Showing posts with label Lancashire. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lancashire. Show all posts

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Blackpool Tower Circus Pantomime Review - Pinocchio

Last weekend we were invited along to visit Blackpool Tower Circus and review their 2019 pantomime production of Pinocchio. My family and I are regular visitors to pantomimes throughout the North West and often review quite a few during the year, but this one was of particular interest to me for a couple of reasons, so we happily accepted the invitation.

Firstly, we have never seen a pantomime version of Pinocchio before and secondly I was very intrigued as to how a circus could combine with a festive show and make it enjoyable. I therefore told the children that we were off to watch a pantomime with a difference and we excitedly made our way to Blackpool.

There was plenty of parking nearby and the Blackpool Tower Circus is very easy to find. We had tickets booked for the 1pm show, so I collected these from the ticket desk approximately 20 minutes before the show was due to start. I was surprised to see that seats were not allocated, so as we made our way to the circus entrance, I was a little worried in case there were not five seats together. I needn't have worried however as there was plenty of seating and we had no problem whatsoever in finding somewhere with a good view.

The seats were comfortable and well raised, so even if a really tall person was to sit in front of you, then you would still be able to see all of the show very clearly. The circus cast were already in the ring when we arrived offering face painting or the chance to buy some plate spinners and flashing lights. We were told by the ringmaster that the show would start promptly so if you missed your chance to purchase goods before the show, then there would be a second chance during the interval.

The running time of the show is 2 hours with an interval, so we got comfy with our drinks and snacks and waited for the show to begin. We had no idea what to expect, so my husband and I were just as excited as the kids to see how the story would be interpreted and performed.


The show was a quite a loose retelling of the story, but featured all the main characteristics with an added modern twist. All the pantomime elements that you would expect featured throughout, whilst being cleverly combined with outstanding circus skills. From the very beginning we were fascinated and I loved watching Riley's reaction to some of the acts as they took to the ring.

The performers are all extremely talented and the show features the fabulous clowns Mooky and Mr Boo who did not disappoint. In the first half alone, we were treated to jaw dropping stunts, comedy antics, incredible fast paced dance routines and a stunning and innovative water scene that was simply spectacular.

Riley was mesmerised as we watched Pinocchio's adventures and he laughed continuously throughout the show. Mooky the Clown was marvellous as the little wooden puppet and we felt that the whole production was really clever.


During the interval we purchased some ice cream which was £3 per tub and waited patiently for the show to recommence. The second half brought even more acts of strength, skill and stamina, whilst Riley repeatedly kept saying WOW each time someone performed.

Our highlight though was the 12 Days of Christmas act, which is one of our favourite parts of any pantomime. We always love seeing which props are involved and this rendition was no exception. It was hilarious from start to finish and Riley screamed with excitement when he saw all the water guns!

Overall we absolutely loved Blackpool Tower Circus' version of Pinocchio. It was entertaining from start to finish and also had quite a few heart in mouth moments, when the performers were completing incredible acts high up in the air. We loved how different it was to other pantomimes we have visited and my children thought it was fantastic. There was a great range of variety during the show with some mesmerising performances, which provided a really enjoyable experience. I would happily recommend the Blackpool Tower Circus Pantomime to others and I have no doubt that we will definitely visit again in the future.

Listing Details

Show - Pinocchio
Address - Blackpool Tower, The Promenade, Blackpool, FY1 4BJ
Dates - Pinocchio is being performed on various dates up until the 19th January 2020. You can find out more about dates and show times here.
Website - https://www.theblackpooltower.com/attractions/blackpool-tower-circus/
Tickets - Ticket prices vary depending on age and seating preference, but you can find a full list of ticket prices here.


*Disclaimer - We were provided with complimentary press tickets for the purpose of writing an honest review of the show. Opinions are my own unless otherwise stated. Details provided are believed to be correct at the time of writing, but are subject to change. I would therefore always recommend visiting the attractions own website in order to obtain the most up to date information.

Monday, 2 December 2019

Feeling Festive at Coral Island Blackpool - A Review

If you are a regular reader to the blog, then you may remember that back in April, we paid a visit to Coral Island in Blackpool. We had a fabulous family day out and we all had a fantastic time playing on the rides and the machines, as well as enjoying a treat in the restaurants. Therefore, when I recently saw an advertisement for the Santa's Grotto, I knew that my children would love it, so we organised another visit to this popular seafront arcade.

