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Celebrating Oktoberfest At Alton Towers

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Last update August 2023

Each year I feel Alton Towers gets bigger and better and this year Alton Towers have 6 events to celebrate. They started with Festival of Thrills and then Mardi Gras that took play May/June. Now we are on to the third event and from 9th September Alton Towers will be transformed into the German festival Oktoberfest. The festival will take place till 1st October and you can enjoy all the fun and entertainment of Oktoberfest included in your admission fee. 

Oktoberfest sign

What to expect at Alton Towers Oktoberfest
For those not familiar with the festival, Oktoberfest. Oktoberfest, annual festival in Munich, Germany, is held over a two-week period and ending on the first Sunday in October. The festival originated on October 12, 1810, in celebration of the marriage of the crown prince of Bavaria, who later became King Louis I, to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen.

Alton Towers bring the fun of the festival to the resort offering delicious food, live entertainment and of course, beer.

Oktoberfest at Alton Towers

oktoberfest sign for Alton Towers

When you enter Alton Towers you will be greeted with German music, blue and white decorations and the smell of delicious food in the background.

brownie and cream

If you head to the front lawn you will see a huge Oktoberfest entrance leading to a variety of food stalls including churros, brownies and marshmallows.

man and woman having a stein of lager

You will see the Wunder Bar to the left of the stage which has a range of German beers on offer. You can choose to purchase a pint at the bar or head to the souvenir stall first and purchase a stein glass. Then you can head back to the Wunder Bar where they will fill up your stein which averages about 2 and a half pints. 

Tables at Oktoberfest at Alton Towers

There are plenty of picnic benches on the front lawn where you can sit and enjoy your beer and snacks or you can sit upstairs in the Wunder Bar however seating is very limited to just a few tables. 

Live entertainment stage at Oktoberfest Alton Towers

The live entertainment stage which has been a permanent fixture over the past few months has a variety of  entertainment including german dancing which was a crowd favourite. 

Oktoberfest stage at Alton Towers

If you are familiar with the resort you can head to the Bierkellar which is situated in the courtyard in Mutiny Bay. Undercover seating options are available here with live entertainment throughout the day. This year Oktoberfest has extended from the theme park entrance and front lawn to the whole of Mutiny Bay. 

Anything Else?
As well as enjoying the German fun you can also enjoy all your favourite rides. 

Opening times do vary so be sure to check out the opening times schedule. The park closing is anywhere from 4-7pm depending on the day. 

Oktoberfest is included in your ticket price so is no extra cost to you. 

Head to the resort before the 1st October for your chance to join in all the fun. 

To extend your fun you can stay over at one of the many choices of accommodation at Alton Towers

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What To Expect When Visiting Gulliver's World, Warrington

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Disclosure - This post was last updated July 2023 

When we talk of theme parks we always think of Alton Towers or Blackpool Pleasure Beach as they are probably the closest to us. We always seem to forget Gulliver's World which is a shame as it's only less than 30 minutes away from us and it's a great park with lots of rides for all ages including a brand new land Gulliver's Gears and two brand new rides Grand Prix Racers and Overdrive. The theme park is reasonably priced and would make a perfect day out this Summer.

Welcome sign at Gulliver's World

Gulliver's World, Warrington, Cheshire, WA5 9YZ
Gulliver's World is easily accessible by car, train, bike and unlike most theme parks parking is free. Gulliver's World boasts more than 25 rides in 9 different themed lands with almost half the rides suitable for families with children under 90cm when riding with an adult. As well as family rides there are a few perfect for thrill seekers too. Gulliver's World also has lots of themed play areas which are perfect for little ones to pass the time if they don't want to go on certain rides.

boy looking at map

Entering The Park
Tickets can be booked online and if so you will receive a discount on your admission price. Tickets are priced as adults and children, senior, children under 90cm are free and then there is a concession rate too. 

To receive the best price you are advised to book at least 2 days in advance. 

