Sheffield family's Alton Towers trip disaster as holiday firm books hotel two hours away
A Sheffield mum who wanted to treat her grieving family to a much-needed break at Alton Towers has railed against a holiday company which booked them into a hotel two hours away.
Natalie Green, from Hillsborough, says the long-awaited trip to the theme park was ‘spoiled’ because the two full days they paid for were eaten up by time spent sitting on a coach to and from Redditch – further from Alton Towers than their own home.
"Enjoy two full day’s entry to Alton Towers,” read the National Holidays advert that persuaded Natalie to book the break. “Experience over 40 rides and attractions.”
By the end of the ‘Alton Towers Spectacular’ – costing £500 - the Sheffield mum and her two children had spent seven hours in total in the park, and only been on five rides.
“We may as well have come home and gone again the following day,” said Natalie. "The whole trip was spoiled.
“It was a much-needed break, having lost my 52-year-old husband last year to cancer, as well as the restrictions of Covid and the mental health of my family.
“When paying for two full days at Alton Towers, customers expect two full days, not two half days.”
National Holidays said that many hotels they work with were closed this year.
The mum-of-two booked the August 12 break for her, her son and daughter, and her mother.
But their first day was cut short when they were rushed back to their coach for 3pm – only to realise it was because they were bound for a Holiday Inn in Redditch, two hours down the M42.
And again the next day - after travelling another two hours back to the park - Natalie’s family was only able to hit two rides in two-and-a-half hours before it was time to get back on the bus and go home.
Natalie said: “That was the point of the whole trip.
"The coach driver was brilliant. He bent over backwards for people and even agreed to leave one hour later on our second day just to give us a little extra time. He was helpful – especially with my mum who has mobility issues – patient, funny, kind, fair and understanding. He was a credit to the coach company.
"The hotel should never have been more than half an hour away. It’s just not satisfactory.”
National Holidays wrote to Natalie advising her which hotel she would be staying at in an itinerary sent one week before the trip, but she said: “To be quite honest, even saying the hotel was in Redditch, I'd have been none the wiser. I would have just trusted they had chosen a hotel relatively near to the theme park.”
A spokesperson for National Holidays, which is owned by the JG Travel Group, said: “We are very sorry to hear that Mrs Green did not enjoy her break with us.
"National Holidays offer great value breaks and pride themselves on delivering unique, convenient and great value family experiences.
"On a wider note we have unfortunately had lots of hotels this summer either not open or some have taken government contracts to home refugees. We have in many instances had to find alternative hotel so families can still enjoy time away.”