Advantages Reasonable prices, lots to see and do for all the family
Disadvantages A few rides are outdated
|Is it worth visiting?|
The Pleasure Beach is a theme park located along the Fylde coast in Blackpool and is currently the most visited theme park in the UK with over 6 million visitors a year. The park has been around since 1896 and was originally designed to be like an "American style amusement park". The park is still owned and run by the descendants of the original founder of the park and currently boasts over 125 rides and attractions, which includes 9 rollercoasters.
Like a lot of funfairs, once you buy your ticket you will be given a wristband which is scanned every time you get on the ride. This costs between £20-30 depending on what time of year you visit. Ours cost £20 each for a weekday ticket in early July. If you buy your ticket in advance on their website, you are able to save money, normally about £5 per person. There are also children's wristbands and wristbands for senior citizens at around £16 - £20 each, again depending on the time of year. If there is a member of your family that doesn't go on rides, perhaps they stay with the pushchairs or just watch, they can buy a cheap 'entry only' ticket. These cost a set £5 at time of writing. You are also able to buy a ticket just for a ride on the 'Pepsi Max Big One' rollercoaster.My boyfriend and I decided to take a holiday in Blackpool early July, we decided to only stay there Monday to Friday so that we could avoid the crowded weekends. It was a great time to visit as it was before schools had broken up and there was hardly anyone about! We decided to visit the park on Tuesday, and we got to the park just after it's opening time, which was around 9. I wish we had left it a bit longer because although I had read on the website that rides would be opening at 10, only a couple of the smaller rides by the entrance had opened by the time 10 o'clock had come around! A lot of the rides didn't open till 11, and some were even later at 12. This is something that needs to be taken into account if you are visiting at a quiet time of the year. On the plus side though, there were not many people around and the longest we had to wait to get onto a ride all day was about fifteen minutes!
There is a reasonably large car park to the right of the theme park, situated behind a ride called Valhalla. There is a separate coach park towards the back of the theme park. The parking can be quite expensive at around £6 - £10, though your car will be kept safe for the day.
The Pleasure Beach owns a hotel which is located just outside the entrance. The intention of this hotel is that guests will stay here and therefore can visit the park for more than one day. I wouldn't really recommend staying here because it is quite pricey and there are many other hotels and B&Bs nearby! However, if you are looking for luxury then it could be a good bet. In some of the back rooms, you can get views inside of the theme park.Okay, and now the bit people will be most interested in hearing about ..
There are three thrill rides at BPB:Val Halla - This ride cost over £15 million to produce and is the most expensive water ride in the world, as well as the longest indoor water ride. The boats are designed like Viking boats, and the ride operates along a Viking theme. I wasn’t prepared for how soaked I got on this ride! There was literally water coming at us from all directions at one point.. and it was difficult to tell what the source was. The special effects on this one are great and rival the likes that Disney would produce, you will experience fire, ice, lights, steam and all sorts. Difficult to say how high the drops were but there were a couple of steep ones!
Ice Blast – Ice Blast is a vertical free fall ride, the type where you sit on seats surrounding a tower and it takes you up and drops you from a great height.. unlike a lot of these rides though, it also blasts you up to the top really fast before plunging down again! I hate these kinds of rides as I don’t really like heights, so I didn’t go on this one.Bling – This ride consists of six rows of seats that all meet in the middle, making a kind of star shape. The ride takes you 100ft into the air and then spins you round and round all over the place. This is also not my type of ride so I didn’t brave it I’m afraid! I can imagine this will make you feel quite sick!
There are quite a few rollercoasters at BPB, showcasing both new technologies and a bit of history.Infusion - This suspended looping rollercoaster came to Blackpool in 2007, it had originally been operating at Pleasureland Southport under a different name. The entrance to this one is right at the back of the park and the ride track is a bright blue colour and gives the impression of being a water ride, you may get a little wet on this one. This is one of the most advertised rides at the moment and it is different because it is the first in the world to be built completely over water. There are many twists and turns to this rollercoaster and there are times when your feet are dangling just inches over the sea!
The Grand National - The Grand National is a traditional wooden rollercoaster that has been in the park since 1934. This was probably my favourite ride in the park and I went on it quite a few times. There are two tracks which run alongside each other with the two ride trains setting off at the same time, and the idea is that they are racing each other. This is great fun trying to work out which train will get to the finish first.
The actual ride is quite big and has many dips and drops.
Avalanche - The Avalanche is a rollercoaster in the middle of the park which runs on a white track which is decorated to look like a bobsled track. One in the ride cars, you sit one in front of the other and the cars whizz around in imitation of a bobsled ride. This ride looked quite fun, though unfortunately I didn't get chance to go on this one. I did notice that the queue for this was quite long however, even on a quiet day, so you may want to get there early.Steeplechase - This is also the last ride of it's kind in existence, makes you wonder why this is, probably because the ride isn't that fun! On this one, you ride on your own or in couples and the car is actually in the shape of a horse! The horse travels up and down round a circuit. I didn't ride on this one as it looked pretty scary, all that holds you on is a piece of material round your waist, much the same as you get on a merry-go-round. As it is only loading people in ones and twos, there maybe a bit of a queue for this one, so best to get there at it’s opening time if you want to ride.
