Nemesis Reborn at Alton Towers – Review

Nemesis Reborn at Alton Towers – Review main

By Dominic Picksley, March 2024

Mesmerising, powerful, fearsome and awe-inspiring are just a few succinct words to describe Nemesis Reborn after its grand re-opening on March 16 to a palpably excited public.

Just witnessing the famous ride in operation again gave the most hardened onlookers goosebumps, while there were a few tears of joy shed among the thousands of visitors who raced to the Forbidden Valley, part of Alton Towers – as well as huge cheers – in order to not only see it in all its glory, but also to get on board and race around the track.

John Wardley, the brains behind the original Nemesis, plus many more famous coasters, was in attendance, along with his protege John Burton, while every YouTuber you could think of when it comes to theme parks was there capturing the historic day in all its glory.

Formerly just Nemesis, the daddy of all coasters in the UK, Alton Towers’ legendary attraction closed on November 6, 2022, for a huge overhaul and rebrand that took nearly 500 days to complete. It never seemed right to enter that part of the park and not see Nemesis, but heck the long wait was worth it.

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“Air of menace”

Every inch of the 716 metre track was replaced – shipped in piece by piece from Ohio – while new trains were also produced, all with a new black and red colour scheme that just oozes class.

And the Nemesis monster also received a stunning makeover, with the new fabulous centrepiece of a huge Sauron-like eye that seems to interact with the ride, opening and closing every few seconds.

The station is now all newly themed, as if you were entering into the body of the beast, while the huge queue line takes you past several Nemesis-themed displays, including a crashed helicopter, a containment unit and lethal-looking anti-tank gun.

Alton Towers have really gone to town and the foreboding soundtrack pumping out from all around the coaster gives it an air of menace… but at night time, it really does come into its own, with ominous red lighting effects and searchlights adding a touch of horror-like ambience to the whole area.

There’s now a new shop, jam-packed full of Nemesis merchandise, a black Lynx helicopter stationed near the ride and even a crashed bus, while there are several actors playing the roles of a mad scientist (Professor Whittaker), security guards, hazmat-suited radiation detectors, a dazed-and-confused bus driver, and even a bunch of protestors.

This all played into an electric atmosphere on opening day, where the queue to ride Nemesis Reborn at one point got up to nearly six hours, such was people’s desperation to get on it. For some, it even took them an hour and a half just to get into the shop, it was that busy.

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“Awesome spectacle”

Excitement filled the air all around you and even the rain that was to come later didn’t dampen peoples’ enthusiasm.

But what is it like to ride it? Well, my son Ben and I were lucky enough to be invited to the VIP night on the Friday, where he excitedly got to meet his hero Wardley and his delightful wife, who snuck into the back of the conference room. They remained largely incognito, but that was to change the following day when there seemed to be constant queues waiting to speak to him – we had another private chat that day when Ben handed him a glorious 3D-printed model of a section of Nemesis Reborn he had produced all himself, which quite clearly touched the great man.

Back to the preview night, though, and park director Bianca Sammut (who was also the glad recipient of a model) gave an impassioned speech about Nemesis Reborn, but was rudely interrupted by two of the aforementioned protestors shouting “seek the truth”, much to my disgust at the time, before Ben nudged me to say “it’s all part of the act.”

As Bianca was ushered away by the ‘security guards’, some of us then formed an orderly group and were marched off into the park via the hotel entrance, where we got a first glimpse of the awesome spectacle of Nemesis Reborn.

And a few minutes later, after what seemed a lengthy trek down the queue line, our carriages awaited and Ben was buzzing with anticipation as he sat in the gleaming new carriage. The restraints clicked into place and we were off, up the incline and then hurtling into the corkscrew before whizzing round the first bend at what seemed lightning-fast speed. Then we zoomed through a whole in the ground and upside down we went again before the big loop-de-loop and by this stage my sense of direction was all over the place and I barely knew where I was as I peeped through half-hidden eyelids, anticipating another jolt to the senses.

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Dom and Ben riding Nemesis


I heartily admit, I am not the most confident of riders, but Wardley had earlier given me words of encouragement and at one point I hastily thought to myself, “just think of John, just think of John”, and that seemed to help, and before I know it we were back in the station.

What a ride, frightening but exhilarating. My legs had turned to jelly and my hands didn’t stop trembling for at least half an hour afterwards. Ben went back on another four times, and then then had another seven rides on the big day itself, convincing himself at one point that he currently “held the record for the most rides on Nemesis Reborn of anyone ever”.

The main focus was obviously on Nemesis Reborn, but the whole park has had a major spruce up, with Galactica and Smiler given a thoroughly good cleaning and everywhere looking spick and span. It promises to be a great year at Alton Towers, with the Staffordshire park grasping 2024 with a confident new vigour.

We also got to stay in the magnificent Alton Towers hotel, with the place constantly abuzz, with many declaring they’d be getting up at five the next morning to get to the front of the queue, where they would then madly race across Forbidden Valley to Nemesis Reborn and be part of history.

Simply mad, but utterly brilliant.

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