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New £2.3m Gruffalo and Friends family attraction to open in Blackpool

‘A Mouse took a stroll through a deep dark wood…’

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Merlin/Magic Light Pictures Ltd.

A huge new Gruffalo and Friends Clubhouse is set to open in the North West later this year.

The popular children’s book character family attraction will be coming to the seaside in Blackpool this summer, and a huge £2.3m has been spent to bring the imaginative clubhouse to life.

The play park is based on the colourful characters taken from the books created by author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler and the first images of how it will look have been revealed today.

The partnership behind the development is Blackpool Council, operator Merlin Entertainments and Magic Light, with the expected opening in May – but an exact date is yet to be confirmed. In what is billed as a ‘world first’, The Gruffalo and Friends Clubhouse will bring together six of the best loved stories to create an ‘indoor play adventure’ like no other. 

Merlin/Magic Light Pictures Ltd.

It has been 18 months in the making and Merlin say it is part of their aim to bring the ‘very best stories and brands to life in their family friendly attractions’. The anticipated launch will add to Merlin Entertainments seven other attractions in Blackpool including Blackpool Tower, Peter RabbitTM: Explore and Play, and Sea Life — which it will be situated right next door to, on the Promenade.

The exciting addition will make the area a key tourist destination for visiting families from around the UK and abroad.
Guests will get to burst onto the pages and walk through their favourite stories in a magical 3D experience.

From The Gruffalo’s deep dark wood, to Princess Pearl’s castle in Zog, they will embark on an adventure of imagination, discovery and play as they join their favourite characters in their fictional world.

Distinct play zones are inspired by The Gruffalo, The Gruffalo’s Child, Zog, The Snail and the Whale, Room on the Broom and The Highway Rat. It will include areas suitable for children under 10, with a toddler play area specifically for those under three years.

Merlin/Magic Light Pictures Ltd.

Kate Shane, Regional Director for Merlin Entertainments, said: “We are incredibly excited to bring some of the UK’s best loved children’s characters to Blackpool. Blackpool is the UK’s number one family seaside resort and this latest partnership with a globally recognised brand will provide compelling new reasons for visitors to come to Blackpool.

“The Gruffalo and other characters from the world of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler will be amongst brilliant company alongside our already strong cluster of family attractions on the resort, delivered with Merlin’s world-class guest experience.

“This significant investment further supports Merlin’s strategic growth plans, bringing further jobs and economic benefit to the local community and wider region.”

Merlin/Magic Light Pictures Ltd.

Councillor Lynn Williams, Leader of Blackpool Council said that the new addition will add to Blackpool’s portfolio of branded attractions, adding: “The family audience is key to Blackpool’s tourism growth strategy and we are delighted to be working in partnership with Merlin Entertainments to deliver something that will truly resonate with that audience, as well as providing new jobs for local people and economic growth to our town.”

Alex Sanson, Senior Brand Manager at Magic Light Pictures said the new play park will be the ‘first of its kind’ adding: “Merlin Entertainments have done brilliant work with The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom at Chessington; as well as with Zog at Warwick Castle.

“We can’t wait to see what the Clubhouse will bring to Blackpool, and to the stories that we love.”

Opening dates and how to get tickets will be announced soon.

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What's On

Hot Wheels interactive experience hosting its first-ever European event in Trafford

This will be mint!

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Hot Wheels City Experience

A Hot Wheels interactive experience is coming to Trafford Park this summer, the first time the event has ever taken place in Europe.

Coming from Live Nation, BeFUN, and Mattel, the Hot Wheels City Experience is heading to the B.E.C Arena in Trafford Park this August, making its European debut as it brings the legendary toy cars to life.

Spanning a series of immersive stations and interactive activities, the event will have something for families and devoted collectors alike.

Hot Wheels City Experience


The 6,000 square metre experience will let fans step through a nostalgic and educational journey consisting of 10 stations, including a design centre, immersive museum, playground, gamer zone and Hot Wheels Lab.

Fans will go on a journey through the colourful world of Hot Wheels, starting with an introductory video which will take a deep dive into the history and culture of the brand.

Luís França / Hot Wheels City Experience


The next station features an immersive museum and expo where visitors will get to see the best of the Hot Wheels collections – including graphics with the history of Hot Wheels, classic arts of the brand, and the Hot Wheels legendary life-sized cars. 

