Talbot Street

Welcome to Talbot Street, a virtual stroll through the history of Alton Towers, where we highlight some of our favourite aspects from the park’s past.

We might not be able to visit the park right now but that doesn’t mean we can’t start celebrating Alton Towers’ 40th Birthday.

Team TowersStreet have hunkered down in our bunker deep below Talbot Street, where we keep our park archives. And so, whilst the 2020 season is delayed, each day we’re going to be bringing you some of the highlights from the last 40 years!

Our history updates are named after Talbot Street, the park’s original ‘Street’.

Alton Towers has a long history of using street scenes to create an immersive atmosphere, such as our namesake, Towers Street. However Talbot Street was not only the first street to arrive in the park, but also the park’s very first themed area, bringing a slice of Victoriana to the park in 1981.


1980To begin our Talbot Street Lock In, let’s start at the very beginning and head all the way back to 1980.

The 1980 Map does not look much like the map of an amusement park, but hidden within three magical red circles are the seeds of the park we know today – with the Corkscrew in the Talbot Centre and Pirate Ship in the Springfield Centre operating alongside the older attractions in the Ingestre Centre, which at that time still included Donkey and Pony Rides!

It’s not only the park that turns 40 this year, The Blade has been operating ever since the park opened. Originally known as the Pirate Ship, it operated on the site more recently occupied by Submission but was moved to it’s current home in Forbidden Valley in 1997.

We were not expecting to see The Blade operating at the start of this season but let’s keep our fingers crossed that the extra closed season gives the park enough time to get this ship swinging for her 40th birthday! Read More…

1981The park saw significant expansion in 1981, with the arrival of the much-loved Log Flume in Ingestre Centre as well as the construction of Talbot Street – the Victorian Boulevard taking over the site of the park’s old Fairground.

1981’s Map was a much more colourful affair, with drawings representing each of the park’s attractions. Some of them were more abstract then others.

The first themed area opened at Alton Towers in 1981 when Talbot Street opened in the area where the park’s Fairground had previously operated behind the Towers.
So today, let’s take a look at the Victorian boulevard after which brand our history updates here at TowersStreet. Read More…

1982Alton Towers has had many iconic map designs over the years. Visitors from the 80s will be familiar with this design that was used from 1982 to 1986.

Today we have an interesting look at how the maps were updated in a time before photoshop. The first image shows the 1982 map covered with tracing paper onto which the updates are designed before being added onto the draft of the 1983 map as seen in the second image.

In 1982 the park added Adventureland 4-11, the first area dedicated to kid’s attractions.

While most of the rides in the area were not new to the park, it did introduce the park’s first coaster for kids. The Junior Apple Coaster was an standard off-the-shelf design but was popular with younger members of the family and operated for 15 years. Read More…

1983The greatest show on earth rolled into town in 1983 with the arrival of the Circus Hassani in the park’s new Big Top venue. Two classic kids rides also arrived with the addition of the Vintage Cars as well as the Dragon Coaster (later known as The Beastie)

We can’t pass 1983 without mentioning the Space Boat – an almost mythical attraction that operated at the Towers for less than a single season before being replaced by the Octopus.

Whilst it may only have had a brief time at the Towers, the ride still operates today as the Black Pearl at Lightwater Valley. Read More…

19841984 saw one of the largest expansions in the park’s history with the addition of nine new attractions over the course of the season.

The park opened with five new thrill rides – the Enterprise, Wave Swinger, Turbo Star, Magic Carpet and Octopus – as well as the much-loved Black Hole.

During the season, these were also joined the classic attractions that were the Mississippi Showboat and 1001 Night.

1984 heralded the arrival of the Black Hole in Fantasy World.

Interestingly, the original marketing for the ride used a stylised version of the Corkscrew’s train to advertise the ride. It wasn’t until the ride was transformed into Black Hole II that the marketing was updated to include the ride’s actual train design. Read More…

1985Between 1985 and 1987 Sunflower Books produced an official and rather comprehensive guidebook for the park.

Unlike the normal park maps these guidebooks included a detailed plan of the park to help navigate guests. This 1985 plan features the new additions that season – the Ferris Wheel and 4 Man Bob – both of which had been relocated from nearby Trentham Gardens.

With all the modern coasters in the park today it is easy to forget how much ride technology has moved on in the past 40 years.

In 1985 the park added the 4 Man Bob, a coaster that used a manual breaking system that relied on a ride op to reduce the bobsleigh’s speed from 35 mph to 0 within around 6 feet.

