Between 2006 and 2015, the park threw open its doors in February to welcome thrill seekers and families alike, opening rides and attractions for the first time each new year. Each year the event would have a different focus, often featuring characters like the Moshi Monsters, or in later years the new characters from CBeebies Land. During these years, the park offered a limited but varied number of attractions from across the resort, including thrill, family and kids rides.
From 2016, however, the February Half Term event became a hotel-based pirate and princess event, with only very limited park access, usually focusing on Mutiny Bay. Below, we take a look at some of the more notable past February Half Term events…
Towers, Treats and Trails
Towers, Treats and Trails
In 2007 the park offered possibly one of the most unique half-term events, when they invited Carters Steam Fair to set up on the lawns at the bottom of Towers Street. Alongside the traditional rides from the steam fair, the park opened a selection of their own attractions, mainly aimed at the younger generations, but also including Oblivion.
In another unique twist, for possibly the first time since 1980, entry to the park was free and guests instead paid per ride. This allowed guests to explore the Towers and Gardens without charge, whilst paying for tokens to access the rides, with Oblivion requiring three tokens to ride.
On top of the rides, the park also offered Archery on the Front Lawns (for five tokens) as well as Laser Tag in the T-Room in the Towers Ruins (for four Tokens).
Towers, Treat and Trails only ran for a single season, but it paved the way for a more extensive park opening the following half-term in 2008.
2015 Event Overview
Alongside the regular half-term offerings, the 2015 event focused very much on the then new CBeebies Land, with a variety of additional activities alongside the land’s regular attractions.
CBeebies Land was bursting with new shows and characters for Half Term to delight the youngest members of the family. Mr Bloom was back from his holidays and between 14th-20th February he performed several live shows a day, looking for eager tiddlers to help him tend the Veggies.
Justin Fletcher also preformed live in the Big Fun Showtime arena on 21st and 22nd February, though tickets for Justin’s shows were strictly limited and had to be booked in advance.
Elsewhere in CBeebies Land, little ones could meet and greet some new faces, when Captain Barnacles of the Octonauts made landfall for the first time alongside Mim-Min, the lovable bunny from Kate and Mim-Mim. One of these characters also gave a big clue as to the theme of the new coaster that was being built in CBeebies Land, offering a sneaky first glimpse for coaster geeks to enjoy during Half Term!
With a small selection of thrill and family rides also available, February Half Term was perfect for families, or those who wish to tame Nemesis again and again without the interruption of all those queues during the main season.
Half Term Shows:
- Justin Fletcher Live in Big Fun Showtime arena (21st-22nd February)
- Mr Bloom live in Big Fun Showtime arena (14th-20th February)
Half Term Attractions:
- CBeebies Land
- Marauders Mayhem
- Heave Ho
- Sharkbait Reef by SEALIFE
- Duel: The Haunted House Strikes Back
- Runaway Mine Train
- Sonic Spinball
- Ice Age: The 4D Experience
- Frog Hopper
- Driving School
- Wobble World
Food and Drink
- Towers St. Bar & Grill
- Corner Coffee
- Little Explorers Lunch Box
- Woodcutter’s Bar and Grill
- Wobble World Café
- Mutiny Donuts
- Courtyard BBQ
- Eastern Express
- Explorer’s Pizza and Pasta
- Fresh Fish & Chips
Pirate and Princess Takeover
In 2016, Alton Towers decided to take February Half Term away from the park. Instead, the event moved to the hotels, which hosted a Pirates and Princess Week, an expanded version of the popular Pirate Weekends. The Pirate Winter Weekends had been a mainstay of the resort’s winter season since 2010, however a touch of royalty was needed to upgrade the event for a full half-term run.
In 2016 the Pirate and Princess Week ran from 12th-21st February and had a distinctly CBeebies feel. The headliner for the event was a live show featuring Cook and Line from Swashbuckle, but otherwise the event had a similar setup to the Pirate Weekends it had replaced.
When the event returned in 2017 (11th-26th February), the Swashbuckle show no longer featured in the line-up and instead the focus of the event was a new “build your own Pirate Den” activity as well a treasure hunt around the resort. Otherwise, the line-up remained very similar to the previous year.
2018 saw significant upgrades to the newly renamed Pirate and Princess Takeover, with a range of new shows and activities added to the line-up. Notably, while pirates still dominate the event, the Princesses had a much larger presence and the Lost Boys made their debut in the Enchanted Village Teepee.
This version of the event ran until 2020, with regular attractions, such as variations on the Princess School and Pirates vs. Princesses game show. The February Half Term event did not run at all in 2021 due to the pandemic, but after a year off the princesses did not return in 2022, when the first version of the current Pirate Takeover began, which moved the event’s focus into Mutiny Bay with a new line-up of special attractions and overlays of old favourites.