Alton Towers is a theme park located in Staffordshire, England. It is often voted the most popular theme park in Britain, just above Blackpool Pleasure Beach, and is one of the country's leading attractions. Like its sister parks Thorpe Park and Chessington World of Adventures it is currently being run by Merlin Entertainments Ltd., and caters for the family market, edging on thrills and more or less, fun. The park was escalated notability in the 1990s thanks to John Wardley, ride concept designer for Tussauds and now Merlin's creative consultant who revolutionised the British theme park industry from the late 1980s to the early 2000s, who developed part of the park through theatrical brilliance.The estate was originally owned by the Talbot family (otherwise known as the family peerage, Earl of Shrewsbury) until the 1920s. The Talbot family themselves have their heritage sewn into one of the rides, specifically the legendary curse on the 15th Earl of Shrewsbury.Aside from the obvious rides, rollercoasters and attractions, Alton Towers have the wonderful ability to show off the aging but beautiful Towers complex complete with the utterly gorgeous gardens. The Towers ruins themselves are Gothic and reflective of the 1800s, as well as notable for hauntings and strange sightings.The park is noted for it's "World First" rollercoasters:
- Nemesis: Themed around an extraterrestrial who seeks sanctuary on Earth but humans found it, worshipped it and soon made a B&M multi-inverted suspended rollercoaster chaining the poor thing in place. Notable for being built below ground level for avoidance of height restriction and is one of the park's most popular rollercoasters. Opened in 1994.
- Oblivion: The world's first (not truly) vertical drop rollercoaster. Utilizes vertigo effectively, through theming around a secret research facility that are testing the physical and psychological aspects of a rider pushed to their limit. Opened in 1998.
- Galactica: The world's first "flying" rollercoaster, and in 2016 the world's first dedicated rollercoaster with virtual reality. Sits next to Nemesis and themed (nearly) around Space. Opened in 2002 as Air before retheming.
- Th13teen: The world's first rollercoaster to have a piece of track that drops. Themed to a crypt in a forbidden forest.
- The Smiler: The world's first rollercoaster to have 14 inversions, and record holder for most track inversions. Themed to a machine that "corrects" people into smiling.
- Toyland Tours: One for the kiddies — a Disney-style boat ride around a toy factory run by toys. Opened in 1994.
- Corkscrew: One of Alton Towers's first rollercoasters and the crux to the park's opening success. Opened in 1981. Known for giving especially rough rides towards the end of it's lifespan, and was closed in 2008 to make room for Th13teen. The ride's iconic corkscrews, however, have been repainted and still remain in the park.
- Runaway Mine Train: A rollercoaster themed around an African mining village, popular with families.
- The Haunted House: A dark ride through a terrifying haunted Victorian mansion. Opened in 1992
- Hex: A dark ride themed within the Towers ruins, based upon the legendary curse of the Talbot family. Also has what might be the most atmospheric soundtrack ever recorded for a theme park ride.
- Spinball Whizzer: A rollercoaster with each train consisting of a single car with seats facing each other, that spins freely 360 degrees around through most of the ride.
Tropes used by Alton Towers include:
- Curse: The story behind Hex concerns one on the Talbot family, which will supposedly kill a member of the family every time a branch falls from the old tree, which the Earl later had chained up to prevent such an occurrence.
- Eldritch Abomination: Nemesis is described as one in its backstory.
- George Orwell: The inspiration for X-Sector, and said land looks like something out of Nineteen Eighty-Four.
- Haunted House: A dark ride present in the park is themed after and named The Haunted House.
- On Ice: In Storybook Land there is an ice show that features characters from Beatrix Potter such as Peter Rabbit, Miss Tiggy Winkle, Tom Kitten, Miss Tiddle Mouse, and The Two Naughty Mice.
- One Million B.C.: The theme for the former UG Land.
- Scavenged Punk: The general aesthetic for Forbidden Valley.