The towers and the gardens

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by ScottishChris, 21st Oct 2019.

  1. ScottishChris

    ScottishChris TowersStreet Member

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    As in was rushing through the gardens I suddenly noticed how lovely they are. I have never really noticed because I have really only used them as a route a cross park. This got me thinking, and wondering, why don't the operator open the Park for a nominal fee with access to the Towers and gardens only when the park is closed pre season (is. No rides open)?

    It would only take a person at the turnstiles, maybe open a coffee shop too. I think it would be quite popular - I know I would be keen to go explore the grounds and I'm sure there is a massive market of people who would love to see the grounds and towers but not visit the park.
     
    Posted 21st Oct 2019
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  2. Rob

    Rob TS Forum Team Team Member

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    I think that the biggest problem with this is that the most popular time of year to visit the Towers and the Gardens would be in the spring and summer months when the park is open, and not in the winter when gardens are never at their best.
     
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    Posted 21st Oct 2019
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  3. Danny

    Danny Gugu Rides’ Number 1 Fan

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    The Gardens are also somewhat a shadow of their former selves and have seen better days. Whilst the conservatoires, prospect tower and pagoda fountain look wonderful again, the grass ways are littered with awful fencing or roping that cause all sight to be lost of what once was. The corkscrew fountain also needs a lot of love, whilst the canal needs some serious clearing.

    I agree there should be an event at the very least. perhaps 3-4 times a year whereby guests can have a proper, guide experience through both the ruins and Gardens. A lot of work needs to be done however to bring both up to scratch to accommodate this.
     
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    Posted 21st Oct 2019
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  4. ScottishChris

    ScottishChris TowersStreet Member

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    I agree @Danny - the gardens aren't an attraction at the moment. If they were there would likely be more incentive to invest in them. I just think a day where people can spend a few £ to visit the gardens and towers would be well received - cost next-to-nothing to run and may generate a good few pounds which could be invested into the gardens.
     
    Posted 21st Oct 2019
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  5. Error

    Error TowersStreet Member

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    The days too much a rush as it is to go "Lets have a stroll through the gardens."
     
    Posted 21st Oct 2019
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  6. grrrr

    grrrr TowersStreet Member

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    Someone tell Merlin that they could somehow brand it as the "world's first and best ever garden experience" and they'll be on it right away.
     
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    Posted 21st Oct 2019
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  7. rob666

    rob666 TowersStreet Member

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    The gardens used to be fantastic...about forty years ago.
    Silver service meals overlooking the gardens, brass band or string quartet playing at the top of the gardens, clear signposts and walking routes well marked, beautifully maintained lawns and flower beds...and the gardens went beyond the big pagoda fountain for another half mile or so, right down beyond the hotel boundaries.
    Every decade, maintenance of the gardens has been cut, the plants have been crowded out by weeds, many paths have become overgrown, and all the water features have stilted up and been choked out by water plants that have not been kept in check.
    The gardens were a fantastic feature of the park, but they didn't generate custom, or income, after the arrival of big rides..so have been pretty much ignored over the years.
    There is no money in opening the gardens in the closed season, or Merlin would have done it years ago.
    The condition they are in now, the people who regularly visit stately homes and gardens would be well aware of the neglected state Merlin have let the gardens become.
    Badge of shame for Merlin as far as I'm concerned, but to be fair, the rot had started long before their arrival.
     
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    Posted 21st Oct 2019
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  8. Jb85

    Jb85 TowersStreet Member

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    10-15 years ago they were amazing ... having had time to go in since

    And that’s your problem
     
    Posted 21st Oct 2019
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  9. karl.stubbs

    karl.stubbs TowersStreet Member

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    I think the towers building itself needs some money spending on it. Last time it had any investment was for Hex but that was years ago. The area is so big and wasted and could use the extra space for features maybe a walk through ride?

    Sent from my BLA-L09 using Tapatalk
     
    Posted 1st Nov 2019
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  10. Themeparksandy1981

    Themeparksandy1981 TowersStreet Member

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    I think theme park fans buy Merlin annual passes and fans who love stately homes and gardens buy National Trust passes.
    In 25 years I only been round the gardens once and that was a Feb half term event.
     
    Posted 2nd Nov 2019
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  11. Doublethink

    Doublethink TowersStreet Member

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    I'm honestly surprised they don't use parts of the gardens, specifically the glass roofed houses for weddings or a tea rooms. Would make a killing.
     
    Posted 2nd Nov 2019
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  12. TheBolt

    TheBolt TowersStreet Member

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    I distinctly remember they did use to offer gardens only tickets years ago on closed days.
    I was young enough to find it a strange thing for anybody to do, but it was when they had a website to find the info. I'd guess late 1990s?