Needless to say over its six years in the park, the Bob caused its fair share of bumps and bruises. Read More…

1986In 1986 the front of the park became much more recognisable with the addition of Towers Street along with the Grand Canyon Rapids – today known as the Congo River Rapids.

1986 also saw the addition of Kiddies Kingdom, a large new area located where Adventure Land sits today, which offered a whole range of slides and other playground equipment for younger guests.

Who remembers when Alton Towers used to have museums and exhibitions as part of the attraction line up?

The Wildlife Museum was the first to open back in the 1970s but in 1986 it moved into a building on Talbot Street nearby the park’s other museums, such as the Dolls House and Space 1999 Exhibition. Read More…

19871987 was the year of transportation, upgrading the park’s infrastructure to handle its huge growth spurt of the 80s. Inside the park the Skyride replaced the Cable Cars to transport guests across the Gardens and outside Towers Street the Monorail shuttled guests back and forth to the new car parks built on the old deer park.

Iconic rides also kept on arriving with the addition of the Tea Cups and Swan Boat Ride, as well as the Open Air Stage on the Piazza (now Fountain Square).

Over the years Alton Towers has hosted a whole range of weird and wonderful events. None more so than in 1987 when the Royal Family descended on the park for It’s A Royal Knockout, a super-sized version of the popular gameshow featuring a whole host of actors, sports stars, musicians and other celebrities. Read More…

19881988 was a bumper year for coasters at Alton Towers when The Alton Beast and Alton Mouse arrived to complete the line-up for Coaster Corner and the park’s indoor coaster received substantial upgrades to become briefly known as the New Black Hole.

It was also the season that Henry the Hound became the park’s official mascot – arriving in style with his Birthday Parade.

Coaster Corner was an area of the park that could be found between Talbot Street and the Flag Tower in the late 80s. The area was only open for a few seasons before it was closed and today is part of the backstage area behind The World of David Walliams.

Alongside the Alton Mouse and 4 Man Bob, the largest coaster in the area was the Alton Beast. The Beast opened in 1988 and survived the closure on Coaster Corner to become part of Thunder Valley in 1992. The site it once occupied by the coaster would later become home to Air. Read More…

1989The big addition for 1989 was the Britannia Farm. It was also the season when the long-running circus left the Big Top to be replaced by a Laser Adventure Show.

Fans of the circus could still get their fix, however, as Grimble the Clown remained in the park in his new Clown-A-Round show.

1989 was the National Food & Farming Year, marking the 150th anniversary of the Royal Agricultural Society. As part of year long celebration, Alton Tower introduced the Britannia Farm, a small working farm that was located alongside Towers Street.

The farm and its animals may now be long gone, replaced now by the characters of CBeebies Land, but many of the farm buildings are still recognisable in the park today. Read More…


1990The 90s began with the surprise sale of Alton Towers to Tussauds, who were looking to expand their theme park operations after early successes at Chessington World of Adventures.

Going out with a bang, the final investments of the John Broome era saw the addition of Thunder Looper as well as the Gravitron.

The early 90s was Henry Hound’s era at Alton Towers. The park mascot was everywhere; from cuddly toys and books to a whole host of shows and parades.

In 1990 Henry invited guests to jump in his Musical Time Machine at the Festival Park Dome and enjoy music from across the decades.

For over 10 years the Festival Park Dome was home to live music in the park, pumping a mix of the latest hits and classics into the heart of the park. Read More…

1991Despite the change in ownership, the 1991 season only saw minor changes to the park operation, whilst Tussauds finalised their initial plans for the park.

Though, early closures in the new era saw the removal of the 4 Man Bob and Space 1999 exhibition and the popular Sea Lions also departed the park.

1991 saw the arrival of the Gallopers Carousel, which this season will be transformed into the Royal Carousel in The World of David Walliams.

Tussauds added their first ride in 1991, and it’s probably not the one you are thinking of.

Their first installation was the Tri-Star, a thrill ride that replaced the 4 Man Bob. The ride was a short-lived addition to the park and was removed at the end of the next season. Read More…

1992Tussauds revealed their hand in 1992 with their first big additions: The Haunted House in Gloomy Wood and Runaway Mine Train in Katanga Canyon.

These immersive new attractions, along with the removal of several older attractions set the course for the park during the magical 90s.

There were “laughs and family frights” in abundance in 1992 when Tussauds unveiled their vision for the park with the arrival The Haunted House.