We began our day with a full cooked breakfast at Peggy's Snack Bar. They have a great choice of breakfast items on offer and having eaten here during our last visit, we knew that the food was good quality as well as being great value for money. Coral Island currently have a 'Kids Eat Free' offer on throughout their restaurants, so children under 10 can get a free children's meal with each full paying adult meal, which is great. We purchased four full english breakfasts since my older children have adult appetites, and Riley enjoyed his free children's breakfast which consisted of toast, beans and sausage. We also bought some hot chocolates, which my daughter claimed was the nicest hot chocolate she had ever tasted, along with some fresh orange juice for me and a cappuchino for my husband. The service was fast and friendly and there were plenty of seats and tables available to choose from.

Once we had finished in Peggy's Snack Bar, it was time for some fun, so after collecting our tickets for the Santa's Grotto, we spent some time in the arcade enjoying some of the games and rides, before heading over to see Santa at 12pm.


For only £7.50 per ticket (or £5 for under 3's), each child gets to spend some quality time with Santa, a goody bag filled with tickets and gifts, tokens for the camel derby and rides, as well as the chance to choose your very own gift from Santa's workshop. Tickets can be purchased in person on the day, or alternatively they can be booked in advance online, however a small booking fee does apply. I thought that this price offered excellent value for money, so we couldn't wait to see if this was just as good as it sounded.


In my honest opinion, it actually far exceeded my expectations and as my children and I joined the queue, Riley excited looked around him at all of the decorations and reindeer. Everywhere he looked there were lights twinkling, mischevious elves hiding and Christmas trees galore. It was beautifully decorated and created a lovely festive atmosphere. We queued for around twenty minutes before it was our turn, which we were quite happy with as there was plenty to look at in the queue and we enjoyed chatting to Riley about what he was going to ask for off Santa. We could also see that families weren't being rushed, so we knew that we were going to get a nice amount of time with Santa to make it all the more special.


Once we reached the front of the queue a friendly and welcoming elf, invited us into Santa's workshop and Riley took a seat on the small bench next to him. Riley absolutely loves dinosaurs and had won a keyring on one of the machines earlier, so he began to show Santa and started talking all things prehistoric. Santa was absolutely brilliant with him and they had a good chat all about dinosaurs and the toys that Riley likes to play with. He asked him what he would like for Christmas and Riley asked for a large dinosaur playset, which Santa said he would try his best to do. The conversation flowed so easily and Riley, who is normally quite shy, really engaged well and thoroughly enjoyed the moment. He had a huge smile on his face the whole time and it really helped to make our visit quite magical.

My eldest two (although now past the age of believing in Santa) also had tickets, so that they could join in with the experience for Riley. My eldest son took his seat on the bench and we had a good laugh as Santa made some jokes and chatted to him in a way that was suitable for his age. This was great for us as it meant that my eldest two also really enjoyed it and each of my children left the workshop with huge smiles on their faces.


However, before we left, we were provided with a gift bag that contained some prize tickets and sweets and each of my children could also select a gift from the workshop. Riley chose a Car Garage Playset, Emma chose a giant Elf on the Shelf which is now perched on the top of one of our Christmas trees, whilst Ben chose a Car Racing Playset which he is donating to charity following a recent Christmas Toy Appeal that he saw before our visit.


Following our visit to Santa, we decided to try our luck at a game of bingo. We had been lucky enough to have won some games on our previous visit, so we were hoping that we could possibly win again. The bingo boards are all touch screen, which really helped Riley as he simply needed to tap his board and the numbers would auto-mark. The prize display looked fabulous and we loved how there was a Christmas and Winter theme with Santa toys and elves in abundance.


Ben managed to win his first game and received a prize ticket worth 50 points. The more points you collect then the bigger the prize you can claim and there is a great selection to choose from. Unfortunately we didn't win any other games, so I was a little worried that he wouldn't be able to find anything for 50 points, but there was still quite a few small prizes that were suitable and in the end he opted for a good quality Blackpool themed pen.


After our games of bingo, the children decided that they wanted to use their Santa's Grotto voucher to claim their free go on the Camel Derby. This is great fun and so simple to play, so it is suitable for the whole family to enjoy. All you have to do is roll balls as quickly as you can and get them into the coloured holes. The more balls you score, then the faster your camel runs in the race, so you have to be quick to compete against the other players and be the first to the finish line. Emma was delighted to win this on her first go, despite playing against several other people and she exchanged her win for a small cuddly toy.

We spent a further hour playing on the various 2p machines and ticket machines, to try and win as many tickets as possible to exchange in the shop. My children absolutely love 2p machines and they could spend hours playing on them. The machines at Coral Island are well stocked with plenty of keyrings or sweets on the edges to try and win. Ben and Riley won 18 prizes from the 2p machines alone and are now the proud owners of various themed keyrings.

