Earlier in the month we were lucky enough to be invited by CBeebies Magazine to visit Alton Towers for the day. I’m not ashamed to admit I might have done a little squeal when I first read the email as I’d been hearing all sorts of great things about CBeebies Land and was really keen to take Ben and Chloe down!
Of course, as ever, we didn’t tell Ben and Chloe where we were going, just that we were “going on an adventure . . . ” They were really excited when we arrived at the Alton Towers Hotel and started to meet up with other bloggers.
The morning session focussed on a number of educational activities with a CBeebies theme (of course) to demonstrate how the CBeebies magazine supports the Early Years Curriculum. The session had been really well thought out to ensure that the children were encouraged to be confident and have a go – of course they had no idea that there was any learning going on which, to my mind, is just about the ideal scenario for learning at this age. It should be FUN. I was really impressed to see the way the session had been planned out to address a range of areas of learning – for example Ben and Chloe’s favourite activity was making their own Swashbuckle badge – this gave them opportunity to develop their speaking and listening skills through listening to, following and responding to instructions, they practised their fine motor skills and represented their ideas through design and technology – not bad for a bit of singing and sticking!!
|A busy morning of learning|
At the end of the session we were treated to a special visitor – now this was a moment for a pure Benism . . . we were told “Someone special is coming to see us! He’s coming in his van, who do you think it could be?” And Ben, much to everyone’s amusement, shouts out “Grandad!” But no, whilst Grandad is of course a special visitor for us I don’t think the rest of the group would have been particularly excited to see him!
|Meeting Postman Pat|
We left the Alton Towers Hotel, just as it was raining quite heavily, to make our way into the park. We were well prepared with umbrellas though and were ready to suck it up and get on with it – the rain was not going to spoil our fun. Thankfully after a spot of lunch the rain seemed to ease and wasn’t really a problem for the rest of the afternoon. We struck lucky really as the forecast had been horrible.
Ben and Chloe haven’t been to a theme park before so the whole thing was very exciting for them! We easily filled three or four hours exploring the park, going on rides, watching a show. We never queued for more than about 20 minutes for anything which was a really manageable wait for the kids (and me if I’m honest) – this might have been helped somewhat by the appalling weather forecast! The variety of rides and activities meant you didn’t have to go from queue to queue to queue. I was impressed by the helpful digital displays near each ride showing a regularly updated wait time – we found at one point the Postman Pat ride had quite long wait so just went off somewhere else and came back when it was quieter. We loved the In The Night Garden boat ride – which is funny as it’s not a programme we really watch. We weren’t so keen on Justin’s Pie-O-Matic Factory – it really didn’t feel like an appropriate attraction for pre-schoolers, the combination of noise & being pelted with really quite hard sponge balls was really overwhelming for us as adults never mind the children. Chlo was understandably unimpressed and we quickly made our way back out.
Other highlights included Get Set Go Tree Top Adventure (which was cute, if a little tame) and Tree Fu Tom Training Camp (where Ben terrified myself and several other Mums by making it to the very top of the climbing web). We were surprised, and a little disappointed, to see that firm favourites in our house Peter Rabbit and the Octonauts were conspicuous by their absence.
As I mentioned before Ben and Chlo have never been anywhere like this before so it was a great starter for them. I think if we were to go again we’d split our time between CBeebies Land and the main park in the hope we could have taken them on some slightly more thrilling rides – poor Dave was itching to get on some of the big rides and has made me promised we’ll go back child-free one last time (I always loved rollercoasters when I was younger but in recent years seem to have really suffered from motion sickness afterwards which has put me off – getting too old for it I think!)
Of course it’s not a cheap day out but if you take advantage of the promotion in CBeebies Magazine kids go free till October.
Thanks to the lovely people at CBeebies Magazine for inviting us along – we had a fantastic adventure x
*Disclaimer – We were invited to visit the park free of charge for the purposes of writing this post however all thoughts and opinions are my own*