at toddlers and young children.
Jennifer, the founder of the parenting blog Jennifer’s Little World, has visited Alton Towers when her children were toddlers and she talks about her visit:
“We had sussed it out in advance, and decided that although Alton Towers does seem to be aimed mainly at older children, there were still a few rides and attractions that younger children would enjoy. Well, we are so glad that we did, we ended up spending nearly a whole day there and it was fantastic!”
Rides and attractions for young children at Alton Towers
Here are just some rides and attractions that young children and toddlers will enjoy, many of which are located in CBeebies Land.
- Hey Duggee's Big Adventure Badge
- Andy’s Adventures Dinosaur Dig
- JoJo & Gran Gran At Home
- Sharkbait Reef by SEA LIFE
- Peter Rabbit Hippity Hop
- Go Jetters Vroomster Zoom Ride
- Octonauts Rollercoaster Adventure
- Big Fun Show Time
- Something Special Sensory Garden
What else is there to do at Alton Towers?
The theme park is the jewel in Alton Towers’ crown, but the resort is home to lots of other attractions that you can enjoy, and this section takes a look at some of these other things that you can do.
Relax at the spa
The spa at the Alton Towers Hotel is open to everybody and can be enjoyed all-year-round. There are a variety of Aqua Relaxation rooms, and the specialist therapists offer Decléor treatments to suit your individual needs.
For grandparents who want to take a little time for themselves during their Alton Park adventure, the Alton Towers Spa is a great option. Dylan, from the travel blog, Shoot from the Trip, likes to spend a couple of days at Alton Towers when he visits and shares the following about the spa:
“Located within the Alton Towers Hotel, the spa provides a number of treatments and therapies, or you can choose to relax in the comfortable loungers or take a dip in the pool. A perfect way to escape and take time out during your Alton Towers overnight stay.”
Another popular activity away from the theme park that you can enjoy is crazy golf. Players of all ages can start or end their day with 9 or 18 holes.
The whole course takes around an hour to complete, but no matter whether you are playing just for fun or you want to make it a competition, your grandchildren will love playing.
Alton Towers Water Park
The Alton Towers Water Park is a hugely popular attraction at the resort and your grandchildren will be kept occupied during their visit.
From drifting down the lazy rivers to braving the Master Blaster water coaster or drenching people with the water cannons, there are lots of interactive play areas that you will enjoy.
During the summer months, there is a Flash Flood flume ride and a swimming pool that you can enjoy.
ALSO READ: Grandparents' guide to Chester Zoo
Food and drink at Alton Towers
There are lots of Alton Towers food and drink vendors dotted around the theme park, but if you want to enjoy a sit-down meal there are plenty of restaurants and bars. Here we take you through the different ones you can visit.
- Rollercoaster Restaurant – watch your meal twist, turn and loop the loop to your table
- Secret Garden Restaurant – enjoy an eclectic mix of British and international dishes served in this brasserie-style restaurant
- Windmill Restaurant – located in the CBeebies Land Hotel, it’s perfect for families as you can choose from a range of delicious dishes, such as stacked burgers, pasta options and kids’ meals
- Flambo's Jambo – this restaurant offers a tasty Caribbean feast as well as many family-favourite dishes
- Ma Garrita’s Bar – soak up Caribbean hospitality with Caribbean cocktails, wines and beers
- Dragons Bar & The Atrium – enjoy a leisurely drink or coffee at this popular bar
- Captains Bar – you can enjoy a fabulous choice of gins
- Ice Cream Shack – enjoy a sandwich meal and snacks
Alton Towers caters for a wide range of food and tolerant allergies, including gluten. There are also healthy eating options at Alton Towers, these eateries will display the Healthier Choices logo.
You can learn more about Alton Towers’ restaurants here.
Staying at Alton Towers
Many people opt to stay at Alton Towers for a few days and if this is something that you would like to do with your grandchildren, there are plenty of places you can stay at.
There is the Alton Towers Hotel, the CBeebies Land Hotel, and the Splash Landings Hotel that you can stay at and they are extremely popular, but if you are looking to stay in accommodation that is slightly unique then there are plenty of places to choose from.
You can stay in Stargazing Pods, Woodland Lodges or Alton Towers Luxury Treehouses, which offer stunning views over the Enchanted Forest.
Sam, from the family lifestyle blog, North East Family Fun, has stayed at Alton Towers, at two different hotels, and has shared her thoughts: “We have previously stayed at the Alton Towers Hotel and Splash Landings Hotel and they are brilliant with nice theming and friendly staff. Family entertainment usually takes place in the bar area (games/storytelling/crafts etc... for the kids) on a drop-in basis.”
You can learn more about Alton Towers’ accommodation here.
Visiting Alton Towers as a grandparent
Hopefully, this grandparents’ guide to Alton Towers will help you to plan a trip with your grandchildren to this famous and exciting theme park.
READ ALSO: Tips and advice for grandparents
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