Earliest Towers Memories


TS Member
Favourite Ride
Colossus or Oblivion
I only visited the park for the first time in 2009, And my dad took me straight towards Oblivion,I took one look at it and said I was not going to ride it,But he dragged me on,I was really scared as it stopped at the top and looked over the drop and shouted out something rude. Then it dropped. When I got off I said I want to go again.Ever since oblivion has been my favourite ride at Alton. Then on nemesis as he was one of the first people to ride it when it opened.


TS Member
Favourite Ride
Nemesis, Air
watching a advert for the first flip out screen camcorder being filmed with a helicopter (bell jetranger in gray, if memory servers me right) on the lawn in front of the towers. then a fist to the back and the ground coming to meet me, as the school bully and his idiots where having a laugh.

I think the advert was a sharp viewcam. Does anyone know if this is right as I am trying to find the advert.


TS Contributor
I remember the caterpillar coaster will! Seem to remember it was situated roughly near to where the twirling toad stool is today. I also remember going in around the world in 80 days and being a bit freaked out by it for some reason!

This trip must of been around 1993 as I remember Katanga canyon being there. And also remember seeing the thunder looper And nemesis track out in the car park awaiting installation.

Also have a valve memory of enterprise being located around about where the lockers are currently in the Dark Forrest.


TS Founding Member
My very earliest memory is quite vague, i would have been about 3 or 4 and i remember being in the paddling pool, another child was horrid to me so i think thats why the memory stuck. I never really associated that memory with Alton Towers until i was chatting to my mum about it a few years back and when i described the scene she said it was definitely at Alton Towers.

I also remember being actually petrified of the big dragon/ dinosaur thing in Around the World in 80 Days.


TS Team
I have no idea when my first visit to Towers was, but one of my earliest memories was going on Around the World in 80 days, I seem to remember there was some can can girls above you dancing. I then remember going on Toyland Tours in 1994/5 and thinking "this is the same ride as Around the world in 80 days". Clearly I was a theme park geek as a child.


TS Member
Oh wow! It was definitely the early 90s before Nemesis - so definitely before '94 - quite possible even before '92 because I remember the hype behind what was to 'The Haunted House' and was dead excited to go and ride it.

Anyhow, my first memory involves riding the Caterpillar Coaster. I also remember they had the slides which you went down in a sack (kind of like Helter Skelter). I also remember riding Around the world in 80 Days, Congo River Rapids, Log Flume, Pirate Ship and The Black Hole. I also remember watching 'Fantastic Fountains'

I do remember seeing Corkscrew, Thunder Looper, 1001 Nights, The Beastie and Alton Mouse but was too scared to give them a go :) I'm pretty sure they had Alpine Bobsleighs when I went too.


TS Member
For me it was 1993. Never heard of the place and a friend took us up there in his car. I was blown away and instantly fell in love with the place.

Always remember the road up to it and thinking "I cant see any rides!". I always remember The Beast, queuing down by the side of where Air is now waiting to go on and the little cabin at the end where the operators controlled the very ferocious brakes!

Then there was the Thunderlooper. I dont know why but I was always fascinated by the size, height and width of those huge supports at either end and used to like watching the ride start off and seeing that huge weight in the tower drop past one of the windows on the side and seeing the ride being catapulted into the loop. That was one hell of a buzz, and I always thought we were going to hit the buffers at the top.

The gardens and the house itself sold me. The sheer beauty of the place. Walking up past them I remember thinking "wow". Then there was the Corkscrew, first time i'd been upside down on a ride, ever. Loved it. And who can ever forget the whine of the lift hill motor.

1001 Nights was another ride I loved, namely as I had been on smaller ones locally at Porthcawl and Barry Island, and this was double the size. Used to love when it stopped at the very top and the views!

Popping into the old gift shop where Hex is now.

Then there was Around the World in 80 Days which I recall was quite a grand ride, bit like the one in Blackpool, with lots to look at and anamatronics.

Haunted House back then was fantastic. All the effects, the smells, the smoke, the "ghosts" in the hearse and the fire place, wow, this was cutting edge stuff back then. Plus the Runaway Mine train which was a new ride then. I got on expecting it to be a mild kiddy coaster and wow, the speed and g-force into the tunnel, that was something was surprised me.

I think I recall the Henry House procession, but from a distance. Dont think I went up to see it, but could see it if you know what I mean. The Black Hole scared the hell outta me, I recall it being incredibly fast and intense on one or two bends. I think it got re-profiled not long after this, but it was a ride that gave me the hebejebees bit like Oblivion still does thesedays! I always remember those "planets" hanging in the middle of the lift hill and the effects inside, with the stobe light following you up the circular lift hill.

Swan boats were great for a wind down, as was the miniature railway which I went on from where the boats were to near the Haunted House location. Remember it winding its way through the trees. It really was "choo choo!".

On the rapids was a sign advertising late night opening until 7pm, I always remember that, think I got a photo of somewhere, along with that range rover on the side of the lake. Umm, what else, oh, yes, the ride photos...... a guy was stood at the top of the Flume and just as you came off the lift hill he would hand you a ticket before you plummet down the drop.

No preview photos, you handed your ticket (now soaking wet) into the desk if you wanted a photo, paid your money, then waited eagerly for 2 weeks for the photo to come through. I think all this "instantness" about life takes away some of the fun and anticipation but hey ho.

I think I recall there were shows on in the big top, cant recall what it was back then though.

The 3D cinema, recall going in the big tent, and there was a part of the indoor section where you could basically lay on the floor but with your backs supported, bit like a sunbed, and look up at the screen. The video comprised of the usual flying, close shaves and clowns dropping balls on the screen etc. Was quite good.

Ummm, oh yeah, I remember the wooden rowing boats on the lake infront of towers. Looked a serene sight with the swans and the rowing boats.

Finally, Nemesis. The fences around the site, the military vehicles and the "military" signs warning people to keep out. Believe it or not and as gullible as I was , I really did think it was something military going on there lol. I'd never heard of the SW rides back then.

Anyway, that was my first visit. I remember the place really did have a magic feel about it, and certainally less rushed than what it tends to feel now. I've been to the park every single year without fail ever since.


TS Member
Reading the last post by @GaryH brought back memories, if only my memory was as good :(
All my visits are a jumbled mess in my head.
Must be old age or too may inversions :D

The only thing that sticks on my first visit to AT
It was July 1985, we all pilled off the school bus, a pack of wild, over excited teens, We already had the plan.
We each had 5 mars bars which we had to eat and then ride 1001 Nights... first 1 to puke was a looser.
Much fun :D

Edit, Oh and my best mate who wore glasses and was blind as a bat without them, flew off never to been seen again on the black hole... couldn't see a thing for the rest of the day :D
Last edited:


TS Member
:hearteyes: Awesome pics! Brings back so many memories.

Good old Thunder Looper :) When I did finally muster up the courage to ride it, I was completely bewildered that a simple lap bar would keep me in whilst going round the biggest loop I had ever seen in my life :anguished: That's when I learnt about centrifugal force.

Also, £13 for a day ticket!! Who'd have thunk it!


TS Member
Pretty sure it was before Corkscrew opened, maybe the bobsleigh......? Seen a few changes since, certainly remember Log Flume opening etc..... :)


TS Member
Favourite Ride
The Smiler
My first memory was being terrified of all the coasters and convincing my dad that I was 1.39cm (I was really 1.45) and I was too small. I got away with it for almost the whole day until we got to the last ride air and my dad said to try it out and see. So air was my first coaster and I loved it. I regretted not going on the other rides and I didn't he back for another 5 years :(. And that was where my fascination with both Alton and coasters began.