Gulliver's Gears land

Grand Prix racers ride
The Rides
Like I said earlier most of the rides at Gulliver's World are suitable for younger children and up. There are a small selection of thrill rides which is good if you are visiting with siblings, family or friends of different ages. There is something for everyone and makes for a lovely family day out. 

Although it's not actually a circle when entering the park if you can imagine entering the park at the top of the circle and you can choose to go clockwise or anti clockwise. You will see everything this way. We always go clockwise and it ensures we see all the attractions and rides. 

The themed areas begin with Wonderland to the left as you enter the park. Here you can enjoy Veteran Cars and The Mad Hatter's Tea Party. There is also a play area and a maze too. 

Continuing clockwise you will reach Western World. Here there is another huge play area themed around the wild west. A water ride call Apache Falls, a drop tower ride called Desperado Drop and Billy Bob's Bi Planes. 

Next you will reach Gully's Cartoon Studios. The Wriggler, Gully's Grand Prix and Ellie's Animal Merry Go Round are all situated in Gully's Cartoon Studios and suitable for younger guests.

Smugglers Wharf was one of our favourites areas as it features the parks wooden rollercoaster, The Antelope. You can also head to Smugglers Boating School to drive your own boat, hop on board the pirate ship or the spinning pirate ship Pirates Cove. There is also a play area here too. 

Lilliput Land has old school rides such as the carousel and dodgems. It also has a walk through haunted house. 

Gulliver's Gears in the newest land and is themed around race cars. Both rides Grand Prix Racers and Overdrive are not suited for those under 100cm for Grand Prix Racers and under 120cm for Overdrive. A nice land with old fashioned pedal cars mixed in and a play area too.

Discovery World has the classic ride The Log Flume and also a Tractor themed ride. 

The Lost World is theme around Dinosaurs. As you walk you may spot dinosaurs hidden amongst the trees and bushes. Flight of the Pteranodon, Hatchery and Dino Safari Tours are perfect for dinosaur fans and if you want to grab some great views of the theme park head to the Sky Tours Observation Tower.

Last you will head in to Safari Kingdom which is home to water slide Togo Tower, Adventure Canyon, Temple Raider, Jeep Safari and Tree Top Swings. Here there is also another play area and also a mini golf course which is included in your admission.

44 cats characters

There is plenty of entertainment at Gulliver's World. Make sure you check out the entertainment timetable online or at the park so you don't miss out. This is just a sample of what type of entertainment is on offer.

10:00 am - Rise and Shine Concert (Magical Main Stage)
11:00 am - Gilly Tot's Bubble Fun (Magical Main Stage)
11:30 am - Meet Elmer (Magical Main Stage )
1:00 pm - Buddy's Pirate Adventure (The Starlight Theatre )
2:00 pm - Gulliver's Royal Crowning (Lilliput Castle )
2:30 pm - Meet the Clangers! (The Starlight Theatre)
3:00 pm - Glittermixers Character Concert (The Starlight Theatre)
3:30 pm - Meet Elmer (Magical Main Stage )
5:00 pm - See You Soon Show (Magical Main Stage)

adult meal at Gulliver's World

child meal at Gulliver's World

Food and Drink
Gully's Grill at Gully's Cartoon Studios serves burgers, hotdogs and fries. There is space to eat inside or out and there is also a large indoor soft play area for children. 

Costa Coffee situated in Lilliput land offering hot and cold drinks and a selection of snacks. 

Big G Diner at the entrance has a variety of savoury snacks and some festive specials!

Diamond Lil's at Western World serves up hot dogs, pizzas and selected festive favourites.

There is also lots of places to buy drinks, sweet treats and ice cream throughout the theme park.

Swings at Gulliver's

Special Events
Throughout the year Gulliver's World offers visitors to enjoy a whole range of special events or discounted entry days or weekends. We have visited on many of the special events over the years including Grandparents weekend, Food donation weekend where admission was hugely discounted if you brought a food bank donation and our favourite, Christmas at Gulliver's.

