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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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Things To Do In The Lake District When It's Raining

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We have been visiting the Lake District as a family for over 20 years and although we have had a shower or two we have never really experienced a rainy day until this year. The whole weekend it rained non stop and therefore our plans had to change. If you are familiar with the Lakes you will know that most of the best things to do are not ideal for a wet day or wet weather in general. We have a few favourite things to do in the lakes however we instantly had to do a few google checks for things to do in The Lake District when it's raining. Luckily we were close to a few of the indoor attractions however if we were better prepared for the bad weather we could have enjoyed a few more as we were surprised that there are actually lots of things to do in the Lake District when its raining.

windermere lake

Enjoy A Boat Cruise
You may associate boat cruises with sunny days, sitting on the deck watching the world go by however the boat cruises are just as nice on rainy days. Choose from Windermere, Coniston Water, Derwentwater and Ullswater as they all offer undercover boats. They are a great way to see the Lake District National Park and perfect for the whole family. We have done the trip from Bowness on Windermere to Ambleside many times and the boats offer refreshments and toilets on board. 

Coniston Cruises boat trip is a smaller boat than those on Windermere however they are just as nice. They offer you the chance to disembark at a range of stops along the Lake with some amazing sights to see including the home of artist and writer, John Ruskin. 

You can find out more information about the cruises by visiting Windermere Lake Cruises or Coniston Cruises by visiting Coniston Launch

Take a Steam Train Ride
A perfect way to see the beauty of the Lake District is taking a short trip on a steam train and travel three and half miles from Haverthwaite Station to Lakeside pier at the southern tip of Lake Windermere. Once you disembark the train at Lakeside it's just a short walk to the Aquarium of the Lakes. Also for easier access to Bowness or Ambleside you can jump on board a boat cruise with Windermere Lake Cruises.

Open every day from 1st April - 29th October

Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway Co. Ltd, Haverthwaite Station, Nr Ulverston, Cumbria LA12 8AL

For more information, timetables and admission prices visit Lakeside and Haverthwaite 

fish inside a tank

Lakes Aquarium
A perfect indoor activity for a rainy day.  Situated on Windermere the Lakes Aquarium is an  award-winning attraction and has the UK's largest collection of freshwater fish. As mentioned earlier you can arrive at the aquarium via boat or train. 

If booking in advance you can combine your boat or steam train ticket with an aquarium ticket to receive a discount. Children under 3 go free and there is a variety of tickets available including family tickets. 

The Lakes Aquarium is open daily from 10.00am.

Last admission 4.30pm, close at 5.30pm

Open 7 days a week, including bank holidays, only closed Christmas Day.

Lakes Aquarium, Lakeside, Newby Bridge, Cumbria, LA12 8AS

For more information and admission prices visit The Lakes Aquarium 

Brantwood, John Ruskin's Home
Brantwood is a historic house located on the shore of Coniston Water in the Lake District. It was the former home of John Ruskin, a famous Victorian writer, artist, and social reformer, and is now open to the public as a museum, showcasing Ruskin’s life and work. The property also includes guest accommodations, a cafe, and extensive gardens and woodland trails.

Visitors to the house are introduced to Ruskin’s world by a brief introductory video and are then free to explore the seven historical rooms which he occupied during his lifetime, all of which are filled with his furniture, art and objects.

Brantwood is open daily 10:30-5pm throughout the Summer  and Wednesday to Sunday during winter, also closing on Christmas & Boxing Day.

The Brantwood Trust, East of Lake, Coniston, LA21 8AD

For more information and admission prices visit Brantwood

The World Of Beatrix Potter
The World Of Beatrix Potter attraction gives you the opportunity to celebrate Beatrix Potter's 23 enchanting stories. Each one brought to life right before your eyes, you will feel like you are walking amongst the pages of her books. 

Peter Rabbits garden is available for you to wander through admiring all the fruit and vegetables growing. You can even try some in the cafe.

The World of Beatrix Potter is open every day of the year with the exception of Christmas Day and a short period of closure in Jan/Feb for maintenance.

Summer opening hours (April – October) 10am – 5.30pm
Winter opening hours (November – March) 10am – 4.30pm

The World Of Beatrix Potter, Crag Brow, Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria, UK, LA23 3BX

For more information and admission prices visit The World of Beatrix Potter

garden at hill top

Hill Top
A visit to The Lake District wouldn't be the same without a visit to Hill Top. Visiting Hill Top allows you to enjoy the tales of Beatrix Potter. The Farmhouse Retreat is full of her favourite things and the cottage inspired her stories and her love for the Lake District. 

