Category Archives: Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Blackpool Pleasure Beach: full list of rollercoasters, height restrictions and ride information

Home | Blackpool Gazette

This is everything you need to know about the rollercoasters located at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

 

Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Blackpool Pleasure Beach, one of the resort’s biggest attractions, has been celebrating its 125th anniversary this year.

Featuring some of the most historic and famous rollercoasters in the world, including ICON – the UK’s first double launch roller coaster – to the Big One which stands at an impressive 235ft, the park has something for everyone to enjoy.

We’ve compiled a list of all of everything you need to know about the park’s rollercoasters, from height restrictions to ride information.

Check it out below:

*If you’re planning a trip to the UK’s most ride intensive park, read our full guide HERE to find all the information you need to make your day as enjoyable as possible.

Giant sand artwork welcomes visitors back to Blackpool

Home | Blackpool Gazette

It was a simple message in the sand as Blackpool’s arcades, pubs, eateries and attractions rolled out the welcome mat to visitors and declared ‘Blackpool is back.’

Visit Blackpool teamed up with artists from the Sand in Your Eye company to create a 70m etching of the town’s skyline – including the Tower, Central Pier’s big wheel, and the Big One – to mark the latest milestone in the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown.

Giant sand artwork welcomes visitors back to Blackpool | Lancashire Evening  Post

The sand art, raked into the sand on a stretch of beach along the famous Golden Mile, took nearly six hours to complete.

It is one of the largest pieces of sand art ever created in Blackpool. The process is described by the four artists from the Sand In Your Eye company as nature’s equivalent to a giant Etch A Sketch.

Blackpool Council tourism boss coun Gillian Campbell said: “It’s exciting – it’s been a bit like waiting for Christmas this reopening.

“It’s been a long time coming – it’s been a very long and tough 15 months for everyone – everyone who works in the tourism industry and for us as a Council and Visit Blackpool not being able to put on any events.

“It’s been incredibly difficult. But I think we’re beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel now fingers crossed.”

“So we are delighted to draw in the sand one of Britain’s most iconic skylines to announce that Blackpool is back”.

Today’s easing of restrictions means that major indoor attractions such as The Blackpool Tower and Circus, Sandcastle Waterpark, Coral Island, SEA LIFE and Madame Tussauds will be able to open for business ahead of the next Bank Holiday at the end of the month, along with indoor venues such as the Winter Gardens, VIVA Blackpool and Funny Girls.

Hundreds of hotels and guesthouses, including the brand new Premier Inn North Pier which has been built on the site of the historic Yates’s Wine Lodge site in Talbot Square, can also open to overnight visitors.

Blackpool is back! Resort celebrates biggest unlocking of lockdown yet

Home | Blackpool Gazette

The sun shone on the resort, which today celebrated the biggest unlocking of Covid restrictions yet.

With arcades, pubs, eateries and attractions filled by the sound of chatter and laughter – and the jingling of tills – the excitement was palpable as traders declared: ‘Blackpool is back’.

To mark the big day, a 70m etching of the town’s skyline – including the Tower, Central Pier’s big wheel, and the Big One – was raked into the sand on the beach.

“We are thrilled our tourism businesses can get back to doing what they do best – providing fun and entertainment to millions of people,” tourism chief Coun Gillian Campbell said.

To mark the big day, a 70m etching of the town’s skyline – including the Tower, Central Pier’s big wheel, and the Big One – was raked into the sand on the beachTo mark the big day, a 70m etching of the town’s skyline – including the Tower, Central Pier’s big wheel, and the Big One – was raked into the sand on the beach

“The last 15 months have been incredibly difficult but finally we can tell the world that we are back in business.”

The easing of lockdown measures meant major attractions like the Tower and Circus, Sandcastle Waterpark, Coral Island arcade, Sea Life aquarium, and Madame Tussauds waxworks museum could all reopen for the first time in months ahead of the upcoming bank holiday.

Other indoor venues welcoming visitors once again include Winter Gardens, Funny Girls, Viva, and hundreds of hotels and guest houses – including the new Premier Inn North Pier, built on the site of the burned down Yates’s Wine Lodge in Talbot Square.

Friends Mary Caveney and Maria Farrar at the Winter Gardens
Friends Mary Caveney and Maria Farrar at the Winter Gardens

“We are feeling a range of emotions at the moment but mainly we are all raring to go.”

Tower Circus clowns Mooky and Boo took to the Comedy Carpet this afternoon to practice.

Mooky said: “We’ve been rehearsing for this day since the beginning of the second lockdown and we can’t wait to be entertaining live audiences once again.”

Last month, self-catering accommodation and outdoor hospitality and attractions – including the Pleasure Beach, Blackpool Zoo, and the resort’s three piers – were allowed to open.

Jade Benson and Joe Cooper pulling pints in the Brew Room.Jade Benson and Joe Cooper pulling pints in the Brew Room.

The next phase, which would see all remaining restrictions on social contact scrapped, is pencilled in for June 21 – although concern over the Indian variant of coronavirus has cast doubt on that date.