There is still lots to enjoy for the rest of year so if you are looking for something extra special then check out these events. 

Come and See Elmer at Gulliver's World
23rd Jul-4th Sep 2023

Fireworks Finale
2nd September 2023

Jamboree Weekend
16th-17th September 2023

Grandparents' Weekend
30th Sep-1st Oct 2023

Fright Fiesta
14th Oct-3rd Nov 2023

Fireworks Spectacular
5th November 2023

Christmas at Gulliver's

Staying Over
You can now extend your Gulliver's World fun by enjoying a stay at Gulliver’s Hotel and Lodgings. There is a selection of contemporary hotel suites, glamping tents, lodges, dens and cabins to choose from.

Gulliver's World is surrounded by woodlands and adjacent to Sankey Valley Park, providing you with a peaceful and relaxing environment.

Gulliver's World Theme Park is within walking distance of the accommodation, making it an ideal base for a family short break.

For more information on Gulliver's World, openings and to book visit Gulliver's World, Warrington.


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Top 9 Things To Do At Coral Island, Blackpool

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This post was last updated July 2023 by Michelle 

Visiting Blackpool is something we have been doing as a family for years. It's one of our favourite places to visit when we head to Blackpool. Parking is close by so our day usually starts and ends at Coral Island as there is so much to see and do and it's the perfect place to visit on a family day out in Blackpool. Unfortunately we don't always get the weather we would like in England so it's nice to know that no matter what the weather we can be entertained and keep the kids busy too.

Boy pretending to be a pirate
Coral Island, Central Promenade, Blackpool, FY1 5DW
Coral Island is the largest free admission attraction in Blackpool featuring games, rides, restaurants, camel derby, Over 18 casino games and family prize bingo. They also offer Kids Eat Free - All Day Every Day in all of their restaurants. It's east to reach we usually just head towards the Blackpool Tower and you can't miss it. If you are planning a visit to Blackpool then here's are top things to do at Coral Island

boy playing on penny aracde
boy playing on penny aracde
boy playing on penny aracde
2p Machines
There is a large range of machines at Coral Island but little J's favourites were the 2p machines. We gave him a tub full of 2p's and he really enjoyed watching his two pence make its way down the machine. He got so excited when his 2p knocked a load off the edge

ticket machines at the Arcade

Try To Win Tickets
Most of the machines at Coral Island offer you the chance to win tickets. If you are lucky enough to win tickets you can feed them all in to the ticket eater and collect your voucher for the amount of tickets you have won. Pop to the prize shop and swap your ticket voucher for some goodies.

Camel Derby
This game is called so many different names, Arabian Derby, Donkey Derby or Camel Derby as it is called in Coral Island. The game is simple you get 3 balls and you have to roll the balls into the holes to get points. Each hole is worth either 1, 2 or 3 points. Your camel will move the amount spaces depending on which hole your ball rolls in too. If you are the first to finish you win a prize. When we played all 19 spaces were full. We had 15 games between us but didn't manage a win. The staff member on the game let little J choose a prize for trying which was really lovely of him.

Prize Bingo
This is my favourite game. Pop in £1 and you will get 100 credits. Each board costs 10 credits and the screen has 6 boards to play. if you want to play all boards this will cost you 60p. It is really easy to play as the numbers will mark off automatically for you so perfect for all the family. The number of players taking part determine the size of the prize available. For the games we played the winner got 150 points. We won a few times and where able to redeem our points for a Toy Story Forky Teddy. Little J was thrilled.

Play On The Arcade Machines
There are so many arcade games to choose from at Coral Island. Both John and little J love playing on the games and this VR game caught their eye. 

boy on ride in arcade
Coral Island, Blackpool
Coral Island, Blackpool
Take A Ride
There are two rides to enjoy at Coral Island, the Ghost Train and The Pirate Flyer. Little J did not want to ride the Ghost train however he loved The Pirate Flyer. The ride takes you high in the air above Coral Island giving you great views of everything there is to do. If you sit in the front of the pirate flyer you get a pretend gun so you can shoot those down below. 

