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Alton Towers

Riding 'Air' at Alton Towers

Escape to the extraordinary world of Alton Towers, the UK's biggest theme park, and share a year round resort of full on, time out experiences. Prepare yourself for the unexpected, where fun combines with world class theme park thrills, splash water park, spa luxury and beautiful parks and gardens.

It's a world where everybody is welcome - a world where you can rub shoulders with elves; visit Willy Wonka in his fantabulous Chocolate Factory; lie back and luxuriate in a chocolate body wrap; scream your way to oblivion; splash yourself silly or take a walk in the woodlands all in the name of unadulterated fun!

Some of the theme park rides (in order of visitor preference):

Air - Forget life as you know it; forget standing, sitting, the ground beneath your feet. On Air you'll leave it all behind to float, swoop, soar and dive, all suspended in weightlessness above the earth. Experience true exhilaration. Fly.

Rita - Queen of Speed - is faster than a shuttle take-off, speedier than a Ferrari, boasts more lift than an aeroplane, and is more explosive even than Nemesis and Oblivion! She catapults from 0 to 100 kph in an awesome 2.5 seconds and never really slows down. Throughout her dipping, tilting loops, the average speed is an incredible 60 kph. Fasten your seatbelts: this is speed as you've never experienced before. Start your engines for pure edge-of-the-seat racing with the prophet of propulsion.

Nemesis - The apocalypse is here, sending you hurtling around pools of blood and rocky terrain, with G-forces greater than a space shuttle takeoff - and enough to tear Forbidden Valley apart. Do you have the nerve to face your nemesis?

Oblivion - The legendary ride that's steeper than skydiving and more brain-shredding than bungee: a 200-foot, 4.5G plummet to the centre of the earth. You haven't taken it past the edge until you've dived into Oblivion.

Ripsaw - If the spin doesn't get you the water jets will. The twisted metal thrown out by Forbidden Valley's monster spins and loops above blasters that will soak you to the skin.

Opening times: The theme park is closed dusring the winter and reopens for the 2007 season on 17th March. The house and gardens are open on selected days during the winter with special weekend events (check the website for details). The Cariba Water Park (located in Splash Landings Hotel) is also open throughout the year - opening times are: Sunday - Thursday - 11:30am - 6pm, Friday - Saturday - 11:30am - 8pm.

Contact details: Alton Towers, Alton, Staffordshire, ST10 4DB, England
Tel: 08705 20 40 60 | Website

Journey time from house - 32 mins (Route map)

Admission prices for the Theme Park for 2007 have not yet been published, Cariba Water parke is £12 per person (anyone over 4 years old), Family ticket (two adults and two children is £37. Winter admission price for the house and gardens is £5 adults £2 children.

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Chester Zoo

Tiger at Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo covers an area of over 100 acres within a total land holding of over 400 acres. The Zoo was founded in the early 1930s by George Mottershead, this followed an earlier venture in partnership with Dr. English of developing a small zoo at Shavington, Cheshire, where the Mottershead family market garden business was based.

Chester Zoo offers a fun and stimulating day out for everyone, no matter what age or ability. As well as 500 different species of animals and award-winning gardens, Chester Zoo offers first class facilities that ensure your day out really is as enjoyable as possible.

The Zoo is completely wheelchair and pushchair accessible, and all of the toilet facilities have disabled access, as well as plenty of Parent and Baby changing rooms. And parents will be delighted to know that the new Fun Ark adventure play area, near the Ark Restaurant, is a great place for children of all ages to let off steam!

There is a wide range of shops, cafes and ice-cream kiosks located around the Zoo; which cater for all tastes and budgets. At the Fountain Shop a fun and professional face-painting service is available during peak periods.

In order to ensure you see everything you wish to on your day out, there are clear signs and large maps located across the Zoo. There are also comprehensive guidebooks for sale that can help you make the most of your day, as well as providing interesting information about the animals. Children under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult.

