Sun (gawd bless ‘er and all who sail in ‘er) we got to go to Alton Towers yesterday (let’s be honest, we couldn’t have afforded to go if we hadn’t had free tickets). Sorry, I’ll rant quickly and get it over with - £38 for an adult??? I suppose it’s justified if you get your money’s worth of being scared out of your wits but it seems steep if all you do is act as a glorified golf trolley. Note to theme parks – how about a subsidised ticket for non-riders? We could have neon brands on our foreheads to show we’re party-poopers and are Not To Be Allowed on Rides...
Anyhow, we picked up James’ friend Nathan at sparrow’s fart and hurtled up the motorway for four hours. Adrian argued that someone had to look after the Soul Puppy and that he would nobly pluck the short straw, eschew the joys of Nemesis and Oblivion, and take the SP to visit Thornbridge Brewery instead. Cue gnashing of teeth (why hadn’t I thought of that?). But hey, I figured that, for once, I could nail this pukka parenting lark. I could give the children a relaxed, calm, fun perfect day. Think about it - with a theme park, someone else has done the organising, no? There is endless entertainment and child-friendly food – no risk of boredom, curled sandwiches or nature raw in tooth and claw biting you on the bum. Seriously, what on earth can go wrong?
Umm, let’s try a thunderstorm. An all-afternoon monsoon with flashing lightning, growling thunder and pathways turned into log flumes. There is clearly some minor deity whose only purpose is to watch me and open the heavens every time I set foot in a theme park. I can still remember Legoland in a downpour, watching the children kicking water at one another while I swabbed mascara from my sodden cheeks.
I wouldn’t mind but I’d been a responsible adult for once, had checked the weather forecast (occasional light showers) and had even Taken Sensible Precautions and packed spare clothes, towels, umbrella. All of which became duly soaked.
Despite it all we had fun. The boys even coerced me onto the Rapids water-ride which was fab. And I dragged them into Hex which is absolutely mind-blowing (you think you’re doing a loop-the-loop while actually barely moving). I liked Alton Towers – more than most UK parks actually. It is well-designed around the park’s beautiful natural assets (lakes, trees, gardens, hills, copses). Food was good too – James and I had really good chicken fajitas while Nathan opted for the all-you-can eat pizza/pasta (£4.25 for kids). My only quibble – we had to sit through lunch twice as we wanted different things – why not go for a USA-style plaza with outlets round the edge and central seating so everyone can pick what they like and all eat together?
Ah well. We tried.