Alton Towers Resort
What is the Alton Towers Resort?
The Alton Towers Resort is a theme park Resort aimed at families and thrill seekers. It has the UK’s most famous theme park on site, two fantastically themed hotels, a major conference centre, luxurious spa, tropical waterpark and themed golf course.
Where is the Alton Towers Resort?
The Alton Towers Resort is situated in 500 acres of Staffordshire countryside approximately 50 miles north of Birmingham and 50 miles south of Manchester. Its nearest train stations are located 15 miles away in Stoke on Trent and Stafford, and the resort is easily accessible by road.
Why is The Alton Towers Resort located where it is?
The Alton Towers Resort wasn’t built as you currently see it. The house itself was originally a simple hunting lodge, which was added to and enlarged over many years, until it became a stately home, which was occupied by the Earls of Shrewsbury until the 1920’s. They developed the estate primarily for pleasure, hence the extent of the gardens that surround the house itself. The Alton Towers Resort as a leisure business started to really grow in the 1960’s.
How old is the Alton Towers Resort?
The origins of the Towers date back many hundreds of years. However, the ruins that you now see date back primarily to the Victorian period. Although many architects worked on the building, the most famous is Augustus Welby Pugin, who worked under the supervision of Charles Talbot, the 15th Earl of Shrewsbury. He was largely responsible for the Chapel and the Banqueting Hall.
An excellent reference book giving a detailed history of the Towers is “Gothic Wonderland” by Father Michael Fisher (ISBN 0952 685523). For wider historic information the Alton Towers Resort Heritage & Development micro-site, which runs alongside the main Alton Towers Resort consumer website can be found at www.altontowersheritage.com or see below for it on amazon.
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A little History
When did the Alton Towers Resort first become a theme park?
In 1924 the Talbot family sold the Alton Towers estate to a consortium of local businessmen, who opened the grounds and gardens to the public, and sold cream teas in the Banqueting Hall. With the outbreak of war in 1939, the Towers were closed and requisitioned by the army to be used as an Officer Cadet Training Unit. The estate remained under requisition until 1951 when it was finally returned to the company, at which point it was re-opened to the public. A travelling fun-fair was part of the attraction throughout the 60’s, but in the 70’s the Towers began to develop as a theme park – the key year was 1980 when the Corkscrew rollercoaster opened. This was the catalyst for a period of intense development and a number of iconic rides were introduced. Hotels were added to the resort in 1996 and 2003, together with a Spa, Waterpark and Conference Centre. In 1990 the Park became part of the Tussauds Group, which was later taken over by the Merlin Entertainments Group in March 2007. Merlin is the World’s second largest visitor attraction operator, and includes all the former Tussauds brands (Chessington World of Adventures, Warwick Castle, Thorpe Park, The London Eye, Madame Tussaud's London, Amsterdam, New York, Washington, Las Vegas and Hong Kong, Heide Park Germany) plus the Dungeon brand, Legoland brand, SEA LIFE centres worldwide and Gardaland in Italy.
Various Questions about the Resort
How much does the Alton Towers Resort invest in new rides each year?
The amount the Alton Towers Resort invests every year in new rides and attractions varies, depending on the business objectives set by Merlin. It also depends on the type of attraction of course – a new resort hotel can cost anything from £20million to £40million, depending on its scale and components. A unique rollercoaster such as Rita costs £8million, and even a family ride such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory can cost £5million. We regularly invest smaller amounts in general infrastructure and adding variety to our base product, as was the case in 2007, and 2008 saw a moderate £6million invested in Mutiny Bay. 2009 saw an investment of £4million in Sharkbait Reef by SEA LIFE and in 2010 we introduced the ultimate rollercoaster, TH13TEEN for an investment of £15million. In 2012 two new attractions launched with a combined investment of £6million to attract both target audiences, Ice Age The 4D Experience for families and for thrill seekers, Nemesis Sub-Terra. For 2013 we have a large investment to the Theme Park with The Smiler, with a total investment of £18million.
How many people visit the Alton Towers Resort each year?
The Alton Towers Resort does not release its annual visitor figures as, if taken in isolation, they can give a misleading representation of business success. However, our aim is to stabilise the number of theme park guests at around 2.5 million per year.
How much profit does the Alton Towers Resort make each year?
As the Alton Towers Resort is part of a much larger group, it cannot discuss profits or losses but, like all businesses, there are very stringent profit targets that must be met.
Does the Alton Towers Resort have a vision?
As part of The Merlin Entertainment Group, the Alton Towers Resort shares the following vision:
Merlin Entertainments Group is a leading name in location based, family entertainment. Its aim is to deliver unique, memorable and rewarding experiences to millions of visitors across its growing estate, and it achieves this objective largely thanks to the commitment and passion of its managers and employees. Merlin’s brands, while being household names, will never fail to be distinctive, challenging and innovative. They will, in short, have attitude! They will deliver the best financial returns in the sector and demonstrate a record of growth in market share that will be unrivalled. In every respect and to every group of stakeholders Merlin will always be an exciting company to be involved with.
The Alton Towers Resort mission is “To Make Britain Happy!” which means in everything we do and every communication we send out we try to underline the fantastical and extraordinary properties of our Resort.
How does the Alton Towers Resort develop a partnership with the local community?
The Alton Towers Resort works very closely with the local community and as a result has very strong ties with the surrounding villages. To reflect this relationship, and to present our Corporate & Social Responsibility strategy in a more consumer friendly way, a Local Community Charter was launched in 2007 which outlines the Alton Towers Resorts’ broader social commitments to the area. You can view this Charter at altontowers.com/about-us/community.
Has the Alton Towers Resort won any awards?
The Alton Towers Resort has won a number of national and international awards. In 2012 the Education Team was awarded the Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge. Alton Towers Resort was voted the Best UK Theme Park in 2011 and 2012 and the Best UK Day Out Experience in 2010 at the British Travel awards and the Best Large Visitor Attraction at the Heart of England Excellence in Tourism Awards in 2010.
The Alton Towers Conference Centre has also won the Meeting and Incentive Travel Magazines award for Best UK Unusual Venue, for a sixth year!
How many different departments are there within the Alton Towers Resort?
The Alton Towers Resort runs as one business, although there are a few departments that are specific to either the Theme Park or Hotel. Shared functions include Finance, Sales and Marketing, Entertainments, Corporate Events, Retail, Food & Beverage, Security, Medical, Uniform, HR, Health and Safety and Development. Location specific departments include Technical Services, Experience (Rides & Attractions), Housekeeping, Leisure Operations (including waterpark and spa).
How many employees work at the Alton Towers Resort?
The Alton Towers Resort employs around 2,000 employees, many of whom are local (within a 20 mile radius). Employee transport is available for employees living in the surrounding towns and villages.
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