Opening times: The Zoo is open all year from 10.00am except Christmas Day & Boxing Day. Please check the website (below) for last admission times. (Please note that in adverse weather conditions the zoo may close earlier than the stated time. )

Contact details: Chester Zoo, Upton-by-Chester, Chester, CH2 1LH
Tel: 01244 380 280 | Fax: 01244 371 273 | Website

Journey time from house - 56 mins (Route map)

Admission prices: Adults £10.50, Children (aged 3-15) £7.50, Concessions - Senior Citizens, Students and Visitors with disabilities £9.50, Family (2 plus 2) £34.00, Under 3's free

West Midlands Safari Park

Lion cub at West Midlands Safari Park

If you have never visited a Safari park then this is a must. Take your car though the four mile, all-weather 'drive through' and the New 'Leopard Valley' Discovery Trail and track down the African Big Five in the UK. See Elephant, Rhino, Lion and New 'Cape Buffalo Boma'. The African Big Five represent some of the biggest, boldest and most ferocious animals on the planet. This is a chance to get really close up with these animals - your children will love the antics of the monkeys on your car (they have a penchant for windscreen wipers!) Just remember not to open the windows - or heaven forbid - get out of your vehicle.

The Safari Park, its animals and team of staff have been the feature of a BBC ' behind the scenes' TV series recording the day to day life of the Park. To see more information visit the website.

When you get bored then try the theme park which has all the hair raising thrills and spills you could wish for. There are dozens to choose from - and they include a variety suitable for all members of the family, the young and not so young. There is an excellent diversity of traditional rides, brand new rides with the very latest specification and popular rides reminiscent of "all the fun of the traditional fair". Small rides, big rides, slow rides, fast rides - whether you prefer to be whisked along by a wild rollercoaster like the Walls Twister or Rhinocoaster, ferried along by the Zambezi Water Splash, plunged by the mighty Pirate Ship or spun around on the Tea Cups.

Opening times: Open 10.00am daily, including Bank Holidays, but closed for the winter on Friday, 3rd November 2006. Park will reopen again in February 2007 - check website (below) for details.

Contact details: West Midland Safari and Leisure Park, Spring Grove, Bewdley, Worcestershire, DY12 1LF
Telephone: 01299 402114 / 0700 4 SAFARI | Fax: 01299 404519 | Website

Journey time from house - 1 hour 24 mins (Route map)

Admission prices: The prices for 2006 were (Per Person - includes free return visit) Adults - £8.99, Children - £8.99, (Under 4`s free), Multi-ride Wristbands - £8.75 per person, Organised groups - £7.25 (any height). 2007 prices have not yet been published - please check website nearer the time of reopening

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Drayton Manor Park and Zoo

Apocalypse at Drayton Manor Park and Zoo

Winner of Group Leisure's Best UK Attraction for Children 2005 and the Heart of England Tourism's Gold Award for Visitor Attraction of the Year 2005.

Rides include Drunken Barrels, the £700,000 attraction which will whirl riders into a dizzy, giddy peak as they are transported in one of 12 gyrating barrels in a vertiginous dance which packs all the merriment of a Bavarian bierfest! The park's newest roller coaster, the amazing £3m ride 'G Force', takes terrified passengers through a series of high-banked twists and turns at speeds of up to 70kmh, and up to a maximum height of 23 metres whilst leaving them hanging free due to a revolutionary new hip-restraint system. G Force has quickly become a firm favourite among roller coaster aficionados, having been voted as the most eagerly anticipated ride of 2005 by the Roller Coaster Club of Great Britain. For daredevils, try Apocalypse, the world's first stand up tower drop, and Pandemonium which turns riders upside down when two 32-seater platforms are swung simultaneously through 360°, up to a staggering 24.7 metres high, and at a force of 3.8G. In addition there is Maelstrom, the thrilling gyro swing, Shockwave, Europe's only stand-up roller coaster, and Stormforce 10, the wet-knuckle ride with an amazing backward drop. These are some of the biggest, wettest and scariest rides around.

For the more faint hearted there are a range of rides that offer more of your 'pink knuckle' fun, including the Jolly Roger, which is part of Drayton Manor's pirate range, which also includes the Pirate Adventure and Jolly Buccaneer. A visit to Robinson's Land will reveal a mixture of fantastic rides especially designed for children, and there is even an even a traditional carousel and big wheel.

Those looking for enjoyment away from the rides should visit Drayton Manor's amazing zoo, which is home to over a hundred different animal species from around the world, including big cats, monkeys, and birds of prey. One of Britain's largest collection of snakes can be found in the Reptile House, whilst visitors are sure to want to visit the zoo's newest additions, a family of meerkats who have taken residence in the recently opened 'Meerkat Manor'.

Opening times: Drayton Manor Theme Park reopens on Saturday 24 March 2007. Drayton Manor Zoo is open every day (closed 23 December - 3 January) from 10.00 am (refreshments are available at weekends)

Contact details: Drayton Manor Theme Park and Zoo, Tamworth, Staffordshire, B78 3TW
Telephone: 01827 287 979 | Fax: 01827 288 916 | Website

Journey time from house - 1 hour (Route map)

Admission prices: 2007 prices have not yet been published - please check website nearer the reopening time.

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Go Ape

Delaware Forest Adventure Park

Forest adventure at 'Go Ape'

For many years, Delamere Forest has been a popular destination for families to enjoy the pleasure of the leafy Cheshire countryside. Positioned adjacent to Linmere bridge with magnificent views of Blakemere lake, the course boasts the longest zip slide of any Go Ape adventure, some 200 metres long - which will give you even more time to figure out if you're going to land on your feet or your derriere!

Journey time from house (Delaware Forest in Cheshire) - 42 minutes (Route map)

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Sherwood Forest Adventure Park

Swing through the trees and speed down zip slides in legendary Robin Hood country at the brilliant high wire adventure course at Sherwood Pines Forest Park. Climb up high and tackle a course of over 30 hanging rope bridges, scramble nets and zip slides up to 30 feet off the forest floor.

Go Ape! Sherwood Pines Forest is the only Go Ape! course to feature tree to tree zip lines so why not go and experience something a little different.

For those wanting to combine the visit with 'Robin Hood' country - the park is just 5 miles from the Major Oak.

Journey time from house (Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire) - 1 hour 27 minutes (Route map)

Admission prices:(Both Delamere Forest and Sherwood Forest) Gorillas (18yrs +) - £20.00, Baboons (10-17yrs) - £15.00

NB Children must be at least 10 years old and over 4ft 7ins . No younger, no shorter! Under 18yr olds must be accompanied by a participating adult. One adult can supervise two under 16yr olds (+ an additional 3 x 16 or 17yr olds).

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Formula 1 racing at Silverstone

If you prefer the thrill of speed, the smell of rubber and gasoline then why not visit the formula 1 racing circuit at Silverstone? The British Grand Prix will be hosted at Silverstone on July 6th - 8th. 2007 provisional race fixtures are below (but check the website for more details):

If you prefer to get more hands on then you can book to drive a driving experience: rallying, in a lotus or a single seater (again see website for more information).

Contact details: Silverstone Circuit, Northamptonshire, NN12 8TN
Telephone: 08704 588 200 | Fax: 08704 588 250 | Website

Journey time from house 1 hour 50 minutes (Route map)

Admission prices: See website for ticket prices (on-line booking) for specific events and for driving experiences.

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Uttoxeter Races

Uttoxeter Races

Uttoxeter Racecourse has something for everyone.  Whether you are new to racing, like to enjoy a special day out or you are a loyal follower of the Sport of Kings, come along to Uttoxeter and you are guaranteed a day of fun and excitement in beautiful surroundings.

With 25 race meetings spread evenly throughout the year, you also have the opportunity to come racing in every season!  Whether that is National Hunt Racing in the Winter, or glorious summer jumping, you are sure to be on course for an unforgettable day at the Finest Country Racecourse in the Land.

Uttoxeter's feature days are The John Smith's Midlands Grand National and the Britannia Building Society English Summer National.  Brace yourself for the most exciting racing action in the Midlands combined with the fantastic entertainment that we provide on course. (If your swap is in the summer (July) then we will be able to get you free complementary tickets to the Summer National - then all you will need is your picnic and champagne for a perfect day!)

With all of the racedays themed at Uttoxeter it is the perfect day out for all the family; from Irish Night to Medieval Day there is truly something for everyone.

For details of race meetings check the official website (link below)

Contact details: Uttoxeter Racecourse, Wood Lane, Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, ST14 8BD
Telephone: 01889 562561 | Fax: 01889 562786 | Website

Journey time from our house - 34 minutes (Route map)

Admission prices: Ticket prices vary according to the status of the race meeting. Tickets can be purchased online from the website (see above)

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Chester Races

Polo at Chester Racecourse

Racing takes place at Chester race course on 12 days during the year. For details of the race programme and hospitality, ticket booking, parking etc please visit the official website below.

In addition to the race programme Chester Racecourse has created its own Polo Club to make polo accessible. Individual polo lessons for players at all levels cost from £50 per 45 minute session. For those just wanting to play, chukkas take place every Tuesday with pony hire available from £40. Polo is played at Chester Racecourse and on the nearby Churton pitch. Ponies, equipment and facilities are all readily available to create a superb personalised experience.