    We went go Paultons in the summer... whilst I appreciate the scale of their gardens is a fraction of ATs, they obviously took great pride in maintaining their historic gardens and the parks horticulture immaculately. It was a great show of their pride and confidence in what they offer.

    The entrance area of AT used to be a riot of flowers too, when the park knew it had a world class offering. The current sad ponds, random rockeries and grassed areas seem to reflect the overall mood of the park.
    ATs gardens etc. are clearly maintained, and kept tidy.... but they have seen the same attitude around investment as the attractions in the park. If you cannot demonstrate a direct return on investment, there won't be any investment.
     
    Posted 2nd Nov 2019
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  13. SuperMuscleMan

    SuperMuscleMan TowersStreet Member

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    Totally agree with the above comments they are amazing gardens. Why they have not tapped into the wedding market is beyond me. The conservatorys would be ideal. Accommodation is on-site, part of the gardens can be for private use and your not talking loose change as the fee.

    I would probably hold off in the first season for Saturday weddings to test the water and iron out issues.

    With the new licenses coming through so they claim (you don't need a county council involved and be under a registered structure). It would be a great idea. You could get married anywhere!


    Having filmed at a wedding venue which is incredibly popular that is home to bumper cars, and even a upside down spinning Ferris wheel type of ride. (Among others). I can see the appeal. With such short operation hours it too could be possible for a 2/3 pm wedding followed by a very short reception, wedding breakfast (2 hours and speeches then include a small park section after its its closed). This would allow for the guests to come back and party untill 11.

    Service 2pm - sometimes longer
    Reception 2:30 - nibbles, drinks, pics in garden
    Wedding breakfast 3:45
    Speeches 5:45
    Limited Park Access 6:30 - 8:30
    Evening 8:30 to 11 this could either be held at conservatories or within other private areas if noise conserns and a later licence is wanted.

    You could easily make the reception longer or have the start later. But I would trial it on Sundays when park extensions are less prominent. If food facilities are not available then I would suggest a afternoon tea style setup. Evening food could always be quirky like a fish and chip van or quite common are now pizza oven vans.
     
    Doublethink likes this.
    Posted 3rd Nov 2019
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  14. rob666

    rob666 TowersStreet Member

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    No power supply in the gardens, or clean running water, or toilets, means weddings can't be done on the cheap.
    It isnt easy to close parts of the gardens when the park is open...there are over a dozen access points.
    And the gardens aren't well maintained!
    They are full of weeds and invasive plants like ferns, brambles and hypericum, that have choked out the masses of azaleas, miniature rhodedendrons and astilbies that used to create a mass of colour right up the valley.
    If it was worth it, and I know weddings are a real money racket, they would have done it by now.
    Not sufficient return on investment I suppose.
     
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    Posted 3rd Nov 2019
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  15. AT86

    AT86 TowersStreet Member

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    Not to mention having to schlep to the Gardens via the mud laden woodland walk in your wedding dress or down Towers St in your best suit next to regular guests in their trackies and hoodies.

    No ta.
     
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    Posted 3rd Nov 2019
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  16. SuperMuscleMan

    SuperMuscleMan TowersStreet Member

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    Considering I've filmed high end weddings with twice those problems I still think it's achievable. Power is not really an issue... Pa systems are self powered and a hidden generator is not problematic. Golf buggys are common to get bride from location a to b. We have a pimped up tuck tuck at one venue venue. Loos again are not an issue and it's common to hire those in.

    If some investment was placed into it the returns could be well worth it and the accomodation would be a very warm welcome.
     
    ScottishChris likes this.
    Posted 3rd Nov 2019
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  17. AT86

    AT86 TowersStreet Member

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    I certainly think they could make money out of such events, my post was a tongue in cheek way of showing the infrastructure just isn’t there at the moment to support weddings in the Gardens.

    Investment is so unlikely in this area though.
     
    Posted 3rd Nov 2019
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  18. SuperMuscleMan

    SuperMuscleMan TowersStreet Member

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    Totally stupid foresight from the company second to Disney.
     
    Posted 3rd Nov 2019
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  19. GaryH

    GaryH TowersStreet Member

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    Would love to walk around the gardens in closed season, and if they opened the swiss cottage for hot drinks and cakes then even more so. But, I suppose with all the H&S thesedays, if someone slipped on one of the steps in the gardens and twisted their ankle then they would be holding Alton to blame, so they probably see it better to just keep them closed. I remember years ago when you could walk around them if you were staying in the hotels over the Christmas period. Walking around a mostly deserted park on New Years Day listening to the theme music still playing in the various areas was a unique experience in itself!
     
  20. jon81uk

    jon81uk TowersStreet Member

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    Alton Towers is as much to blame for an injury during regular open season as if they did closed season garden opening. They still need to do a risk assessment and make sure steps etc are in good condition. It would be nice if the gardens were open more, but the health and safety standards are the same no matter what time of year it is.
     

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