That dark cloud on the horizon didn’t dampen any spirits, though.

Friends Mary Caveney, 69 and Maria Farrar, 68, were among the first few to sit down for a cup of tea and a sandwich in the Winter Gardens.

The pair hadn’t seen each other since before Christmas and were enjoying a catch up.

Three-year-old Jaiden and six-year-old Jasmine at the arcades on Central PierThree-year-old Jaiden and six-year-old Jasmine at the arcades on Central Pier

Maria, of Norbreck Road in Bispham, said: “It’s the first time I have been on the trams in over a year and I am really happy to be out.

“Mary and I haven’t seen each other for quite a while and decided we’d meet today.

“It seems really weird to say it but I have found it quite emotional coming back into Blackpool because it has been so long.

“It’s quite a big deal for me and we had been talking about the Winter Gardens so we have come here especially to have a nice gossip and natter.”

Mary, of Willow Bank Avenue in South Shore, said: “I’m slightly different as I have been out a few times as I can’t stand being cooped up in the house.

“I have been very impressed with how all the businesses have been dealing with the lockdown relaxation so it’s really good to be out.”

The arcades were all open again in BlackpoolThe arcades were all open again in Blackpool

The pair, who have known each other for more than 15 years, have both had their two jabs and feel safer than earlier in the pandemic.

Maria said: “It gives you a sense of security knowing you have the vaccine in you.

“Perhaps it won’t stop me from catching it but it makes me feel like I won’t end up in hospital with it.

“I don’t like wearing my mask at all but I do it out of courtesy and you don’t have to wear it while you are sitting down having a bite to eat and a cuppa anyway.”

Mary added: “There has been far fewer flu and food poisoning since we all started wearing masks so I’m all for them.

“I don’t like wearing them all the time but they have their plus points.

“It makes you think how many people haven’t been washing their hands all these years.”

Susan and Barry Taylor from Bispham said they think the resort is back in business for good – and had a pint at The Brew Room in Church Street for the first time this year.

Susan, 70, said: “It feels really good to be in the pub again after the year we have had.

“I’ve had problems with my heart and am having tests on it, so it feels great to have something to look forward to and enjoy at the moment.

“We really like the food in here and we knew it would be one of the first places to go once it reopened.

“It’s also great to be supporting local business and workers in Blackpool because they have all been hit hard recently.

Barry, 69, added: “It really does feel great to be doing things in Blackpool again and back in some sort of routine.

“It’s a Marmite town but one that some people really do love and it is great to see people coming back on their holidays here so soon as well.

“For Susan and I, it’s just great to be able to have a stroll round town and pop in for some pub grub, which we have been missing.

“We just have to hope that this is the last of the virus and we don’t get pushed into another lockdown.”

Businessman and former Blackpool mayor Robert Wynne, owner of The Brew Room, The Rose and Crown, and West Coast Rock Cafe, said the response to lockdown relaxation has been super.

He said: “It has been a really positive start for all three places.

“We are offering online table bookings and in the last two weeks we have done 1,200 bookings.

“We are also allowing walk-in customers and the response at West Coast has been brilliant on the first day.

“It’s great to have both Blackpool residents and tourists back in the town and with even more options for them to do something they haven’t been able to do in so long.”

Friends Gail Prasher, Maureen Penfold and Eve Wells from Banbury in Oxfordshire came to Blackpool for the weekend and had been looking forward to the resort’s arcades being open again.

The trio were at Central Pier on the penny machines.

Gail said: “I’ve been coming to Blackpool every year since I was a child and I just really enjoy it.

“With all the restrictions being relaxed we thought we would make a weekend of it.

“It’s just nice that we can do stuff like this again and not be in fear of the virus all the time.

“It does help having the vaccine as well.”

Maureen added: “I think doing things like being at the arcade helps a bit with your mental health as it is something different for your brain to try out.

“We’ve not had much luck yet in the arcade – but fingers crossed we will before we leave.”

And Eve said: “The thing I most enjoy about Blackpool is the same thing I have missed in the last year – socialising. Everyone is so friendly here and they make you feel welcome.

“It’s always good to get the opportunity to come and we have all had a good weekend of shopping, drinking and enjoying being out with friends again.”

James Mulachy from Liverpool visited with his family and also took advantage of the arcades reopening to entertain his children, Jaiden, three, and Jasmine, six.

He said: “We hired a lodge for the weekend because the children really love it in Blackpool.

“It’s really good to get away from your house because after so long you get sick of seeing the same thing all the time.

“We head back today but it was good to get them into the arcades after so long.

“Each relaxation of the lockdown feels like normality is being resumed again and it has definitely put a smile on Jaiden and Jasmine.”

WHAT CHANGED?

Since midnight, people in England have been able to meet outdoors in groups of up to 30, and indoors in groups of six, or two households.

Pubs and restaurants are able to serve customers outdoors, although they are still limited to table service.

Other recreational venues such as cinemas, museums, theatres, and concert halls are allowed to open, although there are capacity limits on large events.