Coral Island, Blackpool
Coral Island, Blackpool
Let Zoltar Read Your Fortune
I was so excited when I saw the Zoltar machine and for those that have seen the Tom Hanks movie BIG you will know why. The Zoltar machine speaks your fortune and then will pop out a card so you can read it yourself. Our fortune told us to choose our friends carefully and happiness is in our future.
Restaurant at Coral island
Restaurant at Coral island
Restaurant at Coral island
Enjoy A Choice Of Food and Kids Eat Free
There are a few dining options at Coral Island and all offer Kids Eat Free. We dined at The Buccaneer and the food was delicious. There was a large range of starters, mains and desserts with the children having their own menu.

Starters included garlic bread, nachos and garlic mushrooms. Mains included burgers, curry and chicken, and desserts included a choice of ice cream type desserts and cakes.

There is an option to dine inside or outside on decking overlooking the amusements. Inside there are large TV screens and a bar area.

Kids Eat Free All Day Every Day at Coral Island. There is no vouchers required all you need to do is order and adults meal and a child's meal will be given free of charge.

Have Fun
Coral island, Blackpool
Make sure you plan lots of time to spend here as you will need it with the amount of things to see and do. I can promise you that you will have lots of fun at Coral Island.

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Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making Of Harry Potter

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This post was last updated June 2023.

We have visited the Warner Bros Studio Tour in London quite a few times now over the years and every time we have visited we have seen something different whether it's something we missed last time or whether it was a special event such as the addition of the Forbidden Forest or Gringotts Bank. The Warner Bros Studios brings to real life the magical world of Harry Potter and it is a must see for Harry Potter fans. 

Hogwarts castle

What To Expect Warner Bros. Studio Tour - The Making Of Harry Potter (Sat Nav WD25 7LR)
First of all I must mention this is not a theme park. The Harry Potter Studio Tour takes you behind the scenes of the Harry Potter films. It is a self guided tour which you can enjoy at your own leisure. It's a magical experience which will transport you in to the Harry Potter world. The experience is broken in to six different sections. Sets, Props, Costumes, Visual and Special Effects, Creature Effects and The Art Department.

Your Tour Has Now Begun!

Costumes from Harry Potter


Great Hall 
Serving as the backdrop to some of the film series’ most iconic scenes such as the Yule Ball and the Battle of Hogwarts, the Great Hall was first built for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in 2000 and was used as a key set for six more films.

Forbidden Forest 
The Forbidden Forest seen at the Studio Tour is filled with 19 trees each with a diameter of over 12 feet.

Platform 9 and 3/4 at King's Cross Train Station 
Most of the scenes that take place on Platform 9 ¾ were actually shot on location at King’s Cross Station in London, however, during Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, part of the station platform was recreated on a soundstage at the Leavesden Studios, complete with the track and the train. 

Diagon Alley 
The Diagon Alley set constantly changed throughout the film series. Since its construction, walls have shifted, shop fronts have moved and entire buildings have been carefully tweaked, leaning just slightly, to create the street that is seen in the films.

Gringotts Wizarding Bank 
From Harry Potter first discovering Diagon Alley to the famous trio escaping on a Ukrainian Ironbelly dragon in their quest for a Horcrux, Gringotts Wizarding Bank played an important role in the Harry Potter film series.

Professor Sprouts Greenhouse 
The greenhouse is a fan-favourite set from the Harry Potter film series, where students were taught their Herbology lessons with Professor Pomona Sprout. 

The burrow

Potions Classroom 
Over 950 potion jars line the walls of the classroom, each with unique props kept inside them including baked animal bones from a local butcher shop, dried leaves, herbs and shrunken heads made by the props department. 

