This past week I had a week off, which I spent visiting Alton Towers and living in a wooden cabin in the middle of a Staffordshire forest.
What a week!
Our first stop on the holiday was the Alton Towers theme park where it was the final day of the Scarefest event! The park was dressed up in a Halloween Style with pumpkins and skeletons dotted around, with a range of creepy music beating out of each ‘zone’.
The truly enjoyable experience of this was the Scarefest ‘rides’. First stop was the Zombie Scare Zone – a cordoned off area of the park where ‘zombie’ actors were strewn amongst an apocalyptic looking area with smashed and abandoned vehicles. The zombies were trained in the ways to scare the unsuspecting participants. We were led through a rather short maze of these elements, zombies periodically coming close enough to scare us and jumping out from behind certain objects! Brilliant. I felt this could have been done a lot better with smaller groups of people, as we were led into the zone in a particularly large group.
The second stop was ‘The Boiler House’ – an pitch black, covered maze where we had to find our own way through amidst the two ‘killers’ Victor and Elsie Hamble stalking the corridors and jumping out at you at various points. Also stalking the corridors were the serial killers ‘victims’ who appeared to warn us and ‘help’ us by directing us through the maze. This ‘ride’ was truly terrifying, it was tense, dark, loud and an altogether frightening experience.
Next up was the Carnival of Screams, a similar concept to the Boiler House but this time with a ‘horror-clown’ theme. This was directed by a particular horrible clown who led us into the first area and talked to us about what was to come. He resembled Captain Spaulding from The House of 1000 Corpses and was equally disgusting. This wasn’t so impressive as the previous maze, but I suppose that’s a matter of taste, I prefered the almost ‘real’ story of the Boiler House but I suppose the Carnival of Screams was a weirder experience aimed at ‘creeping’ you out as opposed to frightening you.
The final stop before the park closed was Terror in the Towers, a story of ancient evil lurking in the cellars of the Towers themselves (see below photograph of the towers). This one started off like an Asda Price version of the previous two, but as we worked our way into the cellars it became TRULY frightening. I shit my pants I’m not gonna lie… The climax led us into this mesh fence complex with intense orchestral music and a very slow strobe light. Each flash of the light the ‘actors’ dressed as phantoms moved around and seemed to jump from a few inches infront of your face to further back into the distance. This was the most intensely scary experience of my time in Alton Towers.
We returned to the park on Friday and again rode all the rides, but this time they had cleared out the Halloween decoration in favour of setting up a brilliant laser and fireworks display for 7pm. We spend all day on the rides and had a thoroughly great time… and then it started to rain… and when it rained, it poured.
It’s safe to say that when you ride the Congo River Rapids and don’t feel any wetter getting off than when you got on that the rain is pretty fierce. I bought a poncho but it didn’t protect my arms and face very well and made me feel particularly cold and wet. I got pretty miserable at this point, while we frantically looked for someplace to shelter and eat some food.
Thankfully, the rain only worked it’s way around the park for two hours and had stopped in time for the fireworks!
Opened by Peter Dickson (the announcer for the X-Factor), the fireworks show led off with Me & You by Nero with each firework in time with the songs beat… What a moment!
Some of my highlights include their use of the ‘Shhhh’ from Bjork’s It’s Oh So Quiet with soundless arcing fireworks left, and then on the next ‘Shhhh’ to the right, everybody enjoyed that.
A cool twist was their use of Duck Sauce’s Barbra Streisand, where instead of singing the lyric ‘Barbra Streisand’ they sung ‘Alton Towers’.
Altogether, one of the most exciting fireworks shows I’ve ever seen!
The rest of the week
We spent the rest of the week in the Weaver lodge of the Ramshorn Estate, which despite being a five minute walk from Alton Towers itself, it seemed secluded. It felt very personal and the accommodation was beautiful. The grounds were surrounded by a thick woodland which at times was rather creepy.
One night, we had a rather long, alcohol fuelled game of poker and the 2am aftermath culminated in us running into the thick, black woodland where we literally couldn’t see a thing… Push come to shove, we lost the battery pack for our backup torch and panic ensued. We were fine by the way, it was hilarious.
Oh and we found the battery pack in the morning.
Places we visited
- Weaver Lodge, The Ramshorn Estate
- Alton Towers
- The Potteries, Stoke on Trent
- The Meeting Room, Stoke on Trent - Best food in the world!
- Alton Towers Waterpark
- Tenpin Bowling in Derby
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