Up to 30 people are allowed at weddings, and the cap on the number of mourners attending funerals was lifted, in line with the safe capacity of venues.

Secondary school pupils in most areas are no longer being told to wear face masks in class and communal areas, and university students can return to campus for in-person lectures.

The ‘stay in the UK’ restriction has lifted and people can travel to ‘green list’ countries without having to quarantine, provided they take on post-arrival test.

FLY IN THE OINTMENT?

Boris Johnson and health experts urged people to exercise caution when they head to pubs and restaurants as the lockdown eases despite concerns about the spread of an Indian coronavirus variant.

Although ministers believe the vaccines will be effective against the highly transmissible Indian variant of concern, there are worries about the impact of its spread on those who have refused to have a jab or not yet been offered one.

The Prime Minister urged people to treat the latest easing of restrictions with a “heavy dose of caution” while Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng warned against excessive drinking for those returning to bars.

Mr Kwarteng insisted the June 21 date for the ending of restrictions in England was still likely to be met.

He said “people should have common sense, they should use judgment and I think if we act in a reasonable way, there is no reason to suppose that we can’t reopen the economy entirely on June 21”.

He added: “We need to be cautious because if we get too carried away and the mutant variant spreads too quickly, that could endanger our ability to open up on June 21.”

Professor Graham Medley, a member of the Government’s Sage scientific advisory panel, said the chances of the June 21 date being delayed was “well less than 50 per cent” but added “it is uncertain”.

The main cause for concern is the Indian variant, which is on the way to becoming the dominant strain in some places including Bolton and Blackburn.

A major campaign has been launched to encourage people in those areas to receive a jab.

Mr Kwarteng said he did not want to “stigmatise people” over vaccine hesitancy, but said: “We’re not exactly where we want to be among certain communities but I think the take-up has been much greater in the last few months and more and more people are convinced that this is the way to keep themselves and their families safe.”

Dr Helen Wall, who is leading the vaccination effort in Bolton, said over the weekend more than 6,200 vaccines were administered in the area.

She said before the weekend there were around 10,000 people in the area in the highest priority groups, those deemed to be clinically vulnerable and the over-50s, who were yet to be vaccinated, but added: “I’m hoping that we’ve made a big dent into that now”.

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, said there were “concerns” about small numbers of older people who are yet to take up their vaccine offer.

“The biggest risk comes from, if there are large numbers of older people who are unvaccinated,” he said.

Mr Kwarteng defended the timing of tougher restrictions being imposed on travel from India amid speculation decisions may have been delayed due to the Prime Minister’s planned trade mission to the country in April.

India was placed on the red list, effectively banning travel except for returning Britons who had to go into a quarantine hotel, on April 23.

“It is easy with hindsight to say things could have been better or quicker and all the rest of it, but I think there was a balanced approach,” he said.

Despite the pleas for caution, some drinkers took advantage of the relaxations to sink pints shortly after midnight yesterday.

 

Blackpool Pleasure Beach give sneak peek of water ride Valhalla’s 2022 reimagining

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Bosses at the Pleasure Beach have teased ride enthusiasts with a sneak peek within the depths of water ride Valhalla, which is currently undergoing a “reimagining”.

Although not expected to make its debut until 2022, with plans for the project delayed last year due to the pandemic, fans are now speculating about a much bigger revamp than was first anticipated to the Viking inspired adventure.

Designers are remaining tight-lipped on what riders can expect from one of the world’s longest water rides, which opened in 2000.

But a 43-second behind the scenes clip posted to social media gave a glimpse of stripped back sets and large scaffolding around the ride.

A spokesman for the park, which is celebrating its125th season this year, said there are no further updates on the changes “for the time being”.

The video attracted a positive reaction from fans online, with many excited to see one of the park’s top attractions back in action.

Steven Mark posted: “Can’t wait to see what changes are made. One of my favourite rides ever.”

Pleasure Beach boss Amanda Thompson assured thrill seekers on the ride’s closure in 2019 that “Valhalla is here to stay” but has long spoken of the need to make it more sustainable and energy efficient, given its costly operation and high maintenance.

Brave the Adventure - Pleasure Beach boss Amanda Thompson has assured fans the popular attraction will be back next season.

Brave the Adventure – Pleasure Beach boss Amanda Thompson has assured fans the popular attraction will be back next season.

Many of its special effects and props, which include wind, ice, and fire, have been replaced or removed in its 20-year history.

Rumoured new features include fog and high-tech effects

Valhalla - a six minute long water adventure - closed in 2019 and is set to reopen in 2022 after a 're imagining.'

Valhalla – a six minute long water adventure – closed in 2019 and is set to reopen in 2022 after a ‘re imagining.’
Bosses remain tight-lipped for now as to what is in store.
Bosses remain tight-lipped for now as to what is in store.
A new video shows work underway on ride.
A new video shows work underway on ride.

