Britain's Blackpool Pleasure Beach Celebrates 125 Years

August 22, 2021, 6:28 PM · Britain's Blackpool Pleasure Beach won this year's Thea Classic Award from the Themed Entertainment Association, honoring 125 years and four generations of family ownership at "Europe's first and greatest American-style amusement park."

Earlier this month, the TEA hosted a Digital Case Study presentation of Blackpool Pleasure Beach's award.

"The founding of Blackpool Pleasure Beach, and its development at the turn of the 20th century, is one of the great success stories of the British entertainment industry," Director of Marketing Robert Owen said. "Pleasure Beach has always been designed to reflect the latest innovations in ride and leisure technology. Since its early years, the family has constantly harnessed and hired the latest designers in the fields of architecture and international exposition design influenced as far back as the Chicago 1893 World's Fair."

Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Photo courtesy Blackpool Pleasure Beach and the Themed Entertainment Association

Today, the seaside amusement park offers a collection of dozens of heritage and modern rides, with some interwinding. The park's attractions include rare, last-of-its-kind rides along with modern record-setters, including The Big One, an Arrow hyper that was the tallest and steepest coaster in the world when it opened in 1994, and 2018's Icon, a Mack Rides production that was the first multi-launch coaster in the United Kingdom.

The park's other coasters include:

Pleasure Beach's other rides include the original Ghost Train, Nickelodeon Land, Wallace & Gromit's Thrill-O-Matic, and Valhalla - a Norse-themed indoor water ride that is being "reimagined" for a return next year.

Rides are not the only notable attractions at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, which this year has 14 live productions in its venues this year, led by the long-running Hot Ice show, which are welcoming fans after the pandemic closure.

"Amusement parks shouldn't be empty. They're designed to have people in them, people having fun," Director of Operations Andy Hygate said. "Blackpool Pleasure Beach comes alive for me particularly when we do our late night ridings in the evenings in the summer, and all the lights flicker on at dusk and it's a beautiful, magical place."

"All of that stuff has been missing and I'm so pleased that we should be able to come back properly this year."

You can buy tickets via the TEA's website to watch the complete session on demand, as well as future sessions in the series.

Previous Thea Award 2021 Digital Case Studies: 'Midnight Ride' Brings The Twilight Saga to Life

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Replies (6)

August 22, 2021 at 7:15 PM

Worth mentioning the Grand national isn't just a racer, its also a mobius loop, and the only other place you;ll find one of those is Kennywood.

I thought Icon was a bit bland myself. Although I could visually spot where the "second launch" had to be, I don't think it really added anything to my experience, it just seemed to be a technical cheat adding a little more momentum get around the second half of the coaster. I didn't feel a sudden surge or anything like that. Its by no means a bad coaster, its certainly not the worst in the park (Infusion is), but I wouldn't go there for it.

What I would suggest people go to Blackpool for is to see exactly what Walt did not want. Don't get be wrong, I love BPB for what it is, a great amusement park, but if you can think of someting Walt wanted to avoid in Disneyland, BPB Does it.

August 23, 2021 at 8:08 AM

Popping up there Friday.

Won’t have time for any rides but will have a nosey about.

First coaster I ever went on was here (Revolution) and that’s when my love for them all started.

Since moving from Orlando 10 years ago this September I’ve rarely had the cha de to visit any parks so at least this little trip down memory lane will be fun.

August 23, 2021 at 1:36 PM

"What I would suggest people go to Blackpool for is to see exactly what Walt did not want" just made me want to go see Pleasure Beach more than anything else I ever have seen or read.

August 24, 2021 at 5:00 AM

I love the idea of Blackpool Pleasure Beach and there's no denying that it has a wonderful collection of unique and historical coasters. But at my last visit (pre-Icon) I came away feeling battered and bruised and frankly not overly keen to go back again. Every single coaster (and I mean every single one) was as rough as anything. Bone-rattling, teeth-grating, spine-destroyingly rough. I had an unlimited ticket but one ride on each was more than enough. You really want them to be great and whilst I expected a certain roughness in the really old coasters there's no real excuse for the more recent ones.

August 24, 2021 at 3:24 PM

@david brown - I completely agree with you, I was there a few weeks back and came away black and blue so not heading back anytime soon. Plus, you know, Blackpool! I do recommend the Boulevard hotel linked to the park though.

August 24, 2021 at 8:01 PM

I went years and years ago, even before the big one was built. The one lingering memory I have is looking over the sea wall, and seeing refrigerators, washing machines and a miscellaneous assortment of other garbage stuck in the sand.

It’s a god damn awful place, but hey it’s a British seaside town. Bit like Weston, Yarmouth, Bognor et al …

Fish ‘n chips were awesome though :)

Brings back great memories though of social club group trips on the coaches to these places when I was a kid. Jellied eels, cockles and mussels, sticks of rock …. They were some wonderful times spent as a kid. Wouldn’t trade it for the world.

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