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Hex - The Legend of the Towers

Restorations at the Towers have unearthed some very strange and sinister secrets regarding its previous occupants. Venture into the heart of the house, and uncover the truth behind the legend. But be warned, this tale has a twist...

Attraction History

In 1999 Alton Towers set about adding their latest attraction to the park, however, this ride was not like the others. Instead of clearing land, and moving existing rides around, work was beginning in the actual Towers building.

Hex exterior

Unseen by the guests, work was being done on a new building to join the historic structure of the Towers themselves. This building would house the finale of Alton Towers' amazing new dark ride, and to this day most guests will never see, nor realise they ever left the Towers ruins during the experience. Indeed under the planning conditions it was stipulated that once the attraction has finished its operating life, it must be removed without leaving any trace in the Towers, as they are a heavily listed and protected structure.

In March 2000 visitors to the park were invited to take a journey into the once proud Stately Home of the Earls of Shrewsbury, and experience Hex - The Legend of the Towers. It was well received, and praised for its theming and quality, with riders having roughly 75% of their experience within the original Alton Towers complex.

It is perhaps worth noting that Alton Towers didn't have to use all that much artistic licence for their Hex storyline, as the Chained Oak is very much a genuine local legend, with the actual Chained Oak being very close to the park.

Hex is very highly regarded for its unique atmosphere and experience. It is a must ride for everyone!

Ride Experience


Warning:  If you are yet to ride Hex then you may wish to stop reading now, as the ride is best experienced not knowing what lies ahead...
Hex queueline

You begin the experience by entering the Towers through the massive, solid wood door which is slightly ajar, just out of Fountain Square. Once you're in and your eyes have adjusted to the darkness you will see a queue-line winding back and forth down the length of the long room. This room is actually the former Armory that was once part of the house's Grand Entrance. You will pass various historic artefacts, some under covers with ID tags for the supposed restoration workers. In the background you hear the sounds of tools and machinery, as the workmen continue their task. 

You will also pass several monitors on scaffold stands, which are playing a documentary style video comprising of interviews and interesting facts about the restoration work and the subsequent discovery. This is the perfect way to bring you up to speed on the story, and set the scene. However, if you are lucky enough to be experiencing Hex with no queue don't worry, as this information is explained again later.

Hex

At the end of the queue you will pass through a turn-style, used to count the riders so that each group has the correct number of guests for the finale - a maximum of 78 people can be taken in one group. Once the loading number (or as near to) has been reached, you and your group stand in the holding area (once the portrait gallery of the Towers many years ago), whilst a voice over explains more about the 15th Earl of Shrewsbury. 

A set of doors will then open, and you proceed into the next room. Here a set of scaffolding supports a projector screen, and once the whole group has entered, the doors will close and the lights dim as the projector comes to life, dramatically playing out the "legend" of the chained oak. 

The story revolves around the 15th Earl of Shrewsbury (Alton Towers once being the home of the Earls of Shrewsbury), Charles Talbot, where on a journey home he encounters an old beggar woman who appears before his carriage, and pleads for a coin. The Earl dismisses her request and continues on his journey. The old woman, angry at his refusal, curses the Earl "for every branch of the old Oak Tree that falls, a member of your family will die". Later that night a violent storm rages and a bolt of lightening strikes that very Oak Tree, and a member of the Earls family dies. The tragedy leads the Earl to chain up the remaining branches of the tree, and take the fallen branch back to the Towers to perform experiments upon it, trying to rid the branch of the witches curse.

After the film is complete a set of doors at the front of the room open, leading you into The Octagon. This is a huge octagonal room with a giant stone pillar at the centre. Around the outside of the room a number of strange artefacts are apparent, as well as a generator which is humming away apparently powering the lights in the room, which flicker to make the gloom even more eerie. A number of TV screens around the room burst into life and describe the discovery of a secret vault, hidden behind an ancient book case and thought to contain the legendary fallen branch. Just as the video seems to be coming to an end, the screens begin to break up and the lights go out as the generator stops amid a plume of smoke. A chilling voice begins to recite an incantation and lights flash as though a storm has begun within the building itself. Above the scaffolding a shrouded figure appears, and a sheet covering an old entrance into The Octagon begins to billow out as some chilling force takes hold. The unusual disturbance begins to abate, the generator fires up again and the lights return.

You then make your way up the stairs and apparently behind the bookcase, before turning down a long tunnel with flickering lights and cobwebs galore! It is actually at this point that you leave the Towers buildings and enter the new purpose built room for the finale. The theming is so carefully done though, that you will not even notice this transition.

This is the point at which your group split; half taking the left door, and half the right. Fear not though as you will soon be reunited just across the room from each other. You now take your seats on the benches - each side of the room has two rows, the back slightly higher than the front. You may well notice at this point that you are seated facing the legendary fallen branch, complete with chains. Your lapbars will lower once staff have ensured all belongings are placed on the floor underneath rider's seats, and this is where the fun really begins. Hold on tight! The ride is about to take a bizarre turn. As the machinery at the end of the room starts to come alive, you suddenly get a funny feeling in your stomach, as though the seats are moving... yet the room seems to be still. Music roars into life and all of a sudden the room is rocking back and forth, until the music comes to a dramatic key change and suddenly you are spinning upside-down, seemingly without leaving your seat.

Finally the room temporarily stops spinning, with you apparently hanging upside down, as the lights go out and the cursed branches glare their red fury down at you. The room begins to right itself again, and the cursed branch twinkles with a crescendo of music. Once the room has returned to a normal state, you are finally allowed to leave the vault.

The Secret of the Vault


Warning:  If you are yet to ride Hex then you may wish to stop reading now, as the ride is best experienced not knowing what lies ahead...

The ride is actually based on an old Victorian ride concept called a "Mad House". Essentially the illusion is created by having the room you are located in spinning 360o around you, as this fools your brain into thinking you are spinning upside down  (an original "mad house" can be experienced at Blackpool Pleasure Beach within the Impossible attraction).

The modern twist to this Victorian concept, however, is not just to build the spinning room to a grander scale. In the classic ride the seats would hang suspended on a swing to allow the room to spin around the stationary seats. The new mad-houses use hydraulics to tilt the seating structure 15o in each direction. When the seats and room move in sync together, this gives the rider's body a feeling of movement without any physical signs of movement in the room. By making the seats swing in opposite or other combinations to the room, this enhances the illusion of spinning, as your body senses the motion and can interpret the room movement.

Hex is often considered one of the best examples in the world of the "mad-house" concept, and is famous for its amazing execution and atmospheric design.

Hex - The Legend of the Towers Random Gallery