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Did you visit Alton Towers in the 1960s, 1970s or 1980s? Share your memories!

Alton Towers fairground

If you visited Alton Towers in the 1960s, 1970s or 1980s, we want to hear about your experiences.

In April, I revealed that I'm currently working on a book about the history of Alton Towers. I've now largely completed the required research, and am about 30 percent through writing the book itself. It promises to be a really fascinating tale about how a barren patch of land with a hunting lodge on it was transformed into one of Europe's most impressive estates, and subsequently into Britain's most popular theme park.

I don't want the book to be a simple reciting of facts - I want it to include real stories from visitors and staff - hence, it will be titled Tales from Alton Towers. Ironically, as I've been conducting my research, it has been easier to find first-hand accounts of visits to the park from the 1800s than it has been to track down folks who attended the park during the period after the Second World War when it was open to visitors, but had not yet become a theme park.

That's why I'm making a second appeal for those who visited the park during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s to share their memories of those trips. Perhaps you visited the old-style fairground during the 1960/70s? Maybe you remember taking a donkey ride, or watching the sea lions frolic in their pool? Perhaps you were even there during the short period in the early 60s when the park had its own zoo!

Whatever the case, please share your memories in the comments section below. If your story is selected for inclusion in the book, I'll send you a £10 Amazon voucher (so remember to provide a valid e-mail address).

I'm particularly interested in any memories relating to the attractions below, but don't feel limited by this list. Please be as detailed as you like in your recollections.

  • Sea lions
  • Cable Cars (the original ones, not the Skyride)
  • Miniature Railway
  • Model Railway
  • Fairground
  • Zoo
  • Alpine Bobsleigh
  • Go-karts
  • Pony and donkey rides
  • Planetarium
  • Doom and Sons
  • Rupert Bear Magic Show
  • Mississippi Showboat
  • Mirror Days (special events in the 1970s)
  • The Black Hole (in its early days)
  • The Corkscrew (in its early days)

Thanks for your help!


There are 14 comments.

We went to Alton towers in the 70's for my sons birthday we took his friend with us and my other son. We had a great day but when we back to the car that evening the car refused to start. We called out the AA and had to wait a long time for them to arrive. It was very dark and there weren't many lights in the car park and as we were parked near the sea lion enclosure it became quite eerie and scary when the sea lions started to make that noise they make like barking. My sons are now 43 and 40 and we went when the eldest one was 13, so a long time ago and we are now going with our grandchildren and still enjoying it

I remember when I was about twelve years old (1955) I used to go to Alton Towers to see the motor bike racing before a theme park was installed. My friends dad used to take us on his motor bike and sidecar.Those were great days. Later on in life I studied history and I remember going into the area where the pagoda fountian stood, that area is known has Slain Hollow and there used to be a shrine to King Colread who was slain in battle by King penda there. Walking round the model railway there i noticed some posters on the walls and one of them had me in it - I used to work for British Rail at Derby Loco Works.
I also studied the history of Alton Towers and the Earls of Shrewsbury's who once lived there.
Yes, Alton Towers is very much in my heart.

I remember entering the park for the very first time in the mid eighties and being greeted by two brown bears in hats they posed for photos and were generally doing a fantastic job at greeting guests

I went to Alton Towers in the mid 80's and it was the very first theme park I ever went to.

I remember going on the Black Hole as it was the first ride we got to. It slowly climbed up the track in a dim coloured light and then it went dark and I couldn't see a thing but heard lots of screams. All I know is that the experience was so thrilling that we had to go on again straight after we got off

ive never been but i used to go to dreamland in margate a lot when i was younger. it was so great, when i was really small i remember going on the teacup ride and being on margate beach then as i got older a huge group from school would get on the train and have the best day ever. its such a shame its not there now, margate is a ghost town now; theres nothing there but memories.

The council has won its legal battle to complete a compulsory purchase of the Dreamland site, so work on reviving the park is due to start soon. Here's hoping it all goes ahead.

Back in the 80s I travelled via cable car, with my sister Kerry, to the island. When we got there, and explored the area, we walked back to where we thought the return car was. Wrong! We were lost! After some time we eventually figured it out and returned to our parents, who had been looking for us.

I accompanied a school party and we had a great day on the rides etc However, a few minutes into our homeward journey our coach had to do a U-turn as we discovered that one of our loveable rogues had smuggled a goose on to the coach!!

I remember visiting Alton Towers during the 1980s and the general feeling of excitement on entering the gates. The rides were amazing, but particularly remember my husband, myself and our two children, riding the log flume. We became absolutely soaked but couldn't stop laughing, even though drenched wet through. An amazing day.

The Black hole in the 80's was the first "big" ride I ever went on. I remember being so scared that it was an actual rocket and that we were going to take off! I still remember the whooshy space noises as you climbed round and round, higher and higher before the drop! Fantastic ride.

I was born in Barlaston just outside Stoke on Trent and my parents took my sister and me to Alton Towers in the late 60s early 70s. I remember the sea lions and the donkey rides at the beginning. I have a photo of myself leaning over the rails looking at the sea lions. I remeber the large pagoda and the cable cars. Pick think there was an indoorarea with a very large slide.
It's much better there now.

i remember going to alton towers whenit was a caravan park . My two brothers had hours of fun playing in the woods n rolling down the hills . My last memory was rolling up to alton towers and being excited about our hols to be told it was shut due to a theme park being built .

I used to work on the Towers Express in the 1970's, selling tickets in the small booth and also standing on the back ot the train.
I do have photos

Used to go with my brother & parents in the sixties/seventies. The only things I remember were the miniature railway trip & riding back on the cable cars.Some times we just walked back through the gardens and up to the Towers to see the barns with the Traction Engines. Then into my favorite, the model railway in a cellar I think. Great big control panel at the end full of clicking relays & timers. One model train I remember was the Football Special with the coaches wreaked & supporters hanging out of the windows & roof!
Finally it was over to the boating pond to sail my latest Scalecraft electric motor powered boat or float plane kit.
Great times enjoying simple pleasures.

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