Category Archives: Tourist Attractions

Beach sports centre planned for St Annes

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A comprehensive headquarters for sand, wind, and water sports is planned for St Annes.

 

Fylde Council has announced a two-phase plan which will see the development of a beach sports centre at the resort’s North Beach as a venue for local clubs to host events and tuition, a café for the provision of refreshments to beachgoers, and a base of operations for the Council’s coastal and countryside ranger service.

Using the former Trax property in the St Annes North Beach car park as a basis, the proposal is to renovate the building to offer visitors and residents a place to enjoy the thrills of beach sports in a safe and managed environment.

The first phase will focus upon the refurbishment of the structure, bringing the existing facilities up to the highest standard of functionality and accessibility, designating a space for a commercially operated café, and establishing a multi-purpose room for events and initiatives hosted by clubs or the ranger service.

Sand yachts on the beach when the sport was previously held regularly at St Annes

Sand yachts on the beach when the sport was previously held regularly at St Annes

Coun Michael Sayward, chairman of Fylde Council’s tourism and leisure committee, said: “We’re delighted to be able to announce this fantastic new facility to help people enjoy all the exciting activities our beachfront has to offer.

“St Annes can proudly claim to have some of the best beachfront in the United Kingdom for kitesurfing, and we aim to make full use of this potential to the benefit of the community while providing a welcoming place for visitors.”

The plan has been approved by the council’s tourism and leisure Committee and will now go before the finance and democracy committee for budgetary approval, with a goal to be ready for the summer.

The plan for the wind sports centre

The plan for the wind sports centre

St Annes has a long history of being renowned in particular as a sand yachting centre, having hosted national and international event, but the sport was banned for 10 years following the death of a beach goer following a collision with a craft in 2002 and the sport has only been held intermittently since.

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The site at North Beach as it looks currently.

The site at North Beach as it looks currently.

Blackpool’s Spitfire Heritage Centre museum aiming to fly in 2022

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Enthusiasts behind Blackpool’s aviation museum are hoping their attraction will take off in 2022 with help from a school visits programme.

 

The team at the Spitfire Visitor Centre Hangar 42 based in the historic Second World War Bellman hangar on the West side of Blackpool Airport have battled through a difficult year hit with coronavirus restrictions but have enjoyed some stand-out highlights.

But they did manage to welcome 4,000 visitors in 2021 and they played host to some high profile visits.

TV comedian Susan Calman, known for her travel show Grand Days Out driving around Britain in her campervan, popped in to the museum to film and the centre also played host to a air-worthy Spitfire from the Polish Heritage Flight for a number of weeks through the Summer.

The team at the Spitfire Visitor Centre Hangar 42 with the Polish Spitfire in August 2021

The team at the Spitfire Visitor Centre Hangar 42 with the Polish Spitfire in August 2021

Blackpool air museum team land their first flying wartime aircraft

The aircraft was on display for several days allowing enthusiasts to visit and take photographs and even flew from Blackpool airport on a display flight.

Another aircraft on display was the team’s replica Spitfire Progress II which spent the year on guard at Gynn Square for the Illuminations.

In November the first of the centre’s school visits began, thanks to some funding from the Heritage Lottery, allowing pupils to see some Second World War exhibits and the replica aircraft first hand to enrich their history studies.

Inside Hangar 42

Inside Hangar 42

John Coombes from the team said: “We are working hard to build our School Visits programme through 2022, by opening our doors to primary school visits on Tuesdays and Thursdays each week, by prior appointment.

“I am delighted that the Heritage Lottery fund has enabled us to create a new School visits coordinator post, with Melissa Neal being appointed to take forward the school programme.”

He said the dedicated volunteers have worked tirelessly through the year to keep the hangar open to the public and also continue the significant amount of restoration works to the various exhibits that to date, have not been on public display.

Another project, “Saving Amy” has been ongoing throughout 2021, with a growing team of engineers and aviation enthusiasts working hard at Blackpool Airport, to rebuild the rare Airspeed Oxford. Once completed, the Mark 5 will be the only surviving aircraft of its type in the world.

Giving the Spitfire some attention

Giving the Spitfire some attention

John Coombes added: “It has been a very challenging year for the Spitfire Visitor Centre, with visitor numbers down on 2019.

“We did welcome 4,000 visitors into the Hangar over the eight months of weekends we were open, with a new school visit programme started in November, with the aid of some very much welcome Heritage Lottery Funding.

“We also had some high profile visits this year, with Comedienne Susan Calman visiting us as part of her “Grand Days Out” series and also welcoming Spitfire BM597 from the Polish Heritage Flight based at Duxford for a number of weeks through the Summer.