Tiny wine bars, big rides and huge hopes: What Blackpool has waiting for visitors next week

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

“We’re really looking forward to be welcoming guests as soon as possible, I think everyone needs a glass of wine after this year! ”

The sun rises behind the Blackpool Tower in Blackpool, Lancashire. Picture date: Friday April 2, 2021. PA Photo. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
The sun rises behind the Blackpool Tower in Blackpool, Lancashire. (Image: PA)

Blackpool is set to welcome back visitors to its bars, theatres and attractions on May 17 following a government announcement that remaining restrictions on the town’s tourism industry can be safely lifted.

The next step of the Prime Minister’s roadmap is now for indoor hospitality and attractions to reopen along with show venues, hotels and guesthouses.

The past 15 months has seen Blackpool face its biggest challenges in a long history of successful tourism.

Even throughout the first and second world wars the town attractions could largely remain open as a form of escapism for both locals and visitors.

The coronavirus pandemic however has meant many bars, pubs and hotels have been unable to accommodate customers, rendering its beach and promenades uncharacteristically quiet.

Sadly some businesses have not made it to the other side of lockdown, with the financial burden too great. However for some, the down time has been an opportunity to renovate and create.

Amazing lockdown transformation at Lemmy's Bar in Waterloo Music Bar, Blackpool
Amazing lockdown transformation at Lemmy’s Bar in Waterloo Music Bar, Blackpool (Image: Waterloo Music Bar, Blackpool)

Waterloo Music Bar in Waterloo Road has had a particularly hard time after it failed to secure government funding to help it get through the Covid crisis.

Throughout the pandemic loyal customers and musicians have joined a campaign to save the bar from closure with Music Venue Trust getting involved.

Staff have come up with all kinds of creative ideas from selling merchandise to wild and wonderful ideas for virtual events to help raise funds after a year with no income.

Lockdown provided the opportunity to add to the already meticulously decorated bar and its infamous Motorhead-themed Lemmy’s bar.

Owner Ian Fletcher said: “The Waterloo Music Bar can’t wait to open it’s doors again on May 17, and our team are very excited to welcome everyone back to see what we have been doing through lockdown.

“We have the one and only Lemmy’s Motorhead-themed bar in the UK and our entire venue is packed with music memorabilia and artwork. We can only operate at reduced capacity from May until June 21, which means our early gigs are mostly sold out, but we have an epic year of music coming up, just checkout our website for dates and tickets.”

International graffiti and street artist, Chris Fenn AKA Seca One Art, has painted a spectacularly colourful mural of grapes and flowers on the front Nook Wine bar set to open in May 2020
International graffiti and street artist, Chris Fenn AKA Seca One Art, has painted a spectacularly colourful mural of grapes and flowers on the front Nook Wine bar set to open in May 2020 (Image: Nook Wine Bar)

Lockdown also saw the creation of the town’s smallest wine bar. Tucked away down Cheapside, a former sandwich shop, the Hideaway, was transformed into Nook wine bar, a small but mightynew bar for 2021.

Spectacularly painted with a colourful mural by Blackpool’s International graffiti and street artist Seca One Art, the bar will not be just another “stuffy wine gaff” and will be focusing on serving premium and unique wines from all around the world.

Owner Jake Whittington, who also owns Dirty Blondes and Paradise Coast said: “Nook will be Blackpool’s first wine and charcuterie venue, so there’s a lot of excitement, and pressure, around the project.

“The tired old building has had to have extensive work done for such a small place. We were really aiming to get open for the 17th, but we may be running a couple of weeks behind.

“Opening a bar in lockdown is a challenge to say the least, suppliers and contractors are running at a reduced capacity so it certainly makes for an interesting time! We’re really looking forward to be welcoming guests as soon as possible, I think everyone needs a glass of wine after this year! ”

Madame Tussauds, Blackpool during lockdown two
Madame Tussauds, Blackpool during lockdown two (Image: This is influential)

Excitement is building at the news that some of Blackpool’s biggest and longstanding attractions will be able to welcome customers back including the Tower, the Dungeons and Madame Tussauds.

After operating at a reduced capacity at times the well-loved destinations had to close completely during the third national lockdown.

Now the iconic landmarks can begin to come back to life.

Kate Shane, Head of the Blackpool Cluster for Merlin Entertainments, said: “We’ve been counting down the days until we can reopen our doors at The Blackpool Tower attractions, Sea Life and Madame Tussauds, so it’s great to have the green light for this to go ahead.

“Our teams are overjoyed to be back and this week they are busy with final preparations for our attractions opening on the May 17 alongside final rehearsals for The Blackpool Tower Dungeons and Circus which open on Saturday May 22.

“We have all been separated from our families and friends for over 12 months, so we simply can’t wait to reconnect loved ones and help them make magical new memories together.

“Our attractions were created for fun, so we’re counting down the days until we can see the smiles and hear the laughter of our guests once more.”


Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Blackpool Pleasure Beach will also be able to get back to normal with visitors able to experience more fun at the fair.

After re-opening on April 12 it has been receiving guests on a daily basis however the lifting of restrictions means its guests can enjoy more.

