On the weekend we took a mini break to Alton Towers in Staffordshire so we could treat Ita to some toddler adventures at Cbeebies Land.
Having previously visited the resort, we decided that the journey there and back was too arduous for one day so this time we decided to stay at the Cbeebies Land Hotel.
Described as ‘’bursting with music, stories and adventures for little ones to enjoy’’ we decided the expense would be worth it! Our package included one nights stay and 2 days park passes for 3.
We booked directly with the Alton Towers website and whilst you can choose from a themed room (Postman Pat, In the Night Garden) we played it safe and chose the ‘’Bugbies Room’’. I mean, heaven forbid we should choose the wrong themed room and ruin the weekend, so this seemed to be the safest option! I must admit, I did laugh when the website read ‘’in these themed rooms you’ll join the CBeebies bugs having fun in the rainbow drenched sunshine meadow’’.
All rooms are designed with a separate area for children and parents and include a children’s entertainment wall with interactive play items.
Every room has toddler friendly features such as bathroom steps to the sink, children’s toilet seats, baby baths and a cot.
All rooms feature tea & coffee making facilities, hairdryer, bottle warmers, baby baths and child toilet seats. Bedrooms also have cots, & bunk beds.
We arrived at Alton Towers at about 1.30pm and although the confirmation did state that check in was from 3pm, we were secretly hoping that we would be able to drop our bags in our rooms. However the 3pm check in is quite strict so we left our bags in reception and were advised that they would be taken to our rooms whilst we enjoyed a few rides in the park.
The Cbeebies Hotel is the furthest away from the monorail (that takes you to the park), likely to be because everything else was built years before, so it did take a while to walk to the train and get into the park. For this reason, I would really recommend a stroller because little legs will get tired very easily.
At the park we flew through the rides including Peter Rabbits Hippity Hop, Octonauts roller coaster and Ita’s favourite, the Get Set Go! Tree Top Adventure. In all, there are 7 rides and also a few live shows and soft plays. So we headed back to the hotel to relax a little.
Much of the hotel entertainment begins at 3pm. You can meet Ubercorn, Iggle Piggle and Upsy Daisy and there is a sleepover with Bing! Ita absolutely loved having this access to the characters. It definitely felt more personal and was so interactive. The space where this takes place is also well thought out – it would be difficult for a child to just wonder off.
In the mix of the evening entertainment we had dinner at the Windmill Restaurant within the hotel. We booked in advance on bookatable (only because we were emailed directing to) but the only time that was left was 7pm. This is quite late for Ita to have dinner so I was a bit apprehensive. When we checked in we did ask whether we could change our booked time and were advised that it was not possible. However, at around 5pm we noticed the hotel seemed quiet so we asked again and were ushered to our table!
The service was really slow. Reeeeally slow. We were quite annoyed actually because the restaurant was mostly empty (despite the booking service saying it was fully booked). The food took a while to come out and the order was mixed up but was quickly rectified without fuss. Being Southerners, we felt that £60 bill for a pizza, nachos, chicken salad, burger and chips as well as 1 soft drink and 2 cocktails was beyond reasonable.
After the hotel activities and dinner we headed up to our room and were asleep by 8pm!
Ita woke up at around 11pm though complaining that her bed was ‘too hard mama’. I thought she was having a goldilocks moment so I did check… she was right! The childrens beds were really uncomfortable so she crawled in with us.
We were up very early the next morning and had pre-booked breakfast for 8am, again, we were instructed in advance to do this. Breakfast consisted of a hot buffet and a cold one too. Whilst we overheard people moaning, we were pleasantly surprised!
We decided to check out after breakfast to avoid coming back to the hotel afterwards and we were given a pass to allow us to leave the car in the express carpark. This is complimentary but is only given if you ask! It is worth it as the express car park is just by the entrance/exit where as the other car parks are quite far away!
A perk of staying at the hotels was that you gained access to them before the general public. We took the monorail to the park expecting it to be quiet but we were faced with really long queues. With that said, the queues moved quickly and most people were heading to the main theme park so Cbeebies Land was empty! Again, we completed all the rides (some 3 or 4 times each) so we decided to grab some lunch and then explore the main area. We ate at the Little Explorers Lunch box. The food was lovely and again, really reasonable. For 2 jacket potatoes, drinks and pasta for Ita we paid less than £15! The live shows in the middle of the park were great but people start saving their spots about 40 minutes before they begin. You get a photo opportunity afterwards but it is very rushed and the wait is long.
Just outside of the Cbeebies Park there is a face painter and of course, Ita could not resist. At a cost of £7 we found it was cheaper than other theme parks but just a note, these stalls accept cash only.
Within the main park, just by the pirates area, there is Sharkbait Reef Sea Life and entry is free. It was much bigger than we were expecting and is as good as any of the other ones we had visited. The rides in Alton Towers are not really suitable for Ita’s age so its worth remembering that despite checking out before 11am, you can have access to the hotel for the entire day so if you are not planning on leaving too early, then you can head back and watch some live shows there too.
I have to credit Cbeebies Hotel. We had a brilliant time! Had we not have stayed then I don’t think we would have met all the characters and enjoyed our trip so much. I would really recommend staying here!