Blackpool Pleasure Beach, The Hot Ice Show and Nickelodeon Land

I’m a Northerner. I’m very proud of that fact and even though I live Darn Saarf these days, I’ll always have a soft spot for the North, especially the North West where I grew up.

I have lots of memories from my childhood of days out in the summer time and the happiest of these were visiting Blackpool for day trips. I remember those days so vividly. Being woken up early, taking a picnic to eat on the beach, where I always remember it to be hot, then the day would usually finish with a trip to the Pleasure Beach and a walk along the promenade!

I haven’t been to the Pleasure Beach for many years, for many reasons. The main one being having babies and the weather being, well, rubbish whenever I’ve been up North in recent years! I’ve taken the children to Blackpool, mainly to the gigantic waterpark that doesn’t require good weather, but we’ve never been back to the Pleasure Beach, until now.

This year it was on my bucket list for the summer so whilst visiting my Dad,  I picked a day to go and prayed for good weather.

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The weather was glorious

We set off later than planned, bad move… always, ALWAYS leave early as there is so much to see and do in Blackpool! Parking is slightly annoying, especially if arriving late, they seriously need some bigger car parks, or at least one multi storey but if you drive around you can usually find a space on a side road or in a little car park somewhere off the beaten track along the Golden Mile! After a walk along the beach we headed to the Pleasure Beach!

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The entrance to the Pleasure Beach

For anyone that doesn’t know, or has lived under a stone all their life, Blackpool Pleasure Beach is pretty much a theme park and is the oldest of it’s kind here in the UK, founded in 1896 can you believe? It has big thrill seekers rides, it has fairground type stalls, it has areas for young children and is basically a world of fun! It’s changed so much from when I was a little girl, I remember things like the big laughing clown at the entrance that used to frighten the living daylights out of me! I remember the Candy House which is where Nickelodeon Land is now, I used to love being in that area, there was a playground in a huge sand pit!! Happy times for sure. I know there’s tons of photo’s at my Dad’s house of times spent there, writing this has made me want to locate them and take a trip down memory lane!

The main thing to note when visiting nowadays is that you pay to get in. You used to be able to just walk on and pay for the rides (I’m probably going back donkeys years here but hey) but now there’s a fee. If you just want to walk around the Pleasure Beach the fee is only £6 each but if you want to go on the big rides the fee is around £30, although if you buy online you will save up to £10, maybe more depending on when you go, so be sure to do that! It’s also very cheap compared to other theme parks.

As soon as you walk in it feels like a very magical place to be. What I loved was the mixture of old and new. There were some rides that I remember from my childhood, like the Big Dipper – a very old fashioned, wooden roller coaster which is still as amazing today as it always was. Steeplechase – a race on horseback, like those you’d find on a carousel but on a rollercaoster track, it’s so unusual but brilliant and unexpectedly thrilling…. this is one you HAVE to experience. And last but definitely not least and one that Teen and I went on more than once was Revolution – it looks so basic now in comparison to the new rides and the complex rides at other theme parks but my god is it just as good! The anticipation as you sit in the train waiting for the return journey.. backwards! Love it!

One other that scares me more than it should is this one……

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The Flying Machines

I have to give this a special mention because it’s the first ever ride that was built on Blackpool Pleasure Beach back in 1896 and it’s still going strong. It’s a family ride where adults and small children alike can sit together, no seat belts or bars to hold you all in place which means it must be a nice, gentle ride, nothing too scary right?

Wrong!

I was terrified on here! Obviously it’s safe, I must say that, but I didn’t feel safe at all! As the ride flies around it picks up speed, gains momentum and starts to swing out to the side. It’s a fairly long ride so eventually you start to feel dizzy and to me, I felt as though I was going to fall out! Who needs a huge, high, fast rollercoaster when you have this? I was on this ride with Teen and he was laughing his head off at me, apparently hilarious that I saying ‘get me off’ when there were very young children in front of us thoroughly enjoying themselves!

Not for me that one. But worth a go just to see if it has the same effect on you! Let me know!

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My twin boys having fun at one of the many little games you can play as you walk around the Pleasure beach.

There are plenty of places to eat on the Pleasure Beach, we settled for Burger King! I know, not very exciting but cheap (ish – nothing is really cheap when there are six of you!) and fast. In Nickelodeon Land there is a lovely new, large restaurant where you can sit and eat in a more civilised fashion should you wish to!

The Hot Ice Show

Our day on the Pleasure Beach was broken up with a matinee visit to see the Hot Ice ShowI believe this show deserves it’s own blog post but because it’s part of the Pleasure Beach experience and it was one element of the same great day, I’m including it here!

All I can say about this show is.. WOW!

Myself, my four children who are all completely different in terms of age and interests and my pensioner Dad were all completely and utterly blown away by this show. I honestly didn’t know what to expect, especially with it being on the Pleasure Beach and thinking it was just an add-on to a day out, I half expected it to be slightly mediocre. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

the hot ice show

This show is an all out top drawer skating show experience… it’s a dazzling, glamour drenched spectacular from start to finish. From the show stopping costumes, fabulous skating talent and mesmerising choreography and music…. every one of us were mesmerised from start to finish.

There were no cameras allowed inside the auditorium (I took the above two before being told off!) but take a look at this little video which gives you an idea of what we were treated to….

I actually can’t say enough good things about this! I loved it so much. It had everything; drama, excitement, there were non ice skating dancers and acrobats during the show… they even set fire to the ice at one point!! I could’ve sat and watched it over and over again. The stunned faces of all my children, who didn’t take their eyes off it for a second, said it all! It was brilliant. I will definitely, without a shadow of a doubt go back again as soon as I can. If I lived nearby I would be going to see it all the time!