A Spokesperson for Blackpool Pleasure Beach said: From 17th May we will be able to reopen our both of our hotels, The Big Blue and The Boulevard, which will see many more visitors coming to the resort.

“In addition to this the White Tower restaurant and our indoor attractions Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Pasaje Del Terror and will open again and provide much more for our guests to enjoy.”

For more information on where to visit in Blackpool come May 17, please visit Visit Blackpool.

5 of the best Blackpool pubs near Pleasure Beach and the seaside

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

From The Spen Dyke to Half Way House, here are the best watering holes to visit near the beach

There are pubs a short distance from the Pleasure Beach and seafront in Blackpool
There are pubs a short distance from the Pleasure Beach and seafront in Blackpool (Image: Unsplash)

With pubs set to reopen indoors on May 17, it’s time to start thinking about getting a tipple in again. No longer are you at the mercy of the elements, as groups of up to six people will be allowed to enjoy drinks and food inside again.

There are a great selection of boozers on offer in Blackpool, with each offering its own quintessential charm.

Whether it’s a good pint you seek, or a cosy place with great food, this seaside resort has everything you need.

Here’s a selection of five of the best to while away a sunny day in the town.

The Spen Dyke

Situated on Lytham Road, just a stone’s throw from Pleasure Beach, The Spen Dyke is perfectly located for a few pints after a ride on the rollercoaster (if you’re brave enough). With outdoor and indoor seating available, this is also a great bar if the weather holds up.

They serve tapas (perfect for a snack while downing some bevvies) as well as burgers, and a generous Sunday roast menu on – you guessed it – Sundays.

Farmers Arms

Owned by Greene King, the Farmers Arms is just down the road from the Spen Dyke. Offering your usual selection of affordable grub, this pub is ideal for a day out by the seaside.

Situated in a very residential-style building, this bar offers a quirky charm to while away those sunny days (hopefully) in Blackpool.

Half Way House

A bit further out, but still within walking distance to the seaside – Blackpool’s Half Way House has everything you could ask for in an English boozer. Part of the Joseph Holy pub chain, this bar boasts a pizza menu, as well as your more traditional pub offering.

Situated on St Anne’s Road, the Half Way House is located right beside Blackpool Airport for those travelling from further afield and in need of a quick top-up.

The Velvet Coaster

Yes, it is a Wetherspoon’s – but you can’t beat this particular boozer for location, or name. The Velvet Coaster is named after the famous ride that was introduced to the Pleasure Beach in the early 1990s, and this building exists as a tribute to that particular attraction.

With the kind of spacious interior typically found in JD Wetherspoon boozers, there’s room for all the family in this one.

The Velvet Coaster in Blackpool
The Velvet Coaster in Blackpool (Image: Google)

The Dutton Arms

Centrally located, and showing live sport, The Dutton Arms offers everything you could want for a sunny day out in Blackpool. Only minutes away from both Pleasure Beach, and the beach itself, you can’t beat this watering hole for location.

With a full food and breakfast menu on offer, this is the perfect spot for any time of the day.

 

 

Blackpool’s Pleasure Beach’s Hot Ice returns with new ‘Euphoria’ show

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

Hot Ice is described as “a dream that is brought to life by the stunning lighting that reflects the mood and magnificence of each scene”.

Blackpool Pleasure Beach's Hot Ice Show
Blackpool Pleasure Beach’s Hot Ice Show (Image: Blackpool Pleasure Beach’)

Blackpool Pleasure Beach’s Hot Ice show has announced it is set to return with a new show called Euphoria.

The show, which is the world’s longest running ice show, opens for the summer season on July 8 and runs until September 11 2021

This year’s show features everything that is hot in ice skating with the very best performers from around the world taking to the ice in over 400 stunning costumes to a collection of mesmerising music, state-of-the-art lighting system and explosive pyrotechnic fire effects.

This years’ new production ‘Euphoria’ has been described as a ‘fast-moving live performance’, which promises to keep the audience sitting on the edge of their seats.

Hot Ice is described as “a dream that is brought to life by the stunning lighting that reflects the mood and magnificence of each scene”.

Amanda Thompson OBE has been both producer and director of the Hot Ice Show for over 20 years.

In 2005 she also took over as managing director of Blackpool Pleasure Beach and has managed to successfully combine the two major and demanding roles.

The show is choreographed by Oula Jaaskelainen, a former Olympic athlete and Hot Ice cast member, who creates excitement by encouraging the performers to skate at high speeds with intricate footwork and spine-tingling jumps.

Created by the talented Pleasure Beach Wardrobe Team, the show’s breath-taking costumes are some of the best to see anywhere in the theatre world.

One of the world-class Skaters at Blackpool Pleasure Beach's Hot Ice Show
One of the world-class Skaters at Blackpool Pleasure Beach’s Hot Ice Show (Image: Blackpool Pleasure Beach)

Hot Ice has always boasted some of the world’s best skaters with numerous national, world and Olympic champions performing at the event since its inception.

