Alton Towers Christmas Lightopia, Santa Sleepover and festive Christmas market - prices, how to book and what to expect
and live on Freeview channel 276
However, at Alton Towers they are not the type of team for giving up on putting on a good time for people as to down tools on a seasonal basis owing to a little inclement weather – up in Staffordshire, they’re made of tougher and more creative stuff.
Any parent like me will automatically associate the theme park with rollercoasters, thrills and spills and as the dad of two boys who just love all of that I can assure you I have had my fair share of Wickerman, Spinball Whizzer, 13 and every other ride a boy under the 1.4m tall mark can get on.
However, with most of that mothballed for winter, the entire resort has now been transformed into a winter wonderland, and it is actually something a little bit special. Everywhere has been trimmed up and decked out with Christmas colours, sights and sounds. You can’t move for little festive elves desperate to be of help to you.
Now, I know there will be the odd doubting Thomas who can’t see past the schmaltz of it all, but take my word for it, it is beautifully done and against the backdrop of the grand old Abbey and the painstakingly manicured gardens, if you’re struggling to get into the Christmas spirit I can assure you that with giddly little ones skipping ahead whilst mum and dad sip a steamy mulled wine in behind, you will find yourself smiling to each other.
One of the highlights of its returning Lightopia illuminations is an animated projection fired onto a cloud of mist in the sprawling lake which genuinely stopped us in our tracks and for anyone missing a loved one, have a tissue at the ready as the story will genuinely move you. The wider installation has a vibrant Alice in Wonderland feel to it, with colours popping, fireflies flitting, music pulling you along the walk.
We rounded it off with a marshmallow each on a stick which we toasted on the open fire in the festive market square as two incredible performers provided the backing track to what felt like the perfect festive family moment.
And it doesn’t have to break the bank. Entry into the Christmas market is FREE though if you’d like to see Lightopia it is £15. To enjoy the limited rides and attractions that are open – like CBeebies Land, Gangsta Granny, all of Mutiny Bay and the ride-if-you-dare Spinball Whizzer – it will cost you £30.
For a special treat for the whole family you can, as we did, enjoy the Santa Sleepover experience which really is all about the children. For £120 per person, that buys you overnight accommodation with breakfast and evening meal, a lovely little trip to Santa’s Grotto where the children receive a special gift, entry to the theme park, Lightopia and Christmas Market as well as a day’s waterpark access at Splash Landings.
The only drawback to transporting yourself into what feels like a makebelieve magical Christmas portal is that as you leave the park it’s back to work in the morning! Hey, ho. Ho. Ho.