The lovely cottage garden is a haphazard mix of flowers, herbs, fruit and vegetables. Make your way up the garden path to the front door and see for yourself why Beatrix loved this place. Bought in 1905 with proceeds from her first book, the Tale of Peter Rabbit, she used Hill Top itself and the surrounding countryside as inspiration for many of her subsequent books.

Hill Top is open daily with a usual opening hours of 0am-5pm however please do check before you visit. 

Hill Top, Near Sawrey, Hawkshead, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 0LF

For more information and admission prices visit Hill Top


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8 Reasons To Stay At Art Of Animation, Walt Disney World

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We have just returned from our third visit to Walt Disney World, Orlando and we had another amazing stay at Disney's Art of Animation. We have stayed at the resort before and although there are plenty of other hotels and accommodation choices we knew that we wanted to return to Art of Animation as for us it had everything we wanted from a hotel and resort and it's so close to our favourite theme parks, Epcot and Hollywood Studios. If you are planning a trip to Walt Disney World it can become overwhelming and when we first visited I researched everything and found lots of Walt Disney World hints and tips. I wanted to know what the best hotels where as I wanted to stay in the perfect place. I wanted our trip to be perfect and my research paid off. I found Art of Animation. It's one of the value resort hotels which is classed as a budget hotel although it doesn't feel like it. I would class it as more of a 4-star hotel.  There are spacious guest rooms for small and bigger families, 4 areas each with a different theme based on Disney characters and for us it was the best choice. If you are looking at staying at Art of Animation then here are 8 reasons why we love the resort so much. 

big blue pool

3 Pools
Having the choice of three pools is perfect for those hotter days when you just want to dip in the outdoor pool and not feel like it is overcrowded. We have never felt like they have crammed too many people in the pool and we have always been able to get a lounger around the pool too. Back to theming but the 3 pools are based around 3 of the movies. The Little Mermaid and Cars are located towards each side of the resort with The Big Blue Pool being directly in the centre just a short walk from the main entrance. All pools are in easy walking distance no matter where you are staying. The Big Blue is actually the largest pool in the whole of the Walt Disney World resort.

lion king figures

The Disney theming at Art of Animation is the best we have seen throughout Walt Disney World. The resort focuses on The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Cars and Finding Nemo. When you arrive at the hotel you will be greeted with life-size figures of all your favourite characters from the movies. They have designated sections for each movie and all the rooms and surrounding areas are focused on that movie. It's such a great thing for older and young children to see their favourite characters dotted around the resort.

little mermaid rooms

Choice of Accommodation
Visitors to the resort come in all sizes and Art of Animation have you covered. Their rooms and suites can sleep up to 6 people. The standard Little Mermaid room consists of either 1 king or two queen beds. These are slightly bigger than UK Double beds. The Lion King, Cars and Finding Nemo family suites offer 1 queen bed and 2 double sized sleepers. Whilst the rooms at The Little Mermaid hotel room are spacious and perfect for a family of four, the family suite really does offer that extra space for larger families but the additional cost is quite a jump.

The suites also offer a kitchenette with microwave, fridge and 2 bathrooms. One bathroom is ensuite to the main bedroom offering a spacious double vanity, toilet and walk in shower while the other bathroom is located close to the living area offering a double vanity, toilet, bath and shower. 

Close To Parks
Art of Animation is located in the Wide World of Sports Area and is really close to Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and Epcot. Each park can be reached within 10 -15 minutes. It is further away from Magic Kingdom but the average bus ride is only a 15-minute drive. 

art of animation

Activities Around The Resort
As well as being close to the Disney parks and having 3 pools to keep you entertained the resort also does offer lots of activities and entertainment. You can find a 'what's on' at the resort but it usually consists of movie nights which Disney films being shown on the big screen or each night you can head to Pride Rock to roast some marshmallows. There are also games left out for you to play at anytime, like jumbo connect 4.

Value Resort
It still amazes me that Art of Animation is classed as a value resort. It is by far the nicest 'Disney themed' hotel we have seen with the theming and proximity to the parks. Being a value resort means costs are low to stay compared to other hotels which is definitely a huge bonus.

jogging trail

Jogging Trail
Hourglass Lake is situated between Disney's Art of Animation and Disney's Pop Century resorts. The lake which is named after its shape has a circular walking/ jogging/ running trail around the outskirts. The trail is approx 1.38miles and is perfect for those who like to start their day with a jog. 

skyliner at art of animation

Sky Liner
The previous two times we have stayed at Art of Animation the sky ride hadn't been created and we were happy getting the buses each day to the parks but wow! What a difference the Sky Liner makes to your stay. Due to the distance of the parks if you are heading to Hollywood Studios or Epcot you can jump on the Sky Liner. It is so quick and easy. We never had to wait plus we usually got a whole one to ourselves. You can also use the free shuttle bus service to head to Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom.

