Spent the day at Splash Landings with friends who are having 2 nights away in Alton Towers Hotel (and our collective offspring; all aged between 8 and 11).
Splash Landings was much as described elsewhere. Crowded with long queues, but fun for the kids and almost worth waiting to first get your inner tube (single or figure of 8-shaped double for 2 people) and then line up again to take your place on the "roller coaster". However, late lunchtime and definitely time for a break, and our friends were up for leaving the overpriced ersatz fare of Alton Towers behind for a couple of hours.
Not a huge amount of information locally on places to eat near Alton Towers, so we set out to find our own.
We turned right out of the exit (away from Alton) in a random search for pub grub type stuff. 3 ish miles down the road and slightly to the left of a T Junction is Ye Olde Star Inn in Cotton. Pretty unprepossessing from the outside, but with a blackboard proclaiming that they serve food till 4pm (or was it 4.30?
Warm welcome, including for the children. Good menu plus an excellent kids menu, and a blackboard with specials of the day. 3 of the kids had kids meals - 2 homemade burgers with chips and salad, 1 sausages (proper butchers ones) with chips rather than the menu's mash and gravy. 2 adult fish and chips were good but could have done with an extra minute in the hot oil, but the chilli burger, regular burger and kangaroo fillet (!) were all excellent. All came with home made chips (and the food is clearly both home made and locally sourced where possible). The bread, olives and homemade hummus starter was excellent. Prices ranged from, I think, £4.95 for the kids' meals, £8.95 or so each for the adults and £15 for the unlucky but tasty marsupial.
All in all 8 of us ate well, and comfortably (while watching live football, as it happens, but there are quieter corners too, and it wasn't obtrusive), and had 1 and a half rounds of drinks (Pilsner Urquel, good choice of soft beverages, including kids sizes and prices) for a shade under £100. £12.50 each - which isn't cheap, but compared to what's on offer up the road is a complete bargain.
We then returned for the second bash at the waterpark. We're home now, our (adult) friends are counting the hours until they can go back home. The kids probably still have tomorrow morning's chlorine wash to look forward to. It's worth saying that I'm still full, too, and won't need to eat again today. HIghly recommend a visit if you're Staying at AT and want to vary the food intake a bit.