The ride was undeniably one of the park’s classic attractions and pushed the boundaries of what was expected in a dark ride (in some places maybe a little too far).

Today we’re taking a look at the promotional material produced both before and after the ride had launched, featuring the ghost from the infamous short-lived ghost corridor. Read More…

19931993 was the park’s self-proclaimed Year of Children. The centrepiece of this celebration was the opening of The Land Of Make Believe.

Every day the new area’s cast of colourful characters would be joined by the ‘Celebrity of the Day’, where the kids could meet a minor celeb from the world of sport, tv or pop.

One of the hallmarks of the 90s at Alton Towers was the amount of theming added to the park – and not just the attractions.

Even the shops built during that era were highly themed and offered unique atmosphere and products, from the sombre interior of Something Sinister to Katanga Cargo Company, built as a trading post offering African style artwork.

Another much-missed classic of the time was The Chocolate House, which welcomed sweet-toothed guests into the Land of Make Believe. Read More…

19941994 was a quiet year for Alton Towers, there’s not much to report…

Only joking… the park had one of its biggest years ever, with the addition of three classic attractions, which expanded the park in all directions.

The undoubted headliner of ’94 was Nemesis, but the season also saw the addition of Toyland Tours as well as Peter Rabbit and Friends on Ice.

The park pulled out all the stops for the launch of Nemesis, rightly expecting their first major coaster to put them on the thrill map.

One of the more unique promos created for the ride was the Nemesis Comic, which introduced the Phalanx and their battle against Nemesis and the evil cult, who had awakened the beast. Read More…

1995Not resting on their laurels, Tussauds continued their transformation of the park in 1995, bringing Energizer to Festival Park as well as reimagining the farm into Old MacDonald’s Farmyard, adding the Tractor Ride and Doodle Doo Derby.

Later in the season they also added the much missed Singing Barn.


Old MacDonald had a farm e i e i o. And that farm had an ad e i e i o.

With marketing here and marketing there… umm… let’s take a look as Old Mac’s advert.

1996In 1996 Alton Towers took its first steps towards becoming a resort with the addition of the Alton Towers Hotel. These days themed hotels are more or less an expectation of a theme park resort but it is easy to overlook the game-changing nature of bringing this overnight experience to the park.

Meanwhile in the park the area around the ice show become Storybook Land, featuring the Squirrel Nutty Ride as well as the impressive animatronic Bookworm, who would tell tales and jokes from his giant book in the centre of the land.

Artist impressions are a core feature of any development at the park, but perhaps none more so than the Alton Towers Hotel. As well as public promotion of the ride, for such a large and revolutionary change, artists impressions were also used to give partners a taste of what to expect as well as inspiring designers.

The hotel had many sets of artists impressions created in different mediums and at different times to show off different features of the hotel, such as the iconic fountain at the entrance.Read More…

19971997 was another season that seamlessly mixed thrill and family additions, with the arrival or Ripsaw as well as Nickelodeon: Outta Control is the freshly rethemed Cred Street.

It was also, however, the first year with no attractions that pre-dated the amusement park, after the closure of the Park Railway as well as the Boating Lake at the end of 1996.

Nickelodeon: Outta Control holds the dubious honour of being one of the park’s shortest lived attractions, operating for less than two seasons.

You may not have got the chance to experience it for yourself but today we follow Michael as he ventured into the fun house during the 1997 season in our exclusive attraction walkthrough.Read More…

1998The park started their programme of scientific ‘research’ in 1998 with the introduction of the enigmatic X-Sector.

The Black Hole, Energizer and Enterprise were transformed to bring assorted thrills into the new area, but no one was in any doubt as to the headliner with Oblivion, the world’s first B&M Dive Machine, towering over its neighbouring attractions.

These days, it’s difficult to imagine Oblivion and X Sector being anything other than a secretive research facility, but for a time the park’s Dive Machine very nearly found its home in the Steampunk inspired Port Discovery.

Whilst the theme was switched before the full area was redeveloped, a little taste of steampunk could still be found inside the Black Hole, which had its internal retheme completed in 1996, when Port Discovery was clearly still the intended theme for the area. Read More…

1999It was time to turn back time in 1999, as we were invited to the year 30,000 B.C.(Before Corkscrew) and UG Land – the land where fun began.

Elsewhere in park we saw the introduction of the farmyard classic – the Riverbank Eye-Spy, as well as the first performances by Barney, the purple dinosaur. The Royal Marines also stopped by to perform in the Summer Stunt Spectacular.

