We had an excellent long weekend. Woke up early on Saturday morning and drove up to Alton Towers, which is in Staffordshire, about 170 miles from where we live. We got there just after the gates opened, so managed to ride on Air and Nemesis without standing in queues. Air is a great ride. It’s not like your conventional ride where you are seated, this one you start off seated, but as the ride starts, you are tilted forward and face down towards the ground, giving you the feeling you are flying. The ride itself is very gentle.

They have a new roller-coaster called "Rita", which pulls off and reaches 100km/hour in 2 seconds. It takes your breathe away literally and rattles every bone in your body. We managed to experience almost all of the rides more than once because we purchased priority tickets which allowed us to bypass the queues. Those rides that didn’t make use of the priority pass were a bit of an anti-climax especially after waiting in queues for up to 40 minutes a time. All together we managed to experience Hex, The Flume, Congo river rapids, Air, Nemesis, Oblivion, Rita, and Spinball Whizzer. It was an excellent day. We had dinner at a lovely pub near the Alton bridge and then Jo and I went onto a little town called Cheadle, where we had booked a B&B for the night.


Set in beautiful, ornamental gardens, The Manor is an 18th century former rectory, full of character and charm. Family owned and run, the team at The Manor make every stay a memorable experience.
We wound not recommend this B&B called The Manor, which is slap bang in the middle of Cheadle town centre. The photos of the B&B is very deceiving. The actual room/flat was crappy, it it lacked character, the bed was terrible, there were not enough blankets, the toilet made a noise and the walls were far too thin, as you could hear  everything in the next room, and on top of that it was pretty expensive. The only good thing was the breakfast.
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On Sunday we drove up North into the Peak District National Park. We went via Buxton to Chapel en le Frith (quite a mouthful of a name). From there we drove on further North to Hayfield and to a place called Glossup, which is the start of the Snake Pass, a very windy road up to the top of the peak. At the top it’s quite desolate and miserable looking with a lot of short brown brush, but surprisingly we saw a lot of ramblers/ walkers/hikers, so it must be popular for a reason.

The highlight of the day though was the visit to the 17th Century Chatsworth House and gardens. The house, which looks more like a palace is open to the public (at a price of course), and is one of the only places we have come across that allows you to take photographs of the treasures and possessions inside the house.
The house is full of old furniture, Ming vases, china plates, crystal chandeliers, paintings, tapestries, marble statues and is totally mind blowing.

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There is one room that has a door slightly ajar and you can see into the passage and beyond. At the opposite end of the door is another door with violin & bow on it, and most would be mistaken to think that is was just another door leading to another room. But in fact the door and violin are a painting, but it is so realistic because of it’s shadows and similar colours to the surroundings that it’s easily mistaken for the real thing. 

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Outside there are over a hundred acres of garden, rolling hills, cascades, a 250 foot gravity driven fountain, which is over 300 years old, a large Yew maze and a whole host of statues, rockeries, ponds, bird and wildlife. One could spend a whole day walking the gardens.

We only got back home after 9pm on Sunday, but happy in the knowledge that Monday was going to be a Bank holiday. A special one as well as it was on this day five years ago that Jo and I got married.

So a fantastic weekend it was. We have taken loads of photosgraphs, if you feel like looking through them.