“Building our team of Volunteers is also a priority for 2022. We still have the Mark IX Spitfire “Mawgan” formerly of RAF St Mawgan to get to a displayable standard for this year’s visitors, alongside switching some of this year’s exhibits with new.

School children can now have educational visits to the aviation museum

School children can now have educational visits to the aviation museum

“We hope to be able to put on a fantastic display of various marks of Spitfire in the coming year.”

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Volunteers tell the children all about aviation in the Second World War

Volunteers tell the children all about aviation in the Second World War

Youngsters from Mayfield Primary School, St Annes, at Hangar 42 in Blackpool

Youngsters from Mayfield Primary School, St Annes, at Hangar 42 in Blackpool

Merlin Entertainments submits big plans for Beatrix Potter-themed tourist attraction on Blackpool’s Golden Mile

Home | Blackpool Gazette

The entertainments industry giant, which runs Madame Tussauds and Sea Life in the resort, has the submitted plans for its hotly-awaited new tourist attraction, which remained shrouded in mystery for months.

 

Peter Rabbit, Jeremy Fisher, and other characters from the magical world of Beatrix Potter will be brought to life in the countryside-themed attraction, which is extend across two former Golden Mile retail units next to Madame Tussauds.

The attraction, developed by Silvergate Media, Penguin Ventures and Blackpool Council, will contain a woodland theatre, a replica of Mr McGregor’s garden, a Jeremy Fisher sensory pond with interactive lilypads and bulrushes, a puzzle workshop, a burrow exploration area, and a gift shop.

Merlin Entertainments general manager Stuart Jarman said: “The plan is to change the existing retail units into a family visitor attraction to site alongside other Merlin attractions on the Golden Mile, including Sea Life and Madame Tussauds in the shadow of the famous Merlin Blackpool flagship, the Blackpool Tower.

Merlin Entertainments' idea of what the Beatrix Potter attraction will look like

Merlin Entertainments’ idea of what the Beatrix Potter attraction will look like

“Tha family visitor attraction will welcome thousands of visitors annually and will be attracting new audiences to Blackpool, in line with the local council’s development plan and vision for resort.”

The council announced in October it had struck a deal with leisure giant Merlin to bring a new entertainment centre to the venue on the Promenade as part of a £2.3m investment.

But the identity of the attraction was kept under wraps while Merlin secured property rights to the beloved book characters.

Plans for the attraction submitted to Blackpool Council

Plans for the attraction submitted to Blackpool Council

Council leader Lynn Williams said: “This new attraction will be another fabulous addition to Blackpool’s growing portfolio of world-class attractions that are aimed at a family market. The creation of a standalone experience featuring one of the world’s best-known children’s characters will provide another compelling reason to visit what we believe is the UK’s ultimate family resort.”

Kate Shane, regional director for Merlin Entertainments, said: “We are thrilled to be welcoming such an icon to Blackpool. Peter Rabbit is a well-loved household name for young and old and is globally renowned. We are delighted that this new attraction concept will be created here in Blackpool first. We firmly support Blackpool’s overall ambition to be the UK’s number one family seaside resort and with such a family-favourite brand joining our cluster of attractions we can’t wait to ‘hop’ to it and get the experience open next year.”

The building where the Beatrix Potter tourist attraction will be

The building where the Beatrix Potter tourist attraction will be

The Mirror Ball Is Back

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The refurbishment of the iconic Mirror Ball on the South Promenade has now been completed so it is back to its dazzling best.

 

The artwork was created by artist Michael Trainor and is reputed to be the world’s biggest Mirror Ball being 6m in diameter.

The artist was inspired by and named the work after the 1969 Hollywood film ‘They Shoot Horses Don’t They’ which features a large Mirror Ball. It was originally installed in 2002 as one of a series of commissioned artworks known as The Great Promenade Show.

The refurbishment project has been project managed by the Council’s Property Services Department and has been a team effort involving Garmendale Engineering, Jordans Glass, Mirror Finish NW,  students from Blackpool and the Fylde College and volunteers.

The refurbishment has involved the structure being completely re-mirrored with 47,000 new mirror tiles and there has been an overhaul of the internal bearings to ensure it can rotate in full circle once a minute.

Cllr Lynn Williams, Leader of Blackpool Council, said:  “We are delighted to be able to return the Mirror Ball in all its sparkling glory back to the South Promenade for this much loved iconic landmark to give many more years of joy to local people and visitors.”

 

 

 

St Annes Christmas Market set to be an annual event

Home | Blackpool Gazette

St Annes’ first festive market was a resounding success and will be back next year.

