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A Pleasure Filled Day
Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Member Name: wigglylittleworm
Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Advantages: great rides for everyone from kids to thrill seekers
Disadvantages: the queues, some high prices
Blackpool Pleasure Beach was founded in 1896 with the aim of building an American style theme park which made adults feel like children again and has grown until over 100 years later it is now Britain's top theme park and rates as the 14th most popular amusement park in the world. I have now joined the ranks of 5.5 million people flocking there annually and have visited twice, the first time in 2008 and we had such a good time there that we were inspired to book a short break in Blackpool in 2009 to visit the theme park again.
The Pleasure Beach is situated on Blackpool's promenade just opposite the seafront. There is some limited parking in the areas around the Pleasure Beach, the last time we found a small private car park charging £5 for a days parking but there is also metered parking on the street. The park is also readily accessible by public transport with a tram stop right outside. Most people will choose to buy a wristband which costs £20 for an adult for the day and allows you unlimited access to all of the rides. A Pleasure Beach pass is also available for £5 which allows you access to the park and limited access to a couple of rides with the option to buy tickets for individual rides.
The real attraction for us with the Pleasure Beach is that there really is something to keep everyone amused from the serious thrill seekers with huge rides such as The Pepsi Max, more traditional rides like an old fashioned carousel and a huge area dedicated to keeping the younger members of the family amused. When you first enter the park and look at the map it can be fairly daunting as the park is so huge that you don't know where to head first, a good ride to visit first is the Pleasure Beach Express, a train which snakes around the park allowing you to see all of the areas and rides and then simply head for whatever takes your fancy.
There are a total of 125 rides at the Pleasure Beach, it would be impossible to experience them all in a two visits so I will concentrate on describing a few of my favourites.
The Pepsi Max is perhaps the best known of all of the Pleasure Beach rides. Built in 1994, it was the biggest rollercoaster in the world and is still the tallest ride in the UK. The ride is over a mile long and takes around 3 minutes to hurl you around the metal track at speeds of up to 77mph with the numerous turns and drops meaning it is not for the faint hearted and you will certainly come off the ride with a huge smile on your face. Other thrill rides are The Irn-Bru Revolution, a looping rollercoaster and Avalanche where you get to experience the thrill of a bobsleigh track.
From the family rides my favourite has got to be the Grand National where you jump on a horse and race another rider who rides on a track alongside you to the finish line. The Ghost Train is the oldest in the world dating from 1930 and still makes you jump as you ride along in the dark and come face to face with skeletons and ghosts. Sir Hiram Maxim's flying machines are simple aeroplanes which fly round in circles high off the ground, they must have been cutting edge in 1904 when they opened but are still a good family ride today. The Wild Mouse rollercoaster is one of the oldest in the world and these days is tame in comparison to the major thrill rides and great for families.
When we visited in 2008 with two young boys we spent a significant amount of time in Beavers Creek, a section of the park devoted to the younger visitors. A particular favourite of the whole family is the Log Chute, a simple water ride where you are hurtled down a slope into a creek soaking the occupants of the log car. The boys adored their ride on the Eddie Stobart lorries, I have yet to work out the attraction of Steady Eddie but I have yet to meet a boy under the age of 10 who does not love the trucks. Some of the thrill rides are replicated in miniature form, a small Ice Blast gently shoots children up into the air and the little ones also have their own rollercoasters. The very young will enjoy a gentle spin in the teacups or a ride on the worlds biggest rocking horse while junior petrol heads will enjoy a trip on the dodgems. The Chinese Maze is a beautifully constructed maze with dinosaurs roaming around the foliage. It is beautiful for adults to walk around and it gives the kids a chance to run around and burn off some steam as they try and work out how to reach the exit.
As well as the rides there are many other attractions in the park. Some are free like the spectacular dancing water show, a display of light and sound which erupts every 20 minutes. Others have extra charges of up to £15 like a trip to see The Grumbleweeds or a visit to the Circus Of Horrors. There are many amusement arcades scattered around the park keen to gobble up any pennies you have in your pocket and there are also traditional funfair side stalls where you can win prizes.
There are scores of places to eat and drink during your day out ranging from an overpriced bucket of chips and bottle of Irn-Bru, fast food stalls, upmarket coffee shops, fishmongers selling cockles and seafood salad and an all you can eat Italian buffet. Like all places with a captive market the prices are slightly inflated but not ridiculously so and you will find something to suit all budgets and palettes, I can particularly recommend the freshly fried doughnuts with their crumbly sugar coating, a dieters worst nightmare but extremely tasty nonetheless. The numerous toilets dotted around the park are all spotlessly clean and I was surprised at never having to queue for the ladies.
Although you will escape queues at the toilets I would say that the crowds and queues are the biggest downside of the Pleasure Beach. I have visited both in the peak season of September when the illuminations are lit and the beginning of the season in April. The queues were massive during September with waits of up to an hour for some rides and although it was quieter in the spring the park was still very busy. The park is very popular so I don't think you would be able to pick a particularly quiet time of year for your visit.
I have now spent two full days at Blackpool's Pleasure Beach, on both visits we arrived soon after opening time in the morning and stayed until the park closed at 10pm and I still don't feel that I have experienced everything the park has to offer. It has become a favourite destination for all members of my family ranging from the under 10's to the over 40's and is a place I would recommend that you try and visit if you are in Blackpool.
Summary: A great family day out
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