Each of my children also had tickets to exchange at the prize shop, so before we left we used the ticket eaters to count our tickets and print a receipt. We then took the receipt to the prize shop and each of my children chose some prizes up to the value of the tickets. Coral Island has such a great selection of prizes that there really is something for everyone.


Due to having a full english breakfast at Peggy's Snack Bar earlier in the morning, we had skipped lunch, so were looking forward to a filling dinner before heading home. We ate in the Buccaneer Family Bar and Restaurant which is located within Coral Island and offers a great selection of family favourite meals to enjoy.

The menu is extensive and the Kids Eat Free offer applies in this restaurant too. It was very busy on the day of our visit, but we asked a member of staff to help us find a table and they soon found one available for us. We each took some time to look over the menu, before my husband went to the bar to place the order. The meals we ordered were 2 x Buccaneer Burgers, Steak and Chips, Scampi and Chips and my youngest had Chicken Nuggets from the children's menu. 

Despite the restaurant being full, we found the service to be very quick and we were served within 20 minutes. The food was absolutely delicious and we were all happy with our choices. A waitress also came over part way into the meal to check that everything was ok, which it most definitely was.


Overall we had a wonderful festive day at Coral Island Blackpool. We absolutely loved the Christmas Grotto and were so impressed with Santa. He was fabulous with the children and knew how to interact well with the different age groups. Riley loved chatting to him about dinosaurs, whilst my older two children enjoyed just having a laugh with him as he told some jokes and a funny story about him and Mrs Claus. His elf assistant was just as friendly and welcoming and this made for a fantastic family experience. I feel that the ticket price offers excellent value for money and there was a good selection of gifts to choose from. As well as the Santa's grotto, we enjoyed playing on the gamesm rides and 2p machines, and we found the whole place to be well maintained and immaculately kept. If you are looking for somewhere fun to visit this winter, that also has a wonderful Santa's Grotto, then Coral Island Blackpool is most definitely the place to be!

Santa's Grotto will be open every weekend until the 22nd December between 11am to 6pm. Tickets are available to purchase on the day subject to availability, or alternatively can be booked in advance online.

If you would like to find out more about Coral Island in Blackpool, then you can visit their website or social media pages on the following channels:

Website - www.coralisland.co.uk
Facebook - facebook.com/coralislandblackpool
Instagram - @CoralIslandBlackpool
Twitter - @LoveCoralIsland


*Disclaimer - AD - We were welcomed as guests of Coral Island for the purpose of writing an honest review of our experience. Our breakfast in Peggy's was purchased by ourselves. Opinions and photographs are my own unless otherwise stated. Details provided are believed to be correct at the time of writing, but are subject to change. I would therefore always recommend visiting the attractions own website in order to obtain the most up to date information.

Monday, 29 April 2019

Our Family Adventure at Coral Island, Blackpool - A Review

What a difference a week makes, as only seven days ago we were enjoying a day trip to sunny Blackpool and it finally felt like summer had arrived. We had a lovely family walk along the promenade, ate some delicious ice cream on the sea front and visited the largest free admission attraction in Blackpool, the fabulous Coral Island!

Unfortunately this weekend was comparatively different with gale force winds and heavy rain instead. Therefore our trip to Coral Island last weekend is a recent memory that is firmly on our minds, with the kids already requesting to return very soon. It is a great place to visit whatever the weather and is guaranteed to provide you with a jam packed day of family fun, with a whole host of fun games, rides and family dining options on offer.


When we travelled from our home in North Wales last weekend, we set off at around 8:15am in an attempt to avoid any traffic. Our decision proved to be a success and we arrived in Blackpool at 9:30am just as Coral Island opened. We parked in the nearby car park just across the road and my children immediately spotted the huge parrot on the outside of the building. We hadn't had time to eat before we left, so I told the children that we could have a walk around inside first to see all the games and rides that were available, before visiting one of their on-site restuarants 'Peggy's Snack Bar' for breakfast. I thought that this would be a lovely way to start the day and would also put any hungry tummies to rest for a few hours, so that we could enjoy this wonderful attraction.


The first thing that we found out about Coral Island is not only is it the largest free admission attraction in Blackpool, but also that kids eat free, all day, every day, in every single one of their restaurants. There are five dining options available which are The Buccaneer, Captain Jacks, Peggy's Snack Bar, Big Fish Trading Bar and The Traditional Chippy. One child under 10 eats free with every adult's meal purchased, which we think is an absolutely fantastic deal and helps making eating out affordable, especially for larger families like ours where eating as a family of five can often prove to be quite expensive.

