Travel review: Woodland Lodges, Alton Towers
Diane Davies enjoys a stay at Woodland Lodges, Alton Towers...
I don't care how old you are, there is something incredibly exciting about staying in woodland lodges in an Enchanted Village.
Quirky little, crooked-roof cottages in a picturesque woodland copse inhabited by the secret Fabled Folk. It isn't just the children who were overly excited!
Especially as this enchanted village just happens to be next to the Alton Towers theme park – does it get any better?
The lodges opened earlier this year next to the quite fantastic Alton Towers hotel and popular Splash Landings waterpark and accommodation.
The plus side to staying in the lodges is you can still eat, drink or sit out at the hotel and have access to Splash Landings. You can enjoy the evening entertainment at both. But there is a sense of freedom in the lodges, children are at liberty to run and play. There are little play zones dotted around and also large grassy areas where they can play ball, games or just run – in a safe place.
The accommodation which is a fun experience in itself – finding evidence of the mysterious Fabled Folk. There is a main room with double bed and a separate, magical room with bunk beds for the children.
They had a huge tree on the wall, butterflies up high and a picnic blanket set out on the grassy floor. All illustrations but giving the impression of being a bit of a secret, woodland den for your little ones.
Evidence of the Fabled Folk who are said to cause mischief in the village can be found such as strange, tiny windows and lights. Created in a short story by children's author Jeanne Wilson, the story of the Fabled Folk is provided in a bedtime reading book in the lodge.
The lodges are heated, but if you are lucky enough to catch some British sunshine then they have a relaxing decking area where you can sit and watch the children play while you recover from the theme park adrenaline rush.
With the illuminated trees and fencing, the village does feel quite magical at night.
If you want a real treat, the five exclusive, luxury treehouses are amazing. Complete with private hot tubs, they accommodate up to eight people and loom like fairytale palaces over the enchanted village. True opulence – but ideal for a family treat.
Situated in the village is the Crooked Spoon restaurant where breakfast is served. You can also get a very family friendly menu in the evenings. We, in fact, opted for the Secret Garden brasserie-style restaurant at the main hotel because 'Mum' wanted to treat herself. Top tip, wherever you eat make sure you reserve tables for breakfast and evening meal as the accommodation is very popular and very busy.
The Secret Garden offers an eclectric and quite exciting menu and I feasted on a baked camembert starter, a huge mushroom and cheese linguine and we all shared possibly the biggest chocolate sundae I have ever seen. With a couple of strawberry woo-woos to boot, Mum really did treat herself! If we'd had time I might have popped into the spa at the hotel as well. But straight after breakfast we jumped on the monorail and headed for the theme park to take advantage of the exclusive hour before the park opens to the public.
I can't believe my children walked on and off Oblivion three times – straight after the huge buffet breakfast in the Crooked Spoon. I must be getting old. Though I didn't feel it in the Enchanted Village. This woodland delight brings out the inner child in all of us.
We had a magic time.
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