TRAVEL REVIEW - Alton Towers

THERE’S a new kid on the block at Alton Towers - Smiler - and it’s mind-blowingly good!

The new £18million 14-loop rollercoaster is a phenomenal feat of engineering - a mixture of metal, mayhem and “marmalising” that leaves you gagging for more.

Smiler at Alton Towers

Smiler at Alton Towers

It’s a good few years since I last went to Alton Towers - the new attraction then was Thirteen - and that was good - a shock vertical drop before you rocket off in reverse a nice twist to the norm.

But Smiler is amazing.

For a start it boasts the most loops in the world, and at almost two-and-a-half minutes, is easily the longest rollercoaster at Alton Towers.

It’s fast and furious and includes a vertical climb to a height of 96ft half way into the ride before belting you back off down the track at breakneck velocity.

The other rollercoasters: Oblivion, Thirteen, Rita, Nemesis and Air all have their qualities but can’t compete with the theme park’s newest, most expensive monster.

There are some real fun elements to the ride too if you can keep your head up and eyes open to see them - the innoculator, the tickler, the flasher, the giggler and the hypnotiser - five crazy features that you pass through to ‘manipulate your mind’ as well as your body.

Smiler really is a beast.

Having only ever taken in Thirteen and Nemesis (oh, and the Corkscrew years and years ago) I was well chuffed at conquering all the rollercoasters at Alton Towers this time out.

And ‘doing’ Smiler first turned out to be a good plan - nothing could be quite as fast and furious as that - though Oblivion’s vertical drop at 64mph and Rita’s 0-62mph in 2.5 seconds are pretty hair-raising.

The queue for Smiler was a long one at two hours, but that’s because it’s still the newby. We walked straight onto Oblivion, Nemesis and Air and only had short waits for Thirteen and Rita.

Alton Towers is still the theme park to beat I reckon and with Smiler added to its arsenal it will be the king of thrills for a long, long time.

Visit Alton Towers website for further information.