UK theme park operator Merlin Entertainments is to create a new attraction for pre-school children at Alton Towers to open next year.

A partnership with BBC Worldwide will see CBeebies Land open next spring.

Alton Towers’ first and only single-branded area will be designed to bring to life some of the characters from the children’s TV channel.

The planned five-acre site within the resort will offer will include rides, play areas, live experiences and character appearances.

Merlin says the area will be updated frequently with new content, while a seasonal programme of events will run alongside the main attractions.

Chief development officer Mark Fisher said: “The Alton Towers project is very exciting. Most importantly it is the first project in what we hope will be a very important long-term relationship with BBC Worldwide.

“CBeebies is a perfect fit for Britain’s number one theme park resort, and both BBC Worldwide and ourselves are excited by the chance to add a little extra Merlin ‘magic’ to some of the country’s best loved children’s characters.”

BBC Worldwide UK managing director Marcus Arthur said “CBeebies Land will be a fun and exciting way for children and adults to immerse themselves in and explore the CBeebies environment and to enjoy their favourite characters.

“BBC Worldwide is delighted to be working with Merlin, and this very special development at one of Britain’s best loved theme park resorts is a great beginning.”