Spending the night with Captain Barnacles and Igglepiggle! Alton Towers opens CBeebies hotel geared towards children with special needs
- TravelMail’s Sarah Welsh visited CBeebies Land Hotel with her two children
- The resort has been partly designed for children with additional needs
- Many of the staff are trained to communicate with guests with autism
TravelMail’s Sarah Welsh checked into the CBeebies Land Hotel with her daughter Imogen and son, Rory
Thank heavens for the CBeebies channel – that salvation for parents of pre-schoolers, beaming programmes into living rooms the length and breadth of the country 13 hours a day.
And now, courtesy of Alton Towers, you and your wee ones can live their dreams at a sleepover with many of their favourite small screen characters, from Octonauts’ Captain Barnacles to In The Night Garden’s Igglepiggle.
The world’s first CBeebies Land Hotel has just opened at the Staffordshire theme park.
Our, frankly massive, ‘Something Special’ suite was decked out in shades of mustard, green and blue; a parade of cartoon-like shop fronts complete with interactive features lined reception, and the cheerily named ‘musical meadow’ – an area next to the dining room – provided hours of daily entertainment.
For us, there was an extra incentive to visit with our children Imogen, six, and three-year-old Rory.
Last summer Rory was diagnosed with autism, and CBeebies Land Hotel has been partly designed to appeal to families of children with additional needs.
Many of the staff are Makaton trained, meaning they can communicate with children with special needs.
Wake-up call: Sarah’s Something Special suite was decked out in shades of mustard and green
Scrubbing up well: Even the bathrooms at the CBeebies hotel are geared towards children
Some meal options at the hotel’s Windmill Restaurant include ten hidden vegetables – perfect for those with sensory eating issues – and there are clever built-in features such as being able to turn off bright lights and music in the lifts.
We were aware of several other families with children with special needs staying over the same weekend and Claire, our server at breakfast, happily shared stories with us about her own autistic little one.
The whole experience was refreshing, and we found our children’s enthusiasm for the hotel infectious.
Warm welcome: The check-in area at the children’s hotel features interactive attractions
Woodland wonder: One of the spaces at the CBeebies hotel has a ceiling carpeted with leaves
They can certainly be relied upon to say the funniest things.
Take the little boy waiting in line with Imogen to greet Postman Pat before breakfast.
‘Where is he?’ one of the children asked as the assembled crowd fidgeted in their impatience to greet Greendale’s most famous resident.
‘Maybe Pat’s dead,’ he replied.
Thankfully the rumours about Pat’s demise proved unfounded.
Rooms at the CBeebies Land Hotel (altontowers.com, 0871 360 2521) cost from £197 per night B&B for a family of four (premium rooms from £272, suites from £347).
Theme park entrance from £27.50pp in advance, under 3s free.
A second day at the theme park is free for hotel guests, with access granted one hour before the public.