New £2.3m Gruffalo and Friends family attraction to open in Blackpool
‘A Mouse took a stroll through a deep dark wood…’
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Celebrate the mums in your life with something special from Selfridges this Mother’s Day
Hurry, it’s not too late to sort something special for Mother’s Day!
For this Mother’s Day celebrate the mums in your life with a special gift or experience at Selfridges.
Selfridges, based in both Manchester’s Exchange Square and the Trafford Centre, has it all covered with a range of ideas to suit every mother figure this March 19th.
At Selfridges Exchange Square you can shower her with love by gifting her a special bouquet of seasonal blooms. Frog Flowers — with a shop based in the Northern Quarter — will be selling a variety of beautiful bunches perfect for gifting from now until Sunday 19th.
If you want to treat yourself or the mother figure in your life there’s a Beauty and Fragrance Workshop from now until Saturday 18th with some of the best-loved brands. On Friday 17th you can celebrate with Armani for a Spring Glow Masterclass, starting from 12.30pm, 4.30pm and 6pm.
To introduce the new launch of My Way Parfum — an extension of one of its bestselling fragrances — the designer brand will be showcasing a fresh spring look inspired by the bottle and the iconic Armani glow products, including its brand-new eye tints.
Tickets are £10. (Please note, the price of your ticket is fully redeemable against products purchased on the day). Please call 0161 838 0613 to book now.
On Saturday 18th, Dior city artist Vicky O’Connor will be hosting a masterclass showcasing the new Dior collection along with a Fragrance Experience to celebrate Mother’s Day. A soft everyday look will be created using nude and rose tones.
The glow-up will be linked with Dior Prestige Skincare, using rose at its heart and inspired by the relaunch of Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet fragrance packaging. Tickets are £35. (Please note, the price of your ticket is fully redeemable against any products purchased on the day). Please call 0161 838 0636, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book now.
You can book online for any of the events held at Selfridges Exchange Square here.
Selfridges at the Trafford Centre will also be holding Beauty and Fragrance Workshops using some favourite brands, available now until Saturday 18th.
On Friday 17th at 3pm, head over to Keihl’s and discover the famous pharmacy-feel skincare products. Learn all about the natural and effective formulas of favourite products, including the Midnight Recovery and Super Multi Corrective collection. Tickets are £10 and fully redeemable against any Kiehl’s products. Call 0161 629 1146 to book now.
Musical entertainment will be playing from 12-5pm, creating an upbeat shopping experience with a DJ set across the accessories and beauty department, while you shop ‘til you drop over the Mother’s Day weekend.
It’s not Mother’s Day without perfectly picked blooms so you’ll be pleased to hear the Frog Flowers are also found on the lower level, supplying some of the most exquisite blooms to make her feel special and appreciated.
The ‘new mum’ experience will include a day of pampering and much needed ‘you time’, plus the chance to buy something special for your little one.
You can enjoy a personalised blow-dry in your preferred style at natural hair care brand Aveda, a luxurious facial by the experts at Dermalogica, and a one-on-one consultation with a children’s brand specialist and £50 gift card. Price: £135. Book now here.
And, if you’re looking for something to do together — held at both its Exchange Square and Trafford Centre stores — Selfridges is offering a Beauty Concierge for Mother’s Day. The Mum and Me package will cost £80 for 1hour 30minutes. So you can make the day extra special with a makeover for you and your lovely mum. You can book this now here.
Hurry, it’s not too late to sort something special for Mother’s Day!
Sneaker festival with ‘rarest and most exclusive’ trainers happening this weekend
Grab a ticket and check out the rarest and most desirable pairs of trainers and streetwear!
Crepe City Sneaker Festival lands in Manchester this weekend — hurry, there’s still some tickets left!
The huge selection of top brands will certainly impress as you can expect to see the best trainer vendors from around the city, bringing with them some of the most exclusive and rare sports shoes and streetwear you can find to Trafford Park on Sunday 19th March.
Throughout the day, guests will enjoy the ultimate shopping experience with a live guest host and DJs pumping out the tunes while you browse in style.
The day will also include a bar to quench your thirst, and local street food vendors supplying a variety of tasty goods for you to sink your teeth into while you shop til you drop.
The official event page reads: “The Crepe City Sneaker Festival returns to Manchester! Expect to see the city’s best sneaker vendors bringing the rarest and most exclusive pairs of sneakers as well as the hottest in streetwear.
“You can also find some of the best and most varied street food on site, as well as live performances and a DJ playing throughout the day. There’s a good reason Crepe City is the leading sneaker event in Europe. Get your tickets for the Crepe City Manchester Sneaker Festival!”
Crepe City will make its return to Bowlers Exhibition Centre in Trafford Park on Sunday March 19th, 12-5pm. Standard tickets cost £12.50, get yours while you can HERE.
Alton Towers launching terrifying new ride when it reopens this weekend
Her patience is almost up. Don’t keep her waiting any longer…
After months of being closed for winter, Alton Towers theme park will open for the new season with a new surprise attraction for thrill-seekers.
The new ride is said to have ‘never been seen before in a UK theme park’ and will open this Saturday March 18th. If you’re a fan of horrors like Annabel, you’re going to love this new ride which offers the ultimate thrill. The brand new attraction is set to be the most spine-tingling yet and it’s called The Curse at Alton Manor.
The anticipated attraction is set to be a welcome addition to the theme park after iconic rollercoaster Nemesis shut its doors in 2022. The ride, which is a favourite amongst theme park lovers, has closed for a revamp, and will not be open again until 2024.
The haunting and immersive dark ride follows the story of Emily Alton — the troubled daughter of a pair of Victorian high society figures who prefer partying to parenting, until one night when they disappeared into thin air. The only person remaining was Emily, and legend says she still haunts Alton Manor to this day looking for the one thing denied to her: play.
Cutting-edge audio technology makes you feel that Emily is talking directly in your ear, while advanced 3D projection-mapping brings each scenario to chilling life. These include The Grand Hall, where an opulent party becomes a scene of death with human skeletal bodies lying slumped at tables.
The Demon Doll Workshop gives visitors a chilling insight into the mind of Emily with an operating table at its centre and human-size dolls lining the walls, while The Attic is where the lonely and forgotten child languished with just a doll’s house to entertain her.
Ride creators have also hidden fairytale easter eggs in each of the rooms that visitors are encouraged to discover. Bianca Sammut, Divisional Director at Alton Towers Resort, said: “We’re delighted to finally be able to take the wraps off The Curse at Alton Manor and welcome those brave enough to enter.
“Visitors will even seem to disappear in front of their very eyes as a result of a spine-chilling array of special effects and visuals that have never been seen before from a UK theme park.
“Child’s play, this isn’t. Emily is waiting … The question is, dare you experience what she has in store?”
Alton Towers will re-open for the new season on Saturday March 18th along with its new attraction, The Curse at Alton Manor. The popular UK theme park is set to get busy, especially in its first few weeks, so it’s a good idea to avoid queues by booking a fast track ticket.
You can book tickets for Alton Towers and find out more about their latest attraction here.