Fun and Games were a serious business for the park during the late 90s and the park went to great efforts to theme their sideshows so they blended seamlessly into their respective areas.

Nowhere more so than in UG Land when it opened in 1999. Alongside the bone-rattling attractions the new area also introduced an impressive array of sideshows and pay-per attractions, from rethemed classics like the Dino Derby and Ug Basher, through to the very latest diversions such as the Lava Lump and Soakasaurus.

Which was your favourite pun-tastic sideshow in UG Land? Read More…


2000The new millennium saw the park tell ‘a tale with a twist’ with the addition of Hex in the Towers ruins, bringing a slice of local legend to the park.

After a successful summer run the previous season, Barney the Dinosaur moved into Cred Street full time in 2000, taking over the Theatre and Playground. The double-decker Cred Street Carousel also arrived in the area, having previously operated at Thorpe Park, which had been acquired by Tussauds in the late 90s.

At the turn of the millennium, Alton Towers teamed up with the Royal Marines to produce a pair of stunt-filled Summer Spectaculars.

After a successful run in 1999, the Summer Spectacular returned in 2000 with The Pirates of the Apocalypse, which saw a giant post-apocalyptic pirate ship take to the main lake.

Who’d like to see a stunt show return to Alton Towers one day? Read More…

2001In 2001, the park submitted guests to new thrills, with the addition of Submission in X-Sector.

In an otherwise rather quiet year for the park, this new addition also saw the relocation of the Energizer, which became the much-missed Boneshaker in Ug Land.

Submission is a hot contender for the crown of most popular ride that no one liked.

As soon as it opened it became apparent that it was a triumph of style over experience; and so while not many people enjoyed riding Submission, it was certainly enjoyable to watch as it swooped over the lower part of X-Sector.

Submission’s strong visual style was encapsulated in its short but punchy advert. Read More…

2002SW5 came alive in 2002, as Air took flight over Forbidden Valley, inviting guests to ‘Assume the Position’.

With the new coaster providing an experience for all the family, at the other end of the valley Dynamo returned much to the delight of thrillseekers. The younger members of the family were also in luck, as New Adventure Land brought a plethora of new play equipment to the park.

2002 also saw a new show come to the park after the old Big Top departed at the end of the previous season, along with Peter Rabbit, and in its place a new purpose built Ice Arena opened.

Its debut show was Webmaster: An Adventure on Ice, a cyber adventure that followed a young coding mastermind into a world of illusion. The show marked a bold and stylish but ultimately ill-fated new direction for the park’s ice show, closing after just a season and a half. Read More…

2003The resort had a huge expansion in 2003 when Splashing Landings opened along with Cariba Creek waterpark in June, followed by the Alton Towers Spa later in the year.

Meanwhile over in the park the much-loved Ribena Berry Bish Bash opened in the farm and The Haunted House received its controversial upgrade to become Duel.

Splash Landings and Cariba Creek brought a slice of the Caribbean to the resort in 2003, but it is fair to say the road to the tropical retreat was less then smooth, not least due to a false start, which saw the complex open before it was finished.

Originally named Calypso Springs, this name had to be dropped due to copyright issues, and instead the hotel became known as Splash Landings (the name intended for the waterpark).Read More…

2004The past 40 years have been a bit of rollercoaster for the park and the mid-2000s were one of the more difficult periods and a far cry from the golden days of the 90s.

The 2004 addition of Spinball Whizzer was not the park’s finest hour. Whilst the coaster is a fun ride, it’s addition was let down by a rushed development period, which lead to an installation of a ride that did not have the necessary capacity, installed into a questionable corner of the park.

On the other hand, the season also saw the park’s ageing Log Flume received a much needed refresh to become The Flume: Unplugged, bring some bathtime with attitude to the park.

During 2004 and 2005, the park rounded off each day with the Towers Street Carnival.

The event would see the cast of the shows around the park, as well as costumed characters from different areas, descend on Towers Street for a procession followed by a party with a combination of song, dance, games and the chance to grab a photo with your favourite characters.Read More…

2005A brand refresh in 2005 saw the park map take on a distinctive new Habbo Hotel style.

Meanwhile in the park, the run of questionable decisions continued with the closure of Black Hole and opening of Rita – Queen of Speed. UG Land had just 5 seasons as a prehistoric playground before it was overtaken by the dino/racing hybrid that was the Thunder Rock Rally.