The Buccaneer Bar & Restaurant looked fabulous with a Pirate Galleon theme and serves family favourite meals, along with a three meat Sunday carvery every Sunday. Captain Jack's is the go to place for stacked burgers, ribs and delicious family sized desserts, whilst both the Big Fish Trading Bar and The Traditional Chippy offer award winning fish & chip meals. If you are also looking for a great choice of hot and cold meals, then Peggy's Snack bar has plenty to offer with prices starting at just £4.75 for breakfast and £4.95 for main meals, with the option of daily specials also being available.


We visited Peggy's Snack Bar for breakfast and my husband opted for the Big Breakfast. This costs £6.75 and includes 2 eggs, 2 bacon, 2 sausages, beans, tomato, hash brown, mushrooms and fried bread. I chose to have a Full English which comes at a price of £4.75 and each of my children had a kids breakfast which consisted of toast, beans and then a choice of sausage or bacon. Drinks are extra but are very reasonably priced with both hot and cold options available. My husband and I both chose a cappuccino and my children selected some bottled juices which all accompanied our breakfast nicely.

There was plenty of seating available for customers and it all appeared to be tidy and well kept. We noticed that tables were cleared quickly when guests left and the staff all seemed to work really well together to ensure both the serving and cleaning was managed effectively.

Our food was really tasty and we all enjoyed our meals. Personally I would have preferred it if I could have had toast instead of fried bread, but that would just be my personal choice and there is the option to purchase toast as an extra should you wish to. The sausage and bacon seemed good quality and the eggs were cooked just how I like them, so along with the well cooked hash browns and beans, it was the perfect meal to start our day. My children all cleared their plates and my youngest son said that his bacon was delicious!

Once we had finished our drinks, we made our way into the arcade which was probably the most challenging part of the day as we simply couldn't decide where to begin! With so much to choose from, the children all wanted to head in different directions, but eventually we were all able to agree where to start and we began to play on some of the machines to build up our collection of tickets.


Tickets can be won on a large majority of the machines and you can collect these tickets to exchange them for something at the prize shop. There is such a huge range of prizes to choose from, so you can swap a small amount of tickets for something small like a packet of sweets, or build them up to exchange for a much larger prize. Some of the items we saw ranged from footballs to toys, bubbles to caps and soft toys to superhero merchandise. There was definitely something for everyone!

Emma took a chance on one of the ticket machines and managed to win over 200 tickets from just 10p! She was absolutely delighted and couldn't believe her luck, which certainly put her in a great mood for the remainder of the day. Ben and Riley also enjoyed playing on the ticket machines and both of them managed to build up a nice amount of tickets to exchange later in the day.

After a short while, we moved onto the 2p machines which provided plenty of entertainment for the kids for quite a lengthy amount of time. They loved looking around the machines to try and find some that had prizes on the edge so that they could try to win them. Before long we had already managed to win numerous keyrings much to the childrens delight.

There were a couple of times where coins became lodged or prizes we had won became stuck, so we had to try and find a member of staff to assist. We did have a bit of difficulty the first time, but afterwards we simply went to one of the cash desks and they would radio for assistance. This seemed a good process and was much easier than walking around trying to find someone. When the staff did arrive to assist, this was done promptly and courteously so that we could continue with our prize quest. The staff seemed to work really hard and we also regularly saw the manager walking around ensuring that the whole attraction was being run safely and effectively.


One thing that really stood out to us, right from the very beginning, was how clean and tidy the whole arcade was in appearance. We expected that we might see tickets or sweet wrappers on the floor, especially in a place so big, but this was not the case at all. All the machines seemed well maintained with everything neat and in it's place. If a machine got low on prizes then these would be topped up, if something ran out of tickets then these would be replaced and if a member of staff did spot something on the floor then this would be picked up straight away. We were very impressed with the layout and how well organised everything appeared, which is obviously a credit to the manager and staff involved in the day to day running.


After a couple of hours of playing on the machines, the camel derby caught my children's attention. I remember playing on similar donkey derby's as a child and I knew that my children would love a game on here. The concept is really easy and you simply roll some balls and try and get them into the coloured holes. The more balls you roll and the more colours they roll into, then the faster your camel runs across the race. It is so much fun and we saw people of all ages enjoying this and trying their luck to win. Unfortunately my family and I weren't very good at it and didn't get a single win amongst us, but that certainly did not deter from the fun we had.


Following on from the excitement of the Camel Derby, we moved to another part of the arcade to play prize Bingo. My very first job when I was 14 was working in an arcade and I used to work on the bingo calling the winner's numbers back to the announcer if someone made a claim. I remember how much the customers used to love the anticipation and excitement of only needing one number and hoping and waiting for it to be called. I was therefore really looking forward to enjoying a game with my family.