 

Organisers the St Annes Enterprise Partnership (STEP) hope it will become an annual event in Ashton Gardens.

Stallholders were delighted with how it went, with Sara Dewhurst, of Lytham Gin, hailing it “the most successful event we have ever attended”.

She said: “The atmosphere was wonderful, the organisers did a fantastic job and I’m sure that this is the start of something big for St Annes. Lytham Gin is already looking forward to next year.”

STEP chairman Veli Kirk at the St Annes Market with Fylde Council chief executive Allan Oldfield

STEP chairman Veli Kirk at the St Annes Market with Fylde Council chief executive Allan Oldfield

St Annes Market a festive hit

Coun Gavin Harrison, chairman of St Annes Town Council, said: “Feedback from our independent businesses suggests the whole town was busy and proves the worth of this kind of market. St Annes Town Council looks forward to working closely with STEP to deliver similar successful events in the future.

STEP chairman Veli Kirk said: “The feedback was excellent. We wanted to bring something really special to St Annes and thanks to everyone who supported it. It went really well.”

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Blackpool to wow crowds with New Year’s Eve fireworks display on seafront

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

Blackpool to wow crowds with New Year’s Eve fireworks display on seafront

Fireworks in Blackpool

Fireworks in Blackpool (Image: Gregg Wolstenholme Photography / VisitBlackpool)

Families are expected to flock to Blackpool to bid farewell to 2021 and welcome 2022 in style with a huge fireworks display on the seafront.

Pyrotechnic rockets will light up the sky in front of Blackpool Tower at around 5pm on New Year’s Eve (December 31).

There will also be light projection shows, family entertainment and a free ice rink on Tower Festival Headland.

The free event will take place subject to suitable weather conditions and any changes to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

It will conclude the seaside town’s Christmas By the Sea programme, which included the Winter Gardens Wonderland village and the extended illuminations, which run until January 3.

 

 

New ITV show will tell tale of sculptor behind Madame Tussauds – and how Blackpool waxwork museum picks its figures including Little Mix and Dan TDM

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Blackpool’s waxwork museum will feature on national television in the run-up to Christmas.

 

Madame Tussauds: The Full Wax will reveal how the brand, founded by sculptor Marie Tussaud in 1835, is now one of the world’s most famous tourist attractions.

It will air on ITV at 9pm on Wednesday, December 22.

Filmed across a year at its locations in the capital and Blackpool, on the Prom near Central Pier, the documentary promises to offer a behind-the-scenes look at the wax museums.

YouTuber Dan TDM’s waxwork figure at Madame Tussauds in Blackpool

YouTuber Dan TDM’s waxwork figure at Madame Tussauds in Blackpool

Cameras follow the creation and launch of some of their latest wax figures, including Little Mix and Dan TDM.

It will also reveal how staff decide which celebrities and pop culture icons should be given their own wax doppelgangers, and the painstaking work that goes into creating them.

 

 

Tide Organ on Blackpool seafront to be pulled down due to safety concerns

One of Blackpool’s most unusual sculptures is to be pulled down after 21 years – just a few months after its artist called for it to be demolished.

 

The Tide Organ, situated near Sandcastle Waterpark, will be taken down starting Monday, December 13.

It was created by Liam Curtin and John Gooding on commission by Blackpool Council at the start of the millennium – however, Mr Curtin later called for it to be demolished as he said it had been ‘badly neglected’ by the local authority.

Recent surveys of the Tide Organ revealed damage to the steel caused by the harsh seaside weather.

The Tide Organ will be pulled down this month

The Tide Organ will be pulled down this month

Specialist contractors will be called in to tear down the sculpture, with works expecting to last no more than a week depending on the weather.

It is also planned to de-commission ‘The Frankenstein Project’ by artist Tony Stallard early in 2022.

Coun Lynn Williams, leader of Blackpool Council, said: “We know the art works on South Promenade have entertained thousands of visitors and local people over the years but we are following professional advice that the Tide Organ now needs to come down to ensure it does not become unsafe. We value the unique contribution artists can make to our own community and the council will continue to be ambitious in commissioning a range of artists when opportunities arise.

“We are proud of the art works people can enjoy on the seafront from the international award winning ‘Comedy Carpet’ by Gordon Young to our latest sculptures ‘Call of the Sea’ by Laurence Payot and the tram benches by Andy Hazell on Talbot Square.”

 

 

£25,000 investment in Blackpool park is welcome boost

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A £25,000 new roof looks set to be worth the wait for visitors to a Blackpool park.

