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Alton Towers vs Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Alton Towers vs Blackpool Pleasure Beach


  • Total voters
    39

Matt N

Well-Known Member
Hi guys. When asking enthusiasts which theme park in the UK is their favourite, I’ve noticed that in the vast majority of cases, their answer is usually one of two parks; Alton Towers or Blackpool Pleasure Beach. I’d say that the enthusiast community here in the UK is actually quite evenly split in terms of people whose favourite UK park is Alton and people whose favourite UK park is Blackpool, so I’d be intrigued to know; which camp do you fall into? Are you Team Alton Towers or Team Blackpool Pleasure Beach? Or can you not pick between them? Or have you got a different park entirely as your favourite in the UK?

Personally, I’m voting for Alton Towers. As much as I’ve loved my visits to Blackpool Pleasure Beach, I think the more “themed” experience that Alton Towers provides, as well as the more modern ride selection, personally appeals to me more than the product that’s on offer at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. It might help that I’ve also visited Alton Towers far more (I’ve been visiting Towers for years, whereas I’ve only done Pleasure Beach twice, with my first visit being in 2018), but I think the type of theme park that Alton Towers is personally appeals to me more than Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

That’s not to say I don’t love Blackpool Pleasure Beach, because I do; I love how the place is an absolute amusement park museum, with rides ranging from practically brand new to over 100 years old! It has a wonderfully vintage charm to it, and has an absolutely fantastic atmosphere! And the pure quantity and density of rides is unrivalled within the UK, and makes the place absolutely astounding to stand in and look around! However, I ultimately think I prefer the more modern experience on offer at Alton Towers in terms of a more themed park, and while there are a number of rides at Alton Towers that I rate pretty highly, I wouldn’t say that any of Blackpool’s rides rank really highly for me besides Icon, personally; even though I can think of a fair few rides at Blackpool that I like, Icon is the only one that I really love. I’m afraid that does inhibit how highly I can rate it to a degree; on the whole, I’d probably say that Blackpool is a park I love in spite of how much I enjoy its ride selection as opposed to because of how much I enjoy its ride selection.

But do you agree with me in ranking Alton Towers more highly? Or are you more of a Pleasure Beach fan?
 

Will

Well-Known Member
I remember the days when this used to cause blazing rows in the enthusiast community - happily, there's only a few 'rabid Pleasure Beach fanboys' remaining these days :)

As the above suggests, it's always Alton - unlike Blackpool, they have one or two coasters I can actually get excited about, as well as themed areas, a nicer atmosphere and of course the backdrop of Towers and gardens. Blackpool can feel stressful on a busy day as well, whereas Alton can soak up crowds far more efficiently due to all the space they have to play with.

That's not to say I don't enjoy a day at Blackpool - I nearly always do - it's a very different experience and has the flats and quirky dark rides that Alton lacks. It also has a Valhalla.
 
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Alton Towers for me, it gives you that theme park feeling, probably the closest thing to a UK Disneyland. I love how all the rides are hidden in the trees, gives me an exploration feel as I turn corners to see coasters right in front of me. Plus there is far more investment here

Blackpool Pleasure Beach has a lot of charm though, I love Icon and Valhalla is superb, the parks has some solid flat rides and classic dark rides, but it's somewhat let down by it's coaster collection, but still I visit this park more often because it is easy to get to, without a car Alton Towers is real faff if you live outside of the Midlands.

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Matt N

Well-Known Member
Interesting stuff; we’ve got a direct 50/50 split between Alton and Blackpool in the poll! (Excluding undecideds)

I had a feeling it would be quite close...
 

HeartlineCoaster

Active Member
I prefer to visit Blackpool these days simply because it's cheap, hassle free and a good value day out.
Obviously what Alton is and has is better on paper, I just don't get on with the setup and it's rarely worth the agro for me any more.
 

EmmaUK

New Member
I put Alton Towers. And to be honest its not even close. Dont get me wrong, BPB has a Icon, which I love, but alton towers beats it in pretty much every criteria I can think of. Better theming. Better rides overall. Better events. More chilled day out. No rides that feel like they want to kill me (looking at you Grand National). Better overall vibe. Nicer drive to get to. Better and much less disgusting toilets.

And the last time I was at AT I walked 22km so even my PT was happier with it!
 

