Alton Towers

Amusement park in the United Kingdom

Alton Towers
Alton, Staffordshire, England, UK
Status Operating
Opened 4 April 1980
Owner Nick Leslau, leased to Merlin Entertainments
Area 324 hectares (800 acres)

Alton Towers is a theme park located in Alton, Staffordshire, England, UK. It opened on the 4th April 1980 and has since grown into one of the largest theme parks in the UK with around 2.3 million guests as of 2022.[1]


Alton Towers from Morris's Seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen (c.1880)

Alton Towers was originally purchased in 1412 by the Talbot family (Earls of Shrewsbury), who over the years built a number of properties on the site. The stately home that remains today was built around 1810 for Charles Talbot, 15th Earl of Shrewsbury. The grounds were later opened to the public in 1860 to raise money for refurbishing parts of the house. During the 1890's the 20th Earl of Shrewsbury started to host summer fates which drew crowds of around 30,000 visitors. After the earl and countess separated in 1896 Alton Towers started to decay when the earl stopped paying for upkeep.

After 700 years of being owned by the same family, in 1918 the majority of the estate was sold off by auction with the remaining parts and the house being sold in 1924 to a local group of businessmen who formed Alton Towers Ltd. They worked on restoring the grounds and reopening it to the public. During the Second World War, Alton Towers was used as an officer cadet training camp.

The grounds at Alton Towers were reopened to the public following the war where a number of attractions were built over the following decades including a miniature railway, indoor model railway, boating lake, chairlift, and a small fair.

In 1973 the controlling stake on Alton Towers was purchased by millionaire property developer John Broome, who began to install various permanent rides. In 1980 it became a theme park following the opening of the Corkscrew.[2]

In 1990 Broome sold the park to The Tussauds Group who started to rapidly expand the park. The Tussauds Group was sold to capital venture firm Charterhouse in 1998, who later sold the Tussauds Group to Dubai International Capital in 2005 for £800 million.[3] In May 2007 the Blackstone Group purchased the Tussauds Group for £1 billion and merged it with its subsidiary Merlin Entertainments.[4] In July 2007 Alton Towers was then sold to investment firm Prestbury for £622 million who continued to lease the park to Merlin Entertainment under a 35-year renewable lease.[5] In 2019 Merlin Entertainments was brought by Kirkbi Invest, the private investment firm of Kirk Kristianson, whose family owns the LEGO group.[6]

The opening of the park in 2020 was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic and the opening of the new Gangsta Granny: The Ride pushed back to 2021. On 6 June 2020, the park reopened its gardens. The park reopened fully on 4 July of that year.[7]

Roller coasters

Present (10)

Name Manufacturer Class Type Opened Status Secret Weapon
Galactica Bolliger & Mabillard Roller Flying March 16, 2002 Operating Secret Weapon 5
Nemesis Bolliger & Mabillard Roller Inverted March 19, 1994 Under refurbishment Secret Weapon 3
Oblivion Bolliger & Mabillard Roller Diving March 14, 1998 Operating Secret Weapon 4
Octonauts Rollercoaster Adventure Zamperla Roller Family March 21, 2015 Operating
Rita Intamin Roller Launched April 1, 2005 Operating
Runaway Mine Train Mack Rides Powered Family 1992 Operating
Smiler Gerstlauer Roller Sit-Down May 31, 2013 Operating Secret Weapon 7
Spinball Whizzer Maurer AG Roller Spinning March 27, 2004 Operating
Thirteen Intamin Roller Sit-Down March 20, 2010 Operating Secret Weapon 6
Wicker Man Great Coasters International Roller Wooden March 20, 2018 Operating Secret Weapon 8

Past (8)

The New Beast in 1993
Name Manufacturer Type Opened Closed Fate
4 Man Bob Zierer Sit-Down 1985 1990 Relocated to Pleasure Island Family Theme Park
Alton Mouse Vekoma Wild Mouse 1988 1991 Relocated to Idlewild & SoakZone
Beastie Pinfari Sit-Down Family 1983 2010 Relocated to Barry Island Pleasure Park
Black Hole Schwarzkopf Enclosed 1983 2005 Relocated to Furuvik
Corkscrew Vekoma Sit-Down 1980 2008 Scrapped
Mini Apple Pinfari Sit-Down Family 1982 1997 Relocated to Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach
New Beast Schwarzkopf Sit-Down 1988 1997 Relocated to Divetido
Thunderlooper Schwarzkopf Shuttle 1990 1996 Relocated to Hopi Hari



