Friday, 1 April 2016

The Blackpool Tower Attractions Spring 2016 Review

The Blackpool Tower is massive, in fact the base of the 158m tower is so huge that it plays host to several attractions. We visited last weekend with our 2 young children and 3 of our teenagers to review The Blackpool Tower Dungeon, Jungle Jim's Children's Indoor Play and The Blackpool Tower Circus.

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.

Blackpool Tower Jungle Jims Children's Play
Pictures courtesy of The Blackpool Tower website
My 6 and 7 year olds loved it! They said their favourite bit was underneath the back of the green slope, where there was a hidden ball pit with a crawling tunnel and some climbing! It's quite large, and at the front of the room is ample seating with tables. My 18 year old is revising for exams and spent the time while he was supervising creating a flow chart on his laptop.

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...

The Blackpool Tower Dungeon Review 2016

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.

Review of Blackpool Tower Dungeon

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!

Blackpool Tower Drop Ride Photo

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 Blackpool Tower Circus Review auditorium seating

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 Blackpool Tower Circus Review arena

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.

The Blackpool Tower Circus Review arena high wire acts

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 Blackpool Tower Circus Review live band music

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...

Chips On Blackpool seafront

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.


  1. Ah it looks like such a fun day! We've never been to any of those attractions and they all look fab :) Your skirt/wind/dignity photo is brilliant! X

    1. Hehehe We had to have the photo's, they were great - and a fabulous momento of a great day :)

  2. I have not been to Blackpool since I was a child. I had no idea there was so much for families to do there. I really must visit soon with my own children, everything looks great and fun for all the family xx

    1. It's absolutely brilliant for youngsters, and the family tram day ticket is perfect for saving little legs - our kids love it there, and we are lucky because it's only an hour away - a bit further for you! :)

  3. What an amazing family outing. I love Blackpool esp all the activities you could do there!

    1. There is loads to do. We've been tons of times and yet that was the first time we've been in the The Blackpool Tower, and we'll definitely go back and go up the tower and have a look in the ballroom! :)

  4. This is so much fun. I love Blackpool it is a great place to go and so much to see and do. xx

    1. There really is - I think you could spend a week there and you wouldn't get around everything :)

  5. I love your photos of the dungeon, that's somewhere we've not been before. I took my kids to see the Blackpool tower circus (We had really good seats) 3 years ago and they still talk about it now.

    1. The dungeon was very good. Definitely for slightly older children and upwards - but the little ones had plenty enough fun themselves! :D


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