Anyone purchasing tickets in May for shows between July 9 and 23 can get a discount on all seats, excluding standing, on either evening or matinee shows.

Evening shows get £5 off with the code EVENING5OFF and matinee shows get £2 off with the code MATINEE2OFF.

Anyone booking tickets in May for performances on selected dates in July can also get a great money off deal.

 

What’s a trip to Blackpool Pleasure Beach like after lockdown?

Manchester Evening News for live, in-depth and regularly updated news and  information from in and around Manchester.


Children from the age of six need to wear a mask on most rides (Image: Emma Gill / Manchester Evening News)

After what feels like an eternity in lockdown, a trip to the theme park is perhaps a daunting prospect for most.

Purposely mixing with lots of different households and touching bars and handles used by thousands of people in the same day is a far cry from the stay at home mantra we’ve become accustomed to.

But with outdoor attractions finally reopening while the school holidays are still in full swing, it was an exciting prospect too – to finally experience the thrills of the rides and seaside once again.

The queue that greeted us at the entrance to Blackpool Pleasure Beach was far from thrilling though, as we arrived on the morning of the grand reopening to find people weaving through the car park and stretching along the front as far as Ripley’s Believe It or Not.

We needn’t have worried though. As soon as the gates opened at 11am we got moving and were getting on our first ride by 10 past. I’ve never known a queue that long to move so fast.

Helped by visitors having to book eTickets in advance, we simply had to zap the bar code on the machine to get in – we had ours on a mobile phone, but you can print it out too if you’d rather.

You need the bar code for getting on rides too, as it’s replaced the wristband system, so if your battery life on your phone isn’t too great – or you want to save it for all those photos you’ll be taking – then a print out would be best.

Once inside and the hundreds of people who’d formed the queue outside quickly dispersed across the park, leaving many rides with no queues at all.

In fact we rarely queued for more than 10 or 15 minutes for any ride, including the most popular ones like Icon and the Big One, both of which we got on twice.

Signs on the floors to keep people apart while queuing (Image: Emma Gill / Manchester Evening News)

To help with Covid restrictions such as social distancing, the park – which is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year – is operating at 30 to 50% of normal capacity, which explains why it’s pretty quiet whilst walking around.

There are one way systems and keep left signs in place to help keep groups apart and boards and screens have been installed in some of the queues to help with that separation.

‘Stand behind the yellow line’ signs on the floor remind people to stay apart too and while not everyone follows the rules, the majority seemed to oblige.

Nickelodeon Streak at Blackpool Pleasure Beach (Image: Emma Gill / Manchester Evening News)

Mask wearing is required indoors and on most rides, even for younger children from the age of six, and while that’s a obviously a good thing for safety, it makes it difficult to see if they’re enjoying the ride or not. It was left to my son’s frown and uncharacteristic silence to indicate he wasn’t feeling too comfortable as we ascended the Big One.

Keeping your mask in place on the way down is another matter but while mine slipped below my nose, I managed to keep it over my mouth and my children’s masks didn’t budge.

The hardest thing is making sure nobody loses theirs with all the taking on and off throughout the day and there was at least one occasion we were backtracking to find a lost mask which ended up being in my son’s pocket.

Rides are being regularly cleaned (Image: Emma Gill / Manchester Evening News)

The distancing measures means empty seats are left on rides too, so if you’re in a group of three like we were, one of you isn’t plonked alongside a stranger, and on some of the rides entire rows are left empty.

With the extra cleaning measures in place, sometimes pausing rides so every seat and handle bar can be wiped down, it’s easy to see why visitor numbers have to be reduced – but it’s a reassuring sight for the smaller crowds who do attend.

Food and drink stalls are back in business too and while there’s no indoor eating allowed yet, additional outdoor seating has been arranged around the park.

There’s a new online food ordering system in place, letting you purchase food for a contact-less service, or you can just turn up and buy, like we did at the Burger King inside the park, which is operating with a limited but pretty extensive menu and has its own distancing and sanitising measures in place.

Distancing measures inside Burger King at Blackpool Pleasure Beach (Image: Emma Gill / Manchester Evening News)

Park staff, who were visible across the site, are temperature tested daily and equipped with the appropriate PPE. Most seemed genuinely pleased to be back at work. With the exception of one cleaner in the toilets that is, who told me she was counting down to her 6.30 finish – and who can blame her.

It’s probably a shock to the system getting back to work after months at home and there are changes we’re all having to adapt to as the country eases out of lockdown.

If you’d have asked me a year ago whether I’d enjoy a theme park visit while wearing a mask on every ride, I probably would have said no.

The queue for the Big One was less than 15 minutes (Image: Emma Gill / Manchester Evening News)

But they’ve become part of our lives and it’s a small price to pay for some normality – indeed some actual fun – in these strange times.

In many ways, with less crowds and fewer queues, it’s a better experience than it was before. And when you do need the loo whilst out and about, at least you know there’s more chance of it being clean, even if it is rather reluctantly.

Tickets for Blackpool Pleasure Beach cost £30 for 11 years and under and £35 for ages 12 and over. Book online here.

