Thursday, 18 August 2011


Lights out for the bedtime story?

Research reveals 57% of children are never read to by an adult at home, despite 44% loving cosying up with their parents to a good book!

Snuggling down to a bedtime story and escaping into a world of fantasy is what childhood memories are made of, however research commissioned by the Alton Towers Resort Hotels reveals that over half of the nation's children (57%) are never read to by an adult during the average week at home. According to the findings by Britain's Greatest Escape, the widely cherished childhood routine of the bedtime story is in danger of being lost altogether, despite 44% of children admitting to loving their parents reading to them.

The study, involving over 500 six to eleven year old British children also reveals that a mere 8% are read to on a daily basis, with the majority of children (16%) only being read to once a week. Triggered by many parents being forced to juggle their professional and family life, the average reading time for children with a parent has fallen to less than a minute, with 29% experiencing as little as half a minute of reading. Less than one in ten children (9%) are able to enjoy half an hour of reading time with their parents, with the majority (12%) only getting to relish a precious ten minutes.

Whilst traditional forms of childhood entertainment are having to contend with the incessant lure of flashy gizmos, gadgets and computer games, it appears that our children's love of literature is not lost, with a surprisingly low 18% of the younger generation admitting to preferring playing computer games or watching TV over reading. In fact, nearly one third (30%) of children regard reading as the best one-on-one time they get with their parents, with the same number wishing their parents were able to spend more time reading to them.

The small and silver screen have undoubtedly had their influence on children's literary awareness, with books adapted for TV and film soaring past their classic counterparts in being the most recognised. Less than half the respondents had heard of children's classic, Robinson Crusoe (45%) whereas 98% and 95% were familiar with Horrid Henry and Harry Potter respectively. In terms of fictional characters, cartoon and computer animated Spongebob Squarepants (96%) and Shrek (96%) were the most recognised, ahead of Treasure Island's Long John Silver (55%) and the Railway Children's Roberta Phyllis with a mere 11%.

David Steel, Hotels Director at the Alton Towers Resort commented: "It's particularly striking to discover the amount of children who love being read to versus those who actually experience reading time with their parents. Given that nearly a third of children feel reading is the best one-on-one time they get with their parents, the Alton Towers Resort Hotels are encouraging parents to 'take a leaf out of their children's books' by offering a unique bedtime reading service on request* to help trigger the bonding benefits of reading at bedtime.”

Overnight packages at the Resort start from just £29.75 per person* per night and include a scrumptious breakfast and fantastical entertainment. The Alton Towers Resort’s bedtime reading service is available on request at the time of booking.** For the Theme Park, family prices start from £104.00 plus VAT for a two day family of four ticket when booked in advance at


For more information please contact Freyja Phillips or Harriet Ray at Frank PR on 0207 693 6999 or e-mail

*Based on four people sharing. Subject to availability
**Subject to availability

MERLIN ENTERTAINMENTS is the leading name in location-based, family entertainment, and has seen the most successful and dynamic growth of any company in the sector over the last five years. Europe’s Number 1 and the world’s second-largest visitor attraction operator, Merlin now operates over 74 attractions, six hotels/two holiday villages in 17 countries and across four continents. The company aims to deliver memorable and rewarding experiences to its 43.6 million visitors worldwide, through its iconic global and local brands, and the commitment and passion of its managers and more than 15,000 employees. Merlin Entertainments operates the following attractions - SEA LIFE, Madame Tussauds, LEGOLAND, The EDF Energy London Eye, Dungeons, Gardaland, LEGOLAND Discovery Centres, Alton Towers Resort, Warwick Castle, Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures Resort, Heide Park, Earth Explorer, Sydney Aquarium, Sydney Wildlife World, Sydney Tower Observatory and Skywalk, Kelly Tarlton’s Antarctic Encounter Underwater World, Oceanworld Manly and Hamilton Island Koala Gallery. All brands which are distinctive, challenging and innovative – and which have great potential for growth in the future. Visit for more information.

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