self-catering holiday cottage, holiday rental near Alton Towers and Peak District

Self-catering near Alton Towers and Peak District - Call Barks Holiday Cottage 01538 703436 email or book online.


Alton Towers in the Dark - Scarefest

Barks Holiday Cottage availability:

HALF TERM ALTON TOWERS - Sorry, we are fully booked from 20th – 31st October.

SCAREFEST - We have a few short breaks available during the remaining Alton Towers season, Scarefest starts 17th October. Please ring 01538 703436 or email to check.

WINTER BREAKS - Alton Towers closes 1st November but we remain open for cosy weekends by the open fire, countryside walking weekends and as a base for various outdoor activities – including pub walks!


Alton Towers in the Dark

On Friday night I went to Cloud Cuckoo Land – and yes I have come back, but there was a moment when I started to wonder if I was going to live in Cloud Cuckoo Land forever. My son and I went because we were invited to a local fundraiser.

All my sons mates were there and they had the run-around of this one section, Cloud Cuckoo Land. It was really great fun for the under 7s and adults-in-charge. There was the Alton Towers Driving Challenge, Froghopper, the Carousel, soft play bouncy castle area, Cuckoo Tree swings and Charlie’s Chocolate Factory. Everything at Alton Towers has height restrictions and there were no exceptions granted, even for a private party. Parents were dragged onto rides where an accompanying adult was required. Nine year olds burst into tears because they were too tall to go driving. Little ones sobbed that they weren’t allowed to be propelled into the night sky on the Cuckoo Tree swings. Fair enough.

My son started quietly on the Driving Challenge – serious look of concentration and unnecessary stopping at red lights. “it’s the law mummy”, one little girl was heard saying. We moved on to the Carousel –“it’s for the little ones”, announced my son as he carefully checked his safety harness. He graduated to the Froghopper and his grin rivalled that of any wide mouth frog. “Again”, they all shouted and ran to the entrance gate and boarded straight away. There were no queues because we were all VIPs on this occasion. Half an hour from closing, pitch dark and we thought we’d exhausted available options, being too tall for Soft Play. It was at this point that a brave decision was made to try the Cuckoo Tree swings.

“Flap your arms, it will make you go faster” advised the voice in charge of the ride. My palms were sweating just watching my 6 year old flying through the air, high up in the night sky, in a chair on the end of chain. Why was I concerned? He flapped all the way round, even when others had decided holding on was sensible. My friend said “it would be better if he sat back a bit.” I flapped, in a mother hen way. He stayed on this ride continuously for half an hour.

It was well past the published close time and you’d think that the Alton Towers staff would be keen to get away but they called to children to have a last, long turn at the Driving School. Parents were wanting to leave. It became slightly surreal as the voice over the Tannoy directed the children where to go and what to do and I began to suspect that we had entered a world from which we would never be allowed to return. I imagined them saying, “And now children, you belong to us, here at Alton Towers Cloud Cuckoo Land.”

I can see why Alton Towers is staying open until 9pm during Scarefest. We all made ghost noises while we passed beneath the haunted castle and crossed the dark park next to the lake.