Newest Review: ... but there is also a £1.50 charge. However, even with the charge it is still cheaper to book online if there is more than one perso... more
Fun, splashy day out
Blackpool Sandcastle (Blackpool)
Member Name: Julie_Reilly
Blackpool Sandcastle (Blackpool)
Advantages: Fun, food, water, and it's all inside so the weather doesn't matter
Disadvantages: Lack of cheap parking
The Sandcastle Waterpark
T: 01253 343 602
F: 01253 406 490
ACCESSIBILITY AND PARKING
It is very difficult to find free parking in Blackpool. There is a large car park right next to the Sandcastle, South Beach car park, which is open 24/7. The charges there are £3.50 for 3 hours or £7.50 for 12 hours. Out of season (from mid-November to Good Friday, there is unlimited free parking on a numbers of small roads directly opposite the Sandcastle: Osborne Road, Withnell Road and Simpson street. During the season you can park on these roads for a maximum of two hours, however, they do tend to be busy and spaces get filled up quickly.
There are good public transport links to the Sandcastle. The trams run right past it and there is a dedicated tram stop. The no. 1 bus runs along the Promenade and there is a stop close by. The nearest train station is Blackpool South, about 15 minutes' walk away. From the station, turn left onto Waterloo Road and keep going until you hit the promenade. Then turn left again and just keep going. You will see the Sandcastle on your right. It is a walk of about 15 minutes or so.
OPENING TIMES AND PRICES
Opening times vary greatly, depending on day and season. The earliest opening time is 9.30am in the season and during school holidays, and the latest closing time is 8pm on certain Fridays. It's best to check the website for the particular day you want to come. Some days out of season it's not open at all.
The admission prices vary greatly and there are a number of different variables. There is a basic admission price plus an optional HyperZone wristband, which entitles you to also ride the Sidewinder and the MasterBlaster. Children must be eight years old cannot ride the Masterblaster, but they can ride the Sidewinder, so their HyperZone wristband price is cheaper.
Single (12 yrs+): £12.00 plus £3.75 for the HyperZone wristband
Junior (8-11 yrs): £10.00 plus £3.75 for the HyperZone wristband
Junior (6-7 yrs): £10.00 plus £2.50 for the HyperZone wristband
Junior (3-5 yrs): £10.00 - cannot buy a HyperZone wristband
Infant (under 3 yrs): FREE
Guests with disabilities/Carers: £7.50 plus £3.75 for the HyperZone wristband
Senior (60+ yrs): £7.50 plus £3.75 for the HyperZone wristband
There are also various family passes and group rates you can buy. These are detailed on their website. If you book online there is a 10% discount, but there is also a £1.50 charge. However, even with the charge it is still cheaper to book online if there is more than one person, and you get to jump the queues.
A few years ago they brought out an annual pass which I bought for myself and my daughter, then 6. I can't remember how much it cost me then, but currently the annual pass is on sale for £100 for seniors/3-11 and disabled, and £120 for 12+. It includes access to the HyperZone also which at that time allowed younger children to go on the MasterBlaster. They had to change the rule as some smaller children were falling out! We went every Saturday morning for a couple of hours and really enjoyed our weekly swims. If we had paid the going rate, it would have cost us £1,534 - so we saved £1,314 - definitely worth considering if you're planning on going a lot. We worked out it only cost just over £4 a week for the two of us to go - far cheaper and much more fun than the local swimming pool and it really improved my daughter's confidence in the water.
Local residents get a discount of a massive 50% off the standard admission fee (excluding the HyperZone, which is still charged at full rate) on production of a proof of address such as a utility bill, showing an FY1 - FY8 postcode.