I honestly couldn't recommend Art of Animation enough. Enjoying extra magic hours means full days at the park so Art of Animation really does have the best ways to relax once you get back. Whether it's enjoying watching Disney movies on your flat-screen tvs in the room or ordering room service from local service such as Uber Eats. It really does have everything to make your stay as magical as possible and for us it ticks all boxes for a great place to stay without the added extra cost of moderate hotels and for our budget it is definitely the best option. 


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Glow Travel Sleep Easy

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Disclosure - We were sent the Glow Travel Sleep Easy for the purpose of this post. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own. 

As a family we love to travel. We love spending days exploring new and old places but when it comes to bedtime it can be a tough as 2 out of the 4 of us struggle to get asleep. It's always been like this and over the years we have tried all sorts but nothing really works. This Summer we will be trying out the Glow Travel Sleep Easy. We are already using it at home but as it's travel friendly I cannot wait to see if it makes those restless nights more peaceful. 

glow travel sleep easy

Getting Started was easy we twisted the lid to open and popped in an oil pad. There are 5 included. We then added the aromatherapy oil, popped the lid back on and switched on the power button. 

There are many features to support good sleep including

glow travel sleep easy

Red LED light - Encourages the brain to produce more melatonin - the hormone that prepares our cells for sleep. There are 3 setting which you can tap to increase the light from dim to bright.

Pink Noise - Organic pink noise creates a consistent soundscape to prevent unnecessary wake ups and help the brain achieve deep Slow-Wave sleep. You can tap to adjust the volume. Pink noise helps to reduce household noise such as pets and traffic which can cause wake ups. 

glow travel sleep easy

Aroma Nebuliser - No water needed for scent nebuliser and will run all night! Promotes deep, relaxing breathing and helps to ease congestion and illness. 

The Glow Travel Sleep Easy has a 2hr, 4hr and 12hr setting which is controlled by pressing the button and also a child lock feature. 

Once charged it has a full 12hr battery life however it can also be plugged in if you are at home.

glow travel sleep easy

The Glow Travel Sleep Easy is a compact and portable device which has just two parts making it a perfect travelling companion. It can fit easy in to a cup holder in car or buggy. 

The Glow Travel Sleep Easy is not just for little ones, we have been using it too and it really has helped support better sleep at home and I know this will really help us when travelling this Summer. 

glow travel sleep easy

You can find out more information by visiting Glow Travel Sleep Easy 


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Post-Beach Skincare - Essential Tips to Nourish Your Skin

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Disclosure - This is a collaborative post. 

After a delightful day spent basking in the sun, feeling the sand between your toes, and enjoying the refreshing ocean waves, it's essential to give your skin the care it deserves. The beach environment can be harsh on your skin, with exposure to sunlight, saltwater, and sand. To ensure your skin stays healthy and nourished, follow these post-beach skincare tips.

a family walking along the beach

Rinse Off The Saltwater and Sand 
Start by rinsing your body and face with fresh water to remove any residual salt and sand. Gently cleanse your skin using a mild, hydrating cleanser to eliminate impurities without stripping away essential moisture.

Soothe With A Cool Compress
If your skin feels irritated or sunburned, apply a cool compress to calm inflammation. Use a clean cloth soaked in cold water or aloe vera gel to provide instant relief and hydrate the skin.

Moisturise Generously
After cleansing, apply a rich, hydrating moisturiser to replenish lost moisture and restore the skin's natural barrier. Look for products that contain ingredients like hyaluronic acid, shea butter, or aloe vera to nourish and soothe the skin, like the ones from the Blue Lagoon body skincare line for example. 

Repair and Rejuvenate With Antioxidants
Exposure to the sun can cause oxidative stress on the skin, leading to premature ageing. Use skincare products rich in antioxidants like vitamin C, green tea extract, or resveratrol to help repair and protect the skin from free radicals.

Apply A Soothing Face Mask
Treat your skin to a soothing and hydrating face mask to restore moisture and promote skin rejuvenation. Look for masks with ingredients like aloe vera, cucumber, or hyaluronic acid to replenish hydration levels and soothe any sun-induced redness or irritation.

