This Week in History

Logo copyright Alton Towers/Merlin Entertainments
By Michael Mander

We’ve scrawled through the archives of Airgates and beyond to find some of the breaking news stories of history.

October 5th 2011: Nemesis set to gain spin-off attraction (Airgates)

Alton Towers’ popular Nemesis rollercoaster is set to gain a sister attraction for 2012, based on the infamous storyline which created one of the world’s best inverted coasters.

The ride, currently coined as ‘Nemesis – What lies beneath’ is set to be located on the current Lava Lump climbing wall site, and will be an enclosed attraction of some form. Planning permission files indicate that the new ride will have both pre-show and post-show rooms, along with a photo opportunity kiosk.

Nemesis Sub-Terra opened in March 2012, amidst much hype and excitement. Airgates reviewed the ride shortly after opening, saying: “the experience does unfortunately feel distinctly average in terms of the main ride – essentially the main focus of Alton Towers’ biggest ride of the year.”

October 4th 2012: Hotel extension planned at Southern park (Airgates)

To accommodate the larger hotel, plans indicate the four storey extension will be added South of the hotel, occupying space currently used for a ‘Monkey and Bird Garden’. It is unknown if this area will be completely removed, or relocated.

The plan is for an extension to Chessington World of Adventure’s on-site accommodation  which will provide 69 extra bedrooms to the Holiday Inn branded hotel. Merlin Entertainments are also looking at the possibility of extending the current swimming pool – in order to add a water play play area, sauna and steam room.

 As of October 2013, Airgates believes this project has been put on hold in favour of other projects. 

October 9th 2009: SW6 at Alton Towers to be named Surrender (TPT)

Alton Towers has seemingly revealed the name of its new rollercoaster as Surrender in a new poster on the park’s website.

Until now, the ride has only been referred to as “Secret Weapon 6”, in a continuation of the park’s traditional code-naming format for new rides. It is set to open in March next year, with coaster’s track currently being put into place.

Forward in time, and the ‘Surrender’ message was misinterpreted: SW6 was named Th13teen. 

October 15th 2008: Aquarium plans for Alton Towers (BBC)

The Staffordshire park wants to open a Sea Life aquarium when the new season begins in March.

A planning application has been submitted to Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, a spokeswoman for Alton Towers said.

The new aquarium, named Sharkbait Reef, features over 300 species of fish and one million litres of water.

October 19th 2004: Couples fail in fireworks ban bid (BBC)

Legal action to ban a series of massive fireworks displays at Alton Towers has failed.

Stephen and Suzanne Roper, who live in a cottage 100 yards from the Staffordshire theme park, went to the High Court to try to halt the events.

But Mr Justice David Clarke said park owner, Tussauds Theme Parks, would suffer “substantial” losses if they were cancelled at short notice.

The couple had turned down the company’s offer of £200 per night to go out to dinner while the displays were on.

The firework shows continue to run in Alton Towers: this year between the 8th and 10th November. The Ropers tried again in 2011, demanding the park be either closed or rides be relocated. 

October 11th 2010: Thorpe Park begins construction of new rapids ride (TPT)

Thorpe Park has begun construction work in preparation for the 2011 season, which will see the addition of a new spinning rapids water ride to the park.

The former Octopus Garden children’s area in the centre of the park will host the new attraction, with its rides having been removed in September. The spinning rapids ride is set to open in March 2011, and extensive work is now underway to prepare the site for its arrival.

The ride was relocated from Cypress Gardens in Florida, and retained the name ‘Storm Surge’. It opened in March 2011. 

October 5th 2017: Drayton Manor Waterpark Complete (Airgates)

Construction on the eagerly anticipated ‘Stormalong Bay’ waterpark at Drayton Manor was completed today. The water park, which was initially planned to be added in 2012, was postponed indefinitely. It is now expected to open to the public in March.

With over 20 water slides, a wave pool and a lazy river, the covered theme park will be similar to Cariba Creek at Alton Towers.

Drayton Manor currently (in 2013) has no plans to revitalize it’s water park project that was announced in 2012: but that could all change in an instant. Perhaps one day in the future, we will see this article.

October 5th 2018: Construction Begins on TP Hotel (Airgates)

Thorpe Park’s new permanent hotel began the process of construction today. The hotel will have 250 rooms, numerous bars and restaurants, and a boat service linking the hotel to the park. The hotel will open in 2020.

Construction for this hotel was supposed to start in 2014 for a 2016 opening, but was delayed for a 2020 opening. Perhaps some day in the future, we will see this article. 

About: Michael Mander

I mainly cover Thorpe Park, Alton Towers, Adventure Island, Paramount London and other attractions in the south of England. Contact me at:

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