Big changes were also afoot over in Cred Street, where several attractions had their final season, including the much-missed Toyland Tours.

For nostalgia fans, one of the highlights of 2005 was the return of a certain Henry Hound. During the season the park’s beloved mascot came out of retirement and returned to his home on Towers Street.

We couldn’t celebrate 40 years of Alton Towers without including everyone’s favourite hound. So tonight, Henry, this is your life…Read More…

2006Willy Wonka sailed into Alton Towers in 2006, taking guests on a whimsical tour through Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: The Ride.

The breakout attraction of the year though was the Driving School, which opened midway through the season and breathed new energy into the heart of Cred Street.

2006 was an eventful year, kicking off with Chocolate Towers and ending with the return of Halloween in the form of Room 13, a scare maze in the Alton Towers Hotel

It was also one of the few seasons in the past 40 years when the park had a full summer event. The Great British Bucket and Spade Event saw Towers Street transformed into a turn-of-the-century seaside resort for the summer months, complete with beaches, Punch and Judy and a show inside a giant inflatable whale.

Did you get the chance to grab and ice cream and pull up a deckchair during this rare one-off event?Read More…

2007Oh, 2007… what can we say? If there was ever a year when the park would have been better off not adding an attraction, this was it. For it was the year of The Dung Heap, which turned out to be somewhat apt as a name.

But it wasn’t all bad, elsewhere in the farm the first of the Furry Friends arrived and the Riverbank Eyes-Spy got a delightful 3D overhaul, whilst the Haunted Hollow offered a pleasant stroll through a corner of the Gardens that had been closed for many years. And not to forget The Extraordinary Golf, which distilled some of the finest themes from the park into the latest resort attraction.

Of course the highlight of 2007 was no doubt the arrival of Scarefest, which challenged guests to be ‘As Scared As You Dare’.

And the new event did not disappoint with its scares, introducing the innovative Field of 1000 Screams, alongside the classic Terror of the Tower: Bloodfest Banquet and Room 13. And the family market was not forgotten either with the introduction of the Freaky Four mascots, whilst The Haunted Hollow came alive.

All in all Scarefest kicked off with one of the strongest line-ups the event has seen. Read More…

2008The park experienced a pirate invasion in 2008, when Captain Black came ashore in Mutiny Bay.

Merlin came out with all (water) guns blazing for their first addition to the park. In one fell swoop they added new attractions, new entertainment, new sideshows as well as providing impressive rethemes to several existing attractions. It was a development the likes of which the park had not seen since the arrival of Ug Land, nearly ten years earlier.

It is no secret that down on Towers Street we have a soft spot for The Pirates of Mutiny Bay and their antics, which featured on the courtyard stage until 2015.

Inspired, we set off on our own adventure: “The Quest for the Lost Pirates”. Venturing down into the archives, we eventually surfaced with a bounty of over forty new pictures of the pirates from all of their adventures over the years.

‘Tis the stuff of legend…Read More…

2009A world of whimsy awaited in 2009 when Cloud Cuckoo Land opened, giving Cred Street a larger then life upgrade. Not only were we introduced to Snorlix, Lucy and all their friends, but also enhanced attractions like the Twirling Toadstool.

Back to reality with a splash, Sealife also came to the park when the impressively themed Sharkbait Reef opened in Mutiny Bay.

The World of David Walliams may be delayed until 2021, but we have already said a fond farewell to Cloud Cuckoo Land. It may seem like only yesterday we were first invited into this world of imagination, but that was over decade ago now.

And so, let’s take a look back at ten years of Cloud Cuckoo Land, which saw shows and characters come, come, come and Go!Go!Go!, an Ice Age descend and monsters move into the neighbourhood, not to mention an entire dungeon open on the doorstep. Read More…


2010If you went down to the woods in 2010, you better not have gone alone. Because the park had launched the ultimate marketing campaign – every bit of publicity you have ever dreamt about all in one! Oh, and they added a rollercoaster too.

Thirteen may have launched amidst a fairly nonsensical whirlwind of marketing, but once we’d waded through all the celebrity cameos, ‘world firsts’ and talk of psychoasters, it turned out the park had added a decent family coaster with a couple of neat tricks, that served as a perfect replacement for the Corkscrew.

And whilst the Dark Forest overtook Ug Land, elsewhere, everyone’s favourite blue hedgehog arrived for a giant game of pinball with the opening of Sonic Spinball.

