We parked nearby not far behind Blackpool Sealife and paid £9 for 8 hours parking (6ft3 barrier), which for only a flat 5 minute walk to The Blackpool Tower I thought was fair.
We had arrived bright and early, just after The Blackpool Tower opens at 10am. There was quite a queue for people who had not pre-booked tickets, so I'd suggest definitely book online if you can - you will also save a lot of money on the 'on the day' prices (see prices at the end of the post).
Everyone goes in the main entrance to purchase tickets, and then spreads out around the building. The Blackpool Tower Dungeon is recommended for people aged 8+, so one of our teenagers kindly took the young lads into Jungle Jims Children's Indoor Play. This has timed sessions, so to make sure you get your full session check the Jungle Jim's website and allow time for buying tickets and queuing to enter.
|Pictures courtesy of The Blackpool Tower website|
Meanwhile, the rest of us headed around the back to the Blackpool Tower Dungeon entrance. I have to say this was a bit confusing because a grand entrance on the front directed us into the amusements and no further. Keep walking to the back, go out onto the street and you will spot it.
The staff are all-important in The Blackpool Tower Dungeon, and they make the attraction what it is. From the moment we arrived we were welcomed and there was such an excited buzz that it was a great thing right from the photo opportunities before you start...
You pass through a series of different period settings, and are told a lot about local history in a particularly gory and participatory way, so you leave remembering far more than you would from a book.
We learnt from a torturer, a plague doctor, a judge, a Pendle Witch and several others. The characters really did not falter and the ad libs were excellent. The outfits were amazingly detailed, as were the sets.
At the end of the tour is the Drop Dead: Drop Ride. The ride is excellent, it's semi-gloom, so you don't really see how high you go, and the drop is a surprise - especially if your skirt flies up and you have to try and regain your dignity quick!
We were super-impressed with the Blackpool Tower Dungeon, and at £13pp when booking online I don't think you'd be disappointed. The actors were brilliant, even if I did get accused of being a wicked woman by the judge and had to stand in the dock! Special mention to The Torturer, a lady who would not have been out of place as a lead character in Game Of Thrones.
We had less than 40 minutes to gather together and grab lunch. This was a bit tight even to grab a sandwich. The advertised burger bar was nowhere to be seen, and we were actually served 3 hot coffees and 2 cold ones in the cafe, which we didn't realise before we had rushed off to take our seats in the Circus. There is work underway in the areas used for dining, so I think this is a temporary problem that was unavoidable the first week into a new season, and the new Harry Ramsden's Fish Bar opened inside The Blackpool Tower today!
When you get to the Blackpool Tower Circus seating is not allocated, so first in the queue get the best seats, and by the time we arrived and queued to go in, we only just got 7 seats together in a group.
The Circus has played here in The Blackpool Tower since 1894 and has not missed a season since. We were viewing on only the 2nd day of the 2016 show, but it was already a very polished and skillful performance and impressed us all.
The room itself is gorgeous, a huge domed auditorium which has well staged seating to allow everyone a good view of the arena. Despite it's size, the whole space use of the arena means it retains an intimacy and you feel you really are 'there' with the performers and artistes.
We hadn't realised when we sat down, but our spot next to the live band was clearly 'at the back'. This is Circus in the round, but there are a couple of acts who specifically had their back to us. There are giant screens suspended from the the ceiling, but it was a bit weird to look at them when you knew the action was somewhere else. The first act we only saw from behind, and we didn't see any of the knife throwing except on camera.
The show was actually real, it wasn't on TV, it wasn't the best take out of 15, and a couple of the catches and lifts just didn't quite get it - but that didn't matter. It shows you just how hard it is. The fact they tried again (and in one case were gutted they didn't get it) shows you just how hard it was and makes them human, and it brings you closer to the artists. Rapport is the big difference between real life and the emotionless distance of a screen.
The Blackpool Tower Circus was excellent. The performers were incredibly good, the mix of acts just right and the setting perfect. Having a live band play during the acts was infinitely better than a tape. There are no animals except humans, but they still fill the arena with water for a couple of the acts, a spectacle in itself which enthralled both me and my 7 year old. For £16.95 for an on-the-day ticket we all thought it was well worth it.
The Blackpool Tower has some crazy directions that lead nowhere and the queuing systems suffer from being a mix of old-style spaces and modern fencing. The toilets in the Circus are on a corner, so one queue inevitably feels it has priority and the other have to wait longer, but everyone managed to go before the interval was over.
When we came out the weather was typically 'Blackpool at Easter', with Hurricane Katie paying a visit. Chips on the seafront just have to be done though...and some Blackpool Rock to take home...
We all visited only 2 of The Blackpool Tower attractions each, yet we were there from 10.15 until almost 3pm, so it was pretty much a full day of entertainment. Prices are much cheaper when you buy tickets online in advance, and if you purchase combination tickets you save even more.
A Tower Ticket for all 5 attractions in The Blackpool Tower is only £30 per person bought online in advance, and is valid for 90 days, so you don't have to visit them all the same day. A Merlin Big Ticket also includes Madame Tussauds and Blackpool Sealife for £45 per person.
You can find out all the information about timings, dates and prices on The Blackpool Tower website.
We were given our tickets in order to review.