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.

St. Giles Church - Imber
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.



  1. How crazy that an entire village was evicted. But I guess desperate times call for desperate measures.
    Your little guy is so cute! And I’m impressed that he was gung ho for the dungeons and roller coasters. Yikes. The restaurant sounds like fun. Worth doing just for the experience.

    1. I guess that was the reality of WWII!
      The MOD had bought land all around the village so taking over the village also made sense... Shame though seeing as a lot of the buildings still standing were only built 10 years or so before everyone was evicted as part of a big social housing programme that started after WWI!

      He's a nut for roller coasters and thrill rides. It definitely doesn't come from me! lol

  2. That village is cool looking so it's a bummer that there wasn't more to it.

    That happens to us a lot when we visit hyped things. you get there and it's like abandoned building lol

    We went to Disney a lot because we lived in FL and every family member that visited wanted to go there so we started to mix it up going during different seasons/holidays and that really does help.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

    1. I love Disney! But not living in Florida, I imagine it'll take forever for me to get sick of it, lol. That said, both times I've visited were different as one was in June and the other was October when it was all kitted out for Halloween. :)

  3. Alton Towers looks so fun!!! That is awesome. That Wicker Man thing is cool- I saw the old version of that movie, so creepy! And the Dungeons sounds really cool too. Glad you had fun!

    1. The Wickerman ride is based on the legend so very like the movie in a lot of respects. The pre-ride part of the ride is you in a hut with a creepy voice over and you're essentially being 'prepared' for sacrifice to the Wickerman, lol. It is definitely creepy!

  4. It's sad that Imber just got taken over by the MOD back in WWII but I guess they just do whatever they want. And it was dire times back then.

    Alton Towers looks fun and pretty. It's no surprise it was expensive. It seems most theme parks charge you an arm and a leg for just about everything.

  5. Wait, a theme park on an estate and a rollercoaster restaurant? So cool.

  6. My dad gets too tired driving to get any further than Blackpool so I've never been to Alton Towers. I would've liked to have gone during my mad rollercoaster frenzy days but as I don't go on rides now (thank you for THAT Final Destination 3!!!) it wouldn't be worth the money! I do enjoy watching other people scream on the Blackpool rides though!

  7. This sounds like a fun trip and a nice summer with the little one! I like it when there is history about places like that. I know what you mean though, there's been places I've just had to see then it's almost like 'been there done that' lol. Most recently, we drove out a few hours to see the famous steps seen in the famous Rocky movies.
    Enjoy your week.

  8. How cool is that amusement park? I would love that restaurant! 🎢

    It's too bad they couldn't restore the Imber church and the estate, at least to the point of being able to explore the insides a bit. I would have been bored, too. 🌳


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