Sharkbait Reef celebrated the park’s latest coaster with the addition of a Thirteen tank, where some of Sealife’s creepier fish could enjoy an underwater version of the coaster.

Incidentally, this corner of Sharkbait Reef has been redeveloped this year, so when the season kicks off in a few weeks we will now be able to discover the antics of the park’s new Leaf-Cutter Ants, where wraiths once lurked. Read More…

20112011 may have been a quiet year for the park in terms of new additions but there was a crustacean invasion in Sharkbait Reef when 12 Japanese Spider Crabs scuttled into Skeleton Bay.

Meanwhile over in Cloud Cuckoo Land a much more energetic takeover was happening as the Go!Go!Go! Show brought an all singing, all dancing new caper to the theatre.

Alas, both attractions were destined to be for one year only and by the end of the season all that remained was Skelton Bay, which once again became home to the park’s rays.

It’s by no means unusual for the park to run promotions over Summer, but one of our favourites occurred in 2011, when the park’s coaster vied to become the park’s All Time Great.

Each of the park’s big five coasters ‘campaigned’ to win the prize, with manifestos on the park’s website and placards at the entrance to each ride.

After a summer of campaigning, eventually Nemesis was crowned as the victor of the competition. Read More…

2012The Phalanx returned to Forbidden Valley in 2012, inviting guests to explore their subterranean compound when the park opened Nemesis: Sub Terra. In fact, they opened it twice: once in March and then again in May after the attraction had been modified, following negative reviews, to improve the storyline and add a climactic live maze section.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the park the characters from Ice Age arrived in the new 4D Cinema, as Cloud Cuckoo Land experienced a cold snap.

These days Sub Terra may be best known for the issues that plagued the attraction during its short operating life, but today we’re going to take a step back to a better time and remember its marketing campaign.

Throughout the 2011 closed season the Phalanx communicated with guest’s through the Phalanx Control Twitter account, which gradually revealed Sub Terra’s backstory as well as supplying mission and construction updates from on site. Read More…

2013The Ministry of Joy sought willing advocates to join them in 2013 and experience their latest experiment – The Smiler. And like they always say, 14 inversions should put a smile on your face. The ministry were particularly busy that year, as their original correctional facility, The Sanctuary, also opened for the first part of the season.

But as the MoJ moved in, a certain farmer retired as we said a fond farewell to Old MacDonald’s Farmyard and neighbouring Storybook Land.

The Smiler may by the Ministry of Joy’s premier marmilisation establishment but the facility could have been a lot more clinical if some of these alternative themes had come to pass.

In these unused concepts for The Smiler, many elements of the final ride are recognisable but clearly at one time the park were considering a much more eerie aesthetic for the ride. Read More…

2014 Parent and Toddler MapThe spotlight turned squarely onto the youngest members of the family in 2014, as all their favourite characters jumped from the small screen into reality in CBeebies Land.

To celebrate the opening of their new land, the park produced a special Parent and Toddler Map, which pointed young families in the direction of areas and attractions that little guests might enjoy the most.

One of the big new additions in CBeebies Land was Big Fun Showtime, which took over the area once home to the park’s Ice Rink. In the original plans, the outdoor arena had a slightly more stylised (and less purple) appearance than we saw on opening day.

As seen in these Concept Models for the arena, the Knight’s Challenge tournament tents originally had more prominence in the arena, and while the performance area was significantly larger it was missing the distinctive digital backdrop that provides much of the scenery for the shows. Read More…


The resort became a little more enchanting in 2015 when the Fabled Folk welcomed guests into their Enchanted Village and to ascend to new heights in the neighbouring Tree Top Quest. And from the depths the Octonauts beached in CBeebies Land, inviting young explorers to join their Rollercoaster Adventure.

Scarefest also received a big shake up with a terrifying number of new mazes, scare zones, and ‘after hours’ offerings, including the multiple endings of Sub Species along with its various off shoots and add-ons.

Who remembers back when the mayor first opened the Enchanted Village, with a little help from the Fabled Folk and a beautiful projection show? Let’s take a trip back to that magical evening with this official video of the opening ceremony.

20162016 brought a new experience that was virtually out of this world when the resort introduced Galactica. The VR headsets may now be a thing of the past, but maybe that’s not such a bad thing in the new world of social distancing.

Diners also got a revolutionary new dining option as the Rollercoaster Restaurant began serving meals with a twist.

Blink and you might have missed this promo for Galactica, where the park physically transformed Tim Peak’s street into Gravity Avenue.