 

When the pavilion was built at Watson Road Park in South Shore, there was only enough money in the project to tile it with left-overs from other council buildings.

But 10 years on, a bespoke new roof has been installed funded by £10,000 from the Friends of Watson Road Park, £10,000 from the council and £5,000 from the ward budget of councillors David O’Hara and Derek Robertson.

Bill Eccles, chairman of the friends group, said: “We’ve not only had a new roof, but the facias and guttering have been replaced and insulation has been put in.

Coun David O'Hara outside the pavilion which has a new roof

Coun David O’Hara outside the pavilion which has a new roof

“It had a good test during the gales we had from Storm Arwen and although a couple of tiles came off, that has been rectified.

“Hopefully we will be able to get back to normal next year after Covid and start having more events and having the pavilion used more and more by the community.”

Coun O’Hara said: “The previous tiles were being broken up all the time, and eventually the council ran out of replacements, so the building really needed a new roof and we’re delighted the work has now been done.”

The pavilion boasts a kitchen and meeting areas and is open daily serving teas and coffees, with the friends group hoping to negotiate a lease with the council to operate a cafe in the future.

Any community groups wanting to use the building can contact Roger Graham, events organisor for the Friends of Watson Road Park, on 07948 749855.

 

 

Blackpool skating rink forced to shut today due to high winds

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

The skating rink on the Tower Festival Headland has been forced to close only a week after shutting due to Storm Arwen

 

The skating rink is the centrepiece of Blackpool's Christmas By The Sea village
The skating rink is the centrepiece of Blackpool’s Christmas By The Sea village

A popular outdoor ice skating rink in Blackpool has been forced to close again today (December 4) only a week after shutting because of safety fears due to Storm Arwen.

Blackpool’s Christmas By The Sea village skating rink is not open this afternoon due to ‘high winds’.

Organisers said they are monitoring the weather and will try to reopen the 40-metre long synthetic rink if the weather improves.

Visit Blackpool said in a statement: “Due to high winds, the use of the skating rink on the headland is currently suspended and it will not be able to open as planned at midday.

“We are closely monitoring the weather and will try to reopen the rink later today if conditions improve.”

The Met Office say this weekend will be wet and windy, with hail “possible” with “snow over the highest ground”.

Experts have predicted “frequent” showers and “longer periods of rain” today (Saturday), and it will feel cold in strong and blustery northwesterly winds.

There is a 90% chance of rain until 4pm today, dropping to 10% with winds easing from 6pm tonight.

Conditions are likely to ease on Sunday, but it will remain windy – with further rain expected on Monday.

Organisers confirmed last Sunday that the ice rink would reopen after taking a battering from Storm Arwen.

The popular attraction was forced to shut last Friday due to safety fears as the coastline was battered with gusts of wind of up to 80mps.

The free to use ice rink, which can hold up to 160 skaters per session, is open from Thursday to Sunday until December 27 and then daily (except Christmas Day) until January 3.

 

 

Blackpool Zoo reveals plans for new Big Cat House

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Lions and tigers living at Blackpool Zoo are set to get a new home after the attraction revealed plans to build a new Big Cat House.

 

Proposals have been submitted to Blackpool Council seeking permission to partially demolish the existing enclosure at the zoo on East Park Drive and build a new single storey building with 5.3 metre high security fencing.

Design features will prioritise the welfare of the animals and the safety of the public.

The new structure would provide about 100 metres square of additional paddock space, and include a viewing area for visitors.

Blackpool Zoo

Blackpool Zoo

It would be the latest major investment at the zoo since the multi-million pound Project Elephant Base Camp opened in March 2018.

A design brief accompanying the application says: “The proposed development comprises the demolition of the existing big cats building, a larger and improved replacement building and an increase in the size of the associated paddocks.

“The proposal is part of an ongoing investment in the zoo to improve facilities for the animals in line with current standards for animal welfare in zoos.

“The location of the new building is set by the requirement to be central to the paddocks either side of the building which cater for different animals, currently tigers and lions.

“It will therefore be the same width as the existing building but with an increased front to back dimension to give a footprint approximately 100 metres square larger than the existing.”

The plans show two public viewing dens, pens for looking after the animals, and accommodation for keepers plus an area for deliveries.

A covered veranda would be created at the front of the building to provide a public sheltered area for views into the pens and to the paddocks.

The Big Cat House design would be themed following the completion of building work with signage and information about the animals.

Only zoo staff and animal welfare operators would be allowed inside the building, where the “overriding consideration will be for the safety of the public”.