Thekingin64

Well-Known Member
I prefer to visit Blackpool these days simply because it's cheap, hassle free and a good value day out.
Obviously what Alton is and has is better on paper, I just don't get on with the setup and it's rarely worth the agro for me any more.
Exactly. If I had to choose either park to visit tomorrow, It would always be Blackpool. Alton is always too busy for my liking whereas Blackpool has more rides to soak up the crowds making it always feel quieter than it actually is.
 

rob666

Member
I put Alton Towers. And to be honest its not even close. Dont get me wrong, BPB has a Icon, which I love, but alton towers beats it in pretty much every criteria I can think of. Better theming. Better rides overall. Better events. More chilled day out. No rides that feel like they want to kill me (looking at you Grand National). Better overall vibe. Nicer drive to get to. Better and much less disgusting toilets.

And the last time I was at AT I walked 22km so even my PT was happier with it!

Blackpool's toilets actually have running hot water!
Blackpools toilets by the Alice ride won a national best bogs award.
You are never more than two minutes from the loos at Blackpool!
They get cleaned every hour, and all the loos are manned.
Blackpool has much more shelter and attractions under a roof than Towers.
The last 20 miles to the Beach take me about fifteen minutes, nice motorway and then the "stilt road".
The last 20 miles to the Towers can take an hour, then the clutch burning road up to the Towers in the snaking queue.
You can park within 100 yards of BPB entrance, often, for free, instead of a compulsory charge.
You can get to BPB by public transport easily, and there are a large number of pubs and attractions within walking distance.
The typical walk, doing all the rides at Blackpool, is about 2km... my old knees are happier with it!
I like both, chalk and cheese.
Chalk doesn't taste nice, but cheese is useless on a blackboard.
Different strokes for different folks.
 

EmmaUK

New Member
Blackpool's toilets actually have running hot water!
Blackpools toilets by the Alice ride won a national best bogs award.
You are never more than two minutes from the loos at Blackpool!
They get cleaned every hour, and all the loos are manned.
Blackpool has much more shelter and attractions under a roof than Towers.
The last 20 miles to the Beach take me about fifteen minutes, nice motorway and then the "stilt road".
The last 20 miles to the Towers can take an hour, then the clutch burning road up to the Towers in the snaking queue.
You can park within 100 yards of BPB entrance, often, for free, instead of a compulsory charge.
You can get to BPB by public transport easily, and there are a large number of pubs and attractions within walking distance.
The typical walk, doing all the rides at Blackpool, is about 2km... my old knees are happier with it!
I like both, chalk and cheese.
Chalk doesn't taste nice, but cheese is useless on a blackboard.
Different strokes for different folks.
🤷‍♀️ horses for courses - pun very much intended

1 major plus for me with BPB in fairness is that my daughter can get on everything (I think 1.32m is the highest restriction there?) whereas AT has a bunch of 1.40m rides she can't get on. She's 137cm/54 inches and I dont think there's a single major coaster in the USA that she can't get on, but AT has half of their coasters that she can't. She'll prob reach 140 by next summer but for this year AT is a waste for her
 

rob666

Member
...are we really suddenly voting based on quality of toilet experience?

If so, Chessington must be the country's worst park, though at least it's not Parc St Paul.
Yes.
Must add regarding the matter, I have a very poor sense of smell, and after many years experience in the pub trade, the ladies is always in a far rougher state by the end of the day than the gents.
 

Will

Well-Known Member
We've been talking about this at work and agreed that we may continue wearing face coverings in public toilets long after restrictions are lifted :D
 

nadroJ

Well-Known Member
I do love the Pleasure Beach in all its fabulous tacky glory. I do really appreciate the no rhyme or reason approach to the Pleasure Beach that can take you from epic Viking world-class water ride to random piece of (Polish?) architecture and street sign for no reason, to huge American brand Nickelodeon Land to British classics Wallace and Gromit to a giant ass Arrow coaster themed to a sugar free drink for some reason.

BUT Towers is just better for me. As much as I love the insanity of the Pleasure Beach, Alton Towers actually has attractions I adore and would ride over and over again all day, in a gorgeous setting with fabulous Resort hotels and just urgh. I love Alton Towers.
 

Smithy

Well-Known Member
I think my view will probably echo most people's - Alton is just a better park. I guess it all depends on the circumstances and the company.

If you're giving me a choice of 1 day at either park, it's always Alton. Better rides, basically.

If I were taking some non-enthusiast friends to a park and I wanted to guarantee they'd enjoy themselves, it's Alton.

But if it was with a group of people who've maybe done Alton or done Thorpe once or twice, it'd be Blackpool just because I think it'd blow their mind and they'd love it.

Basically Alton would be where I'd take somebody to give them a great first impression of my hobby. Blackpool would be where I'd take them next to show them just how varied it can be.
 

