It was family time with the Armstrong’s (my side) this year. It’s always a little busy but I love being with my mum at this time of the year. We are all totally spoilt rotten and despite being in my forties now I feel transported back to my childhood.
From the monstrous pile of gifts Ella gets I also think she likes it too 😀.
Food was eaten in abundance and surprisingly much less wine than previous years. So with a full car and fuller bellies we head back across the Pennines to our home to pack for our annual Christmas mini-break to Alton Towers. We have done this trip for the last few years so thought it was starting a bit of a tradition for us (more on that later).
This year year we planned the trip with some friends. Booking and organising everything is so easy on their website and the staff at the call centre are a delight in my experience.
So with some leftover Turkey sarnies we took the short trip to Farley. With monsterous check-in queues and not being your typical brit (always find a way not to be a sheep) we put the bags back in the car and headed to the theme park.
It was cold (freezing actually) but bright for a change and we managed quite a few rides at CBeebies Land enjoyed our chilled picnic and then noticing blue lips on the kids we decided to head to the warmth of the hotel, a hot shower and our glad rags for the panto and dinner.
Now this is our third time at the hotel and we know the layout but this year, I must say, it was looking a lot more tired (or maybe we just noticed it more). It looked like it just needs a good scrub/lick of paint. However the kids never notice this and squealing with delight our littlest Bennett jumped on the top bunk and indulged in some “chillaxing”.
We headed to the conference room for the Panto, glass of (very expensive but not so luxurious) red wine in hand we managed to grab some good seats. The girls piled on the bean-bags at the front with a cone of sugar and the entertainment began. I do have to add that forced fun/hotel entertainment does make me cringe slightly but the staff at Alton are really good. Both last year and this year the effort is great and there are jokes for all ages.
After Dinner in Flambos and a couple of hours at the magic show/disco for the girls we retired to our beds. Happy but exhausted.
The Christmas Package includes, by the way, the accommodation breakfast and entertainment plus a pass to the park and the rides that are on (limited due to the time of the year and mainly for kiddies) plus a day pass at Splash Landings.
Breakfast over we donned our cozies and headed to the pool. We were early so we grabbed the rubber rings and headed to the slides quickly so we could avoid the crowds later. This was definitely a good call. Last year it was only late in the day when Ella decided to try out the slides and she loved them. This year she was straight on. One go with Mummy and then she was too grown up to have me with her. (Seriously every day I am losing a bit of her – little Miss Independent).
Ella and her little friend had a ball and so did we watching them have the best time, big belly laughs from the pair of them. God help us when they are teenagers!!!!
With wrinkles on wrinkles from so much water time we decided it was time to head home. Another year done!
For the record it is unlikely we will return in 2017 and our family tradition may have ended here. I think the hotel just needs a bit of an overhaul, the cost doesn’t really justify the quality anymore and I am sure we will find something equally fun that we are not critisicing. I always like to leave with a positive vibe and seeing the smiles on the kids face and our fun time did it. But we will wait until the refurb (hint, hint).