 

Blackpool’s new £1 million venue revealed as children’s attraction based on Peter Rabbit TV series

Home | Blackpool Gazette

The new £1 million attraction set to bounce in Blackpool has been revealed – and it’s set to give youngsters a furry thrill.

 

Merlin, which already runs a number of key resort attractions including the Tower and Sea Life aquarium, this morning announced a tourist trap based around the Peter Rabbit TV series.

Kate Shane, who is in charge of Merlin’s interests on the Fylde coast, said: “We are thrilled to be welcoming such an icon to Blackpool.

“Peter Rabbit is a well-loved household name for young and old and is globally renowned.

The new attraction is based on the works of Beatrix Potter (Picture: Frederick Warne and Co Limited and Silvergate PPL Limited)

The new attraction is based on the works of Beatrix Potter (Picture: Frederick Warne and Co Limited and Silvergate PPL Limited)

“We are delighted that this new attraction concept will be created here in Blackpool first.

“We firmly support Blackpool’s overall ambition to be the UK’s number one family seaside resort and with such a family-favourite brand joining our Blackpool cluster of attractions we can’t wait to ‘hop’ to it and get the experience open next year.”

The attraction will open in the council-owned Golden Mile Centre, next door to the Madame Tussauds waxworks museum, which Merlin also runs, and will feature five ‘fluffy-tailed themed zones’.
The new attraction is based on the works of Beatrix Potter (Picture: Frederick Warne and Co Limited and Silvergate PPL Limited)

The new attraction is based on the works of Beatrix Potter (Picture: Frederick Warne and Co Limited and Silvergate PPL Limited)

Children will have to ‘think like a rabbit, move like a rabbit, and deploy rabbit-like senses with a whole burrow full of creativity in order to complete the challenges and earn badges – seeing if they have the skills to join the secret treehouse club’, bosses said.

The council’s leader, Lynn Williams, said: “This new attraction will be another fabulous addition to Blackpool’s growing portfolio of world-class attractions that are aimed at a family market.

“The creation of a standalone experience featuring one of the world’s best-known children’s characters will provide another compelling reason to visit what we believe is the UK’s ultimate family resort.”

The project will cost around £1 million and is separate to a Merlin venture announced last month.

That one will cost £2.3m and open in the council-owned Golden Mile Centre.

The finer details have yet to be released, though, with Merlin only promising ‘new experiences’ to be announced early next year.

The council has already approved the site’s redevelopment, with Graffiti Golf and an number of stalls currently at the front of the premises.

Their leases were due to expire at the beginning of this month and were not being renewed.

The authority is lending Merlin the money for the scheme and will claw the cash back through ticket sales.

 

 

Blackpool ice rink re-opening date confirmed after Storm Arwen causes damage

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

The attraction, which is part of the town’s Christmas By The Sea offering, needed some ‘care and attention’ after the severe weather conditions hit Lancashire

 

The skating rink is the centrepiece of Blackpool's Christmas By The Sea village
The skating rink is the centrepiece of Blackpool’s Christmas By The Sea village

The reopening date for Blackpool’s ice skating rink has been confirmed.

The attraction, which is part of the town’s Christmas By The Sea offering, needed some ‘care and attention’ after the severe weather conditions hit Lancashire.

The closure was confirmed on Friday (November 26) for safety reasons.

A yellow weather warning was active across the county with experts warning that injuries or danger to life from flying debris is possible, as well as damage to trees and buildings.

However, Visit Blackpool has now confirmed plans to reopen the rink on Sunday (November 28).

It is thought that the free sessions will continue until 9pm.

A spokesperson for Visit Blackpool said: “After taking a battering from #StormArwen, our Christmas By The Sea skating rink is getting some much-needed care and attention.

“We are now planning to reopen early afternoon on Sunday (28 November) with free sessions continuing until 9pm.

“Thanks for your patience!”

 

 

Blackpool’s Total Wipeout-inspired attraction where you can play human Hungry Hippos

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

Compete in a giant Hungry Hippos game, negotiate inflatable obstacles and take part in a jousting match at Blackpool Sports Centre

 

Inside Wacky World, which is coming to Blackpool for two days in December
Inside Wacky World’s Wacky Wipeout , which is coming to Blackpool for two days in December (Image: Wacky World/Facebook)

Total Wipeout is one of those gameshows that is hilarious to watch other fail at, but would you actually be any better at negotiating giant inflatable obstacles yourself?

Well, now is your time to find out as Wacky World is bringing its version of the popular BBC gameshow with the giant red balls to Blackpool Sports Centre on December 3 and 4.

From toddler-friendly to adult-only sessions, the festive-themed Wacky Wipeout, complete with Santa’s grotto and snow machines offers fun for all ages.