Robbie

Active Member
Alton Towers is undoubtedly the better theme park, but Blackpool Pleasure Beach is a more simpler experience and so they kind-of compliment each other. Towers has better rides and a lovely atmosphere, but can be hard work traipsing everywhere while at Blackpool you're usually never more than a few minutes away from something fun. Plus they were both a lot better twenty years ago.
 

Ian

From CoasterForce
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Social Media Team
Blackpool. There I’ve said it.

Alton’s coasters are better. Most of them are my favourite examples and I could ride them all day, every day without getting bored. The park is also much better looking than Blackpool and is one of the best theme park destinations I’ve ever been to.

But Blackpool has something difficult to describe that makes it utterly unique and endearing. It’s polished grit. It’s historic. There a a variety of attractions. It’s not trying too hard and I don’t feel like I’m being sold something at every turn. Even on busy days, there’s a chilled vibe at the Pleasure Beach. No over expectation. Perhaps due to the seaside party atmosphere, there’s no sense of entitlement from the season pass holders and day visitors likely found at Alton. Maybe it’s because I leave Blackpool, wander easily and enjoyably to my car/B&B and don’t end my day with a monorail queue and car park drive away.

I think that’s it’s. I arrive at Alton excited, I love my day but get disappointed if something is closed and leave with a burdenous car park experience. At Blackpool, I wander in with no expectations and, when I leave, the transition from park back into the real world is unnoticeable, so happy memories stay with me.
 

Dar

Member
It's not trying too hard and I don’t feel like I’m being sold something at every turn. Even on busy days, there’s a chilled vibe at the Pleasure Beach. No over expectation.

I think this sums up why it's Blackpool for me too. Blackpool is just there and there's a bit of a "take it or leave it, it is what it is" feeling to the whole place. I hated how much upselling there was at Alton, and how pushy it was sometimes.
 

Jamesss

Member
It's hard to make an up-to-date decision because I last visited Towers 3 years ago and Blackpool 10 years ago.

I love the beautiful setting of Towers.

I love the rides creatively stacked on top of each other at Blackpool.

I think Towers just about wins for me, but if Blackpool still had Wild Mouse and a couple of its bygone dark rides, that would possibly change.
 

Professor

Previously AndrewRollercoaster
Both parks have strengths and weaknesses but I've spent more time in Blackpool over the last 3 years than in Alton Towers so I have to say Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

The atmosphere on a hot day is superb, especially when it's busy and you can watch from one of the balconies in the Big Blue Hotel. So much going on in a tight space. It seems ultra bonkers at times then. Icon getting launched, Big One climbing to great heights, people on fake horses passing by, a train passing by and a near 100 year old woodie doing its turn around.

I've had some superb back row rides on The Big One, especially around Easter in 2019 which were very memorable. Nothing else in the UK has come quite as close for me, even though I love the thrill of Oblivion and Stealth too.

Towers requires a more calculated day I think, just because of the distances between the ride areas, car park and also the somewhat awkward last bit of infrastructure getting there and leaving. Also within the park, even after a few visits I had, I still made the stupid mistake of trying to pass through the valley and regretting that when climbing back up on the other side.
Wicker Man I would say is the best themed coaster I've ever ridden. It's just not the best GCI I've done. I think the height build restriction perhaps limits Towers somewhat but I appreciate they have mostly been very inventive and successful with coaster solutions so far.

Both Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Towers are easily my favourite parks in the UK though. We would be much poorer in the coaster community without either of them.

I think also BPB and Towers prove that a bit of competition between these two gives us good experiences. I think Thorpe Park would be better off being separated from Merlin again and actually targeting the same type of audience as the other two; the family thrill market. Don't think the ITV / Channel 4 esque IP direction Thorpe Park takes at times is a good idea as I don't think it creates timeless unique experiences. And there is totally no international appeal for these themes I reckon.
 
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JoshC.

Active Member
Easy vote for Alton Towers for me.

Cred-wise, Towers wins.
Enjoyment of dark rides, Towers wins.
Enjoyment of other rides, meh it's a draw.
Atmosphere, Towers wins.

I see why people like Blackpool, and I had a perfectly fine day when I visited. But for me, the reasons for its love don't resonate with me:
"It has loads of old rides" - cool, but it's a theme park, not a museum. Don't get me wrong, old rides have a place in the world and everything, but if not good, then so be it.
"It's in Blackpool" - I didn't like Blackpool
"It's by the seaside" - I hate the seaside
 
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