How Blackpool Pleasure Beach has changed over the last 125 years

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Blackpool Pleasure Beach will open its gates on Monday – here’s a look back at the theme park over the years


How Blackpool Pleasure Beach has changed over the last 125 years (Image: Andrew Teebay/Liverpool Echo)

Interest in theme parks has surged online by 65 per cent in the past three months amid the third national lockdown – showing that people are eager to get back to the thrill of rides.

One renowned north west attraction that’s been sorely missed is Blackpool Pleasure Beach, with its fun of the fair and its host of entertainment and interaction experiences.

It’s set to reopen its gates on Monday, April 12 after outdoor attractions were given the green light to welcome back visitors as part of Step Two in the roadmap.

And while it’ll be a big day for Pleasure Beach, it will also be celebrating its 125th anniversary.

A lot has changed at the theme park over the years, and there are even more new experiences launching in 2021, reports LancsLive.

This includes Walk the Woodie, which is an escorted, guided walk of the track and lift hills of one of the park’s classic wooden roller coasters.

Skipping ahead to autumn, there will be a new ‘it’s Friday night’ event, which will see the park open from 4.30pm-9.30pm.

While the hub is also a new centre for park entertainment located in the middle of the grounds near the fountains, which will also welcome Oktoberfest in September.

To allow visitors next week, the amusement park has put in place a number of robust Covid-secure measures, such as limiting the number of guests, compulsory masks and temperature checks.

Here, our sister site LancsLive takes a look at the iconic history of the family-owned Pleasure Beach and its 125 seasons.

Vision of an American-style theme park

1890 – 1910

Alderman William George Bean founded Pleasure Beach in 1896 after being inspired to build an American-style amusement park.

He had ambitious plans to build a world-renowned attraction “to make adults feel like children again”.

In conjunction with partner John Outhwaite, A.W.G. Bean bought a 42-acre plot of land where the park still stands today.

The local businessman travelled extensively to bring new rides and ideas to Pleasure Beach.

He introduced the Hotchkiss Bicycle Railroad to the site in July 1896 and Sir Hiram Maxim’s Flying Machines and Noah’s Ark – which still stand today.

The Infamous Flying Machines are not only one of the oldest continuously working machines in the Blackpool Pleasure Beach but also in Europe.

125 years later A.W.G. Bean’s Creation has brought joy to millions of visitors of all ages and backgrounds.

Still thriving through the first World War

1910 – 1930

31st March 1936: Men painting the pleasure boats at Blackpool Boating Lake, Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Lancashire, in preparation for the Easter holiday visitors

The outbreak of the first world war saw Pleasure Beach face many challenges.

The exporting of rides from the United States eventually ground to a halt and investment in the park stopped as a result of this and the mounting difficulties faced.

Always resilient through hard times however, Blackpool found a way to overcome problems.

Against the odds and due its unwavering popularity, the amusement park’s profits soared and it became one of the most prolific employers in the North West.

Escapism from war and handing down of the business

1930 – 1950

13th September 1939: Young evacuees from Manchester and Salford enjoying themselves on the aeroplane ride pretending to bomb Berlin, at Blackpool pleasure beach

Throughout the war years, Pleasure Beach remained open all year round.

Thousands of servicemen, evacuees and a wider population would come through its gates to briefly escape the burden of the world war around them.

So much so, signs around the park were written in Polish due to the number of Polish air force bases around the town at that time.

Once again, despite the turmoils of the external environment, this proved a great time of development for the park which started with the opening of Noah’s Ark and The Virginia Reel.

1923 also saw the introduction of a fast and modern ride like no other in the park. This was the Big Dipper which still operates today.

At the end of this prosperous decade for the theme park, W. G. Bean died in 1929. This is when Blackpool’s most well-established attraction was passed on to his son-in-law, Leonard Thompson.

Disney Inspiration and influx of rides

1950 -1960

Walt Disney himself came over to pay a visit (Image: Publicity Picture)

The company saw continued success under Thompson when there was an intensive period of development, including the building of the then modernistic Casino Building.

Inspired by Walt Disney’s penultimate amusement park, ‘Disneyland’, Leonard concentrated on introducing several groundbreaking rides including The Rollercoaster, The Pleasure Beach Express and the world-famous, twin-tracked coaster, The Grand National.

Returning the compliment, the Pleasure Beach became so world-renowned that Walt Disney himself came over to pay a visit.

The entrepreneur and animator came over to see it for himself and stated that he liked the fact it was a family park and that it was “a higher class of resort”.

This resulted in him granting permission for the company to use Alice in Wonderland as inspiration for a ride.

The second world war had seen a temporary holt in terms of the rides and attractions development however it soon saw a return to prominence with the opening of the highly regarded Wild Mouse wooden rollercoaster in 1958.

This was then followed by The Derby Racer in 1959 which carousel has 56 horses, each one hand-carved at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

Britain’s first commercial monorail and influx of popular rides

1960- 1970

During the 1960s, Britain’s first commercial Monorail was built along here with an explosion of new popular rides including the Monster, the Astro Swirl and the world’s longest Log Flume.

