Although we usually favour cheap (or free!) local activities, sometimes it's nice to take the family on a big day out.
A trip to Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Just an hourís drive from Manchester, Blackpool Pleasure Beach has long been one of my favourite places to visit, but this summer we decided to take our two year old along with us to experience all the fun of the fair.
Nickelodeon Land We'd seen Nickelodeon Land on previous visits, and thought there might not be enough there to justify the cost of the outing. Well there was enough Ö and then some! We ended up staying from 10.30am until 4.30pm, and probably could have lasted longer if we had an older child who didn't still need an afternoon nap.
However, first a bit of bad news - you will have to queue, we had a frustrating twenty minutes at the main park entrance waiting for our wristbands. It was an (extremely) busy, hot and sunny Sunday so we weren't surprised, but started to get a bit nervous that we mightn't get round many rides - but our worries were unfounded.
Enjoying the rides
Queues move much quicker in Nickelodeon Land, with a few rides having no wait at all. The rides are smaller and therefore usually faster so we managed 9 rides in the Nickelodeon section, plus 3 others in the main park (more about that later). The only exception for us was the Krusty Krab Order Up, which shoots you up into the air and which only sits 8 at a time - we gave up on that queue and went for a wander instead.
There's a nice variety of rides on offer, we particularly enjoyed the mini log flume (Rugrats Lost River), some bouncy aeroplanes (Wonder Pets Big Circus Bounce) and speedy pirate ships (Backyardigans Pirate Treasure) to name a few. The biggest thrill was being allowed on a real rollercoaster Ė the Blue Flyer. It certainly lived up to its name, with a big climb and drop followed by a few dips. Our little daredevil loved it!
Fun fair face paints!
Also in Nickelodeon Land there are regular character appearances. Families can choose to pay for a professional photograph with green screen background, or just queue up and take your own nearby, perfect for all budgets. We saw Boots the monkey from Dora, two Ninja Turtles and three members of the Paw Patrol. We also paid £5 for face painting and £2 for ice cream, but took our own packed lunches to save money.
The Pleasure Beach In the main park, after enjoying the dancing fountains, we tried out Wallace and Gromitís Thrill-O-Matic which was a bit too scary for our daughter as lots of it is in the dark (also just as you think the ride has finished a giant wererabbit pops out!). We also ventured into the River Caves and took a flight on the Flying Machines. Although these had the longest queues, they were also the most fun! Plus at least there're lots of rides to look at whilst you wait.
Useful Info On arrival, we were given a park map and a list of rides for children, but make sure you must have a fully paid up adult to accompany little ones onto certain rides. Our daughter is 95cm tall so could access a lot, but it's worth double checking height restrictions for smaller children before you book.
Little visitors may need an adult to accompany them onto certain rides.
There is a £6 Pleasure Beach Pass available for anyone who wants to visit without riding (and you can buy individual ride tokens if you change your mind!).
We paid £70 for a family ticket online just before we set off (for us, 2 adults and 1 child). As is often the case, there are good deals to be had if you book online in advance, or if you use voucher schemes such as Tesco clubcard points. We also paid £10 for the car park, though there are slightly cheaper ones nearby.
So, it was more expensive than our usual jaunts, but as a family of fair lovers, it was definitely worth it.
Check out the Blackpool Pleasure Beach website for more information on location, prices and rides.
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