|Owner Thompson Family|
Phone +44 871 222 1234
Water rides 5
Area 17 ha
Roller coasters 10
|Slogan "See it, Feel it, Love it!"|
Location Blackpool, Lancashire, England
Website Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Address 525 Ocean Blvd, Blackpool FY4 1EZ, UK
Rides Big One, Valhalla, Grand National, Ice Blast: The Ride, Avalanche
Similar Big One, Sandcastle Water Park, Blackpool Illuminations, Blackpool Tower, Alton Towers
The big one pepsi max blackpool pleasure beach front seat on ride pov 2 7k
Blackpool Pleasure Beach commonly referred to as Pleasure Beach Resort or simply Pleasure Beach is an amusement park situated along the Fylde coast in Blackpool, Lancashire, England. The park was founded in 1896 and has been owned and operated by the Thompson family since its inception. It is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the United Kingdom, and one of the top twenty most visited amusement parks in the world, with a peak estimate of 5.5 million visitors in 2007. In 2014 it was voted as the best theme park in the United Kingdom and the ninth best park in Europe by the Travelers' Choice Awards.
- The big one pepsi max blackpool pleasure beach front seat on ride pov 2 7k
- Blackpool pleasure beach 11th february 2017
- Early years 18961930
- Later Years 1931present
- Current Park
- Awards Accolades
- Hot Ice
- Craig Christian Evolution Of Magic
- Ken Webster Mentalist Hypnotist
- Russ Browns Carnival of Magic
- Spectacular Dancing Water Show
- Other attractions
- The Big Blue Hotel
- In popular culture
The park is host to many records, including the largest number of roller coasters of any park in the United Kingdom with ten, of which five are wooden: the Big Dipper, Blue Flyer, Grand National, Nickelodeon Streak and Wild Mouse. Many of the roller coasters in the park are record breaking attractions. When it opened in 1994, the Big One was the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world. It was also the steepest, with an incline angle of 65° and one of the longest, measuring 5,497 feet (1,675 m). Currently, the ride holds the record as the tallest roller coaster in the United Kingdom, standing at 213 ft (65 m), with a first drop of 205 ft (62 m).
Pleasure Beach is one of only two parks left in the world to operate a traditional wooden Wild Mouse coaster, the other being Luna Park Sydney in Australia. The ride was built entirely in house, post-World War II and is still in complete working order. The Grand National is one of only three Möbius Loop coasters in existence, where a singular track "loops" around itself, offering a facsimile out-and-back layout and creating a "racing" effect on two parallel tracks. The park was also the first in Europe to introduce a fully inverting steel coaster, Revolution and is the last remaining park in the world to still operate a Steeplechase roller coaster. Sir Hiram Maxims Captive Flying Machine is the oldest amusement park ride in Europe having opened in August 1904. Recent records include Valhalla which at a cost of £15million was until 2016 the biggest and most expensive indoor dark ride in the world. Valhalla won "Best Water Ride" at the 2016 Golden Ticket awards. The park also operates a Nickelodeon Land and the world's only Wallace & Gromit ride, the Thrill-O-Matic. The latest record is taken by the Red Arrows Sky Force, a Gerstlauer Sky Fly thrill ride which is the first ride of its kind in the United Kingdom. In October 2016, the park officially unveiled its plans for a £16.25 million double-launched coaster under the codename "Construction MMXVIII". The coaster will be manufactered by Mack Rides in Germany and is expected to open in Spring 2018.
Blackpool pleasure beach 11th february 2017
Early years (1896–1930)
Pleasure Beach was founded in 1896 by Alderman William George Bean after he failed in his attempt to become an advertising man on New York's Madison Avenue. He returned to the United Kingdom in 1897 and opened two separate amusement parks; one adjacent to Euston Road in Great Yarmouth and another in Blackpool, opposite the tram terminus. The Great Yarmouth amusement park failed to generate much interest and so Bean moved to Blackpool full-time towards the end of the century.
In 1903, Bean, along with local businessman John Outhwaite, purchased 30 acres of land known as the "Watson Estate" which was used to expand the amusement park in Blackpool. The original Pleasure Beach was built on the sand dunes along the promenade and consisted of a few roundabouts, a Bicycle Railway and several Gypsy stalls. Bean and Outhwaite decided to grow the business after visiting Coney Island in the United States. Using a small static fairground in London's Earls Court for inspiration, Bean added more rides and sideshows to the Pleasure Beach which began to garner the attention of holidaymakers. Beans' aim was to establish a fun park of relative size that would make adults feel like children again and inspire gaiety of a primarily innocent character.