Try out the reindeer hoopla, ride the rodeo reindeer, throw yourself down the Christmas slides and attempt to get past the giant moving inflatables.

Or you could re-create children’s board game Hungry Hippos in real life, where you try to grab more balls than your opponents before being ‘sprung’ backwards.

Fun-seekers can book one and a half hour slots in specific age categories which begin at 10am, with over-18s sessions reserved for the evenings. The Wipeout Arena closes at 10pm.

Parents must either purchase a spectator or participant ticket if they would like to join their child on the attraction.

To book your session, click here

Real-life hungry hippos
Real-life hungry hippos at Wacky Wipeout (Image: Wacky World/Facebook)

We went on Blackpool’s Star Flyer ride and it’s higher than it looks

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

The Star Flyer ride has come to Blackpool lifting riders up 60 metres into the air, so naturally we wanted to give it a go too to see what all the buzz was about.

 

The Star Flyer ride on Blackpool's sea front opposite the Tower
The Star Flyer ride on Blackpool’s sea front opposite the Tower

It will be hard to find a local in Blackpool who hasn’t heard the term ‘Star Flyer’ or ‘Europe’s biggest swing ride’ because this brand new addition to the sea front has definitely caught much attention.

The Star Flyer ride was initially planned for St John’s Square in Blackpool but after a series of safety concerns, the ride was forced to find a more suitable spot.

Having travelled all the way from Holland, organisers were able to secure a front row seat along the seafront and directly opposite the Tower.

With so much talk already going on about the ride, we decided to head down ourselves to take a look at it and even hop to give it a try.

Despite it being a cold Monday morning (November 22), small crowds gathered along the Promenade to witness the ride in its full glory and watch as people stepped up to the plate and braved the skyscraper heights.

The sheer size of the ride is certainly daunting at first but with an ever so slightly shaking hand, we paid the man in the box the £7.50 ticket fee and were escorted to our seat.

Like many swing rides, the swing consisted of two seats, meaning holding someone’s hand for moral support is definitely an option. Riders are then secured in by a metal bar clipped into place by staff working on the ride.

Seats on the Star Flyer, Europe's biggest swing ride
Seats on the Star Flyer, Europe’s biggest swing ride

With loud music booming in your ears, the excitement soon builds and then the adrenaline sets in as an ominous countdown begins.

Seconds later, your’e lifted up in the air to the top 60 metre mark and what feels like touching distance from the tower itself.

One thing is for certain, anyone with a fear of heights should avoid this ride- there’s no questioning the fact that this ride is high.

If you’re brave enough to look, the views from the swing are spectacular despite making your head spin. What was a big surprise was the speed of the ride – it was faster than expected, not enough to be a ‘scary’ ride but certainly one to avoid heading on to with a full stomach.

Making the circular laps, dangling meters above the sea and the Comedy Carpet, gliding through the air was both an amazing yet eye-watering experience and one that might have been more enjoyable had it been a tad warmer- not fault of the ride of course.

The spinning, did, ever so slightly get a bit much but thankfully, only minutes later the ride came to a halt as riders were gradually lowered and feet were firmly back on the ground.

Europe's biggest swing ride has come to Blackpool
Europe’s biggest swing ride has come to Blackpool

Big grins were plastered all over the faces of spectators and even the riders as everyone got their shaky legs to take them down the steps and back on the Promenade.

Whilst it is definitely not one for young children, this ride is certainly one to try for the grown ups and would be a perfect stop on an evening in Blackpool for a group of friends when the illuminations are blazing.

The Star Flyer is now up with Blackpool’s other iconic attractions that just have to be put on every bucket list and for us, we can officially tick that off.

Would you be brave enough to try out Europe’s biggest swing ride?

 

 

Star Flyer ride: Europe’s tallest white knuckle ride goes back up in Blackpool after a change of location

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Europe’s tallest fairground ride was going back up in Blackpool today, not far from the site where it was taken down yesterday.

 

The 260-foot white knuckle Star Flyer is being relocated to the Tower Festival Headland after talks between council officers and the ride’s operators.

The move followed a crisis meeting when Town Hall chiefs ordered the huge structure to be dismantled because of concerns it was too big for its original site in St John’s Square.

It is now being shifted to the Headland in front of the Tower, next to the 40-metre long Promenade Ice Rink which is the centrepiece of the resort’s Christmas By The Sea Village and is free to use.

The Star Flyer is almost half as tall as Blackpool Tower.

The Star Flyer is almost half as tall as Blackpool Tower.

