ALTON Towers has captured the wacky, wild and just plain silly in the new World of David Walliams featuring flagship attraction Gangsta Granny: The Ride, based on his best-selling book.
Fans will have terrific fun spotting all the daft Walliams story references. Raj’s Sweet Shop on Wallibums Way is a fantastic homage to everyone’s favourite character, Raj, and his dubious marketing techniques.
The shop window is full of funny Raj-isms — from half-chewed sweet offers to bargain ”three for four” offers.
The comedian’s books have always been a big hit in our house, one of the few my daughter Willow, nine, will happily read alone. In these days of TikTok, YouTube and Roblox this is no mean feat!
So Willow and sisters Heidi, 12, and Rosita, 14, were desperate to see how the Gangsta Granny story would be brought to life.
The ride takes you on an immersive tour that condenses the best bits from the Gangsta Granny story in which Ben and his international jewel thief granny undertake one last heist — to steal the crown jewels.
It uses the latest technology to deliver a fun, multi-sensory experience from the moment you jump aboard little cars to take you on your journey through the sewers of London.
It is gentle, so good for little ones, but with cool special effects and an absorbing fast flow for older kids.
Heidi, 12, was impressed with the design, pictures and giggle-tastic Gangsta Granny references in the ride queue. There is even a cute dog entrance for David Walliams’ own dogs, Bert and Ernie, to sneak in.
The World of David Walliams area itself provides a welcome respite to the adrenalin-filled rides in the rest of the park.
There are regular shows performed by the Queen’s guard — full of nonsense and bum-wiggling dances. And all ages will love the traditional funfair-style rides like Flavio’s Fabulous Fandango. This spun us so fast I crushed my partner — much to my amusement, but strangely not his.
As well as Raj’s shop, check out the Royal Carousel and Raj’s Bottom Burp — again, all excellently themed. The theme park has significantly expanded its options to extend your visit with an overnight stay.
As well as the Alton Towers, Splash Landings and CBeebies Land hotels there are Stargazing Pods, Woodland Lodges and luxury tree-houses.
But mega-fans will want to reserve one of the three Gangsta Granny-themed rooms at the Alton Towers Hotel. These themed rooms, sleeping a family of up to five, come complete with a motorised scooter, a safe and the crown jewels to find.
Of course, a stay includes a copy of the book and TV in the kids’ bunk-bed nook, complete with a DVD of the telly adaptation of the book. It is heaps of fun and the kids loved all the special design touches but it doesn’t come cheap — expect to pay a premium for the privilege.
The rest of the day at Alton Towers was a blur of chasing after my girls as they sought the ultimate, most hair-raising ride.
The Smiler rollercoaster made them howl (and my tummy flip) and the innocently named Rita coaster stunned them into silence as it zoomed off at breakneck speed.
GO: ALTON TOWERS
GOING/STAYING THERE: Tickets to Alton Towers are from £34 per personwhen booked in advance online. Children under three go free.
Short breaks are from £88 for a family of four and include overnight stay, breakfast, evening entertainment, selected early theme park access and nine-hole round of Extraordinary Golf.
A stay in the Gangsta Granny room is from £86pp, per night including free copy of the book.
I loved the Wicker Man, the terrifying rattling wooden rollercoaster, reminiscent of old-school theme parks but with modern speed and twists.
There are plenty of other gems if rollercoasters are not your thing.
My favourite experience was Hex, a disorientating multi-sensory experience which, like the best magic, leaves you totally confused, and is set in the heart of the ruins of the original Alton Towers.
In fact, now is a great time to visit the theme park as it puts on a new Mardi Gras event.
There will be carnival-style celebrations throughout the park until June 20, along with special food trucks offering treats from around the world — think stone-baked pizzas, Greek wraps, Chinese noodles and more.
Heading home, my phone informed me that I had covered more than 25,000 steps and my weary legs confirmed this.
Maybe next time I will take a leaf out of Gangsta Granny’s book and borrow her motorised scooter to explore the park.
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