THE SANDCASTLE EXPERIENCE
You can really waste a good chunk of your day here. If you're planning on doing any serious swimming, it's not for you - go and do lengths at the local pool instead! But if you want to splash about and go on slides and have a blast, then it's great. The MasterBlaster really is worth going on, although it tends to be busy at peak times. Try and get there early if you can - when we went on Saturdays we were always one of the first there and the first to go on the MasterBlaster. It's described as "the world's longest indoor roller-coaster waterslide" and "the world's first uphill roller-coaster". You have to get an inflatable ring from at the bottom of the MasterBlaster, next to the wave pool, then carry it across the park and up several flights of steps to the top. These rings are large but they aren't heavy - my six year old could drag it easily. Then you put your ring at the top of the slide, settle yourself in and the assistant gives you a mighty push and you're off! You go down and round corners quite fast and then you hit the uphill bits. What they call "water injection technology" sends you up the hills but watch your bottom through the hole in the ring - sometimes it can scrape. The slide is 820ft long, and at the end, there is one final steep slide/drop, just to get the adrenaline pounding. Occasionally the "water injection technology" fails and the whole thing grinds to a halt, which is very funny! They have to send on e of the staff in to the slide and they walk through the now quiescent rollercoaster to where you are and you have to walk through and slide yourself down the final drop, which looks like fun, although it never happened to us. If that does happen to you, you do get another go!
The Sidewinder is a huge white U-shaped structure dominating the middle of the waterpark. I have been on it twice and that was quite enough. Again, you get your ring from the bottom - they have double rings also so you can go on with a friend - and you take it to the top of the ride. You sit in your ring and they push you down the almost vertical sides of the U. You hit the bottom and slide up the other side part of the way, then gravity takes over and you slide back up the original side., Eventually your momentum runs out and you end up motionless in the middle, at which point you get off and go either, "I'm not doing that again - I think I left my stomach up there!" or "More, more, more!!". I was one of the former; the Sidewinder left me cold, but it is a very popular ride so there must be lots of people who enjoy that adrenaline rush. Even the video of the sidewinder on the sandcastle's website had my stomach churning!
The rest of the waterpark has plenty to do for young and old. There are the twin yellow and blue slides, the Thunderfalls, which are always popular. Even toddlers can go on there, if they sit on an adult's lap and wear armbands. There is the pirate ship and fort, which have water shooters and baby slides - perfect for your little one. There is a large shallow area for your littly to splash and play in safety, which deepens into a larger lagoon area leading to the lazy river. At the far end of the park, there is a triple water slide, again suitable for smaller children on an adult's lap, although there is a fair splash at the end, so it might not be suitable for very young children. There are also two green enclosed slides, the duelling dragons, which are faster than they look. These have an age restriction of 6 and are only suitable for strong swimmers.
The Caribbean Storm Treehouse is a watery adventure playground featuring as its top attraction, a giant coconut which slowly fills with water over about half an hour and then upends its contents all over the people below. Watch for kids squirting you as you climb the stairs!
Finally there is the Typhoon lagoon. This is the best place for proper swimming - you can do quite a few decent lengths in here and the deep end is deep enough for anyone. But every hour on the hour, it transforms into a wave pool! Listen for the Hawaii-five-O theme tune and make your way across to ride the waves.
There are two new rides coming soon, due to be open on an indefinite date! These are Aztec Falls, a bowl slide, and Montazooma, a mat slide.
FOOD AND SEATING
There are plenty of eating and seating areas in the Sandcastle if you don't want to be in the water all the time. There are also lockers so you can take your money with you, pop it in a locker while you have fun, then you can go and get it again when your tummy starts to rumble! Food varies from hot dogs and burgers, to salads and sandwiches.
The changing areas and large and well-equipped with both communal areas and private cubicles. There are male and female changing rooms, as well as family changing. A lift is provided from the reception area down to the changing rooms if you have a pushchair and there is a slope from the changing rooms up to the water area, so you can take your pushchair with you. There are LOADS of lockers, which require a 50p piece (refundable). There is a change machine in the locker area but it is temperamental. I sometimes had to ask the till staff for a 50p - but there were always happy to oblige.
There are showers, toilets and free-to-use hairdryers in all changing rooms. There are also two sets toilets in the water ark area so you don't have to go back to the changing room to use the toilet.
There is a swimwear shop in the Sandcastle which sells and range of swimwear, goggles and armbands and other swimming accessories.
There is also a gift shop selling sweets and souvenirs.
There is a small amusement arcade and a bar selling alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks in the main reception.
There is a sauna and steam room in the water park next to the Palm Trees snack shack. This is only for use by customers aged 18 or over.
They also do birthday parties. My daughter had her ninth birthday party here and it was a great success!
Basically a fab day out - a tiny bit pricy but really good fun!
(previously published on ciao.co.uk)
Summary: It has everything you need for a whole day's splashy fun!
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