Coral Island Prize Bingo has digital screens and has been well and truly modernised. There is still a bingo caller, but gone are the days of having to turn your number over as you now simply need to press on the screen to have your card marked. Unfortunately the numbers were called far too quickly to look for them and so instead you simply just tap on the screen after each number is called and the cards are automarked. Whilst this is great for ensuring that you don't miss a number and also helps the younger players, it does take away some of the excitement. However, we still really enjoyed it and I did in fact win my very first game! My eldest son also won a game and we each received 120 points. I believe that the prize points increase depending on the number of players and whether it is a jackpot game and then these points can be exchanged for bingo prizes.


I gave my points to my youngest son and there was actually a really good selection of prizes to choose from. I didn't expect him to get much since I had only won once, but after much deliberation he chose a Batman bubble wand, a gold motorcycle toy and some sweets. I have to also commend the lady that was serving here as she was so kind and patient whilst my son tried to make his decision. She also gave him some suggestions as to what he could get with his points and didn't try to rush him at any point. He was delighted with his choices in the end and we were also provided with a Coral Island bag to place everything in.

As we took another walk around the arcade we noticed a small crowd of people near one of the entrances, so we decided to be nosey and take a look as to what had interested everyone. Much to Riley's delight there were some superheros meeting and greeting guests and Riley was over the moon to be able to have his picture taken with Thor, Iron Man and Captain Marvel.


Before we knew it, we had already spent over three hours in the arcade and yet we still hadn't seen everything that Coral Island had to offer. I asked the children what they would like to do next and they all asked to take a ride on the Pirate Flyer.

The Pirate Flyer takes you on a tour of the arcade onboard a mini Pirate ship that travels along a monorail track. This is a superb place to get a good view of everything and to also spot any games that you may have missed. It costs £2 per rider or £3 for 2 riders which I thought was a reasonable price. My youngest son Riley absolutely loved this ride, so much so, that he insisted on riding on it again. He loved trying to search for things as we moved along and enjoyed waving at other riders as they went past on the opposite side of the track.

Keeping with the theme of rides, we then made our way to the Ghost Train. My daughter and I found this hilarious, as I am quite jumpy, so even though I know exactly what to expect, it still made me jump out of my seat and scream. We literally laughed the whole way round and my son and daughter decided to go on it again straight afterwards a couple more times.


My husband then spotted something that he hadn't seen in an arcade before, which was a Virtual Reality experience than could be played with one or two persons. My daughter jumped at the chance to join her dad on a virtual reality adventure so they spent a moment getting the headsets set up, before travelling along an underground track avoiding obstacles along the way. This costs £3 per person, which may sound a little expensive, but it is quite a unique experience that lasts quite a while, so I would say that you do get good value for money.

There is also a large screen located above the participants, so people can also watch your adventure on the monitor. It was really funny watching my daughters reactions to things and she didn't let go of the bar the whole time. It was quite entertaining just watching them enjoy the experience and by the time it had finished there were several other families wanting to have a go.

We all decided that we would like to try and win some more tickets before heading over to the prize shop to redeem them, so we spent some further time playing on the basketball and throwing games, along with the ticket slot machines. My children won quite a few tickets on these and kept winning free spins, so this helped to build up their ticket collection.

Once we had spent all of our budget for the day, we made our way to the ticket eaters. There are numerous machines that you guide your tickets into and it will count them all automatically, before printing a receipt that shows how many you have obtained. You then simply take this receipt over to the prize desk to choose your prize. I hadn't expected the children to come away with much, but they each averaged around 500 tickets which meant that they could actually get quite a few decent toys. In the end they each came away with a bag full of goodies that contained everything from sweets to Fortnite character figures. Riley also managed to get an Avengers juice cup with built in straw that he was really happy with.

As our day was coming to a close, we decided to enjoy a fish and chip dinner before setting off on the journey home. We had noticed that The Traditional Chippy had been busy all day which showed us how popular it was with visitors and we couldn't wait to try the food for ourselves. My two boys decided to opt for chicken nuggets instead, but my husband, daughter and I all tried the fish and chips which were absolutely delicious and very reasonably priced too!

You can choose to take these away if you fancied eating on the seafront, however we chose to eat in their seating area which like the rest of the attraction, seemed very clean and well maintained. It was busy, but not crowded and the staff worked hard to ensure that tables were cleared quickly. We all really enjoyed our meals and it was the perfect way to end our visit to Coral Island in Blackpool.