A council statement released today said: “We have been working with the ride’s operators to find a suitable alternative site.

“We are pleased to be able to announce that this ride will now go ahead at its new location – the Tower Festival Headland.

“The ride will be positioned next to the ice rink and will give the rider spectacular views across the town.

“It’s new position will compliment the Winter Garden’s Wonderland and Christmas By The Sea village and all the wonderful Christmassy things they have to offer to all our residents and visitors.”

The view from a Star Flyer ride in Sheffield.

The view from a Star Flyer ride in Sheffield.

Work began today to erect the ride in its new location. It has not yet been announced when it will open to the public.

The Star Flyer is almost half the height of the Tower. But when it was built in St John’s Square this week council officers admitted they hadn’t realised how big it would be.

“We had received no technical specification for the ride prior to its arrival,” said a spokesperson.

“When it arrived in the square, it was clear the overall footprint would have increased significantly when vehicle mitigation measures (safety bollards), which are always required for these sort of attractions, were put in place.

“Hence the view was taken that it would not be safe to operate so close to what is a public highway.”

Blackpool Promotions, the firm responsible for bringing the white-knuckle ride to the resort as part of the Winter Gardens Wonderland festivities, said the setback would delay the opening of the markets.

“We hope to open very soon and will keep you all up to speed on the latest opening dates/times, ” it said.

“We remain committed to creating the best possible experience for everyone in Blackpool and the many thousands of visitors to the resort this Christmas.

 

 

West End producer Jon Conway, who directed Elf the Musical at the Opera House, will oversee Viva Blackpool’s Christmas show Santa’s Magical Workshop – showtimes and ticket information

Home | Blackpool Gazette

West End producer Jon Conway will host Viva Blackpool’s festive production Santa’s Magical Workship next month.

 

Boss Martin Heywood said staff at the town centre venue are ‘thrilled’ to be working with Jon because of his ‘considerable experience in writing and directing major pantomimes’.

Jon, who recently directed Elf the Musical at the Opera House and co-produced Illuminasia when it held in the resort, will again oversee two of the show’s stars, Jordan Conway and Kelly Banlaki, who will perform in Santa’s Magical Workshop, which will run from December 18-24.

He will also help develop future shows.

Jon Conway, who co-produced Illuminasia, will oversee Viva Blackpool's Christmas production, Santa's Magical Workshop, next month (Picture: Rob Lock for The Gazette)

Jon Conway, who co-produced Illuminasia, will oversee Viva Blackpool’s Christmas production, Santa’s Magical Workshop, next month (Picture: Rob Lock for The Gazette)

Youngsters can play hide and seek, help an elf hunt for Santa, write letters to the North Pole, and stand, dance, and participate during the show.

Tickets are £20 for children and £10 for adults.

 

 

Blackpool’s Christmas By The Sea skating rink will stay shut tonight due to Storm Arwen

Home | Blackpool Gazette

The skating rink on the Tower Festival Headland will not open this evening (Friday, November 26) due to high winds forecast for the resort, say organisers.

 

The huge rink – spanning 40 metres (131ft) in length – is the sparkling centrepiece of Blackpool‘ s Christmas By The Sea village, but it will have to stay closed today as Storm Arwen hits the UK.

The first named storm of the winter, Arwen is forecast to brings gusts in excess of 75mph to parts of Britain, and a yellow weather warning is now in place for the Fylde Coast, from 9am to midnight.

The huge rink - spanning 40 metres (131ft) in length - is the sparkling centrepiece of Blackpool's Christmas By The Sea village, but it will have to stay closed today as Storm Arwen hits the UK

The huge rink – spanning 40 metres (131ft) in length – is the sparkling centrepiece of Blackpool’s Christmas By The Sea village, but it will have to stay closed today as Storm Arwen hits the UK

A Visit Blackpool spokesman said: “Due to a forecast of high winds along the coast on Friday evening (November 26), the skating rink in the Christmas By The Sea village on the Tower Festival Headland will be closed for safety reasons.

“We hope to reopen the rink for some of the remaining sessions this weekend, but please check our website for further updates.”

Standing in the shadow of Blackpool Tower, the free-to-use rink has been a huge hit since it opened on Saturday (November 20).

But there is still plenty of time to get your skates on – the skating rink will remain open until January 3, except Christmas Day.

The skating rink on the Tower Festival Headland will not open this evening (Friday, November 26) due to high winds forecast for the resort, say organisers

The skating rink on the Tower Festival Headland will not open this evening (Friday, November 26) due to high winds forecast for the resort, say organisers

Blackpool Star Flyer ‘fenced off’ by fire engines for ‘training exercise’

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

Fire engines were seen parked up and unloading a ladder against the side of the Star Flyer

 

Several fire engines have been seen on Blackpool Promenade around the visiting huge Star Flyer ride.