Check out the behind the scenes video, which reveals some of the tricks and illusions that were used to create the image. Read More…

2017Two favourites returned in 2017, when Hex and the Driving School reopened after standing but not operating for a year. But just as the new look Cuckoo Cars returned at one end of Cloud Cuckoo Land, Ice Age 4D closed its doors at the other end and the neighbouring Twirling Toadstool also took its final spin.

CBeebies Land gained some new residents, however, with the Furchester Hotel opening alongside the Go Jetters Vroomster Ride. And over in Mutiny Bay construction walls went up around The Flume sight as the park started work on SW8.

2017 is notable for the arrival of the Beornan to the resort. During Scarfest their village manifested within the Mutiny Bay Courtyard where they invited guests to celebrate with them in The Welcoming: Be Chosen

Not only did it mark the return of an outdoor scaremaze to the resort as well as introducing the theme for SW8, but for our money Mutiny Bay has never been quite so atmospheric as when The Welcoming’s theme music drifted urgently through the inky night.

2018Wicker Man burst onto the scene in 2018 as the park fed the flames with their long-awaited wooden coaster.

After several previous attempts to bring a wooden coaster to the park, the old site of The Flume proved just the ticket and provided the park with the opportunity to create one of their more compelling coasters of the past 20 years.

Wicker Man brought a new icon to the park, as a six-storey high flaming effigy emerged over Mutiny Bay.

But at one point we very nearly got a pair effigies as seen in these plans from April 2016, which features a 3D Overview of the ride, showing not one but two wicker men. Otherwise the mock-up of the sculpture is remarkably similar to what we eventually say on opening day two years later. Read More…

2019Traitors were out of luck in 2019, when the Alton Towers Dungeon began to dole out its own special brand of punishment to any guest foolhardy enough to enter.

The dungeon may not be to everyone’s taste but one thing’s for sure, we’re all now an awful lot more familiar with Molly Leigh, the Witch of Burslem, since we were first invited into her cottage last year.

Peter Rabbit bounced back into the park in 2019, with the arrival of Peter Rabbit’s Hippity Hop.

He may feature in the park’s latest attraction but Peter Rabbit is actually the longest serving character to appear in the resort having first appeared over 26 years ago, originally as the star of the park’s ice show.

In 1998 he was also the first character to receive a themed room in the Alton Towers Hotel and ever since Peter Rabbit’s Burrow has delighted generations of guests. Read More…


2020 Pre SeasonAnd so we come to 2020 and into the unknown.

Who knows quite what this season has in store, but this may well be the last we see of this version of the park map since we already know that some attractions will not be operating this season, most notably the entire World of David Walliams.

One thing we do know for certain though is that 2020 will be the park’s shortest season in its forty year history!

Little did we imagine, even three months ago that the big new attraction for 2020 would be the… Bugbie Go Round.

This season the park are reimagining the carousel in CBeebies Land, so there’s no better time to celebrate 25 years since the humble Doodle Doo Derby took its first spin in Old MacDonald’s Farmyard back in 1995. Read More…

Rando Wednesdays

Each Wednesday we take a break from our year by year run down of the park’s history and throw in a random memory. That might be an in depth look at an attraction you know and love, or we might skip into to past to take a look at the years before Alton Towers was a theme park.

Wednesday March 25th: Rita Advert


It’s Rando Wednesday down in the bunker, so for today let’s skip out of the 80s and take a look at the original advert for Rita from 2005.
We can’t help but think that maybe the Queen of Speed’s development team maybe knew something the rest of us didn’t…

It’s Rando Wednesday once again and this time we’re jumping back to the 1920s and taking to the air with some images from Britain from Above, showing the estate during the time when it switched hands from the Earls of Shrewsbury to a private company who first opened the leisure park. Read More…

Wednesday April 8th: Chocolate Towers

On this day 14 years ago Chocuvious erupted for the first time, showering guests with chocolate treats. Just in time for Easter, for this week’s Rando Wednesday we return to Chocolate Towers, the resort’s short lived but eggstremely entertaining Easter event. Read More…

Wednesday April 15th: Alton Towers from Above – the 40s

We returned to the skies of past for this week’s Rando Wednesday.

It is well known that the during World War II the park was requisitioned as an Army Training Camp. But these images from images from Britain from Above give a tantalising glimpse of the park directly after the war in the year’s before it was handed back to it’s owners. Read More…


Wednesday April 22nd: The Haunted House

We’re venturing back into The Haunted House for today’s Rando Wednesday.