Overall we had an absolutely fantastic day at Coral Island in Blackpool. None of us could quite believe how much there actually was to see and do, all inside one building. A lot of thought has clearly been put into this attraction, in creating somewhere that is extremely family friendly and plenty of fun too. We all saw games there that we had never seen before and we enjoyed the mixture of both new and old arcade favourites. The VR Experience was great fun, along with the Pirate Flyer and Ghost Train ride which were suitable for all the family. Every single member of staff that we came across were both friendly and courteous, though a special mention has to be made to the staff that work in the prize shop who all exhibit great patience and professionalism when visitors take some time to choose their prizes. We found Coral Island to be an absolute TREASURE of an attraction and there is no doubt that we will be returning again very soon!


*Disclaimer - We were invited to visit Coral Island as guests, for the purpose of writing an honest review of our experience at the attraction. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Details provided are believed to be correct at the time of writing, but information such as admission, prices or opening hours are subject to change. I would therefore always recommend visiting the attractions own website prior to visiting, in order to obtain the most up to date information.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

A Trip to Madame Tussauds in Blackpool - A Review

Whilst my family and I were recently in Blackpool, we were delighted to have the opportunity to visit the world famous Madame Tussauds, which is situated along the main promenade. We couldn't wait to visit the star studded attraction and get up close to some of our favourite celebrities and sports stars in their wax figure form and see just how life like they were. We had also been informed that the attraction had recently invested £1million pounds in a brand new Marvel Super Heroes area, which would allow us to come face to face with some iconic comic book legends.

The attraction itself is really easy to find and it would be very hard to miss it, whilst travelling down the promenade. There is ample parking nearby and we chose to park in the Central Car Park which cost us £5.50 for 4 hours. It is easily accessible by public transport as well, with tram and bus stops in the vicinity.

There was a small queue to enter the attraction, but this moved very quickly and the lady on the front desk was very kind and helpful in assisting us on arrival. The photo opportunities began before we had even entered the main attraction, with this fantastic ET wax figure being located at the entrance. My daughter could not resist climbing aboard the bike and it got all the children excited thinking about what other figures and characters would be inside.


Our Madame Tussauds adventure began with some well known television stars and my children took their place upon Simon Cowells couch and pretended that they were about to be told if they had made it to the X-Factor Live Finals. Riley was still a little too young to recognise any of the famous faces in this area, but Ben and Emma knew them all and moved around excitedly, patiently waiting to have their photo taken with each wax figure. My husband and I both thought that Keith Lemon was brilliant and looked really accurate. I also liked the fact that each figure had is own kind of area, background or props which made it more interesting and much more fun for family photographs.


This wax figure of Phil "The Power" Taylor was so lifelike and even on the photograph below it looks as if my son Ben is standing next to the man himself.  I was fascinated at how they are made and just how much detail is applied, it really was incredible.


Being a big fan of the outdoors, Ben was delighted to have the chance to have his photograph taken with the adventurer Bear Grylls. I loved the fact that the majority of wax figures had scenery to help you take the perfect photo and this exhibit was no exception. Featuring a specially created rock formation, it was the ideal place to grab a picture with this intrepid explorer.


My daughter Emma absolutely loved the I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here area which provided photo opportunities in abundance. You could re-create the winners walk across the rope bridge, become the King or Queen of the Jungle by sitting on the oversized throne, or try your hand at some of the bushtucker trials whilst taking a selfie.


The Sporting Heroes Academy was my favourite part of the attraction, as it had plenty of hands-on and interactive elements to enjoy. World famous sports stars in this zone included wax figures such as Lewis Hamilton, Mo Farah & Conor McGregor. My family and I are big Formula One fans and so it was great to grab a picture with the Formula 1 World Champion, as well as test our reaction speed on the Batak machine.


The Conor McGregor wax figure is relatively new to the collection, having been unveiled back in February. It is the world's first wax figure of the 'Notorious' professional fighter and he was certainly popular with attraction visitors as we joined a short queue to take a photo. I was interested to learn more about how he was created and just how much of an in-depth process it is to create a sculpture with such an accurate likeness. I had never thought too much about the making of the wax figures before, but I learnt that it actually takes expert teams of sculptors, moulders, colourists and hair stylists to work together and create the final masterpiece. This includes analysing hundreds of photos to ensure that no details are missed.


The academy area was a really inviting and colourful place and there was something fun to do for all ages. My children spotted a climbing wall game where you have to climb and reach some bats that fly onto the wall before the time runs out. You can play by yourself or with a partner and try to achieve the highest score. There was a queue for this due to its popularity, but the game and idea is absolutely brilliant and my children really enjoyed it. A seating area and drinks machine are located just opposite, so it is also the ideal opportunity to have a sit down and enjoy some refreshments whilst you wait.


