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How to Save Time at Alton Towers

Alton Towers Skyride

Alton Towers is an enormous theme park, covering some 800 acres and incorporating a large number of roller coasters, thrill rides and family-friendly attractions. Seeing everything you want to in a single day is a challenge, particularly during peak seasons when queues for the most popular rides can be hours long.

Fortunately, you can avoid the worst of the lines by planning ahead and using the simple tips we’ve outlined below.

Visit on the quietest day possible

If you can, avoid visiting Alton Towers during the school holidays and on Saturdays. Sundays and weekdays are usually the least busy, although it is possible to have a great time on any day by using the rest of the tips in this article.

Arrive early

Aim to get to Alton Towers at least 45 minutes before rides open, to give yourself a chance to park, catch the monorail and pick up your tickets (if you haven't ordered them in advance).

Take advantage of Early Ride Time if possible

If you're booking tickets online, have an annual pass or are staying one of Alton Towers' on-site hotels, you'll be able to enter the park an hour before it opens to other guests and enjoy a selection of the most popular rides with very short queues.

Choose when you plan to eat carefully 

Alton Towers' restaurants are very busy between 11am and 1pm. If you can eat either side of this window, then do. You’ll find the queues for major rides slightly shorter while others are tucking into their lunch.

Don't start at the front of the park

The rides at the front towards the front of the park (such as Sonic Spinball) get busy early, as many guests head straight to them. Instead, head towards either Air (in Forbidden Valley) or Rita (in the Dark Forest) first as both rides' queues are at their shortest early in the day. If you want to ride both, hit Rita first due to its low capacity.

Use Single Rider Queues 

If you don't mind riding on your own, then you can take advantage of the Single Rider Queues that are used on many of the park's biggest attractions to help fill up empty seats. These are usually much shorter than the standard queue.

Take the Skyride

Alton Towers' Skyride can be a lifesaver on a hot day, saving you from trekking the massive distances between the Dark Forest/Cloud Cuckoo Land area and Forbidden Valley. The views are stunning, too.

Eat breakfast before you arrive

Breakfast at Alton Towers is both expensive and time-consuming, so make sure you eat before you head to the park.

Buy a car park token on the way in

Buying your car park token on the way into the park will save time on the way out, when queues often build at the machines near the exit.

Turn to the dark side and buy Fastrack tickets

We hate it when theme parks charge extra for queue-jumping options, which leave everyone else in the park feeling like second-class citizens. But if you must, or you're desperate, you can buy Fastrack tickets which enable you to avoid the lines for some of the most popular attractions. If you follow the other tips in this article, though, there should be no need.

Don’t forget that the closing time refers to the queue, not the ride

A fact that is often overlooked by many visitors to Alton Towers is that the stated closing time for each ride actually refers to its queue. So if Nemesis is due to close at 18.00, you can still join the queue at 17.59.

Take note of the queue time boards

Located in a number of positions around Alton Towers, electronic boards display the current queues times for major attractions. Try and take a peek at these before you trek across the park, only to find that a huge queue has formed for the ride you were planning to experience.

Share your Alton Towers tips!

Do you have a special tip for saving time at Alton Towers? Why not add it to our theme park tips database?


There are 2 comments.

My advice, take out a second mortgage on your home & use the money to buy fast-tracks, without it, you haven't a hope! I went on Tuesday (Rainy & In school term-time) & despite not stopping for a second we managed 6 rides in total. We got through the gates at opening & went straight for the smiler, still had to wait 2.5 hours to get on it. Probably due to the park not even starting the daily testing until a half hour AFTER the park opened, nice planning AT. Queue after queue after queue. Nice to see that 10 years on Air is STILL breaking down every half hour. The Quality of the rides at AT outshine every other park in the country (Seriously, the Smiler is STAGGERINGLY good), but I still come away every time with a bad taste in my mouth from the disgusting way that they rip you off at every turn & make it impossible to get on anything more than a handfull of rides unless you spend a fortune on fast-tracks. Do yourself a favour & go to Flamingo land or Drayton Manor, yes the rides are not as good, but you can nearly always get on every ride & never come away feeling ripped off.

ALSO to add to the review which is good - Woodcutters near Dark Forest and Pizza buffet have last orders 15min before the park shuts so if you can wait eat then means you miss the traffic and it dont (eat) into your day - Also did you know that park guests can use the HOTEL restaurants. Well they can even if not staying over. The secret Garden starts at £12.99 to £19.99 for a 3 course meal and you get 20% if you hold a pass thats in the towers hotel. In splash landings Falmbarts is £19.99pp and again 20% off only difference is its a buffet - We do this and it saves stacks of time trying to get out the park :)

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