There’s also the Gamer Zone, where gamers can show off their skills, the Design Centre, where the latest technology is used to introduce colour and graphic projection onto virtual cars, and a Digital ‘build your car’ and painting workshop where fans can create and have their work emailed to them or projected on the walls.

Hot Wheels City Experience


Lastly, the Hot Wheels Lab will let guests play with the most popular Hot Wheels toys, including giant tracks and pre-built racecourses – with the opportunity to win prizes.

The Hot Wheels City Experience opens its doors on August 13th and runs until September 12th 2024, with presale tickets launching at 10am next Wednesday, April 24th – sign up for pre-sale HERE.

On-sale tickets will be available at 10am on April 26th, starting from £27.50 for adults and £22.50 for children – head here for more info.

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Epic indoor inflatable park reopens with huge new ball pit filled with nearly half a million balls

Take advantage of the discount while it’s still available

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@inflatanation / Instagram & Inflata Nation

A Greater Manchester indoor inflatable park has reopened after a revamp revealing the addition of a huge new ball pit filled with nearly half a million balls.

Inflata Nation has reopened its doors in Trafford Park after undergoing a renovation, revealing some exciting new features for visitors to enjoy.

If you’re wondering what you can do to keep the kids entertained, why not take them to this newly upgraded indoor park?

Inflata Nation

An incredible blue ball pit filled with 418,000 balls looks like an ocean as it floods the open space. Other new features include the epic double tipping slide, a ballcano, ball pit blasters and obstacle courses.

The park has also upgraded its mini arena, which is exclusively for children under four.

Packed with ball pits and engaging soft play activities, this area offers sensory stimulation and opportunities for cognitive development, tailored specifically for the little ones, the park says.

@inflatanation / Instagram

Since opening back in 2017, the site has attracted thousands of visitors looking for fun-packed family days out. 

Visitors have jumped into its ball pits, bounced on its inflatables and dived down its slides, where they’ve enjoyed plenty of fun and laughter that has brought them back time and time again.

Tickets for Inflata Nation Manchester cost £13.99 for visitors aged four and above and £6.99 for under fours. You can add an extra hour for £8.50 and £3.50 respectively. The park is also offering 15% discount of all visits when booked in advance online until April 17th.

To get the discount simply head to the booking panel on the website, choose the location, complete your details and enter the correct discount code at checkout. For Manchester use the code: EASTERMANC. For discount on bookings and more information, click HERE.

Inflata Nation Manchester is located on Textilose Road, Trafford Park, Manchester, M17 1WA. 

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Charity pop-up with up to 70% off designer clothes coming to King Street

Funds will be used to help women looking for employment support

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Smart Works Greater Manchester

A sustainable charity fashion pop-up is coming to Manchester’s King Street this month.

The pop-up marks the first event as part of a new concept ‘King Street Presents’ and will feature some of the best and newest names in fashion including the likes of Adanola, Barbour, Nobody’s Child, Pretty Lavish, Rixo, Saint & Sofia, Whistles and more.

Shoppers can enjoy up to 70% off items with all proceeds raised being donated to the female-founded charity, Smart Works.

Smart Works Greater Manchester

Smart Works Greater Manchester can be found at 35 King Street from Thursday, April 18th to Saturday 20th, with its sustainable fashion pop-up shop, selling brand new high street, designer and pre-loved clothing and accessories.

The pop-up will raise vital funds to support Smart Works’ two Greater Manchester centres, in Manchester city centre and Stockport.

The team will also be on hand to provide advice and guidance on how to access their free services to any women looking for support in finding employment and preparing for job interviews.

During its time on King Street, Smart Works will share the postcode with its roster of high- profile tenants which include; GAIL’s artisan bakery, The White Company, El Gato Negro restaurant and vintage football shirt hotspot, Stunner, to name just a few.

Smart Works Greater Manchester

Thomas Royston, director at DTZ Investors, said: “We’re delighted to be welcoming Smart Works Greater Manchester to King Street. At its core is a female founder on a purpose-led mission to make a difference to women. 

“For them to choose King Street as their platform for reaching and showcasing their offering and commitment to women across Manchester is a testament to the reputation this now renowned street has developed in recent years. 

“As part of our ongoing ESG policy we will be continuing to work with a selection of exclusive brands throughout 2024 to take up pop-up stores in currently vacant units on the street, enriching the retailer experience for visitors and giving a physical presence to out of area and online brands.”

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