The staff on the Blackpool Museum Project have been exploring what makes Blackpool special. Every week a member of the team will be publishing a post about the places, behaviours, attitudes or events that they think make this seaside town so unique, dynamic and exciting. This week the Museum’s Administration Assistant, Tracy Collins, is exploring the Blackpool Pleasure Beach.
I have lived in Blackpool since I was 2 years old, and it’s a place that I’m proud to call home. One of my favourite parts about living here is all the fun things to do in the summer, and summer wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Blackpool Pleasure Beach.
For as long as I can remember, those three words – Blackpool Pleasure Beach – have meant excitement and family-time. As a child, during the summer months I thought how great it was to have a theme park on the doorstep. I would go to the Pleasure Beach with my sisters and spend the whole day there enjoying the thrill of the rides and also watching the excitement of others, taking in the excitement of families with children on their holidays, eager to get on the rides. As one of Britain’s favourite theme parks, Blackpool Pleasure Beach welcomes over five million other visitors each year. My sisters and I were clearly not alone in loving and enjoying all the thrills and spills that the Pleasure Beach has to offer.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane as I recall four of my favourite childhood rides, which I still find just as amazing and exciting today…
A roller-coaster icon, the Revolution (or as I remember it, the Irn Bru Revolution) was one of my favourite (and probably the most terrifying!) rides. I remember in 1979 just how exciting it was to have the first 360° looping roller-coaster in Europe. And wow, how exhilarating it was to be launched out of the station and speed straight for that gigantic loop. To me, the biggest thrill of this ride was when you reached the station and thought it was all over, but then you would be sent backwards through the loop!
The Alice Ride was one of the first rides that I ever remember going on. It is a fantastic family ride full of fantasy as you join Alice and travel through the looking glass into Wonderland. I loved the fabulous carriages that you travelled in which were beautiful, vibrant Cheshire Cats, straight out of the storybook. The ride takes you into a dark tunnel through different scenes of the much-loved children’s novel, with music playing from the film of Alice in Wonderland. It was amazing and awe-inspiring to see how some of my favourite, beloved storybook characters were brought to life before my eyes. And still to this day, I enjoy re-experiencing that childlike-awe and delight whenever I pay a visit to the Pleasure Beach with my own children.
Still to this day, the Grand National ride brings back fond memories of my childhood and reinvigorates that competitive spirit within me. A traditional wooden roller-coaster, the Grand National is made up of two carriages that travel on separate tracks. These carriages are themed around the popular horse racing event. There would be nothing more fun than my sisters and I getting in separate carriages which would then set off simultaneously and race until the finish. The thrill of being in the carriage and “geeing” it on in order to win is unforgettable and definitely takes me back to those carefree days of my younger years.
Drench Falls Log-flume
Drench Falls Log-flume was always the last ride of the day to go on as you were guaranteed to get an absolutely soaking; it was a great ride on a hot day when you needed cooling off. You rode in a log-shaped boat and climbed up steep inclines before plunging down the slopes with such force the water would cascade into the boat. It’s a shame that it’s no longer around to enjoy with my children, as it was definitely the highlight of my Pleasure Beach visits, but I’m glad to see that Nickelodeon Land and some of the other new rides, like Infusion, are just as popular!
These are just some of my favourite rides at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, but there is truly something for everyone. The Blackpool Pleasure Beach is full of world firsts, with over 125 rides and attractions, and it’s just on our doorstep – how lucky are we! It’s definitely a place not to miss – it’s still makes for a fun family experience and a chance to reminisce over my own childhood memories while making new ones for my own children.