Going to a theme park over Halloween is something that I highly recommend if you get the chance. Usually we head to Thorpe Park because it’s closer but this year a group of us decided to head to Alton Towers and spend an entire weekend there.
The hotel at Alton Towers itself was a bit pricier than what some of us wanted to pay – for two adults sharing a room at their Splash Landings resort over the scare-fest next year it is nearly £300 for two people per night! I’m sure that there are ways to get better deals but a few of us decided that it was all a bit mad for just two nights away in England!
So our friend Faye found a hostel about a 20 minute drive away from the resort;
If you’ve never stayed at a hostel before then you may not hold a hugely positive view of them, I have friends who swear that they’d rather pay over the odds for a hotel rather than spend the night at one. What they then miss out on is stuff like this. Ilam Hall is a beautiful National Trust property, they have dormitories as well as small private rooms. A four bed private room with a bathroom could set you back as little as £80 a night between all four of you! They charged £4.99 for a cooked breakfast, cereal, croissants etc in the morning and also served dinners and packed lunches for a reasonable cost.
The tickets for the park itself we purchased online. It’s the best way to save money if you are going into the park for more than one day, the earlier that you buy the tickets the more money you can save. It cost us £46 for two days in the park per person, if we’d booked a few weeks earlier then we could have saved a bit more.
During the Scare Fest the park stays open later, until 9pm. This gives everyone in the park a chance to take the rides in the dark. There are also events and shows through out the day and their terror mazes to visit.
Here’s a picture of me looking rather soggy holding a tarantula at one of their bug shows.
It rained heavily pretty much the whole time we were there – the Friday and the Saturday. This worked to our advantage a bit on the Friday, the park wasn’t as busy and all the rides were still open so the queue times were slightly less. We only waited an hour and a half for the new Smiler ride on Friday whereas on Saturday the wait time was two and a half hours before it closed down.
Waiting underneath the Smiler. This was one of the best rides, not sure that I would have waited two and a half hours for it though, nothing is that fun!
As for the scare mazes I only visited one, the Zombies! Scare Zone. I wasn’t that impressed with it, we were in and out within a few minutes, there wasn’t really a proper theme or story that came across. Some of our group went to the Carnival of Screams scare maze but it had an hour and a half waiting time, during the time our friends were in there Chris and I managed to go on the Enterprise, the Sonic the Hedgehog pinball rollercoaster and Oblivion 3 times. And buy some hot chocolate. Our friends said that The Carnival of Screams was good but they regretted wasting so much time on it during our last night there.
Things I would recommend would be:
- Waterproof stuff! I bought my snow boots with me thinking that I was being a little bit overdramatic. Until it poured with rain for days and I was the only one with dry feet. My raincoat soaked through eventually because the rain was so crazy!
- If you know you spend a lot of money on food and drink, try their all day dining pass. It is pricey but it covers pretty much everything (not Ben n Jerrys though) so if you usually buy lots of meals and hot drinks n snacks it could end up saving you some money.
- The single rider line. If you don’t mind the possibility of sitting next to a stranger for the 30 seconds that you spend on a rollercoaster then this could save you so much queuing time! You can still queue up with your friends and it gives you a much better chance of trying out all of the rides.
So overall we had a fabulous weekend, who else enjoyed going to a Halloween event at a theme park this year?