Blackpool Pleasure Beach is a huge amusement park located in Blackpool on the West Coast. Many of us have fond childhood memories of visiting the park, while it is as popular today as it was decades ago. The Pleasure Beach has grown over the years into the mammoth attraction it is today but what is it that attracts millions of visitors every year to The Pleasure Beach? Let’s take a look at how it all started and what the attraction offers us today.
How it All Began
The Pleasure Beach was founded in 1896 by William George Bean who then seven years later bought an extra thirty acres of land (1903) along with John Outhwaite in order to expand the park further. The original Pleasure Beach idea was based on the fair at Coney Island in the US with the two men hoping to create a place of fun that both adults and children alike would enjoy visiting. The first rides to open on the Pleasure Beach were,
Hiram Maxim Captive Flying Machine 1904
A Water Chute in 1905 called The River Caves of the World
The park saw investment over the next few years open the Noah’s Ark, the Dodgems and The Big Dipper with the Casino building following in 1920. The Casino is still in existence today.
Following the deaths of both Outhwaite and Bean the Pleasure Beach passed down to Bean’s daughter Lillian. Along with her husband businessman Leonard Thompson they began to run the attraction, while Outhwaite’s relatives who still owned a few shares in the business sold up and left the park in the Thompson’s capable hands.
The family continually improved the rides on the park until Thompson died in 1976 and his son took over the business. Geoffrey Thompson now expanded the park even further updating and upgrading rides to include the Steeplechase, Revolution, Avalanche, Ice Blast and The Big One.
The Next Generation
Amanda Thompson daughter of Geoffrey took over running the park and has done a fantastic job ever since. Amanda was instrumental to the introduction of the Infusion ride, catering outlets, bars and the Dancing Water Show, while Nickelodeon Land was opened on the site of the previous Beaver Creek in 2011. Ice Skating and Adventure Golf also entered the park under Amanda’s reign plus The Wallace and Gromit Ride. Today The Pleasure Beach is not simply a fun fair but a resort in itself with so many attractions and shows making The Pleasure Beach a major worldwide attraction.
The Pleasure Beach Rides
Blackpool Pleasure Beach is famous for its many rides and attractions with many unique rides only being found at this site. Here are some of the most popular rides located here.
The Big One
We only have to look at the picture of the Big One to realise how it was named. It takes a person with nerve too to ride the Big One! The Big One is a two hundred and thirteen feet high hyper coaster that travels at speeds of up to 75mph. When the ride opened in 1994 it was the tallest and fastest roller coaster of its kind. This record has since been surpassed. The steep rise at the beginning of the ride builds up the tension until reaching the top where in a flash riders descend the steep track to the sound of screams and shouts from not only those riding the coaster but from spectators on the ground too.
Infusion was built in 2007 and is an inverted roller coaster that twists and turns sending riders upside down as it speeds along. As the coaster speeds over the top loop riders are inverted meaning their feet are raised vertically. This ride isn’t for the faint hearted, while it was the first of its type to be built over water. Ride it if you dare!
This is the original Ghost Train and was the ride that indeed invented the name back in 1930. The Ghost Train is as popular today as it ever was. Riders must prepare to enter the dark and look out for whatever they come across as they go along. With skeletons, ghosts and all kinds of characters jumping out from time to time this ride is great fun.
Wallace and Gromit’s Thrill-O-Matic
This fabulous family ride opened in 2013 and is one of the newest rides on the Pleasure Beach. Based on Wallace and Gromit’s Adventures, fans of the twosome will love this great ride as the cars they will travel in are based on the slippers that Wallace wears in the movies. The ride cost £5.25 million to build and features scenes from the films along with voice overs too making for an authentic experience that lasts for around four minutes.
Once fans have enjoyed the ride they can then enter the Wallace and Gromit shop where merchandise from all their adventures is available to buy as a souvenir of the fun experience they have just had.
This ride is another one that is not for the faint hearted as riders are launched from an elevated station, launched around a full loop before coming to a halt and then following the same path but backwards. With a G Force of 4 and speeds up to forty miles per hour this is a stomach churning experience that thrill seekers will not want to miss.
This award winning ride opened in 2000 and take riders on a dark journey through ice, snow, water, wind and fire. Sounds Exciting? Well it is! Valhalla is the world’s largest indoor dark ride and is a must do experience for those visiting Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Riders must be a minimum of four feet tall in order to participate in the ride.
Entertainment on the Pleasure Beach
Blackpool Pleasure Beach is not only a place where visitors can take a thrill ride but has other attractions to delight tourists too. Taking in The Hot Ice Show for example is a fantastic way to spend a few hours as it features Olympic and Professional skaters who put on an amazing spectacle in the Arena Skating Rink sited within the Pleasure Beach. When the shows are not being performed the ice rink is open to the public.
Other shows featured here include The Circus of Horrors, The Blackpool Gang Show, High Jinx Magician Show and a Hypnotist Show. The Casino located at the entrance to the Pleasure Beach is another popular venue providing alternative entertainment for visitors. The Casino building also houses a fabulous grill where diners can end their day of entertainment in lovely surroundings.
The Big Blue Hotel
The Big Blue Hotel is located at the Pleasure Beach and is a fabulous four star venue for visitors to stay in. The contemporary accommodation offered here is amazing with well decorated rooms featuring excellent amenities, while the whole of Blackpool including the Pleasure Beach is on the doorstep.
The Big Blue Hotel features a great bar and brasserie plus offers a fabulous gymnasium where personal training, massages and therapy for sports injuries can be pre-booked if so wished. This great hotel also caters for business guests and weddings.
The Pleasure Beach Today
Today Blackpool Pleasure Beach features over forty fabulous rides and attractions. The park is filled with food stalls, cafes, restaurants and today is the pride of Blackpool. It is one of the top twenty most visited parks in the world with millions of tourists passing through the gates very year. Wristbands used to pay for the rides and attractions can be bought online in advance with adults saving £8.00 and children £7.00 when ordering via the website.