There were a hell of a lot of elderly people in the audience and I wondered why that was. Maybe younger people think it’s a bit of a fuddy duddy thing to do, going to see an ice skating show when there is so much more going on outside on the Pleasure Beach, but seriously, you don’t know what you’re missing… you HAVE to see this! You’d be crazy not to include it in your day to the Pleasure Beach, it only lasts an hour so won’t take up too much of your precious time and with tickets for the matinee performance as little as £4 each, there’s no excuse! Bargain I say! The evening performances are £10 each but still a great price for such a fantastic spectacle.

Nickelodeon Land

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Nickelodeon Land is new (ish) to the Pleasure Beach and as you can imagine, it’s filled with all sorts of the kids favourite TV characters in ride form! We spent hours here, literally! My youngest three loved it, there’s so much going on. My boys loved the Dora water ride which was ever so slow and easy, perfect for the young and old! Actually there were lots of water inspired rides in this area and it really is a feat in itself trying to avoid getting wet even just walking round! Myself, my daughter and Teen thought we’d go on the little log flume, it looked tame enough but boy did it throw in water when we went down the slide! I’ve been on lots of log flumes in my time, much bigger than this one but this was the worst in terms of getting soaked! We were literally drenched, like someone had chucked a massive bucket of water over our heads, I’m not joking! Luckily there were plenty of those stand in driers around to dry off in.

My twins loved the cars that went round a little track… they did this over and over! There were so many fun things to do for little people here, it was jam packed full of mini exciting rides and games. The meet and greet area was a nice touch as all kids love this. There was a schedule whereby different characters came out at allocated time slots during the day so there was always someone to see and have a photograph with! My boys really wanted to see the Ninja Turtles but unfortunately we missed them!

Lastly we visited the Nickelodeon shop and I have to say, I’ve never seen as much Spongebob merchandise in my life… there was a sea of yellow covering every space!

Nickelodeon Land

Nickelodeon Land

We didn’t do many of the big thrill rides on the Pleasure Beach, which I’m surprised at and disappointed about but we simply ran out of time. I’m a big roller coaster fan too but having the younger ones so happily immersed meant getting round the park was slow. Another reason to make sure you get there as early as possible!

Teen begged me to do The Big One with him and I did promise, but as we got close I became very nervous! It’s high, but I’ve done high before so it wasn’t that, it was the fact that there were no big shoulder bars holding people in place! The only safety measure was a belt across your lap! Eek!! I couldn’t get my head around this…. how on earth was THAT going to stop me falling out on the vertical drop I asked myself over and over! Of course the ride has been there for many years now and no one has ever fallen out so my rationale wasn’t fully working properly but still, I couldn’t bring myself to give it a go!

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The climb up to the top of The Big One

I’m annoyed with myself. I should’ve done it…. definitely next time! Maybe ;) Did you know they also do a climb to the top on foot? Oh yes, if you’re mad brave enough, the team at the Pleasure Beach run a walking experience to the top…. aptly named ‘Walk The Big One’, it’s an escorted ascent to the summit, a whopping 235ft. Apparently this is very popular and needs to be booked in advance.

Valhalla is a ride not to be missed. It’s an indoor, darkness rollercoaster/log flume mix and the special effects inside are amazing!

A new ride on the Pleasure Beach is the Wallace and Gromit family ride. We were all very excited to go on this, the kids love Wallace and Gromit and the fact that I managed to persuade the twins to go on meant we could all do something together, even Teen was up for it!

The ‘cars’ on the ride were Wallaces slippers that looked like sofas! They looked very inviting! We took our seats then the ride began, slowly, which was perfect I thought for my boys, but then…. darkness! I hadn’t realised it was a dark ride and it picked up a fair bit of speed too on the very first tiny drop… I panicked, thinking the twins would be terrified but luckily they seemed fine. The ride took us on a journey through huge famous scenes from the Wallace and Gromit escapades and the film! It was fun, entertaining and felt like we were being taken through film sets. Thoroughly enjoyable. Afterwards we went in the merchandise shops, they had some very lovely Wallace and Gromit gifts to take home!

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The Wallace and Gromit area of the Pleasure Beach

Verdict:

Blackpool Pleasure Beach is brilliant. We loved every second, it ‘s easy for a family like mine that has children of differing ages to be fully entertained all day…. there are so many fun things to do. It’s great for the younger ones who can find a game to play or a little ride to go on at every turn.

And for teenagers and adults, you could spend another whole day just doing the big rides. I will definitely go back just with Teen I think so we can do all the roller coasters together. There are lot  more big rides than you think packed into the area!

I think Blackpool Pleasure Beach isn’t given enough credit. Many people think it’s probably not as good as some of the other big, newer theme parks like Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, LegoLand etc… but they’d be wrong. It’s just as good. I love the history of it all, the mix of the old and new. The older rides are still as scary as some of the new ones, and well worth experiencing. It’s a lot cheaper too than the other theme parks and with the added bonus of the seaside and other local attractions, Blackpool has it all! It’s a definite must visit, and a definite must stay for a few days if you’re based in the South. You won’t be disappointed.

The Pleasure Beach is clean, friendly and fun and suits all age groups. It’s perfect for families, especially with the introduction of Nickelodeon Land and perfect for Teens and adults too.

For more information please visit the Blackpool Pleasure Beach website where you can see all of the rides, and find out about tickets and price options.

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I was given complimentary tickets to the Pleasure Beach in exchange for this review. All words and opinions are my own and honest.

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