It might look like a regular sized house from Gloomy Wood, but The Haunted House actually covers a space equivalent of a football pitch. If you’ve ever wondered how the ride was laid out, we’ve just added a plan of the ride onto TowersStreet, along with a potted history of the attraction.Read More…


Wednesday April 29th: Towers Street Needs You

This Wednesday it is over to you! We hope you’ve been enjoying our Talbot Street Lock in so far – we love sharing pictures from the past with you, but now we’d like you to share your old photos with us.

If you’re looking for new ways to pass the time during lockdown then how about cracking out your old photo albums and home videos and sharing some of those precious memories with us.

Check out the site for various ways you can get your pics over to us. Read More…

Wednesday May 6th: Towers Street Need You

Last Wednesday we asked you dig out your old photo albums and send us your photos from yesteryear, so today let’s take a look at some of our favourites so far.

First up, we asked for a spin on The Spider, and that is exactly what Claire gave us in this snap from 1991.

Alton Towers has always had a weird and wonderful selection of souvenirs on offer, but over the years the variety has certainly changed as seen in David’s souvenirs from the 1980s.

Alton Towers Spoon Alton Towers Letter Opener

Michael took us on a trip back to 2002 and 2006, with a collection of shots of classic attractions from the time, including the recently shuttered Black Hole.

Who remembers Radio Pippin? @sneydpotter certainly does after meeting the park’s in house puppet DJ during the Christmas Festival, which used to run during the closed season in the late 80s and early 90s.

Radio Pippin

We hope you’ve enjoyed this virtual flip through the photo albums from across the country. Thanks to everyone who has shared their presh mems with us so far.

If looking through these old photos has inspired you to dig out your own photo albums or home videos, our submission form is always open as we love sharing photos from days gone by.

Wednesday May 13th: Skyride Evacuation

We have another peek into one of your photo albums this Wednesday. Mark dug out his album from when he worked at the park and shared these amazing shots of a Skyride evacuation back in 1991.

Skyride evacuations are one of the most demanding jobs you can have in the park, so it is fascinating to get to see the process up close. Read More…

Wednesday May 20th: Vertigo

Who remembers that one time when we nearly had a zipline off the top of the Towers… or the time we actually did?

In 2006 the park intended to install the UK’s longest zipline, which would have delivered guests from the roof of the Towers to the front lawn in a matter of seconds.

Vertigo may never have made it into the park’s line-up, but we got a taste of what the attraction would have been like when the Playstation 2 Freedom Weekend brought Free to Speed to the park for one weekend in 2005.Read More…

Wednesday May 27th: Alton Towers Zoo

We’re heading back in time again this Wednesday, back to the 1950s and a short-lived attraction that doesn’t often get mentioned despite being a fascinating moment in the park’s history.

The Alton Towers Zoo opened in 1959 in the area around the Dovecote by Fountain Square. There’s not a huge amount of information available about the zoo but during its short lifetime, it looks to have had an impressive range of animals, including chimpanzees, bear cubs and wallabies.

The park has always been known for its hair-raising attractions and the zoo was no exception, starring a leopard who would walk around the grounds on a leash.Read More…

Wednesday June 10th: A Walk in the Past

We’re heading back into the Gardens this Wednesday and also a taking a step back in time as we take you on a Garden Tour through the eyes of guests of yesteryear.

If you’re planning a trip to the park in the next few weeks then this tour will take you on an alternative route through the gardens complete with historic images to give you an insight into different periods in the park’s history, dating as far back as 1871. Read More…

We’re staying in the Gardens this Wednesday, but skipping to an entirely different millennium and landing in 2006, when Alton Towers were considering what to add for the following season.

During that summer they produced concepts for ‘Vistas’, which would have introduced a series of photo opportunities in the Grade I listed gardens. Elsewhere, ‘Alton Woods’ would have allowed younger guests to explore a woodland playground located in the woods behind Spinball Whizzer.

These concepts were eventually dropped in favour of the Haunted Hollow and the Dung Heap. Read More…

Wednesday June 24th: Hidden in Plain Sight

It’s the final Wednesday of the Lock In and we’re back in the Gardens once more. If you’re still looking for inspiration for things to do and see whilst the gardens are still open this week, we’ve just added another guided walk.

The Gardens are full of features that are Hidden in Plain Sight. Today we’re taking a tour around some of our favourite spots in the garden with hidden stories that shine a light into the past.Read More…