Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Blackpool, United Kingdom
“Classic coaster fun at the British coastline”
Seaside amusement parks… there’s hardly anything nicer. Riding roller coaster while seeing the shoreline, it sure adds to the overall experience. One of the most recognizable seaside amusement parks has to be Pleasure Beach in the city of Blackpool. You really don’t need to go there for a romantic city trip (Blackpool is an outdated vacation destination that attracts a rather bizarre audience) but Pleasure Beach is worth a visit if you like roller coasters. The park offers no fewer than 12 coasters, so it may boost your counter considerably.
If you love wooden coasters, you will love Blackpool Pleasure Beach: the park offers no less than 4 classic woodies. The oldest one is Big Dipper, which was opened in 1923 and still provides a quite enjoyable experience. I probably shouldn’t tell you that these antique wooden coasters aren’t the smoothest, but as a coaster enthusiast that doesn’t bother me. Especially the duelling coaster Grand National is worth a visit, since it delivers some of the craziest airtime I’ve ever experienced.
Just one week before our visit in June 2018, Blackpool opened their newest roller coaster: Icon. This Mack launched coaster was built between the tracks of Big One, Avalanche and Big Dipper, which certainly adds to the excitement. The ride features two accelerations, an inversion and lots of tight curves. Icon is an incredibly smooth ride and although it isn’t as good as Taron or Helix, it definitely is the best coaster at Pleasure Beach. Thanks to Icon’s high capacity, queues shouldn’t be too bad.
Icon isn’t the park’s only Mack coaster. The German manufacturer was also responsible for Avalanche, a bobsled coaster that opened in 1988. We all know bobsled coasters and we all know that these rides have limited possibilities. Still, Pleasure Beach managed to transform this family-style coaster type into a thrill ride. Its zigzagging layout looks boring at first, but it’s a lot more intense than you might expect.
Roses are red, Infusion is blue. Please tear it down and build something new. Not every ride at Blackpool Pleasure Beach is amazing and that’s an understatement. Infusion is definitely the worst coaster in the park: this Vekoma SLC creates some serious headbanging and that’s not what I’m searching for while riding a roller coaster. The Big One also provides a shaky ride, but it would be a shame to skip this legendary coaster. This is a 65-metre tall giant with a track length of nearly 1.7 kilometres. If defines the skyline of Blackpool and the ride is unforgettable. That isn’t meant in a positive way, though.
Pleasure Beach is some kind of coaster museum, in a certain way. In addition to its super-old wooden coasters, the park also offers a few classic steel coasters. One of them is Revolution, a Shuttle Loop built by Arrow Dynamics. It’s not as enjoyable as a Schwarzkopf Shuttle Loop, but the ride feels so quirky that it shouldn’t be missed. Another bizarre ride is Steeplechase. I always thought that this coaster type only existed in Roller Coaster Tycoon, but apparently I was wrong. Steeplechase’s 3 tracks deliver strange g-forces and brutal transitions, so hold on tight.
Blackpool Pleasure Beach is more than just a bunch of coasters. In fact, the park’s most impressive attraction isn’t a roller coaster, but a water ride. I’m talking about Valhalla, a huge indoor flume ride. The ride features two big drops, lots of special effects (including ice and fire) and a fascinating soundtrack. One warning: if you ride Valhalla, you will certainly get soaked. This is one of the wettest water rides I’ve ever done and since Blackpool’s climate isn’t exactly tropical, it might be a good idea to purchase a rain cape before riding.
Soaking wet attractions make me dream of warm, faraway places. Blackpool doesn’t categorize as such, but the park’s River Caves attraction simulates a journey around the world. This unique dark ride opened in 1905 and at that time, it was meant as a way to experience exotic cultures. That function was lost over time, but River Caves didn’t lose its charm. The park’s other dark rides (including Alice in Wonderland, a classic Ghost Train and Wallace & Gromit) have a similar flair.
WORTH A VISIT?
Blackpool Pleasure Beach is unique. Theming and greenery aren’t that important at this park, but the roller coaster collection is admirable. Pleasure Beach is home to a lot of classic coasters and that should be your main reason to visit this park. If you’re only searching for brand-new, smoothly running coasters, you’d better avoid this place. In that case, you’ll experience more fun at Alton Towers or Thorpe Park.
Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Photo Gallery 2007 & 2018
DEFUNCT ROLLER COASTERS
Is Blackpool a must do destination or do you prefer modern theme parks? What’s your favourite roller coaster at Pleasure Beach? And did you dare to ride the super-soaking Valhalla? Share your thoughts in the comments section at the bottom of this page.