Part of the Ilkeston Cam "Days Out" Series

A Day At Alton Towers - The Gardens
w/e 21 September 2003

I suppose most visitors to the theme park at Alton Towers are attracted by the white knuckle rides such as Oblivion, Black Hole, Nemesis, Runaway Train and Corkscrew and also the gentler - and wetter - White Water Rapids. Whilst we viewed all of these and many more during our visit, we particularly enjoyed a part of Alton Towers that does not normally attract the same number of people as the areas containing the rides. In fact many visitors only pass through this area and use it as a short cut between one set of amusements and another.
The Lake

That area is the gardens where it is possible to find a place of peace and quiet away from the screams, shouts, music and hubbub in the rest of the park. At the side of this lake, we stood and watched fish swimming in the shallow waters around the edge.
The Topiary Path

The gardens were begun in 1814 by the Earl of Shrewsbury who engaged celebrated architects to design the layout. He often modified the designs but for the most part they remain almost unaltered from the original concept today. A path leads through topiary arches .....
The Conservatory

..... to a conservatory and gives many different views to statues and monuments along the way. The gardens are well known for the amount of buildings and statues they contain.
The Veranda

The two ends of the conservatory are separated by a veranda adorned with hanging baskets.
The Monument

 Immaculately mowed lawns between the shrubbery and strategically placed garden seats are a temptation too great to resist and offer a place to view the monument in the form of a Grecian Temple to the memory of the Earl. The monument bears the inscription "He Made The Desert Smile Again".
The Wall

At this time of year the hues of the leaves on the trees are only too apparent and at other times the flowers of the rhododendrons that abound must make a beautiful splash of colour. The design of the gardens is so good that even the wall seems to blend effortlessly into the surroundings.
The Valley

The gardens are situated in the valley of the River Churnet and numerous paths crisscross along each side. Although not in operation on the day we visited, a more memorable view of the gardens would surely be achieved from the chair lift that crosses the valley.
The Stepping Stones
The path we followed led to these stepping stones where evidence of the fine summer could be seen in the green algae in the water.
The Bridge

Ornamental steps and a small bridge add a focal point to this view but wherever you are in the extensive gardens there is always something of interest to catch the eye.
The Flower Bed

As we climbed back up out of the valley, more formal flower beds put in an appearance. These pink flowers in particular were covered with butterflies. If you are ever tempted to visit Alton Towers, take a tip from me and make sure you have a good look around the gardens - you won't be disappointed.

For a further selection of images from this visit that were added to this site in March 2021 click here.

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