Blackpool Pleasure Beach truly is a wonderful, wonderful park. It quite literally feels like a journey through the grand timeline of theme park developments, and proudly celebrates its 120th anniversary this year after originally opening in 1896. Pick any decade from the 1900s to the present day and there’s most likely a ride at Pleasure Beach from that decade that’s still operating and still going strong. Now that is something truly special.
Not only is Pleasure Beach a journey through the history books, it also journeys along the intensity spectrum very well. From huge roller coasters to more sedate family dark rides, epic water rides and a selection of flat rides ranging from kiddie to extreme – and each one exemplifying its genre and the time in which it was constructed. Just look at the River Caves, or the Ghost Train, or the Derby Racer – still great fun to experience, still family friendly, and yet so iconic of its time that you literally feel like you’re riding through a piece of history.
Pleasure Beach has a great location too in one of the hottest tourist spots in the UK. If you like rides, particularly fast and thrilling rides, there are two pleasure piers located just down the seafront which each have a selection of flat rides that are sure to get stomachs churning, and are a great way to extend a day at the Pleasure Beach. There’s also the iconic Blackpool Tower – recently acquired by Merlin, there are a host of Merlin attractions in and around the tower such as a Sea Life Centre, Madame Tussaud’s and the Blackpool Tower Dungeon. And for the truly fearless, the legendary Pasaje del Terror is located right at the entrance to Pleasure Beach, renowned as one of the most iconic and scariest year-round horror mazes in the world.
Getting back to the matter at hand, Pleasure Beach makes an ideal park to visit even if you’re short on time or money. Although it feels fairly expansive and there are loads of attractions packed into the space, the park itself is tiny, only covering 42 acres – to put that into perspective for you, BPB would fit comfortably into Alton Towers 21 times…and still have room to spare! Pleasure Beach is also great value for money, with unlimited ride wristbands costing only £30 for a full day, more than 40% cheaper than Alton Towers, and if you don’t want to do the rides you only pay a fiver to get in and can easily purchase ride tickets or change your mind later. The number and variety of rides and attractions certainly make it worth the expense.
As with any park, there are a couple of things Blackpool Pleasure Beach doesn’t do so well. I’ve been using the term ‘theme park’ very loosely in this recount so far, as by and large outside of Nickelodeon Land and Valhalla, there is very little themeing in the park. The term ‘amusement park’ is much more appropriate here, and I will admit it is a little disappointing as someone who likes true theme parks to go from ride to ride and stand in unthemed queues with no music or anything to listen to – it’s certainly a contrast from the two European parks I visited earlier this autumn. On the subject of queues, lines were very short when me and Shawn visited, meaning that we did everything we wanted to multiple times and still had time to spare before the park closed at 5pm. The graduated opening of rides is a bit of a hindrance, especially if you arrive early, and as with all British theme parks the weather has the potential to put a damper on your day – particularly as it can also get pretty cold due to its location on the seafront. Make sure you wrap up warm and take a waterproof coat – you’ll need it for Valhalla if nothing else!
I’ve been visiting Blackpool Pleasure Beach annually for as long as I can remember, and it really doesn’t take long in the park to remember why. There are so many attractions and so many different things to enjoy that even if it’s raining you’re sure to have a great time. With new coaster Construction 2018 looming on the horizon, my bet is that BPB is going to go from strength to strength in terms of attractions line-up, fun and value for money, and I would strongly recommend a visit to anyone visiting or living near the north of England.
Full Attractions List (Everything we did today):
Alice Ride / Avalanche (twice) / Avatar Airbender (twice) / Big Dipper / Big One (twice) / Derby Racer / Flying Machines / Ghost Train / Grand National (twice) / Ice Blast (twice) / Infusion / Nickelodeon Streak / Pleasure Beach Express / Red Arrows Skyforce / Revolution (twice) / River Caves / Steeplechase / Valhalla / Wallace & Gromit’s Thrill-O-Matic (three times) / Wild Mouse
Top 5 Attractions:
2. Big One
4. Ice Blast
5. Red Arrows Skyforce
Big One (for being much more comfortable to ride thanks to recent improvements to the ride seats)
Wild Mouse (for being just as terrifying and painful as I remembered, if not worse)
Thanks for reading, and enjoy the rest of your stay here at Along for the Ride.