Top 10 Blackpool Pleasure Beach Roller Coasters
Blackpool Pleasure Beach is home to the most diverse and historic roller coaster lineup in the UK- but which rides stand out above the rest?
Welcome to Theme Park Addict, and the first ever Top 10 countdown on the website. Today, we’re ranking every operating roller coaster at the Pleasure Beach from worst to best, based on our usual five criteria. From racing horses to 200ft peaks, there’s plenty of variety to get our teeth into here, so let’s get started! This list is pure opinion and disagreement is encouraged.
10. Blue Flyer
It’s probably not a surprise to see this junior wooden ‘coaster at the bottom of our list, but that’s not a knock on it either. Like Flying Fish or Scorpion Express, Blue Flyer comes in as the lowest-ranked coaster in the park because it does exactly what it was built for: entertain kids. That’s not to say adults can’t enjoy it too- the two of us managed to squeeze into one train together and only got some mild foot cramps for our trouble. But the layout (lift hill, turn, bunny hills, turn, tunnel, brakes) isn’t one you’ll be rushing to ride again, and although it looks attractive and well-maintained, there’s not much else here for older guests.
Coming in at number nine is this glorious deathtrap of a ride, which manages to make guests feel both stuck in place and on the brink of flying off in the same time. Steeplechase is certainly an experience, and one you won’t find anywhere else in the UK, but that doesn’t automatically make it an experience worth having. Strapped onto a small metal horse (which is how all great ‘coasters start), riders fly through one of three racing tracks, featuring two lift hills and some of the tightest turns on the west coast. This colourful ride is made by the interaction with half the other ‘coasters in the park, but it’s rough and fairly slow, and won’t have a place in many top fives.
8. Nickelodeon Streak
Tucked away in the corner of Nickelodeon land is the mass of orange that is Nickelodeon Streak, one of the hidden gems of the park. To many, this is just a kids ride, not worth a sniff for anyone over five foot tall. That, though, couldn’t be further from the truth. This ride is a joy, especially in the summer sunshine. There’s plenty of force to be enjoyed as you’re pulled over each hill, particularly at the back of the train, but the main appeal here is the views over the Blackpool coast. Whether it’s on the way out or on the way back, you’ll get a good look at the beach before being returned to the station with a smile on your face.
7. Big Dipper
Here’s a ride that I enjoyed a lot more than expected. Big Dipper is crammed in between Infusion and Icon, hidden except for an eye-catching station, but it more than packs a punch. While the build-up to the first drop is one of the longest I’ve ever experienced, it’s worth the wait as riders are dragged through the out-and-back layout. Nobody has ever claimed that Big Dipper is the smoothest ride out there, but if you don’t mind a bit of shopping-trolley action you’re sure to enjoy a spin on this absolute classic. It’s forceful, fast and more than a little bit wild- if there’s a ride in the park that defines what a roller coaster has always been about, it may well be this one.
The UK’s first and only Bobsled ‘coaster sums up everything great about Blackpool Pleasure Beach: it’s unique, historic, thrilling- and far from smooth. This ride places you in the heart of a journey from a cabin at the foot of a mountain up to the peak, and all the way back down to earth via a plethora of twists and turns. It’s no Matterhorn Bobsleds, and that’s totally fine because it doesn’t try to be. Instead, this experience is all about the ride, which gathers some impressive speed as every banked corner reminds you that you could actually fall out right now. Even when you know that physics have deemed it impossible for you to actually crash out of your bobsled, something about the sheer barebones madness of it all makes this rare experience one that you won’t get bored of.
Possibly the most controversial item on this list is Infusion, which is probably inevitable given the decisive nature of the ride. There’s a huge crowd of enthusiasts who absolutely swear by this ride, make it one of their priorities for every visit to the park and call it one of their favourite inverts around. On the other side is a group that think Infusion is simply too rough and gets queues longer than it’s worth. I fall somewhere in the middle. When I first got to experience Infusion, I was pleasantly surprised, and the first half of the ride had me wondering why anyone would find it rough. True, the second half is a little bit heavier, but this is still an enjoyable adventure over water. It doesn’t come close to Nemesis Inferno if I compare inverted ‘coasters, but this is still a ride I look forward to visiting again.
I have to admit that before I went to the Pleasure Beach, I’d never have guessed that I’d prefer Revolution to Infusion, but this historic shuttle ‘coaster took me by surprise with how much airtime it provides. On the front, the feeling of being dragged backwards into the loop sends riders flying. On the back row, you’re treated to a sudden drop that will have your knees as high as your eyes. Is it simple? Yes. Very. Is it effective? Absolutely. True, the stairs are frustrating at best to climb every time you want a ride, and “please stand behind the yellow line” gets old after a few minutes in the station. With that said, for what Revolution does (start, loop, reverse, loop, stop), it manages to exert a perfect amount of force and give guests a ride that still holds up.
3. Grand National
Again, before my first visit to Pleasure Beach, I couldn’t have predicted that this racing wooden coaster would be so high on this list. Yes, I know it’s rough, but when you look past that there’s a lot to love here. Each drop is powerful and provides plenty of airtime, the layout does everything it needs to and it keeps pace brilliantly. The way the two sides of the ride race, so close you can literally hi-five, adds an extra element of excitement. Not only is this my favourite wooden ‘coaster in the park, it’s one of my favourite racing coasters out there.
2. The Big One
For someone who’s never been on a hyper coaster before (not counting Stealth), nothing can quite prepare a rider for the first drop on The Big One. No matter where you sit, it’s an incredible moment- arguably the best first drop in the country- but if you find yourself on the back row, the force with which you’re yanked over the lift hill and down an enormous drop is something that stays with you for some time afterwards. The two criticisms often aimed at the ride (roughness and an uninventive layout) are both valid to a degree, but the views out to sea throughout make up for these drawbacks, and as long as I can feel that first drop I don’t care if the rest of the ‘coaster is literally a monorail. It’s not quite my favourite at the park, but it’s very close.
Some people don’t like Icon, and I can see why. It isn’t the fastest ‘coaster in the UK, it only has one inversion and the launches aren’t particularly snappy. To me, personally, none of that matters. From the moment you’re plunged into the first misty tunnel, this ride is just plain fun. The restraints make the ride. If Thorpe Park tried to make their version of Icon, I’d wager it would be just another middle-of-the-range ‘coaster. Blackpool let Mack Rides install extremely freeing restraints that allow riders to do whatever they want with their arms throughout, which makes the difference between a good ride and an absolute joy. One more thing- the way Icon interacts with several other ‘coasters only adds to the experience. It’s like it’s Blackpool Pleasure Beach: The Ride. This isn’t for everyone- but for me, it’s the best in the park.
Do you agree with our picks? Comment your thoughts below and tell us what your #1 would be. Thanks for reading!