Towers Street was built in a colourful and abstract Victorian style, which was very much a common theme for theme parks in the 80s. This original looks has always remained relatively unchanged.
The colour scheme has changed a couple of times during the streets life however, with the Monorail station being repainted to sport a purple and gold star design in the early 2000s, and the tower at the top of the street being repainted from its former red to purple in 2010 to coincide with the Corkscrew taking up residence in the plaza.
During the 1980s Alton Towers was going through some major transformations. The park was beginning to evolve from a "funfair in the woods" to the theme park we all know and love today. But what theme park is a real land of magic and escapism without a grand entrance? For 1986 Alton Towers aimed to create just that.
Towers Street was conceived as an expansion of the Grand Entrance which had opened previously, with the aim to create a shopping centre and heart for the park which made use of the areas' exceptional beauty.
The design of the street with the Towers framed grandly at the end was inspired by the Disney parks, which have their trademark castle as the centerpiece of the park. Alton aimed to recreate this style with Towers Street, and thus there are several similarities. The view down the street is not too dissimilar to that at Disneyland Paris, with a magnificent structure sitting at the very end of a street lined with shops. At the time Disney were considered to be the only company to truly master the then new theme park concept, and Alton were not alone in using them for inspiration.
Towers Street originally had shops lining both sides of the main path, selling everything from cuddly toys to pieces of furniture! In the centre were several brick flowerbeds, surrounded by benches, Victorian style street lighting, signposts, and the iconic frog fountains. When first installed the frogs each resided in their own brick ponds, allowing guests to dive under the jets and interact with the water features.
Along with it's vast number of retail outlets and admissions facilities Towers Street was also planned to be the transportation centre for the park, with the Monorail and Skyride both having their stations in the area by 1987. The Monorail was supposed to open along with the rest of Towers Street the previous year, but complications in shipping part delayed its opening. The plaza was still designed with the Monorail in mind however, allowing it to fit in to the area seamlessly when it was finally built. The layout of Alton Towers means that the park essentially unfolds from Towers Street, so linking the areas and making it easy to move between them was a necessity of the park to ensure guests could easily navigate the many acres.
After 1987 the area was left relatively untouched for many years, until the early 1990s when Tussauds Group took over the park. Tussauds took a different approach to managing the park, and as part of this they believed shopping was less important. This led to all the shops down the right hand side of the street closing in 1992, with false displays appearing in the windows. Behind the scenes the entire stretch was renovated into offices for park management.
Shortly afterwards the shops running down the left hand side were all knocked through and turned into the larger Towers Trading, which is still with us today.
Having completed their overhaul of the facilities on offer at Towers Street Tussauds continued to redesign the rest of the street, removing the original brick flower beds and replacing them with the more natural looking grassy islands and boulders we see today. During this remodeling the frogs were also relocated into one larger pond where they have remained ever since.
Having completed their renovation the area was once again left in peace, though some consider this being the point at which Towers Street lost alot of its original charm and vibe.
Very little changed up until 2007 when one of the old shop fronts was reworked to become the YourDay centre, a project which allowed guests to purchase video footage of themselves on many of the larger Alton Towers rides. However, this venture was short lived, with YourDay entering administration in early 2009. The project continued through 2010 under the name Alton Towers Resort DVD, before ceasing operation entirely in early 2011.
2010 saw a new addition to the top entrance plaza of Towers Street. In preparation for Secret Weapon 6 (Th13teen) Alton Towers had removed their iconic Corkscrew coaster, which had operated for may years in the park, and was notable as one of the first major coasters to appear at the park. It is often considered the ride which helped make Alton Towers what it is today. Park management clearly though this too, and as a tribute to the ride they had the looping corkscrew element saved from going to the scrap heap. The returned in 2010 in a new purple and gold colour scheme. They were resurrected in the top plaza with a sign about the ride being placed alongside them, to pay homage to a major part of the parks history.
In May 2011 the old DVD outlet reopened as the Resort Box Office. This building became the new main Sale and Information centre for the park, where guests could purchase Fastrack, make hotel bookings, and purchase any other upgrades such as Towers2 Tickets and Annual Passes. In 2015 Guest Services closed at the top of the street and its remaining functions were also moved to the Resort Box Office.
As part of the Alton TLC programme, in 2016 Towers Street began to get a colourful makeover. The programme started with a make over to the park's Photo Collection Point as well as repaints for Corner Coffee and the Resort Box Office. Over the coming years the rest of the street will also receive a makeover.
Today all of your shopping needs on Towers Street are handled by Towers Trading Co. but back when Towers Street first opened both sides of the streets were lined with an array of different shopping options.