Visitors were also wowed by an enchanting trip through the Looking Glass on Alice in Wonderland; the Grand Prix and the popular Tea Cup ride .

Europe’s first 360-degree looping coaster and the UK’s only bobsleigh ride

1970- 1990

Geoffrey Thompson became Managing Director in 1976 and added several exciting and iconic rides to the pleasure beach.

These include the Steeplechase, opened by the racehorse Red Rum in 1977., then two years later, Europe’s first 360-degree looping coaster, the Revolution, which received huge acclaim.

This time also saw the introduction of the infamous The Big One – the tallest, fastest rollercoaster in the world at the time of its creation and the Avalanche – the UK’s only bobsleigh ride.

This remains the only bobsleigh rollercoaster in the country and in the year the British bobsleigh team were competing in the Winter Olympics, 1988, Avalanche opened and carried over one million passengers during the first year.

The world’s tallest, fastest rollercoaster

1990-2000

(Image: Graham Young)

In 1994 the Pepsi Max Big One opened at 235ft tall, meaning it was the world’s tallest and fastest rollercoaster of its time.

This was part of Geoffrey Thompson’s great legacy after he invested £12m in the gigantic ride.

The Big One changed the skyline of Blackpool’s seafront forever and attracted roller coaster superfans from all over the world.

Another UK first was also established around this time, the £2 million Ice Blast, which catapults riders 210 feet vertically into the air.

Expansion

2000-2020

Millions continued to be invested in the Pleasure Beach from the 2000s and beyond.

Over £3m was invested in new rides, enhancements and attractions.

The notorious Valhalla ride opened in 2000 after a massive £15m investment, the biggest amount up until that point.

This thrilling new ride was hailed as the biggest, most spectacular dark ride ever to be constructed by mankind.

The Big Blue Hotel opened its doors in 2002 offering luxury accommodation which also saw the 100th birthday of Chairman, Mrs L.D. Thompson. The 157-bedroom hotel has now established itself as one of the most popular hotels in Blackpool.

Sadly in 2004 Mrs L.D. Thompson M.B.E. J.P. and Geoffrey Thompson O.B.E. passed away and the company was passed to the Managing Director.

Amanda Thompson re-themed and refurbished the park and there has since been the introduction of Infusion – the world’s first rollercoaster suspended entirely over water, Nickelodeon Land, Red Arrows Skyforce and ICON – the UK’s first double launch rollercoaster costing £16.25m.

In 2019, the £12m Boulevard Hotel opened with 120 stylish rooms with views of the seafront or park, a 90-seat restaurant and state-of-the-art conference facilities.

The future and beyond

2021

Now the team at Blackpool Pleasure Beach is hard at work in order to re-open the gates on April 12 after a tumultuous 12 months.

Staff have used lockdown as an opportunity to improve and enhance visitor experiences for its well-loved guests down to replacing rollercoasters wheels and old pieces of track.

They have also implemented, and will maintain, a new unprecedented and enhanced deep cleaning regime to keep visitors Covid safe.

 

Blackpool-themed children’s toy launches as creator offers free handouts to schools

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

Due its educational purposes, Hippo Mat is looking to give away as many mats as it can to deserving schools and organisations for free

Blackpool-themed children's road mat launched by Hippo Mat
Blackpool-themed children’s road mat launched by Hippo Mat (Image: Hippo Mat)

A new Blackpool-themed educational toy for children designed by a local artist has just been launched and is unlike any of its kind.

Creators Hippo Mat, based in Brighton, employed the services of Blackpool’s Billie Franks to design a children’s road mat which includes many unique landmarks and road safety features.

Children in the town can now let their imaginations run free where they can visit the famous Blackpool Tower, stroll peacefully through Stanley Park or pay a visit to the animals at Blackpool zoo.

Hippo Mat is in the process of creating children’s road maps for 62 locations around the UK.

The fun maps are not made to 100% scale however landmarks are accurate in terms of where they are in relation to each other.

Hippo Mat Director Marcos said: “Each artist is from that location so our Blackpool artist is Billie Franks from Blackpool.

Blackpool Pleasure Beach on Hippo Mat's road mat
Blackpool Pleasure Beach on Hippo Mat’s road mat (Image: Hippo Mat)

“I’m a driving instructor normally so that’s why it’s so imperative it has to have the road signs and road paint!

“The idea came about literally on a driving lesson when a learner and I were reminiscing of childhood.”

“Local Geography is part of the KS1 Curriculum so our products are definitely more educational than generic car play mats for that reason.

Coral Island on Hippo Mat's road mat
Coral Island on Hippo Mat’s road mat (Image: Hippo Mat)

Due its educational purposes, Hippo Mat is looking to give away as many mats as it can to deserving schools and organisations for free.

So far the toy maker has emailed 15 Blackpool schools and organisations however have not had a response.

The mats are also available to buy from the company’s website.

To find out more about Hippo Mat’s products, please visit the website here.