One night in Blackpool at a time is plenty for me, and the second day of our time there was spent at Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Ripleys Believe it or Not Blackpool. Up at the South Pier end of the town, it’s more spacious and quieter than the other 2 piers. As the weather wasn’t great when we were there, we’d arrived to an empty car park ahead of opening time, so headed down for some time on the beach.
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Blackpool South beach
Living centrally means we have to make the most of being at the coast when we can. Blackpool south beach was expansive when the sea was out. With the sun catching the inlets on the sand between the rain clouds, it’s lovely to walk on virgin sand. There weren’t even any dog walkers out.
The concrete sea defences are great for photos and exploring – although we didn’t see much in our attempts at ‘rock pooling’ in them.
Blackpool Pleasure Beach
After 20 minutes of being windswept N was done and we went to see where things were for queuing to buy tickets for the Pleasure Beach, Blackpool’s theme park. The queue does get a bit mad beforehand but you can get inside the ticket area to buy wristbands and ride tickets before the park opens at 10am. The queues are well ordered though, with plenty of ticket tills and someone pointing you towards the next free cashier to keep everyone moving.
For travelling, I’d recommend arriving early and parking across the road because it’s a lot cheaper than the pleasure beach parking. Or go by tram.
Blackpool pleasure beach tickets or wristbands?
There are plenty of pricing and ticket options. If you’re planning to be there all day or for more than a handful of rides, you’re best buying an unlimited ride wristband that includes all rides in your visit. Family wristbands are available from 3 family up to 8 family, with different adult combinations. These work well if you’ve got teens as they’ll be classed as adults.
You can also buy into all you can eat wristbands which mean you get to eat or drink in the food outlets in Blackpool Pleasure Beach (alcohol isn’t included).
If you’re not a big ride fan or are only staying a short time, then look out for the Pleasure Beach Pass. It’s £10 which gets you into the park with 5 rides/activities included: Pleasure Beach Express train, River Caves, the Chinese Puzzle Maze, Bradley and Bella’s Learning Garden and the Spectacular Dancing Water Show. You can then buy ride tokens on top. We did the beach pass option then had the minimum £10 of tokens assuming that most rides N would want to go on would be about 3-4 tokens and he’d go on alone. You can add more ride tokens or upgrade in outlets around the park.
As with most tourist attractions, buying online in advance will get you better deals than on the gate.
What’s on at Blackpool Pleasure Beach?
Compared with other theme parks, Blackpool Pleasure Beach is obviously smaller. But there’s quite a bit of up and downhill walking, most of which is ramps rather than steps. As well as the retail outlets and places to eat, there are rides, a train, amusement arcades and the Hot Ice rink where you can book to watch the show or have a go at ice skating in the public sessions.
The junior part of the site is the Nickelodeon land. I found the maps and site a little like a maze – it wasn’t the easiest to work out where you were heading, but it’s not large to find your way from one end to the entrance.
When we were there it was raining – a lot – for most of the time. If there’s more than 3 hours non stop rain, you can get a rain day pass to return the next day or any Sunday that season for half price. There’s not much to do if you want to stay dry out of the rain – we spent nearly an hour in the arcades. Rides were still running but it’s not pleasant walking around and going on rides in that much rain.
The opening times are confusing in the park. While it opens at 10, very few rides opened then. Some were 10.30, others were 11. So you couldn’t really plan to do one area then another, but more like individual rides until all were open.
After getting our tickets, we had to queue for the park itself to open. It was busy despite the incoming rain, but the Nickelodeon characters were out dancing and singing to entertain while we waiting.
The rides at Blackpool Pleasure Beach
There really is something for everyone. The express train ride and watching the water display for those who aren’t into thrills. Nickelodeon land with rides for tots through to older children like N who want smaller roller coasters. Right through to The Big Dipper which is the oldest and one of the only wooden roller coasters left, and the Big One, Valhalla and Icon.
The train journey was fun, and a great way to see the park, as it takes you around and under some of the biggest roller coasters. Along with some very random dinosaurs and zoo animal models.
N also wanted to go on the Blue Flyer, a smaller roller coaster. I thought he’d go on his own, then he’d have spare tickets left, but he wanted me to join him. I’m not as daring as I used to be before having him. I used to be right there queuing for the big rides, but I’m happy on the smaller rides now. He enjoyed it, but by then the weather had got him down and he was keen to head home.
There were plenty of rides I quite fancied, so it was a shame we weren’t there for longer. There’s the traditional river coaster rides, plus the rides suitable for families had long queues. By 11am when most rides were open, the queues were getting longer and the park busier.
Height restrictions at Blackpool Pleasure Beach
What I found really helpful is the detail on the rides online. Each ride is shown with height restrictions and rules over whether shorter children can go on with adults, or if they had to be over the height. N was just about tall enough for all the rides if he’d wanted to go on them at over 130cm But it’s a good way to plan with shorter children beforehand, so they’re aware what they will and won’t be allowed on.
Getting out of the park was a little confusing as we were leaving when lots were still arriving. It was shame the weather was so bad because we’d have enjoyed trying out more of the rides and spending more time there.
Ripleys Believe it or Not
I love the Ripleys books, and you can’t beat a bit of ‘wow, that’s weird’ facts. Ripleys Believe it or Not is just along on the outer side of Blackpool Pleasure Beach so we decided to pop in for an hour or so before heading home.
Robert Ripley travelled the world meeting different people and discovering cultures and artefacts, anything that was a bit weird, and included them in his books. From stories of unusual people, to 2 headed animals, to magic tricks, weird phrases and oriental puzzles. There’s plenty of weird and wacky stuff in the museum.
It’s a little bit creepy, and we did move quickly through some of the more ghoulish places like the graveyard bits. But N was happy enough looking at shrunken tribal heads, and other weird beings. Having just been to the Puzzling Place in Keswick earlier in the week we were pleased to see more illusions and try out the puzzles.
The museum isn’t large so we were done in an hour with N’s whizzing through. It’s handy to have another indoors option if the weather is bad.
Do you have any other Blackpool attraction recommendations?
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