Alton Towers is not only the biggest, but also one of the most iconic theme parks in the whole of Britain. Located just south of the Peak District itself, near to the village of Alton, Staffordshire, Alton Towers has a wide range of rides to suit all, including rollercoasters, water rides, dark rides, children’s rides (ages 3-11), and flat rides.
The main theme park area is home to over 40 unique rides, including 10 record breaking roller coasters, which includes virtual reality rollercoasters, and even a rollercoaster restaurant – the only of its kind in the UK. There is now also a smaller theme park onsite, CBeebies Land, dedicated for the younger thrill seekers; with live shows, interactive games, sensory gardens, and treehouse adventures.
As if that wasn’t enough to keep visitors busy, Alton Towers is also home to a huge waterpark, a spa, a mid-air assault course, and a mini golf course.
There is a plethora of onsite restaurants to choose from, including the Windmill Restaurant, Secret Garden Restaurant, the Crooked Spoon, Flambo Jambos; and a number of bars too, including the Ma Garrita Bar, the Dragons Bar, and the Captains Bar.
The Alton Towers Hotel offers comfortable over-night stay, with themed rooms and a fun monorail that transports you from the hotel to the theme park.
The History of Alton Towers
Alton Towers, as a fortress, dates back to the 8th century, and was occupied by the Talbot dynasty from 1412 all the way up to the 1920s!
The surrounding gardens were in a state of complete wilderness up until 1753, when then-heir, 15th Earl Charles Talbot, with the aid of hundreds of landscapers, turned Alton Towers into a pleasure gardens like no other. Consulting only hired artists, and drawing influence and inspiration from many different styles, Talbot intended to create a totally unique layout, and produced an enchanting labyrinth of Dutch Gardens, filled with flowerbeds, conservatories, fountains, and temples, amongst other eccentricities, which all still stands today as the most tranquil of attractions found at Alton Towers.
The gardens first opened to the public in 1860, and early garden parties attracted up to 30,000 people at a time. This popularity endured throughout the rest of the 19th century, before steadily declining at the start of the 20th.
Following a continued decline, the entire estate was bought over by local business owners, led by one William Bagshaw, who together formed Alton Towers Ltd in 1924, with the intent of transforming Alton Towers into a place of pleasure for all.
Operations were halted during the Second World War, as Alton Towers was repurposed as an army training ground, which continued up till 1951. Upon reopening in 1952, Alton Towers truly began to take shape, with the addition of a fair ground, rides, and a tea-room added during this time.
John Broom, having married the daughter of Bagshaw, took over Alton Towers in 1973, and truly turned it into the theme park it is today; Bagshaw contributed such famed rides as the Black Hole, Around the World in 80 Days, the Flume, and the Corkscrew.
The Tussauds Group took the reins in 1990, opened the first Alton Towers Hotel in 1996, and added many rides that are still in use today, such as Nemesis and Oblivion.
Things to do at Alton Towers
Main Theme Park – With over 40 diverse rides spread out over 910 acres, Alton Towers remains the biggest theme park in the country. Alongside numerous water rides, dark rides, and flat rides, Alton Towers also boasts 10 unique rollercoasters, the majority of which are record breakers in some way; the Smiler, for example, holds the record for most loops in a ride with a total of 14 inversions, and Nemesis was the first inverted roller coaster in the whole of Europe. Other rides include Galactica, a virtual reality rollercoaster, and the Rollercoaster Restaurant – the only of its kind in the country!
CBeebies Land – One for younger visitors, CBeebies Land is teeming with song and adventure with learning and discovery at its core. With sensory gardens, tree top rides, fun houses, miniature rollercoasters, and regular interactive live shows with a few familiar faces, there is certainly enough to keep little ones entertained for days on end.
Alton Towers Waterpark – With the option to swim indoors or outdoors, the Alton Towers Waterpark is a worthwhile addition to the itinerary all year round. Caribbean-themed, this huge waterpark continues the thrill-seeking fun found at the theme park, with the likes of the ‘Master Blaster’ flume, described as a ‘watercoaster’; this high speed waterslide features unexpected twists and turns and is guaranteed to get the adrenaline pumping. There are also numerous hot and cold pools on site, ring slides, a lazy river, and water canons throughout.
Enchanted Forrest Tree Top Quest – This mid-air assault course is for thrill seekers looking for a bit of a challenge, with 19 obstacles to climb and crawl through as you are zip-lined through the air. There are two different courses to choose from; the ‘Challenger’, which is the most difficult, and takes participants 8m high, while the ‘Explorer’ is only 3.5m-5m from the ground, but still offers numerous challenges to those who want to stay a little closer to the ground!
Extraordinary Golf – This crazy golf course is like no other. Consisting of 9 holes, each being based around one of Alton Tower’s famed rides. Putting through Oblivion, Nemesis, and Air, crazy golf enthusiasts may find this Extraordinary Golf course rather challenging, but definitely fun!
Alton Towers Gardens – Alton Towers historic pleasure gardens offer some much-needed serenity from the rest of the resort, with luscious lawns, Dutch gardens, and exotic flowerbeds. Great for a light stroll, but even better for a picnic!
How to get there
By Car – Alton Towers is located between the M1 and the M6, and there are several ways of reaching it depending on your direction. When driving down the M1 northbound, take the Junction 23a exit; when on the M1 southbound, take the Junction 28 exit; when on the M6 northbound, take the Junction 15 exit; and when on the M6 southbound, take the Junction 16 exit. Alton Towers is clearly signposted along the way.
Postcode for Satnav – ST10 4DB
Carpark – Standard parking costs £6 and is within roughly 20-minutes walking distance from the main entrance.
Public Transport – The X41 bus from Stafford & Uttoxeter runs a daily service to Alton Towers and departs from Stafford at 9.30 daily.
Good to Know
– Ticket for Alton Towers must now be pre-booked.
– Many of the rides have restrictions, whether that be height or age – check their website for the full list of restrictions in order to avoid disappointment.
– Picnics are suitable throughout the theme park.
Theme Park – 10am – 9pm
Waterpark – 10am – 5.45pm
Extraordinary Golf – 9am -5pm
Alton Towers Spa – 10am -5pm
Day Pass to the Theme Park
Adults (12+ years old) – £53
Children (3 -11 years old) – £4(
Children (Under 3) – Free
Adults (12+ years old) – £18
Children (3 -11 years old) – £14
Children (Under 3) –Free
Family (minimum of 3 people) – £14.50