The first notable attraction of interest to open at Pleasure Beach was Sir Hiram Maxim's Captive Flying Machine, a rotary swing ride designed by the British inventor of the same name in 1904. A Mill Chute water ride followed in 1905, which opened under the name The River Caves of the World, both of which are still operational today. In 1907 the park opened its first wooden roller coaster which was known as The Scenic Railway. It was during this time that the park began to trade under the name Blackpool Pleasure Beach. In 1909, Bean expanded the Pleasure Beach business by purchasing a second amusement park up the coast in Morecambe under the name West End Amusement Park, which later become known as Frontierland, Morecambe. The success of the Morecambe park led to a third amusement park opening four years later in Southport under the name Pleasureland Southport.
Meanwhile, the Pleasure Beach was developed with frequent large scale investments including The Velvet Coaster, the House of Nonsense, The Joy Wheel and The Whip. Outhwaite died in 1911, leaving most of the remaining business to Bean, however the Outhwaite family still obtained shares in the park and would occasionally have input into its growth. Following World War I investment at the park ceased due to the difficulty in exporting rides from the United States and the next investments would not be until 1922 when The Virginia Reel and Noah's Ark opened. Despite the lack of investment, profits at the Pleasure Beach soared and the company was noted as being one of the most prolific employers in the north-west of England.
Further into the 1920s Bean invested in the Casino Building, a triple-tiered Art-Deco building designed by local architect and then Blackpool Mayor Alderman R.B. Mather, JP. The exterior of the building featured a white ferro-concrete façade with white electric lighting and the interior housed a billiard hall, cinema, restaurant and shop. Today the Casino Building is used as the main ticket centre for guests.
In 1923, land was reclaimed from Blackpool seafront and it was during this period that the Pleasure Beach moved to its 42-acre (170,000 m2) current location along the promenade. The same year Bean brought in John Miller to design and build the Big Dipper, an out-and-back wooden coaster and shortly afterwards a boating pool was built for boat rides. This was Bean's final investment before he died of pneumonia in 1929, having spent 33 years shaping and developing what would become one of the most significant amusement parks in the world. Following his death his only daughter Lillian-Doris and son-in-law Leonard inherited the Pleasure Beach business.
Lillian-Doris Bean married Leonard Thompson, an Oxford Natural Sciences graduate and businessman in 1928. The Thompsons' lived in London where Leonard worked at a Swedish Match Company, however upon hearing of Bean's death the couple returned to Blackpool, where decisions regarding the future running of the Pleasure Beach were in discussion. Leonard up until that point had not had any active involvement with the Pleasure Beach whatsoever, however on a mutual agreement with his wife it was agreed that Thompson would take over the running of the Pleasure Beach and have full responsibility of all its affairs. His first move was to appoint Oscar Haworth as the General Manager and George Palmer as Chairman of the company. Over the next two years, Thompson worked with the Outhwaite's to expand the business further, starting with construction of The Ghost Train which opened in 1930.
Later Years (1931–present)
In 1931 the remaining Outhwaite family sold their share of the park to the Thompsons, who now had complete control and ownership of the business. The following year Watson Road was built underneath the park, which resulted in the closure of The Velvet Coaster. Thompson's next major investment was the construction of the Fun House in 1934 and The Grand National, a Möbius Loop wooden coaster built by celebrated coaster designer Charles Paige in 1935. Paige had designed numerous other rides at the Pleasure Beach, including the Rollercoaster, another wooden coaster that was constructed on the site of The Velvet Coaster in 1933.
The success of Paiges' wooden coasters resulted in a complete reprofiling of the Big Dipper in 1936, which was extended towards the south-westerly side of the park. During this time Thompson hired Joseph Emberton, an award-winning architect who was brought in to redesign the architectural style of the Pleasure Beach rides and buildings, working on The Casino Building, Noah's Ark and the Ice Drome, a 2,000 seat ice rink. Emberton continued to design for the Pleasure Beach up to his death in 1956, after which Jack Ratcliffe, who had been involved in the Festival of Britain, was brought in to continue the work. Ratcliffed worked for many years at the park and much of his work can still be seen today.
Investments steadily decreased during World War II however the park remained open throughout the year to offer solace to the British public. The park returned to prominence between 1958-1961 when The Wild Mouse, Derby Racer and Alice Ride opened and over the next few years the scale of investments increased, with the world's longest Log Flume opening in 1967 and The Goldmine opening four years later. The Walt Disney Company visited the park earlier in the decade and Pleasure Beach was one of a few parks which became the basis for the first Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California. Walt Disney formed a friendship with Thompson and the two would regularly inspire one another when developing their respective parks. After many successful years as the managing director of the Pleasure Beach, Leonard Thompson died in 1976, having run the business for 47 years. Following Thompson's death, Doris Thompson was appointed chairman of the business. Their only son, Geoffrey Thompson inherited his fathers role and became the new managing director.
