Last weekend saw Alton Towers Resort open for the 2021 Christmas season, expanded on from previous years with the addition of a Christmas Market and Europe’s longest light & lantern trail – Lightopia. TowersTimes were in attendance on Saturday 27th November to experience all of the festivities on offer.

Upon arrival into the theme park, guests are greeted by a festively decorated Towers Street, featuring Christmas trees aplenty, as seen in previous years, as well as an extravagant new Lightopia sign, which gives a taste of what to expect from the trail.

The first new addition for 2021 is the Towers Christmas Market, which consists of over 60 festive market stalls from independent vendors selling all sorts of gifts and crafts suitable for the occasion, located both along and at the end of Towers Street. To enhance the atmosphere, live musicians were playing versions of Christmas classics. We understand that they would usually play on the specially constructed Towers Street bandstand, which takes inspiration from features in the Gardens such as the bandstand and the Pagoda Fountain, but were relocated to one of the more enclosed huts given the weather on opening day.

Official merchandise for the Resort’s Christmas event is also on sale in Towers Trading Co, including drinkware, cuddly toys, headbands and pin badges. Merchandise for Christmas started appearing during Fireworks, and it was great to see a full selection of festive items for sale.

It wouldn’t be a Christmas event without plenty of festive food and beverage offerings. Guests can purchase a whole host of delicious snacks, refreshments and more substantial meals, ranging from churros, coffee, wraps and bratwurst sold in the Bavarian Village type area at the bottom of Towers Street, to marshmallows and mulled wine from the stalls in Fountain Square. The flooring used on the Front Lawns at Fireworks has been retained to create a weatherproof hub area, where both picnic benches and more enclosed huts can be found.

Towers Street Bar & Grill has also reopened as a restaurant for the first time in a number of years, with a menu that includes pizzas, burgers, sandwiches, wraps and nachos. Its bar also serves a range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Several other of the theme park’s permanent food and beverage outlets are also open for the event, including Corner Coffee, Towers Street Donuts and Hots Dogs, Eastern Express, Little Explorers Lunchbox, Woodcutters Bar & Grill, and The Burger Kitchen near to the Towers.

Elsewhere in the theme park there’s lots of festive entertainment on offer, from roaming street theatre (alternatively referred to as Mrs Claus) to regular shows on the main stage, which has been relocated to Fountain Square. There are four shows which run periodically throughout the day: A Rock’N’Roll Christmas, Panto Wonderland Sing-along, A Classic Christmas Party, and A Christmas Cracker Spectacular. It should be noted that only those with Festive Day Out tickets (or staying for a Santa’s Sleepover / Festive Break) will be able to access the area of the theme park where the main stage is located.

There are a choice of ticket options available for this year’s Christmas offering, depending on what elements you would like to experience. All guests are required to pay the standard £6 car parking charge per vehicle. Entry to the Towers Christmas Market is free for all guests, but should be pre-booked. Festive Day Out tickets are £16pp, and enable access to a variety of rides and attractions, including Spinball Whizzer, The World of David Walliams, Mutiny Bay, selected rides in CBeebies Land, and Hex – The Legend of the Towers. Admission to Lightopia is £20pp, with the requirement to choose a timeslot to enter the trail when booking. A combined Festive Day Out and Lightopia ticket can be purchased for £31pp. There are then separate queues at the turnstiles depending upon what ticket you have purchased, with those who have bought a Festive Day Out ticket given a wristband to permit access into the rest of the theme park from staff-manned entrances on either side of Towers Street.