Could Alton Towers theme park soon be treated like a non-essential shop?

Alton Towers is one of the sites wanting to be reopened as soon as possible. Credit: PA Images

Alton Towers wants to re-open at the same time as non-essential retail when the national lockdown ends.

Merlin Entertainments, which owns the theme park, also runs Warwick Castle, the National Sea Life Centre, Legoland Discovery Centre and the Bear Grylls Adventure.

They want indoor entertainment centres to be treated the same as non-essential retail when it comes to the future easing of restrictions.

They say they have multiple safety measures in place, they help with wellbeing, and are low risk.


Warwick Castle is one of the sites the company would look to reopen. Credit: PA Images


The company says,

“Following the end of the second lockdown before Christmas, indoor entertainment centres had to remain closed, despite their multitude of COVID-19 safety precautions, and outdoor entertainment centres, whilst being able to remain open, were only able to do so in a very limited capacity, with accommodation and many of their indoor attractions being closed.

“Meanwhile, non-essential retail (shops, gyms, hairdressers and garden centres) were allowed to open fully including in Tier 3 areas.

This is despite retail outlets having hundreds of customers through their doors, with no records kept, and in contrast to Merlin’s attractions where all tickets are pre-purchased and visitor contact details are provided.”


2,500 people

Are employed by Merlin Entertainments during the peak season.


Merlin Entertainments added that it ‘fully supports’ the national plan to combat COVID-19 and only wants to re-open its attractions when it is fully safe to do so and would include safety measures such as temperature checks, social distancing and mask wearing by guests and staff.

A number of Covid safety measures were in place at Alton Towers when the site reopened in July last year. Credit: PA Images

Operations Director of Alton Towers Resort and Chair of the Heart of England Attractions Group, Francis Jackson, said:

“Our guests have always been able to spend quality time and create lasting memories with their loved ones at our attractions and now, more than ever, Merlin has an important role to play in promoting the wellbeing of our visitors in a safe and low-risk environment.

Our attractions can help promote healthier, happier and more connected communities, whilst addressing many of the most pressing health, social and environmental challenges we will face following the COVID-19 pandemic. We know it will be an invaluable benefit to these communities for us to reopen as soon as it’s safe to do so.



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