Irn Bru Revolution – This ride is a looping coaster, the kind where there is only one loop and you are shot through it, and then when you get to the end you stop before being propelled backwards again. The ride is faster than it looks and is certainly a thrill when you are returning through the loop backwards as you can’t see what happening behind you!The Pepsi Max Big One – The Big One, sponsored by Pepsi max, was the world’s fastest, steepest and tallest rollercoaster when it was first built in 1994. That record has now been taken but it is still one of the largest rollercoasters in Europe. The highest point of the rollercoaster is 235ft and the track goes round the entire circumference of the park. There was no way my boyfriend was going to go on this and I am embarrassed to say I was too scared to ride it alone! I will definitely be coming back to the park with a braver friend though as it is definitely very impressive looking.
Wild Mouse - This is actually the last operating wooden wild mouse roller coaster in the world now, so it is a pretty unique ride. There are similar rides around, such as the Spinball Whizzer at Alton Towers, the Wild Mouse is like a very early prototype. The ride is quite a small one and you ride in small cars which seat two people, one in front of the other. The track is quite short and it doesn’t take you that high up by today’s standards. The ride can be quite scary at times, the turns are quite sharp so that it can look like you are about to derail before the car swiftly turns. I can't say I enjoyed this one much, probably more due to the fact my over the top scared boyfriend was squeezing the life out of me in terror. It is quite bumpy and doesn’t last for very long but a fun ride overall.Zipper Dipper – This is a very small wooden rollercoaster right at the back of the park, designed for small children to enjoy. I didn’t go on this as it is so small to get much of a thrill out of!
There is a vast amount of family rides which most people should find enjoyable:Ghost Train - This is quite a fun ride that lasts for around 5 minutes. I like my ghost rides to be really scary though so was a little disappointed with this one, the monsters and ghosts all look really childish! It’s more like a cheap funfair ride than one you’d normally see in a theme park. The track of the ride was quite fun though, taking you up and down small dips and going inside and outside the ride building in different places. The entrance also looks quite good and is very well presented.
Alice Ride – This is quite a good ride and well built and maintained so that adults will enjoy it as well as children. The cars were quite small, though it wasn’t uncomfortable for me and my long-legged boyfriend. The cars are in the shape of Cheshire Cats which I thought was quite clever!Impossible – This isn’t an actual ride as such, more of a funhouse type thing that you walk through. The beginning of it was a mirror maze and then there were crazy mirrors and some other interesting things at the end. Not one of the best parts of the park but worth a visit if you have small children.
Chinese Puzzle Maze – Again, this isn’t a ride, just a small maze you can walk round. Guests without a ride wristband can visit this, although it is only a very small maze so not really worth the bother.Flying Machines – This ride is right by the entrance and on top of a gift shop. The ride consists of rocket type cars that rotate round and round taking the rider high into the air. This kind of ride makes me feel dizzy and a little bit nauseous so I didn’t really like it that much, it certainly feels faster than it looks!
River Caves – This is a boat adventure ride, designed for children. The ride looks like a log flume, probably because of the small drop at the end outside which you can see whilst queuing up. But actually this ride is mostly indoors and shows you different scenes from bygone times. I quite enjoyed this ride as it was interesting and well presented.Magic Mountain – This is a sweet ride designed for younger children in which you board a slow moving train which takes you round different scenes with toys and animals. We went on this but it was far too young a ride for us!
Derby Racer – This was the first ride we went on as it was one of the only ones which was open when we got to the park. The ride looks like a large carousel, except the horses are slightly larger and go up and down without the aid of a pole. This is actually a really fun ride, there is traditional carousel music playing as you go around and it goes quite fast. I liked it enough to go on it quite a few times.Pleasure Beach Express – This is a train ride which will take you around the park and then back to the station, lasting about 10 minutes in all. There is only one station so it should not be used to travel the park as you can’t hop off! I liked this ride just because you get to look around the park. There are themed statues and objects to look at whilst you go around, these are only visable from the train ride.
Monorail – The monorail is an old fashioned, open air monorail which takes you around part of the park, giving you views of it much the same way the Pleasure Beach Express does.Superbowl Dodgems – This is quite a large dodgem ride (the cars are fairly large and there is a large running area), the cars are all decorated in the theme of American Football which is a bit of a strange theme considering it isn’t a popular sport in the UK! Neverless, the ride is great, and anyone who loves dodgems will not be disappointed with this one.
Tetley Tea Cup Ride – The tea cup ride is a ride in which you sit in giant teacups in groups of around 4 and there is a wheel you turn in the middle which whizzes the teacup around once the ride begins. The more you turn the wheel, the faster you will go!Beaver Creek: The Ride – Beaver Creak is a small logflume ride towards the back of the park. I didn’t go on this ride however as getting so wet on Val Halla put me off anymore water rides! The drops didn’t look particularly high though so it is probably not the scariest logflume ever or anything.
Adventure Golf – This is a crazy golf court which you have to pay extra to use. We didn’t use it as were too busy with the rides!Gallopers – This is a small, traditionally designed carousel. I didn’t go on this ride as Derby Racer was more my kind of thing.
Grand Prix - You sit in your own Grand Prix car and drive your way around the track. The cars are held to a track in the form of a metal bar in the middle of the ‘road’ so you aren’t able to crash or veer off.Other ‘children only’ rides include:
We had a really fun time at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. The Atmosphere was great, it felt like a proper seaside funfair because it was right by the sea but there was also enough rides and things to do to keep us busy for the whole day. Blackpool Pleasure Beach really is the jewel in Blackpool's otherwise diminishing crown and I hope to visit again soon.
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