William "Geoffrey" Thompson was born in Manchester in 1936. He spent most of his early working life administering the New Era Laundries in London before returning to the family business as head of catering at the Casino Building. He married his wife, Barbara Thompson (née Foxcroft) in 1962 and shortly afterwards they had three children: Amanda, Nicholas and Fiona. Geoffrey invested millions of pounds developing the business, carrying forward his fathers legacy, which was for the Pleasure Beach to always be at the forefront of global amusement parks. He hired Keith Ingham to make extensive alterations to the Casino Building which was re-launched as the Wonderful World Building (since then the building has reverted to its original name). Thompson's reign saw the opening of the Steeplechase, Avalanche, Revolution and Ice Blast: The Ride. His most notable investments include the Big One which opened in 1994 and was the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world at the time, and Valhalla which opened in 2000 and remains the companys' largest investment to date.
Geoffrey was actively involved in promoting tourism in the North West of England. He sat on almost all the relevant agencies, including the English Tourist Board and the British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions, and was awarded the Order of the British Empire status along with his mother for their contribution to tourism. In 1986, Blackpool Pleasure Beach Limited became one of the first companies in the United Kingdom to register with the Government Profit Related Pay Unit. Under this scheme the company agreed that, where profits exceeded £1 million, 10 per cent would be distributed among the permanent staff according to their length of service.
Despite his reputation as a leading businessman in the industry, Thompson often found himself in dispute with Blackpool Council over their decision to allow private traders to operate on land opposite the Pleasure Beach. He also clashed with Morecambe Town Council, who would regularly oppose and disrupt his plans to develop the Morecambe amusement park. As a result of his frustration and due to declining attendance Thompson closed Frontierland in 2000 indefinitely, which had operated for 91 years. Many of the rides were either destroyed, sold or moved to Thompson's other parks. Further investments followed at the Pleasure Beach, including Spin Doctor in 2002, the Big Blue Hotel in 2003 and Bling, a Zierer Star Shape thrill ride the following year. Geoffrey Thompson died of a heart attack at Blackpool Pleasure Beach on 12 June 2004 while attending a party to celebrate his daughter's wedding. Doris Thompson, MBE OBE died nine days later, on 23 June, the date of her son's funeral.
Amanda Thompson, Geoffrey's eldest daughter and a director of the park for over 15 years took over the whole Pleasure Beach business. Nicholas Thompson became the Deputy managing director and Fiona Giljé (née Thompson), a fundamental architect became a senior company director. Amanda had previously risen to prominence as the founder and president of Stageworks Worldwide Productions, which produced numerous high-profile shows at both the Pleasure Beach and across the world. Like her father and grandmother, Amanda was appointed an OBE for her contribution to tourism. During Amanda's reign, the park has seen vast redevlopment, including the introduction of mass branding, as well as the removal of numerous rides including The Whip, Space Invader 2, Turtle Chase, Spin Doctor, Trauma Towers, Noah's Ark, Black Hole, Bling and Super Bowl. In 2005, the family decided to close Pleasureland Southport which despite extensive investment and development had not turned a profit for several years. This move coincided with the closure of Pleasure Beach's Log Flume, Drench Falls and resulted in the introduction of Infusion, the park's first new roller coaster in 13 years. Infusion was relocated from Pleasureland, where it had operated under the name of Traumatizer since 1999, and was built on the site of the Log Flume.
In 2011, the Thompson family signed a contract with Viacom, owners of the American-based Nickelodeon brand to open Nickelodeon Land, a 12-acre theme park situated within the main park. Nickelodeon Land was a £10million redevelopment of the parks' previous children's area Beaver Creek which closed in 2010. Notable changes include a complete retheme of the Rollercoaster which reopened under the new alias Nickelodeon Streak and the use of the formerly defunct Space Invader 2 building which is now occupied by a large pizza restaurant. Many of the other rides were either replaced or repainted and renamed to represent the Nickelodeon brand. In 2013, the park worked alongside Aardman Animations, owners of the Wallace & Gromit and Shaun the Sheep brands, who introduced Wallace & Gromit's Thrill-O-Matic, a dark ride which replaced The Goldmine, and in 2015 the park teamed up with the RAF to open the Red Arrow's Skyforce a thrill ride based on the famous air acrobatic team. In early December 2015 the Tom Sawyer bridge was removed and replaced with a new walkway.
