Family Friendly Trips: Staffordshire Thrill Hopper

Having decided not to spend a fortune on a two week summer holiday this year I have been on the hunt for great summer family deals in the UK. My find of the week has to be the Staffordshire Thrill Hopper family ticket, which for just £142.50 allows one entry per person (two adults and two kids under 12 years) to four UK theme parks: Alton TowersDrayton Manor (also home of Thomas Land), Waterworld and SnowDome from now until the 31st October 2012.  It’s a huge saving for families as entry for 2 adults and 2 kids to Alton Towers alone is £156.50.And to get our money’s worth we have decided to dedicate different weekends over the next three months to various attraction and started this weekend with short break at Alton Towers (the Thrill Hopper site also allows you to book a range of accommodation in Staffordshire). I have to admit I’ve always thought Alton Towers was the domain of scary teen rides courtesy of the 13 famous rollercoasters they have, so I was happy to see that they more than cater for preschoolers and under 8’s. Plus unlike some theme parks Alton Towers is set in the most beautiful grounds you’ve ever seen, and located deep in the countryside about 18 miles from Stoke-On-Trent. It means that even though the car park was overflowing you never really feel hemmed in and squashed by crowds (Disneyland take note). This meant my 2 year old and 5 year old could basically run around without fear of being swallowed by a crowd. Rides that were big winners for the two year old included Old MacDonald’s Tractor Ride, Squirrel Nutty Ride, and the Battle Galleons at Mutiny Bay. The five year old loved The Ice Age 4D experience and Sharkbait Reef Aquarium amongst all the zillions of other rides she insisted on going on all day long without once complaining she was tired or hungry (very unusual for her). Having also chosen to stay at the Alton Towers Resort Hotel  (very kid and adult friendly) we were literally only 15 minutes walk away from the park and also next door to the Alton Towers Waterpark which for £36 extra is well worth a couple of hours either before or after Alton Towers. All in all we all had an amazing weekend break that didn’t break the bank, so much so that the kids slept all the way home, which for us was money extremely well spent. We’ll be heading the Drayton Manor and the SnowDome next so watch this space over the summer for more news.