Ride / Alton Towers


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 its "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.
  • Air: The world's first "flying" rollercoaster. Sits next to Nemesis. Opened in 2002, but was rethemed in 2016 to be a virtual reality roller coaster and renamed "Galactica."
  • Th13teen: The first vertical drop rollercoaster, themed after a dark crypt. Opened in 2011.
  • The Smiler: The world's first 14-looping roller coaster, themed after 'correcting' people into smiling. Opened in 2013.
  • Wicker Man: Not to be confused with the 1973 horror film of the same name, this ride is themed after ancient pagan sacrifices. Advertised as the first rollercoaster to fuse wood and fire, though arguably this isn't true. Opened in 2018.

Other notable rides include:

  • Corkscrew: One of Alton Towers's first rollercoasters and the crux to the park's opening success. Opened in 1981, closed in 2008 to make room for Th13teen.
  • Toyland Tours: One for the kiddies — a Disney-style boat ride around a toy factory run by toys. Opened in 1994.
  • Runaway Mine Train: A rollercoaster themed around an African mining village, popular with families. Opened in 1992.
  • The Haunted House: A dark ride through a terrifying haunted Victorian mansion. Opened in 1992.
  • Hex: The Legend of the Towers: 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, composed by Crispin Merrell.
  • 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: