REVIEW: A grand day out at Alton Towers
There's something for everyone at Alton Towers this spring and summer.
The Staffordshire theme park, which opened in 1980, is still pulling in big crowds and putting smiles on many people's faces after a difficult period.
Last September, Alton Towers' owner, Merlin Attractions Operations, was fined £5million after 16 people were injured in a crash between two carriages on the Smiler rollercoaster in June 2015.
By the company's own admission, it was a 'devastating' accident.
The £18million ride reopened nine months after the collision with 'additional safety procedures'.
Last weekend, thousands of people, including me, queued to experience the Smiler.
Personally, I loved it.
Not for the faint-hearted, the Smiler boasts a record-breaking 14 loops.
It includes a nerve-wracking vertical climb and drops of 60 metres, reaching speeds of nearly 60mph.
But that's not all - the marmalising attraction features a series of psychological effects including hypnotic spinning wheels and blinding lights designed to blur the line between illusion and reality.
You get off the 165-second ride feeling awash with adrenaline and eager for more - and, of course, there is plenty more.
My favourite ride, Nemesis, was closed for technical reasons for most of the day, but it roared back to life 30 minutes before closing time.
I was so pleased to end the fun-filled day on this amazing, iconic rollercoaster, which reaches speeds of up to 80mph while relentlessly twisting and turning riders.
Obviously these rides aren't appropriate for kids, but there's plenty on offer for youngsters, including CBeebies Land.
Since the Smiler accident, Alton Towers has removed a number of attractions, including Ripsaw and the log flume, to save cash.
But looking ahead, a new wooden rollercoaster is scheduled to open at the theme park in 2018.
It's estimated nearly three million people visit Alton Towers every year - make sure you're one of them if you fancy a grand day out during 2017!
For more information, visit www.altontowers.com