Memory Cabinet 
Nearly 900 memory vials and labels were created for the cabinet that can be found in Professor Dumbledore’s office.

Professor Umbridge's Office 
Great attention was paid to the inside of the only pink office in the Ministry of Magic, belonging to Professor Dolores Umbridge, including her collection of plates featuring various moving kittens.

Puking Pastilles 
Stocking everything from Extendable Ears to fireworks, Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes was designed to look like an 18th century storefront and took more than three months to build 

The chamber of secrets


Filmmakers faced a huge challenge when turning the wizarding sport of Quidditch into a real sport they could capture on film. Quidditch uniforms evolved throughout the film series, going from thick robes in the first two films to lighter, sportier robes with the players name and number on the back in the later films.

19 Years Later 
When tasked with creating outfits for the scene Costume Designer, Jany Temime wanted to keep to a similar palette of pinks, oranges, blues and browns seen throughout the film series. 

Yule Ball 
The Yule Ball held to celebrate Christmas and the Triwizard Tournament presented an opportunity for the Costume Department to create a more formal style of wizard wear.

The “French Blue” fabric of the Beauxbatons uniform was chosen to stand out from the muted blacks, browns and greys of the other school colours.


The Chamber Of Secrets Door 
Often mistaken for a Visual Effect, the Chamber of Secrets door is actually a fully operational door created by the Special Effects team based upon sketches provided by the Art Department.

Invisibility Cloak
Gifted to Harry in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the Invisibility Cloak features prominently in the films. 

Whomping Willow
The temperamental tree began as a sketch from the Art Department which then had to be made into a real Whomping Willow for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. 

Green Screen 
Filmmakers often shoot visual effects scenes on a green screen, which allows them to replace the green colours with a completely different background or computer-generated set. 

boy with wand

boy with wand


The Basilisk that lives deep below Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was created through a mixture of Practical and Visual effects.

Three life-size animatronic versions of Buckbeak the Hippogriff were created for the Harry Potter film series: one standing, another rearing and a third lying down.

Goblin Heads 
Goblins in the Harry Potter film series act as bank officials and tellers at Gringotts bank in Diagon Alley. 

Created by Nick Dudman, Creature and Make-Up Effects Designer, with help from Production Designer Stuart Craig, Aragog had a leg span of over 18 feet and was even able to crawl out of a hole and deliver dialogue in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.


Graphic Design 
The Art Department were responsible for designing and creating thousands of props that helped to bring the visual world of Harry Potter to life on screen. 

White Card Models 
During the filming process, before the actual set construction began, the Art Department would create a white card model of the set/location.

Technical Drawings 
Dozens of concept artists, illustrators and art directors created every environment, prop and character of the Harry Potter film series.

Hogwarts Castle 
The jewel in the crown of the art department is the intricately detailed model of Hogwarts castle. Built for the first film, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the model's every courtyard, tower and turret were filmed and enhanced with digital effects to create unforgettably realistic views of the magical school.

The Hogwarts Express

The amount of time it take is up to you. It took us about 4 hours to walk around the tour. We are huge fans of the Harry Potter movies so we didn't want to miss anything. As you walk around there are staff on hand to answer any questions you may have and also offering you the chance to earn badges to take home.

There are interactive experiences you can enjoy along the WB Studio tours such as the broomstick challenge. You wait your turn then hover your hand over the broom to make it rise up, just like in the flying lesson in the first movie. 

There is a chance to ride a broomstick or ride in Ron's car in front of a green screen. This is not included in your ticket price. You can purchase a photograph or video to take home. 

harry's home at Godric Hollow

There are four options for Food and Drink at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour. the Hub Cafe, Food Hall and Chocolate Frog cafe are available before or after your tour and the Backlot cafe is half way round the tour giving you the chance to sit and have refreshments. 

Food Hall offers you the chance to enjoy classic British meals, hand-made pizza direct from our stone-fired pizza oven, pies, burgers, salads, children’s meals and a wide range of sandwiches.

