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The Beginnings of The Towers

Founded on the site of an Iron Age camp, there were actually many different buildings before the existing Towers, but from 1412 until 1924 they all belonged to the same family - the Talbots (Earls of Shrewsbury).

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The Beginnings of Alton Towers as an Attraction

The grounds at Alton Towers were first opened to the public by the 18th Earl in 1860 when the total income was £116.17s 5d (£116.87p!). By 1890 Alton Towers was attracting crowds of 30,000 to watch acrobats, lion tamers, elephants, bands and fireworks, as well as the gardens.

In the early 1900s the 20th Earl, who had interests in the Talbot Motor Car Company which he had founded, began to spend more and more time at his Ingestre Estate. Lady Shrewsbury lived alone at the Towers until 1923 after her husband's death in 1921. Although the bulk of the estate had already been sold in 1918, in 1924 the remaining lands and Alton Towers itself were sold to a group of local businessmen. So, after some 700 years the Towers and the Estate passed out of the hands of the Earls of Shrewsbury.

Inside Chapel

What happened next?

The house and gardens remained open until the outbreak of War when it was requisitioned as an Officer Cadet Training Camp. The Ministry of Defence retained possession of the buildings until the mid 1950's when, after some legal argument over it’s condition, it was finally returned to the then owners, Alton Towers Ltd, who continued to run it as a successful business.

Although the Park had become a well known tourist attraction throughout the '60s and '70s it was not until 1980 that it became known as a Theme Park, with the introduction of the then revolutionary Corkscrew rollercoaster.

Did You Know?

  • During Scarefest The Towers are home to 3 of our terrifying scare mazes!
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The Legend of The Towers

If you’re a fan of the history of The Towers, then there are plenty of ways to learn about their mysterious history.

Have you explored Hex: The Legend of the Towers? Enter the iconic building at the heart of the theme park and fall deep into the local legend of the chained oak.

Or journey deep into the Alton Towers Dungeon where you’ll come face-to-face with ghosts of the past.

Latest information regarding Coronavirus

Further to recent updates from the Government on the response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we have taken the very difficult decision to close Alton Towers Resort until further notice.

Have a short break booked when the Resort is closed?
Following the latest Government guidelines (issued on 10th May), and given the continued uncertainty about when we will be able to reopen, we are now asking guests with short breaks booked between 1st June up to and including 3rd July to move your booking free of charge. Please see the FAQs below for information about how to do this. Our teams will be moving bookings in date order, so please bear with us. We will get back to you as fast as we can, but we must prioritise guests whose reservations are imminent.

Have a Park ticket pre-booked when the Resort is closed?
Guests with pre-booked theme park tickets for dates when the Alton Towers Theme Park is closed will be able to use their tickets on any other day during the 2020 theme park season (excluding Fireworks events on 6th, 7th and 8th November). Further information for guests with pre-booked and promotional tickets will be published on our website prior to opening.

In our 40th Birthday season, we are determined to be here for you and your families, offering awesome thrills and fantastic memories, as we have done for decades and will continue to do for many more.
We’ll be sharing our full plans soon.
In the meantime, please keep smiling, clapping and supporting each other.

See you soon! #AltonTowersTogether

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