Don't Forget Your Lips And Eyes
Your lips and the delicate skin around your eyes are particularly susceptible to sun damage. Apply a lip balm with SPF and a hydrating eye cream to protect and nourish these sensitive areas.

Take A Break From Makeup
Give your skin a break from heavy makeup after a day at the beach. Opt for lightweight, breathable products or go makeup-free to allow your skin to breathe and recover.

Hydrate From Within
Spending time at the beach can dehydrate your body, so it's crucial to replenish lost moisture by drinking plenty of water. Staying hydrated not only benefits your overall health but also helps maintain skin elasticity and a youthful appearance.

Protect For Future Beach Outings
Prevention is key. Before heading out for another beach adventure, make sure to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF, wear protective clothing, and seek shade when the sun is at its peak.

By following these post-beach skincare tips, you can ensure that your skin stays healthy, hydrated, and glowing even after a day of fun in the sun. Prioritise your skin's well-being, and it will continue to radiate beauty and vitality for years to come.

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9 Must See London Landmarks Along The River Thames

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Disclosure - This post contains affiliate links 

Last year during a getaway in London we decided to book a City Cruise along the River Thames. A river cruise is the perfect way to take in the London landmarks from the comfort of your seat. Most cruises will have a tour guide telling you some history about the sights and may also point out some London landmarks you may have missed. These are our 9 must see London landmarks along the River Thames.

boy looking at the london eye from a boat

Houses Of Parliament 
Built between 1840-1870 The Houses of Parliament stand on the North Bank of the River Thames. It's easy to spot with it's sand coloured limestone. It's also known as the Palace of Westminster and is made up of the House of Commons, the House of Lords and Westminster Hall. It is also where you will find Big Ben.

sights of London from the Thames

Big Ben
Standing for over 150 years the Elizabeth Tower is one of Londons most iconic landmarks however is mostly known as Big Ben. Big Ben is actually the name of the bell inside the clock tower and weighs more than 13 tons. 

The Shard
The 72 storey skyscraper is home to offices, restaurants and a hotel. It is a very popular visitor attraction also as you can enjoy a View From The Shard which offers you the chance to see for 40 miles across London on a clear day.

sights of London from the Thames

London Eye
The London Eye is one of the most popular attractions in London that charges an admission fee. Standing at 443ft the London Eye was the worlds most tallest ferris wheel from 1999-2006. Each one of the 32 capsules can hold up to 25 passengers for the 30 minute duration. The 32 capsules represents the 32 boroughs (together with the City of London) of Greater London. 

sights of London from the Thames

Tower Bridge
After 8 years of construction the Tower Bridge was opened in 1894, therefore spending over a century of being a defining iconic landmark for not just London but the United Kingdom too. The bridge has the ability to lift to let river traffic through and offers a whole range of other quirky features which can be seen along the bridge itself including a glass walkway. 

Cleopatra's Needle
The Obelisk was made in Egypt for the Pharaoh Thotmes III in 1460 BC, making it almost 3,500 years old. It is known as Cleopatra’s Needle as it was brought to London from Alexandria, the royal city of Cleopatra. 

sights of London from the Thames

St Paul's Cathedral 
Its dome, surrounded by the spires of Wren's City churches, has dominated the skyline for over 300 years. At 365 ft high, it was the tallest building in London from 1710 to 1963. The dome is still one of the highest in the world. St Paul's is the second-largest church building in area in the United Kingdom, after Liverpool Cathedral.

sights of London from the Thames

Shakespeare's Globe
Shakespeare's Globe is a reconstruction of the Globe Theatre, an Elizabethan playhouse for which William Shakespeare wrote his plays.It is recommended that if you go to watch a show at Shakespeares Globe that you dress appropriately for all weathers as the theatre has an open roof. 

HMS Belfast
HMS Belfast is a Town-class light cruiser that was built for the Royal Navy. She is now permanently moored as a museum ship on the River Thames in London and is operated by the Imperial War Museum.

sights of London from the Thames

Our Cruise
We were given the choice of four locations to board. We chose Westminster as it was closest to where we were visiting. You can also hop on a London Eye, Tower Bridge or Greenwich. The cruise offers 24 hours of hop on / hop off however you can stay on for the whole duration of the round trip but it can take over 2 hours. Each pier to pier trip is approx 40 minutes except for Westminster to London Eye which is approx 10 minutes. 

There were plenty of other sights to see along the way and the cruises usually have live or pre recorded commentary which point out landmarks and places of interest along the way. We found the cruise a great way to see the sights of London from the comfort of our seat.

Have you enjoyed a cruise along the River Thames? What was your favourite landmark?


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