|St. Giles Church - Imber|
Wednesday, 25 September 2019
Family Adventures: Imber Ghost Village & Alton Towers!
It feels like it's been ages since the summer holidays ended and the little dude went back to school but in reality, it's only been... Okay, it's been 4 weeks.
However, the transition back to 5 day work weeks and the back to school routine kicked my ass and I'm only now finding the time (and energy) to finish writing up our summer adventures before we embark on any autumn ones!
So, today, I'm talking Imber Ghost Village and Alton Towers theme park!
To start, let's discuss our day out to Imber, a 'ghost village' on Salisbury plains that is open to the public only on a few occasions throughout the year.
A bit of background...
Imber was a little village in the middle of Salisbury plains. I don't know how long people had lived there but the church dates back as far as the 13th century so people had been there for a really long time! Anyway, to cut a long story short, the village population was evicted by the ministry of defence back in 1943 to use it as a training ground for allied troops preparing to retake Europe.
The land today is still used as a MOD training ground and pretty much the only building left intact is the church (St. Giles) which is cordoned off and protected from the military exercises.
The village today...
The village buildings that remain standing are hollowed out shells and are basically just brick structures (dating from the 1930's) with tin roofs.
You can't wander around them or explore because it's an active training ground and there are signs everywhere warning you to stick to the designated paths (which are safe).
The old manor house still stands (but is cordoned off and sealed up) and the old village inn (The Bell Inn) still stands but is again a complete ruin that you can't explore because it's not safe.
The rest of the old builds have been demolished because they were unsafe and in complete disrepair.
Essentially, it's a derelict site that used to house a village and if it wasn't for the odd structure still standing and the church, you'd never recognise it as ever having been a village.
To be honest, I was expecting a lot more from Imber.
It's built up quite a mystique in these parts but it was all a bit bland.
However, it was free to visit - even if it's an absolute nightmare to find! - and I'm glad that I've done it for it was interesting... The very concept that an entire village could be evicted en masse because someone said so is worth some thought!
Onto the next adventure...
This summer, we spent three days in Staffordshire enjoying ourselves at Alton Towers theme park!
For those who don't know what Alton Towers is, it's a theme park built on an estate surrounding an old gothic-looking manor house (which is now a beautiful ruin).
There's a big lake, picturesque gardens, the manor house ruins, and loads of rides designed for thrill-seekers. Oh, and it's home of CBeebies land for those with little kiddies.
The resort also houses golf courses, crazy golf and a water park but I've never been to any of that - Just the theme park.
The first thing I'd say to anyone visiting Alton Towers is that it's bloody expensive!
It's great fun and very pretty but expensive.
Make sure to book online more than 5 days in advance for the best prices and depending on how many days you are going, consider buying a season pass.
We did and we saved a lot.
(Plus, if we get it into our heads to drive up there again before November, they're still valid!)
The second thing would be to wear super comfy shoes as this one is particularly spaced out and you're going to walk for miles and miles and be standing in lots of queues when you're not walking.
The first two days of our trip were pretty good.
It wasn't too hot, it wasn't too busy, it didn't rain and we got on lots of rides.
The little dude is still too small for a lot of the big rollercoasters (much to his disgust) but he made up for it by riding the ones he could go on multiple (multiple) times!
One of his favourites was The Wicker Man which is the parks newest ride (opened in 2018). It's a wooden rollercoaster and it's insanely fast.
The latest attraction to open at the park is The Alton Towers Dungeons which is a walkthrough/boat ride attraction designed to freak you out and tell you the horrible history of Staffordshire!
It should be noted that the Dungeon is not included in your park ticket price (although you can buy a season pass with it included) and is not recommended for kids under 10 but if you have a kid who is a bit younger (like mine) who isn't scared easily (like mine) and is determined to go on it (like mine) then they won't stop you!
It also takes about 40ish minutes as it's not a traditional ride... It's a Dungeons. If you've been to London, Edinburgh, York, or Warwick Dungeons you'll have an idea of what to expect as it's part of that franchise.
On day two, we also treated everyone (we were there with family) to a visit to the Rollercoaster Restaurant!
The Rollercoaster Restaurant is the only one in the UK.
You basically order your food on an order pad and when it's ready it's delivered to your table in sealed pots via the rollercoaster network.
You then unload it and plate it up yourself.
The food is good, the delivery is fun and even though it's pricier than the other park food options it's worth experiencing at least once for the novelty value alone!
The third and final day of our trip was a washout.
Literally. It rained and it rained and it rained some more!
We went on a few favourites one last time (hello Wicked Man), had a quick lunch and then joined the mass exodus from the park around 2pm.
We were soaked to our skin and had to do the awkward dry and change under a towel in the car before heading off on the long drive home a little earlier than planned!
All in all, I like Alton Towers but as we go pretty much every summer, I think I'm getting tired of it now. Next time we visit, I hope to go to one of their Halloween or Christmas events as it would offer something a little bit different.