Chester Racecourse also hosts an annual horse show. The 2007 Chester Racecourse horse show will take place on Wednesday 8th & Thursday 9th August 2007.

Contact details: The Racecourse, Chester, Cheshire, CH1 2LY,
Telephone: 01244 304600 | Fax: 01244 304649 | Website

Journey time from our house - 57 minutes (Route map)

Admission prices: Ticket prices vary according to the status of the race meeting. Tickets can be purchased online from the website (see above)

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Cheshire Oaks

Cheshire Oaks -
designer outlet village

If you like shopping you'll love Cheshire Oaks - you can shop til you drop...and save money! We visit Cheshire Oaks at least 4 times a year to shop!!

Cheshire Oaks is the largest Designer Outlet village in the UK with over 140 stores. Designer Outlets are shopping centres where designer labels are all permanently reduced by up to 50%. Retail brands own their own shops, which look very similar to their shops on the high street. All Designer Outlets offer a high quality shopping environment with all the facilities you would expect to find car parking, cash points, restaurants and washrooms. Brands range from Armani to Gap, M&S to Nike and Bodum to Bose. Official guide with a list of all stores is available on the website (see link below).

Opening times: open seven days a week

Contact details: Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet, Kinsey Road, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, CH65 9JJ
Tel : 0151 348 5600 | Website

Journey time from our house - 55 minutes (Route map)

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Trafford Centre

Regent Crescent - The Trafford Centre

The Trafford Centre is a huge indoor shopping mall south of Manchester with over 230 stores, themed areas and a huge choice of places to eat. Creche and play area for kids.

The complex also includes a 20 screen odeon cinema and Namco Station which has 18 ten pin bowling lanes, eight full size pool tables, licensed bar with giant screen TV plus over 100 video games, prize counter and turbo dodgem cars. Next door to the odeon complex is Laser Quest which is the world's most advanced version of the popular and exciting Laser Tag game including a laser matrix and multi level labyrinth in its battle arena.

Also in the complex is a themed party zone with views onto the play area and 'The Rock', a US climbing phenomenon for one or two players of all ages and abilities, where players have to continually climb against the ever-moving rock, racing against the clock. Laser Quest also runs themed parties. 

Opening times: Shops are open Mon - Fri 10am - 10 pm, Sat 10am - 8pm, Sun 12 noon to 6pm. For the opening times of other facilities within the complex please check on the website

Contact details: The Trafford Centre, Manchester, M17 8AA
Telephone: 0161 7491717 / 18 | Fax: 0161 749 1599 | Website

Journey time from our house - 1 hour (Route map)

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Jodrell Bank

Jodrell Bank Radio Telescope

The Lovell Telescope has stood proudly over the Cheshire Plain for over 40 years. It is the flagship of the Jodrell Bank Observatory which is part of the School of Physics and Astronomy of The University of Manchester. The observatory is a place of learning, teaching and research for the many engineers, astronomers and students who develop and use the radio telescopes here. Manchester astronomers also use X-ray, optical, infrared and millimetre-wave instruments across the globe and in space to make complementary observations.

The Jodrell Bank Visitor Centre is the visitor centre for the world famous Lovell Radio Telescope and Jodrell Bank Observatory.

The new Observational Pathway, which stretches 180 degrees around the base of the Lovell Telescope, allows visitors to get closer to the telescope than every before.

There is also a 3D Theatre, small exhibition area, 35 acre Arboretum with its National Collections of Malus and Sorbus, an award winning Environmental Discovery Centre, which houses the Tree Planet exhibition. Space Cafe and Shop.

Opening hours: Open everyday from 10.30 am to 5.30 pm, until 29th October 2006, closed on Monday 30th October and on every Monday throughout the winter. From Tuesday 31st October open from Tuesday to Friday, 10.30am to 3.00pm, Saturday and Sunday, 11.00am to 4.00pm

Contact details: Jodrell Bank Visitor Centre, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK11 9DL
Telephone: 01477 571339 | Fax: 01477 571695 | Website

Journey time from house - 35 minutes (Route map)

Admission fee: Adults £1.50, Children (4-16) £1.00, Under 4's Free, Admission to the 3D Theatre is £1.00 per person, under 4's free

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