Once we had tried all of the activities on offer in the Sporting Heroes Academy, it was time for us to check out the amazing new Marvel Super Heroes area, which has filled 5501 square feet of previously undeveloped space. It was wonderful to have the opportunity to come face to face with comic book and film heroes set amongst incredible artwork and scenery. My children all loved The Hulk and situated next to this wax figure was an interactive activity, that allows you to put your strength to the test and lift up a yellow taxi. Just make sure you don't make The Hulk angry!


The new area has taken inspiration from both the Marvel comics and the blockbuster films, which has allowed Madame Tussauds to create a fantastic must-visit destination for Marvel fans. It has been separated into four zones which begins with you walking through a vintage comic book store that provides an inviting walkway into the world of Marvel Super Heroes. Next we entered an ice cave, where we came across the Asguardian God of Thunder - Thor.


We then came across Colonel Nicholas Joseph Fury, who is a fictional character that appeared in American comic books. Again this wax figure was so incredibly life-like that we found it hard to believe that it wasn't a real person.


Our next stop was a visit to see Spiderman, where you could pay for a photo posing against the skyscraper background. There were several of these photo opportunities located around the attraction where you could have a professional photo taken that is then added onto a photo card. These photos can then be viewed and purchased at the end of the attraction by handing your photo card in, which will bring up all the images . These photos are optional and you are under no obligation to purchase them if you do have them taken. We politely declined and opted to take our own pictures instead. The Guardians of the Galaxy area also provided a further photo opportunity with the marvellous 10ft Groot!


Every time we thought that we had reached the end of the attraction, there would be another area for us to enjoy and we were all genuinely suprised by how large Madame Tussauds Blackpool is. As we continued our way around, we stumbled upon the cobbles of Coronation Street and enjoyed a well deserved rest in the Rovers Return with some popular pub regulars. It is a fully licensed bar, so you can purchase both non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks. The pub was very busy but we spotted both Ken Barlow and Michelle Connor inside.


After a trip to the Rovers Return, we came across some very important wax figures, in the form of royalty. We thought that the Queen was absolutely amazing and the Duchess of Cambridge looked magnificent in her sparkling gown. The dress is actually an exact copy of the stunning Jenny Packham dress she wore for the ARK charity dinner and it looks incredible.


My daughter Emma really enjoyed posing for photos with some well known music stars, in particular Olly Murs. There is a really fascinating photograph on the Madame Tussauds website here, which shows Olly's face as a before and after, whilst being transformed into a wax figure. Every single fine detail down to the beard was meticulously placed.


My youngest son Riley is a big fan of Ed Sheeran's songs, so this wax figure was one that he instantly recognised. When I asked him what he thought of the attraction so far, he gave it two very big thumbs up!


Overall we had a wonderful time at Madame Tussauds and were very surprised by how large the attraction actually was. I had wrongly assumed that we would be in and out in under an hour, but with so many photo opportunities and interactive activities to choose from, there was certainly plenty to do. Before we knew it, we had already been there for over three hours! The attraction was busy, but there was plenty of space between exhibits so this meant that there was no overcrowding. Visitors with pushchairs, or guests in wheelchairs could also get around the site safely and with ease.

I had initially thought that the entry price was quite high, but after visiting and seeing just how much is on offer, I actually think it is a very fair price for something that is unique and lots of fun. You can also save money by purchasing combination tickets that allow you to visit other attractions in the area such as the Blackpool Tower and The Blackpool Dungeon, so it is worth considering these if you are planning on visiting the area for a few days.

We would definitely return to Madame Tussauds Blackpool and I look forward to seeing what other celebrities are added to their huge wax figure collection in the future. It has been so hard to choose only a select few photos out of the hundreds that were taken, so I shall also add a slideshow of all our images in the next couple of days, so be sure to check back to this blog post soon!


Attraction Details

Attraction: Madame Tussauds Blackpool
Address: 89 Promenade, Blackpool, Lancashire, FY1 5AA
Ticket prices: Prices vary and start from £14.50. You can find all the different charges and multi-ticket options available here.
Opening Hours: Standard opening hours are Sunday-Friday (10am to 5pm) and Saturday (10am to 6pm).
Website: www.madametussauds.com/blackpool/en/
Twitter: @MTBlackpool
Facebook: facebook.com/MTBlackpool/
Instagram: @MTBlackpool


Disclaimer: We were provided with complimentary admission for the purpose of writing an honest review of our experience. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own unless stated otherwise.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Legally Blonde The Musical at The Grand Theatre, Blackpool - Review

Last night my daughter and I attended the opening night of Legally Blonde The Musical at the Grand Theatre in Blackpool. The show is based on the 2001 hit film and apart from a few slight changes to the original story, it is very similar to the popular on-screen version. It is packed full of high energy dancing, singing, drama and lots of pink!

