Alton Towers: New rides and staying Covid-safe – how Staffordshire theme park has reopened after lockdown
Alton Towers has fully reopened for the 2021 season following the coronavirus lockdown with new rides and Covid-safe measures in place.
The resort – which is just an hour’s drive from the south of Sheffield – welcomed thrill-seekers back during the Easter holidays as restrictions eased to allow outdoor venues to reopen.
Coronavirus measures and social distancing mean there are still rules in place for visitors, but, on the whole this doesn’t affect the experience.
Our family enjoyed a visit to the Staffordshire theme park a few days after reopening to see if Covid had made a difference – and enjoy a day out experiencing all the rides.
Alton Towers boasts over 40 rides – and although not all were open due to Covid, there was plenty to keep our family occupied for the day, with the park currently open until 8pm.
New for this season are several retro-themed pop-up rides which take guests back to the 1980s.
Mixtape – which sees riders bounce up and down, the Roller Disco waltzer-style ride and Funk ‘n’ Fly make up the Retro Squad which proved popular with our son, aged nine, and daughter, 13. These are spread around the park and provide extra entertainment.
For me, going back to the old favourites and taking a ride on Oblivion with its vertical drop and flying face-down on Galactica were must-dos.
Then there are the big rides such as Wicker Man, Nemesis and The Smiler, plus Rita, the Runaway Mine Train – which we enjoyed twice – and the Congo River Rapids, guaranteed to get you wet on a chilly day in April.
We used a Fasttrack ticket to keep queuing to a minimum and make the most of our day out.
Later this year will see a new attraction Gangsta Granny: The Ride, based on the famous children’s book by David Walliams.
The new multi-sensory ride will see visitors join the popular book’s main characters as they attempt to steal the Crown Jewels.
As well as the ride itself, there will also be a whole World of David Walliams-inspired section of the park, including Raj’s Shop and the Royal Carousel.
Unfortunately, due to government restrictions regarding indoor attractions, Alton Towers wasn’t able to open the area until May 17.
And the restrictions also mean other indoor rides such as Hex are closed until May.
But Alton Towers has done all it can to keep visitors safe while being able to enjoy their experience at the park. They have implemented a range of safety measures including simple temperature checks on arrival, one way systems and mandatory face coverings for those aged 11 years and over on all rides.
Staff are on hand to monitor any potential crowds and make sure everyone is keeping to the rules.
Social distancing means fewer people are allowed on rides with people keeping to their family groupings and space ensured between bubbles. This can mean a longer wait but with the park operating at a reduced capacity, queues are still kept down.
Alton Towers will no doubt prove popular with families as many in the UK holiday at home this year – and there are celebrations and events lined up throughout 2021 including Mardi Gras, Oktoberfest and a firework extravaganza.And with the resort being just a short ride from the Steel City, I’m sure it will attract plenty of Sheffielders looking for a fantastic day out.
Whether it’s a weekend day-trip or a family staycation, with the new attractions and Covid measures in place, Alton Towers is making sure visitors young and old can stay safe and enjoy a fun-packed thrilling experience.
To book tickets, visit altontowers.com