Blackpool as of late has been transforming it’s image – from a tired and cheap town to a family-friendly resort, with the sprinkling of a little magic from global leisure company Merlin Entertainments. With well-known theme parks such as Alton Towers, Thorpe Park and Legoland Windsor being operated by Merlin, Blackpool Council made sure that Blackpool Tower was in safe hands for a complete renovation in 2010 and 2011.
Along with the hotly anticipated new Blackpool Tower Eye experience and 4D cinema, the Blackpool Tower Dungeon was a brand new addition to Blackpool. Featuring 10 actor-led performances and one spine chilling ride, the attraction aims to be both scary and educational following the already popular ‘The Dungeons’ formula. Whilst using the successful aspects of the London, Edinburgh and York Dungeons in the brand new attraction, Merlin Studios also added exclusive scenes featuring tales from the North-West such as the infamous Pendle Witches and Smugglers at nearby Fleetwood.
Airgates was kindly invited to the official opening of The Blackpool Tower Dungeons on Thursday 25th August, where a horde of gruesome creatures parade down Bank Hey Street directly in front of the attraction’s entrance. Judges, Witches, and Vikings were amongst those that terrified onlooking shoppers as they walked to their new home at the Blackpool Tower Dungeon. Below is a video of the opening ceremony..
Upon entering the attraction from Bank Hey Street, we entered a photo opportunity at the chopping block – where editor Adam grabbed an axe above writer Dan… let’s just say he didn’t make the chop! A jester brought us to the Elevator, whose riddles and rhymes kept the audience amused. The Dark Chapel was the next stop on our tour, being based on Lytham Priory just South of Blackpool. We then ventured down a well themed medieval street in the midst of a disease to Plague, where a victim is being dissected with “guts an’ all” on display.
The Torture Chamber followed next with it’s many devices of pain, before the Judgement of Sinners – a court case which went down well with all the jury! Labyrinth of the Lost is a unique mirror maze which has seen many people not exit the Dungeons alive… will you make it? We certainly struggled as we found a number of dead-ends – and a number of hidden effects caught us off guard for definite!
The next few sections are dedicated to folklore of the North-West, and are features that differentiate the Blackpool Tower Dungeon from its counterparts in the United Kingdom. Vikings of the North is a film experience with a difference.. you’re part of the action! You’ll then stumble across the Skippool Smugglers at a creek in Fleetwood where you’ll have a cutthroat experience. Without giving too much away, it does get very dark in that scene! Walking tentatively though Pendle woods, you’ll then come across the Witch Finder general, who doesn’t want you hanging round for long as he’s under suspicion you’re a gathering of Pendle Witches.
Extremis : Drop Ride to Doom is the Dungeons’ grand finale, where after being found oput as witches, we’re condemned to the ultimate punishment… death. Taking our seats on a row of ten, we slowly rose to the top of a tower – with nooses in front of us. We’re then ordered to be hung, which is when we are suddenly dropped from a great height back to the floor. The shock is there to catch you out, as you’re never quite sure when you’re about to drop.
Whilst you’re dropping, a quick camera takes your on-ride photo which is available for purchase after your ride. Needless to say by our photo, the drop really does take your breath away! Even after your Dungeons experience has concluded, the horror continues in the haunted circus-themed gift shop. From keychains to mugs, masks to practical jokes, there is something suitable for all the family… including those who were too scared to visit the Blackpool Tower Dungeon at all.
Looking back on our experience at the Blackpool Tower Dungeon, the experience truly does bring something new to Blackpool’s already amazing array of attractions. Whilst history is often thought to be limited to timelines and research, The Dungeons show that history can be fun, gruesome and scary at the same time. Whilst perhaps not recommended for the tedious or easily scared, the attraction is suitable for families with children who want to have a great day out.
Overall, the Blackpool Tower Dungeon is a fantastic new addition to Blackpool Tower – you’d be dead silly to miss it!