The vehicles were first spotted at around 9.50am this morning (November 23).

One engine could be seen unloading fire ladders up against Europe’s tallest travelling fairground ride while parked closed to the new ride.

However there is no need for alarm, as it is understood that fire service officials were there for a training exercise and there was no issue with the ride itself.

Eye-witnesses saw the training exercise take place before the ride went on a test run. Members of the public were also told not to worry as it was not a real emergency incident.

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service also confirmed there were no active emergency calls across the Fylde coast while the ride was being tested.

One person told LancsLive: “It’s all cordoned off. But just been told it’s a training exercise. They came, put the ladder up, were looking around it and then tested the ride.”

It comes days after Star Flyer passengers were left stuck in the air above Blackpool after the ride malfunctioned on its first day of operation in the seaside resort.

The Star Flyer, which was relocated to the Promenade in front of Blackpool Tower, opened to the public for the first time on Sunday.

However, just hours after opening there was an apparent issue with the ride which saw passengers suspended in the air. Onlookers suggested the disruption was caused by a power cut and took pictures and videos which were posted to social media.

Fire engines on Blackpool promenade next to Star Flyer
Fire engines on Blackpool promenade next to Star Flyer

It is thought the occupants of the ride were stuck for around eight minutes before they were lowered down to safety.

It comes after the ride was last week dismantled from its initial location on St John’s Square, outside the Winter Gardens, on orders from Blackpool Council.

The ride, which is 210ft tall and almost half the height of Blackpool Tower, came to the seaside resort as the main attraction for the Winter Gardens Wonderland festival.

 

 

Blackpool’s giant Star Flyer ride loses power on opening day leaving thrill-seekers stranded in the air

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Thrill-seekers taking a spin on Blackpool’s massive new Star Flyer ride got more than they bargained for when the 260ft giant suddenly lost power, leaving families suspended high above the Promenade yesterday (Sunday, November 21).

 

The Star Flyer came to a sudden stop shortly before 5pm on its opening day, leaving dozens of passengers suspended in the air on a bitingly cold day.

The huge swing, which costs £7 for a 5 minute spin, was out of operation for around 10 minutes after its power reportedly cut out mid-spin.

Riders were left perched on their seats around 40ft above street level before they were lowered safely to the ground when staff took control of the ride’s manual system.

The Star Flyer came to a sudden stop shortly before 5pm on its opening day (Sunday, November 21), leaving dozens of passengers suspended in the air

The Star Flyer came to a sudden stop shortly before 5pm on its opening day (Sunday, November 21), leaving dozens of passengers suspended in the air

Event organisers Blackpool Promotions described the ride’s power outage as a “very minor issue”.

Today, a spokesman for the company, said: “The ride was not operational for a matter of minutes and fully open for around 9 hours on the day.

“All people were brought down safely by the rides manual system and exited the ride within a few minutes.

“This was a very minor issue in what was a fantastic day for Blackpool with many thousands of people coming and supporting the Star Flyer ride and wider Christmas offer in Blackpool.”

The huge swing, which costs £7 for a 5 minute spin, was out of operation for around 10 minutes after its power reportedly cut out mid-swing yesterday (Sunday, November 21)

The huge swing, which costs £7 for a 5 minute spin, was out of operation for around 10 minutes after its power reportedly cut out mid-swing yesterday (Sunday, November 21)

The white-knuckle ride – half the height of Blackpool Tower – opened at the Tower Festival Headland on Sunday after being moved from its original location in St John’s Square last week.

The largest of its kind in Europe, the giant swing was moved under orders from Blackpool Council on Thursday (November 18).

The Council expressed safety concerns after it realised the footprint of the ride “was significantly bigger than envisaged”, with workers told to dismantle the giant before a new space was found for it on the Prom.

The ride has been a huge hit since it welcomed its first riders onboard on Sunday morning, attracting hundreds of thrill-seekers to the resort for its first weekend.

A Blackpool Promotions spokesman added: “We are delighted to have the ride operating and providing a spectacular experience in Blackpool this Christmas.

“The next stage of the wonderland opens on Friday this week with food stalls in St Johns Square, traditional rides, Santa’s grotto, VR experiences inside the winter gardens and much more.

“All we want is for the town to have a successful Christmas, for businesses to be able to gain additional revenue after a horrendous 18 months, children to be excited for Christmas and for everyone to have a great time.”