Directed and Choreographed by Anthony Williams, the show tells the story of Elle Woods who is a popular and fun loving girl, that sadly suffers heartbreak when her boyfriend Warner decides to end their relationship for someone more serious. Elle becomes determined to win Warner back and therefore studies hard to become a student at Harvard Law School. Facing many challenges along the way, Elle proves that being true to yourself, never goes out of style.

On arrival we were informed that the lead role of Elle Woods would actually be played by the understudy Rebecca Stenhouse, instead of the advertised star Lucie Jones. I was a little disappointed on hearing this news initially, as I had heard so many great things about Lucie's performance in the show. However it soon became apparent that Rebecca Stenhouse was absolutely amazing as Elle with the most beautiful, yet powerful voice. She stepped up to the role perfectly and my earlier dismay was immediately forgotten as soon as she took to the stage. Her comedic timing, flawless dance moves and superb vocals allowed Rebecca to excel in the role of Elle and both my daughter and I were extremely impressed with her performance abilities throughout the whole show.

Photo Credit: UK Productions Ltd
Rita Simons, who is best known for playing Roxy Mitchell in BBC's Eastenders, stars as Paulette Bonafonte. I always think that it must be hard to take on a new role when viewers are so used to seeing you perform as another character, so I was keen to see Rita's portrayal of Paulette.

Her first salon scene with Elle gave Rita the chance to show off her amazing singing voice with her performance of Ireland. This was a fabulous song that was not only funny and entertaining, but also showed a range of emotions too. There was a slight problem during the song where one part of the Irish flag failed to drop onto the stage, but this only provided Rita with the perfect opportunity to show her professionalism as she continued undistracted with the song.

Displaying a strong sassy attitude and a bold american accent, Rita made the character of Paulette her own, which had the audience laughing on plenty of occasions. The Bend & Snap scene with the UPS Guy was certainly one of my favourites and I just loved the positive energy and enthusiasm.

Photo Credit: UK Productions Ltd
Starring as Professor Callahan is Bill Ward, who had a great stage presence. His opening number of Blood in the Water, gave the ideal introduction to his character which showed Callahan to be a formidable and successful lawyer who knows exactly what he wants. He also provided plenty of entertaining moments too with his dancing and facial expressions during the show.

David Barrett stars as Emmett and he delivers some lovely moments with Elle, where their on-stage chemistry comes across as very believeable. I loved the scenes that just featured the two of them, as these also displayed some important messages, such as believing in yourself, working hard to achieve your dreams and how you can also find love when you least expect it. It is great to watch a show that has so much positivity and happiness throughout.

Warner Huntington III is played by Liam Doyle and both my daughter and I really enjoyed his first scene with Elle where they sang Serious together. Their comedic timing was perfect during this performance making what was a 'Serious' matter, actually appear rather amusing.

Photo Credit: UK Productions Ltd
My daughters favourite part of the show was the Gay or European court room performance which, like the rest of the show, was packed full of energy, drama and comedy. It has a really catchy tune and we both found it to be absolutely hilarious, as well as being extremely well choreographed.

Credit also has to go to Helen Petrovna as Brooke Wyndham for the incredible opening scene of Act 2. Her rendition of Whipped into Shape, involved the creative use of skipping ropes that was extremely impressive. Helen somehow managed to make this look effortless and the fact that she was also able to continue acting after such a routine, without even looking short of breath, was incredible.

The remainder of the cast also worked extremely hard and were well supported by two very special canine performers in the form of Bruiser and Rufus who gained immediate popularity the moment they stepped out onto the stage.

Photo Credit: UK Productions Ltd
Overall Legally Blonde The Musical is a really uplifting & feel-good show that can't help but put a smile on your face. The finale saw the audience get up from their seats to clap, sing and dance along to the musical medley and the cast rightly deserved their standing ovation. Packed full of fast paced dancing, catchy songs and positivity, it is a must see musical that offers something for everyone.

Legally Blonde The Musical, will be performing at the Grand Theatre, Blackpool until Saturday 14th April. Tickets can be bought online on their website here: Grand Theatre

Alternatively, you can ring the box office on 01253 290190

Listing Details

Show - Legally Blonde The Musical
Dates - Monday 9th to Saturday 14th April 2018
Times - Evenings at 7:30pm, Thursday & Saturday matinees at 2pm
Venue - Blackpool Grand Theatre, 33 Church Street, Blackpool, FY1 1HT
Ticket prices - Prices vary, so please visit the Grand Theatre website to obtain the most up to date information.
Box Office - 01253 290190
Website - www.blackpoolgrand.co.uk/event/legally-blonde-musical


Disclaimer: We were provided with press tickets for the purpose of writing an honest review of the production. Opinions are my own unless otherwise stated.