Alton Towers is back with another new event for 2021, Christmas! Although the park has previously opened for Christmas, this is the first time the park has opened for non-hotel guests! With a selection of rides open like normal, some other extras have been added to attract other guests to the park.
New for this year, Towers Street has been transformed into a huge Christmas Market, full of local stores selling goods such as; freshly made scones, doughnuts, Christmas ornaments, jewellery and more! Along with the market stands there's a wide variety of food and drink stands, and yes, of course, you can buy mulled wine to warm you up! Huts line the top of the Towers Street Lawns, sheltering you from the cold and wind. Towers trading is also open for all of those must-have pin badges and posters. The Christmas market is really cool and with it being free entry, you just have to pay for parking. All of the stands were nice, but in the future, we would love to see more. We feel like this was more of a test to see how people would react, in the future more of the field could be used.
New for 2021, Lightopia - Europes longest light and lantern trial! Navigating your way around the Mutiny Bay, Katanayana Kanyon, Forbidden Valley and back through Haunted Hallow and then the gardens. You will be amazed at all of the lights, models and decorations! Covering 2km the trail is stunning. This attraction is a paid upcharge costing £20 per person / £15 with Annual Pass discount. Lightopia takes you through the 4 seasons, transforming each area differently. We loved Lightopia - all of the lights and models looked amazing, however during our visit to the park, the heavens opened and with the experience being all outside, there wasn't many places to take cover from the rain. With the experience covering such a huge space, time slots are required to space out guests and make sure it's not too busy. At the end of Lightopia on the lake is a huge water show, projecting onto a water screen with music in the background the water show shows animations of Christmas trees, Father Christmas and other cool effects. Lightopia is great and we cant wait to see if it comes back in future years and if the park can manage to expand on it.
Festive Day Out used to be a hotel exclusive perk, getting guests who stayed in the hotel access to selected rides in CBeebies Land, Mutiny Bay and Spinball Wizzer, however this year the park has opened this up to all guests at the charge of £16 per person along with the addition of the whole of The World Of David Walliams with Gangsta Granny and Hex! Entering through the magical Christmas archway, rides are open from 11am - 8pm! And with minimal queues, you can ride Hex and Spinball all day long. Woodcutters Bar and Grill is also open for the festive season offering favourites like pigs in blankets, along with a Christmas menu.
When accessing the Festive Day Out stage, previously seen on the Towers Street Lawns, the stage has been moved to the top of the park in Fountain Square. Featuring fantastic entertainment: A Rock'N'Roll Christmas, Panto Wonderland Sing-along, A Classic Christmas Party, and a Christmas Cracker Spectacular. Out of the 4 shows we managed to catch 2 during our visit and it was full of so much Christmas cheer and joy. With panto gags such as 'he's behind you' and guest interactions, there's something to keep everyone entertained.
It's great to see Alton Towers extending their season with more events, however, with it being another paid upcharge for Merlin Passes it would be good to see more bundles and discounts made for loyal Passholders. Lightopia and the Festive Day Out have to be brought separately, leading to some guests getting confused - we would love to see these bundled up to make both parts of the event more cost-effective. We really enjoyed the event, with the park being quiet, if you do the rides you will get your money's worth. We would love to see more rides open in the future, with the likes of Europa Park and Efteling fully open for Winter, the UK need to catch up.
Festive fun for all the family we highly recommend a visit to Alton Towers this Christmas!