The Hub Cafe. Under the watch of the Ukrainian Ironbelly dragon in the Studio Tour Hub, the Hub CafĂ© serves speciality Starbucks hot and cold drinks and bakery items throughout the day. 

The Chocolate Frog Cafe serves luxury hot chocolate, ice creams and milkshakes, and an extensive range of cakes expertly hand-crafted by their team of pâtissiers.

The Backlot Cafe serves breakfast until 11:00 then classic burgers and hot dogs. Indoor and outdoor seating is available with views of exterior sets and props such as the Knight Bus, Privet Drive and the Hogwarts Bridge. It's also a great opportunity to enjoy a non alcoholic Butterbeer or Butterbeer Ice Cream.

Afternoon Tea at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London is available as an add-on when purchasing your Studio Tour tickets. Afternoon Tea at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London features an array of indulgent sweets, savoury treats, and delectably delicious baked scones, served with an assortment of loose-leaf teas. You can also add some sparkle to the occasion and upgrade your Afternoon Tea to include a glass of champagne.

There are a wide selection of tickets available including adult ticket, child ticket and a family ticket. Groups and Schools are also welcome at the tour. Time slots are available throughout the day.

To find the best ticket for you check out the tickets page on the official website.


Discovering Hogwarts 2nd May - 4th September 23. 
Just like a Hogwarts student would, the Studio Tour will celebrate its 11th year with an invitation to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Brand new for 2023, you are invited to explore Harry’s early years at Hogwarts with some of your favourite scenes brought to life.

Discover The Dark Arts 15th September - 5th November 23
Back by popular demand, Dark Arts returns to the Studio Tour in 2023. Step into the iconic sets from the Harry Potter film series in a spookier setting as we dim the lights and set the stage especially for Hallowe’en.

Hogwarts In The Snow 11th November - 14th January 2024
2023 will conclude with the return of the Studio Tour’s beloved Hogwarts in the Snow feature. Starting at the Great Hall, bedecked in the gold decorations from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, all the way through to Hogwarts castle model, fan-favourite sets throughout the Studio Tour will be displayed in their festive finery. Learn the secrets behind ice that never melts and fire that doesn’t burn and see a blanket of filmmaking snow covering the Forbidden Forest, Diagon Alley and the magnificent Hogwarts castle model. 

Inside privet drive
The Wizarding World is home to untold secrets – so many in fact, even Dumbledore doesn’t claim to know them all. Harry Potter certainly uncovered a few during his adventures at Hogwarts and now it’s your turn to discover hidden magic with Enchanted Keys.

Placed throughout the Studio Tour, Enchanted Keys unlock secrets, quizzes, videos and more to enhance your visit. To unlock them, you’ll need the free Harry Potter Fan Club app – the official Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts companion.

If you find an Enchanted Key at the Studio Tour:

Download the Harry Potter Fan Club app
Log in, tap the key symbol in the Discover tab
Scan the Enchanted Key to uncover its secrets
The Harry Potter Fan Club app is available to download on the App Store or you can get it on Google Play.

Once you scan an Enchanted Key with the Harry Potter Fan Club app, you’ll be rewarded with an exclusive piece of content related to the area of the Studio Tour you’re in – so keep a Seeker’s eye out for every Enchanted Key to make the most of your visit.

If you get stuck, be sure to ask a member of staff. After all, help will always be given to those who ask for it.

Open times vary depending on the time of year you may visit so it is always best to visit the website for up to date opening times. 

The Warner Bros. Studio Tour can be reached by Shuttle From Watford Station. If travelling by train the nearest station is Watford Junction. 

Car parking is available and is free to guests. There are a number of blue badge parking available and you can purchase a priority parking pass with your tickets for an extra £10.

Have you visited The Warner Bros. Studio Tour? What was your favourite part? If you haven't visited yet I hope our guide answers some questions you may have had and please feel free to message me on socials or comment below if I haven't answered something.

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