We went to FriendsFestive in Blackpool to see what the fuss is all about

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Yes, we did meet the Holiday Armadillo

 

Outside Central Perk
Outside Central Perk

The final tear-jerking episode of American comedy TV show Friends aired in 2004.

And still, almost two decades later, the lives, loves and antics of six friends living in New York are still talked about, still made into memes and still watched, with episodes now available on Netflix.

And this Christmas, fans can reminisce about Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Phoebe, Monica and Joey’s festive storylines – from the Holiday Armadillo to when Will Colbert, played by Brad PItt, came for Thanksgiving at Monica and Rachel’s apartment in The One WIth The Rumour.

The FriendsFestive attraction has brought a splash of wintry New York to the Fylde Coast and has arrived at Blackpool Winter Gardens and is open until November 19.

It includes nostalgic set tours and your chance to take a picture in Central Perk, where thousands of cups of coffee were consumed and several renditions of ‘Smelly Cat’ were performed by Phoebe over the show’s 236 episodes.

Visitors can enjoy sets decked out for the festive season, re-create Ross and Monica’s New Year’s Eve dance routine and re-enact the Thanksgiving floating heads scene from The One With The Birth Mother episode.

We’ve picked out our highlights and must-sees from the event, which is a must experience for any Friends fan.

The Holiday Armadillo

The Holiday Armadillo is a particular highlight
The Holiday Armadillo is a particular highlight

It’s easy to miss this section as it is tucked away on the right hand side of the steps as you make your way to the set tour and main atrium. There are maps and sign posts if you do need to get your bearings during your visit.

Waiting for you as you enter the Armadillo grotto is a life-sized character, wearing a replica costume exactly like the one David Schwimmer’s Ross wore in The One With The Holiday Armadillo.

The actor in the suit when we visited was great fun and had certainly done his Friends homework.

The sets – Central Perk, Rachel and Monica’s Apartment and Joey and Chandler’s apartment.

Inside Monica's apartment
Inside Monica’s apartment

There’s plenty of genuine props from the original sets that will make you turn to your pal and recite a line from the episode it relates to or declare “I’d forgotten about that episode!”. Think Monica’s giant turkey head from The One With All The Thanksgivings and Phoebe’s lamp from The One With The Lamp.

The sets are all decorated ready for Christmas, with Monica’s tree just waiting for you to take a selfie with it and fake snow blasted out above you.

The detail is also impressive, with the candy basket and handwritten note fromThe ONe WIth All The Candy hanging outside Monica and Rachel’s apartment and the working fussball table in Chandler and Joey’s place.

What do I need to know to make sure I fully enjoy FriendsFestive as much as possible?

QR Code

Outside Central Perk
Outside Central Perk

Planning ahead is a good idea. That includes signing up for your personal QR code before you arrive.

You will be sent a link to register for you and everyone else in your booking for before you attend the tour. At each photo opportunity, you will be asked to scan your QR code, then you’ll have time to get yourself in position with your best pose and the camera, operated by a member of staff, will do the rest.

You can then view your own personal photo gallery and download your pictures later.

Selfies and taking images on your phone is also allowed, but again, expect areas to be crowded.

Allow plenty of time

There is a food court with Friends reruns
There is a food court with Friends reruns

There is no maximum time limit, but entry to the tour is staggered so we would advise to arrive at your allotted time. There’s likely to be queues, too, so be prepared to wait for your big photo opportunity on the Central Perk sofa or on the landing step between apartments 19 and 20.

There’s plenty to see, with a huge atrium full of comfy sofas showing Friends episodes on the big screen, chomp down on ‘Joey’s PIzza’ or a ‘Moist Maker’ turkey sandwich and also a cocktail bar and coffee shop.

And that’s before you reach the main set tour area.

You can re-enact Phoebe’s bell-ringing scene from The One With the Inappropriate Sister or show off your perfected version of the opening credits sequence, complete with the coloured umbrellas.

Your final stop will be the gift shop, selling products from tote bags to socks, umbrellas and Christmas jumpers.