In 1999 Alton Towers set about adding their latest, and rather different attraction to the park. Instead of clearing land, and moving existing rides around, work was beginning within the Towers Ruins.
Unseen by the guests, work was being done on a new building to join the historic structure of the Towers themselves. This building would house the finale of Alton Towers' amazing new dark ride, and to this day most guests will never see, nor realise they ever left the Towers ruins during the experience. Indeed under the planning conditions it was stipulated that once the attraction has finished its operating life, it must be removed without leaving any trace in the Towers, as they are a heavily listed and protected structure.
In March 2000 visitors to the park were invited to take a journey into the once proud Stately Home of the Earls of Shrewsbury, and experience Hex - The Legend of the Towers. Guests spend roughly 75% of their experience within the original Alton Towers complex, and it is perhaps worth noting that Alton Towers didn't have to use all that much artistic licence for their Hex storyline, as the Chained Oak is very much a genuine local legend, with the actual Chained Oak being very close to the park.
There was a season long closure of Hex over the course of 2016, but the vault will be welcoming guests again for the 2017 season.
The Secret of the Vault
Warning: If you are yet to ride Hex then you may wish to stop reading now, as the ride is best experienced not knowing what lies ahead...
The ride itself is based on an old Victorian ride concept called a "Mad House". Essentially the illusion is created by having the room you are located in spinning 360o around you, as this fools your brain into thinking you are spinning upside down (an original "mad house" can be experienced at Blackpool Pleasure Beach within the Impossible attraction).
The modern twist to this Victorian concept, however, is not just to build the spinning room to a grander scale. In the classic ride the seats would hang suspended on a swing to allow the room to spin around the stationary seats. The new mad-houses use hydraulics to tilt the seating structure 15o in each direction. When the seats and room move in sync together, this gives the rider's body a feeling of movement without any physical signs of movement in the room. By making the seats swing in opposite or other combinations to the room, this enhances the illusion of spinning, as your body senses the motion and can interpret the room movement.
Hex is often considered one of the best examples in the world of the "mad-house" concept, and is famous for its amazing execution and atmospheric design.