Name Manufacturer Type Opened
Alton Towers Dungeon
Formerly Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: The Ride
Formerly Toyland Tours
Formerly Around the World in 80 days
Mack Rides Scenic Boat Ride 2019
Operated 2006 to 2015
Operated 1994 to 2005
Operated 1981 to 1993
Battle Galleons Mack Rides Splash Battle 2008
Blade HUSS Pirate Ship 1980
Bugbie Go Round MSI Transportation Roundabout 1995
Congo River Rapids Intamin River Rapids 1986
Curse at Alton Manor Mack Rides Tracked Dark Ride 1992
Funk'n'Fly PWS Rides Paratrooper 2022
Gangsta Granny: The Ride Garmendale Engineering Tracked Dark Ride 2021
Get Set Go Tree Top Adventure MSI Transportation Monorail 1996
Go Jetters Vroomster Zoom ride Garmendale Engineering Jets 2017
Heave Ho Zamperla Rockin' Tug 2008
Hex Vekoma Madhouse 2000
In The Night Garden Magical Boat Ride Mack Rides Scenic Boat Ride 1989
Marauder's Mayhem Mack Rides Teacups 1987
Monorail Von Roll Monorail 1987
Nemesis Sub-Terra ABC Rides Drop Tower 2012
Peter Rabbit Hippity Hop S&S Worldwide Junior Drop Tower x2 2019
Postman Pat Parcel Post Metallbau Emmeln Track Ride 2014
Royal Carousel Bertazzon Carousel 1991
Skyride POMA Ropeway 1987
Spinjam Tivoli Manufacturing Orbiter 2022
Twistatron Raecher Hisco Trabant 2023


Name Manufacturer Type Opened Closed Fate
1001 Nights Weber Flying Carpet 1984 1994 Unknown
Astroglide Bennett Giant Slide 1970s 1992 Relocated to Pleasure Island Family Theme Park
Blue Carousel Unknown Roundabout 1981 1991 Relocated to Pleasure Island Family Theme Park
Boneshaker Mondial Super Nova 1995 2003 Relocated to Terra Mitica via Mondial
Bouncing Bugs Marcel Lutz Junior Jets 1981 2008 Scrapped
Cablecars British Ropeway Engineering Ropeway 1963 1986 Relocated to Flamingo Land
Chair-O-Plane Unknown Chair-O-Plane 1966 1978 Travelling U.K.
Cred Street Carousel Peter Petz Carousel 2000 2005 Unknown
Crown Carousel Hennecke Roundabout 1985 1999 Unknown
Dodgems Orton & Spooner Dodgems 1960 1975 Travelling UK
Dynamo HUSS Breakdance 1993 2004 Travelling Netherlands via Mondial
Enterprise HUSS Enterprise 1984 2021 Scrapped
Ferris Wheel Zierer Ferris Wheel 1984 1985 Relocated to M&D's Scotland's Theme Park
Flavio's Fabulous Fandango PWS Rides Twist 2021 2021 Travelling UK
Flume Mack Rides Log Flume 1981 2015 Scrapped
Flying Carpet Zierer Flying Carpet 1984 1985 Relocated to M&D's Scotland's Theme Park
Funk'n'Fly PWS Rides Paratrooper 2021 2021 Travelling UK
Gallopers Savage Carousel 1964 1977 Relocated to Clacton Pier
Ghost Train Hayes Fabrication Ghost Train 1976 1979 Travelling U.K.
Gravitron Vekoma Rotor 1990 1991 Relocated to Flamingo Land
Helter Skelter Supercar Helter Skelter 1960s 1973 Relocated to Ffrith Beach Fun Parc
Loop-O-Plane Lusse Loop-O-Plane 1962 1963 Travelling U.K.
Mississippi Showboat Robles Bouso Atracciones Funhouse 1984 1991 Relocated to Brean Theme Park
Mixtape Sartori Smashing Jump 2021 2021 Travelling UK
Octopus F.A.H. Polyp 1984 1992 Travelling Netherlands
Old MacDonald's Tractor Ride MSI Transportation Track Ride 1995 2013 Scrapped
Park Railway Unknown Miniature Railway 1963 1996 Scrapped
Ripsaw HUSS Top Spin 1997 2015 Scrapped
Space Boat Weber Ranger 1983 1983 Relocated to Atlas Park
Spider C.A.H. Polyp 1986 1991 Unknown
Submission Chance UK Inverter 2001 2012 Scrapped
Swan Boat Ride Intamin Tow Boat Ride 1987 2003 Scrapped
Tri-Star HUSS Tri-Star 1991 1992 Relocated to Pleasure Island Family Theme Park
Turbo Star HUSS Troika 1984 1989 Travelling Belgium
Vintage Cars Supercar Track Ride 1983 2005 Scrapped
Waltzer Maxwell Waltzer 1979 1979 Relocated to Atlas Park
Water Chute Bennett Water Chute August 1979 1979 Relocated to Southport Pleasureland
Twirling Toadstool Zierer Waveswinger March 1984 November 2016 Stored



  1. "Global Attractions Attendance Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) and AECOM. Retrieved 9 September 2023.
  2. "Alton Towers Heritage". Merlin Entertainments.
  3. "Dubai firm buys Tussauds". BBC News. 23 March 2005.
  4. "Tussauds firm bought in £1bn deal". BBC News. 5 March 2007.
  5. "Alton Towers sold in £622m deal". BBC News. 17 July 2007.
  6. "Legoland owner Merlin Entertainments agrees £4.8bn offer". BBC News. 28 June 2019.
  7. "Alton Towers reopens parts of its grounds". InterPark.
Articles on Alton Towers
Amusement parks owned/operated by Merlin Entertainments