Pleasure Beach is situated on a 42-acre (170,000 m2) site along the South Promenade (Ocean Boulevard) area of Blackpool, approximately 2.2 miles from Blackpool North Railway Station. It is bordered by the Promenade, Balmoral Road, Bond Street, Burlington Road West and Clifton Drive, and is situated above Watson Road, which is underneath the grounds and runs under the centre of the park. The main Ticket Centre can be found on the ground floor of the Casino Building which is situated to the north of the park. The rest of the ground floor space is taken up by a showbar named The Horseshoe and a large Costa Coffee Café. The second tier of the building, known as the penthouse floor is home to a function suite named The Paradise Room and The White Tower Restaurant, a luxury restaurant overlooking the promenade. Above The Paradise Room is a second Moroccan-themed function room named The Attic. The basement area of the building is taken up by another licensed bar named The Horror Bar and an interactive horror maze named Pasaje del Terror.
Outside The Casino building towards the left of the main entrance is a second theatre named The Globe. The main park can be accessed via a number of turnstiles, each manned by a security ambassador at the north entrance. A separate entrance towards the south end of the park is available for hotel residents only, and a third entrance is situated towards the east side of the park via The Arena. The park is heavily secured by giant metal gates, however these gates are occasionally opened to permit large groups of guests into the park during the peak season. The park has 5 car parks and a coach park. Blackpool Pleasure Beach railway station and the Big Blue Hotel are towards the south end of the park.
The park is split up into 3 sections: North Park, Nickelodeon Land and South Park. The main park is divided by separate themed areas. These are North Entrance Plaza, Heidi Strasse, Bean Street FY4, The Watson Overpass, The Tom Sawyer Bridge and South Entrance Plaza. Many of the rides in the park are built over or under other attractions and buildings making the Pleasure Beach the most densely populated amusement park in terms of ride space in the world.
Pleasure Beach is the only private company in the United Kingdom not imposed by planning restrictions, however attractions over 60 meters in height must meet strict regulations set out by the Civil Aviation Authority. These regulations include the placing of red and white lights at the top of structures and warning signals and beacons to alert airline traffic. As of October 2014 Blackpool Airport has ceased operation, however all rides at the Pleasure Beach over the 200 ft height marker still obtain their beacons.
Awards & Accolades
There have been several incidents, the worst occurring on 21 July 2000, when 11-year-old Christopher Sharrat died after falling out of a ride vehicle on the Space Invader roller coaster. Reports say that he may have panicked on the dark ride and unfastened his seatbelt. The ride closed in 2008 and has since relocated to Brean Leisure Park, operating from 2011 as Astro Storm.
A seasonal show performed at The Arena (previously the Ice Drome). The show has been running since 1936 and is produced by Amanda Thompson and choreographed by Oula Jaaskelainen. The 2017 production "Dreams" runs from July 6 to September 9.
Craig Christian Evolution Of Magic
A seasonal show performed by Magician and Illusionists Craig Christian and Elizabeth West at The Horseshoe from 11th July to 3rd September 2017.
Ken Webster: Mentalist Hypnotist
A seasonal adult comedy hypnotisism show performed by veteran hypnotist Ken Webster. Webster's show at the Pleasure Beach is the longest running comedy hypnotism show in the world having played at the resort for over 25 years. Runs every Saturday from 15th April to 4th November 2017.
Russ Brown's Carnival of Magic
A magic and variety show performed by award-winning children's magician Russel Brown. Runs from 31st March to 16th April. Then again from 9th September to 5th November 2017.
Spectacular Dancing Water Show
A £500 thousand musical water feature designed by Aquatique Show International. Featuring 30 individual jets and a water cannon capable of shooting water up to 30 meters into the air, the jets are synchronized to dance to different styles of music and shows run every 30 minutes.
The Big Blue Hotel
A family hotel with a four star AA rating, situated adjacent to Blackpool Pleasure Beach railway station towards the south end of Ocean Boulevard. Opened in Spring 2003.
Pleasure Beach is alleged to be haunted by several ghosts and over the years there have been a number of high-profile paranormal investigations held within its grounds. The most well known and reported ghost story involves the Ghost Train ride, which is supposedly haunted by the spirit of a former ride operator named "Cloggy". Other stories involve poltergeist activity in both the gift shop under Sir Hiram Maxims Captive Flying Machine and The Star pub on Ocean Boulevard. The Arena is also said to be the home of a ghostly presence which inhabits the backstage dressing rooms and tractor bay. The park has featured on many paranormal related TV shows, including Most Haunted and Great British Ghosts and features in many books written on the subject.