A spectacular programme of shows, events and new attractions has been unveiled as Blackpool looks to cement its place as the UK’s most popular seaside destination.

At its annual season launch, VisitBlackpool, Pleasure Beach Resort and other major players in the tourism economy showcased a huge programme of entertainment lined up for the year ahead.

The launch revealed another two-month extension to the autumn Illuminations season, a return of the hugely successful Christmas By The Sea festival, and millions of pounds of investment in free events and brand new family attractions including an IMAX cinema, an interactive museum of entertainment, an extension to the seafront tramway and a new four-star hotel.

It was also announced that there will be three new Illuminations installations for the 2024 display, with one of them being designed by Leigh Francis, best known for his charismatic alter-ego Keith Lemon, who is also a hugely talented artist. More details will be revealed over the coming months.

New events for 2024 include Elmer’s Big Parade, an elephant art trail featuring over 30 uniquely designed versions of the popular children’s book character, and Blackpool Capital of Dance, a month-long festival celebrating the resort’s status as the spiritual home of dance.

The world-famous Red Arrows have also confirmed they will be performing a spectacular new show on both days of the Blackpool Air Show in August to celebrate their 60th anniversary.

The season plans were revealed to an audience of more than 350 hoteliers and other tourism businesses in The Globe at Pleasure Beach Resort.

Cllr Lynn Williams, Leader of Blackpool Council, told the audience that it was “vital” that the resort retained its position as the UK’s most popular seaside destination by providing new and compelling reasons for people to visit and then come back again.

Cllr Williams said: “It is particularly exciting to be standing here at a time when tens of millions of pounds of investment in our tourism and hospitality industry is coming to fruition with the opening of a stunning new cinema, a Holiday Inn and Showtown, a museum that truly celebrates Blackpool as the pioneer of mass tourism and popular entertainment.”

In announcing the extension of the Illuminations season, which will run from August 30 to January 5, Cllr Williams said that this along with the expansion of the Christmas By The Sea village had turned Blackpool into a compelling autumn and winter destination that was now competing with the likes of London and Edinburgh.

She said that the new investment in events and attractions was particularly important in terms of achieving the stated ambition to create a year-round destination.

Cllr Williams added: “On the back of sustained Council investment in events and marketing, we have seen visitor numbers rise to more than 20 million. But, as this launch event shows, we are not resting on our laurels.”

The audience heard that the expansive events programme planned for 2024 included a vast range of shows and live entertainment as well as the return of VisitBlackpool’s programme of blue riband events including Air Show Weekend, Ride The Lights, Illuminations Switch-On, World Fireworks Championship Blackpool and Lightpool Festival.

The Switch-On event, which last year attracted a record crowd on the Promenade to watch Sophie Ellis-Bextor turn on the Illuminations, will be staged on the night of Friday 30 August and will once again be free to access.

Philip Welsh, Head of Tourism and Communications for Blackpool Council, said that the huge appeal of these and other events in the Blackpool calendar was down to the fact that they provided high-quality family entertainment at no cost.

He added: “We pride ourselves on being able to stage an extraordinary season of events between Easter and New Year. Blackpool is almost unique in the UK tourism industry for the sheer scale and quality of what we put on and with no admission price.”

Pleasure Beach Resort also announced a series of new additions to the park offer for 2024 as well as millions of pounds of investment in existing rides including a re-imagining of the Ghost Train.

Plans include a major investment into entertainment, which means more live shows and pop-up performances including high-tech, stilt-walking, LED ‘Glowbots’, which will be lighting up the park this Easter.

Firework nights have been increased to five across the year and there will be eight opportunities for thrill-seekers to ride after dark, including at the inaugural ‘Twilight Thrills’ event on Saturday 30 March.

James Cox, Pleasure Beach Resort’s Director of Marketing, Sales and PR, said: “We are constantly reviewing our 42 acres of space and we are always working on plans to improve our already great offering of rides and attractions.”



Roll up, roll up!

Showtown, Blackpool’s brand new museum of fun and entertainment, which celebrates the resort’s glorious history as the UK home of popular entertainment, includes interactive galleries featuring seaside, circus, magic, dance, shows, and the world-famous Illuminations.

It's not your run-of-the-mill museum; it's a front-row ticket to Blackpool's entertainment legacy with a whole host of fun and activities for all ages. And with each ticket purchased being valid for 12 months, visitors can come back over and over again!

See Dune 2 in Blackpool’s brand new IMAX cinema

Get the popcorn ready! The highly-anticipated Backlot Cinema & Diner opens its doors on Friday 22 March. Located in the new extension of the Houndshill Shopping Centre, the cinema features a state-of-the-art sound system and a giant IMAX screen measuring a massive 10.85m high and 19.87m wide. The Backlot Diner will serve a delicious range of food from burgers, hotdogs and wings, along with a range of desserts, including American-style pancakes, sundaes and milkshakes.

Stay in a new Holiday Inn

Centrally located a short distance from the seafront and alongside a new tramway extension, the 144-bedroom Holiday Inn will open to guests on May 1. It includes a Marco’s New York Italian Restaurant.


Join the herd at Elmer’s Big Parade

Shortly after Easter, Elmer and 30 of his uniquely decorated friends will form the biggest-ever public art trail Blackpool has seen.

Individually designed by selected artists, including Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, the sculptures will be placed around key landmarks, streets, and open spaces across Blackpool to form a free walking trail from April 13 to June 9.

Elmer's Big Parade Blackpool is open to everyone and we hope that as many people as possible will explore all or parts of the fully accessible trail over the spring.

Blackpool Capital Of Dance

This brand new event will see the creation of the world’s first fringe festival dedicated to dance and movement.

In this inaugural year, the event, which has been supported by Blackpool’s Tourism Business Improvement District and numerous resort partners, will feature a month-long programme of live shows starting in June. It will include street performances, workshops and social dance ranging from ballroom through to ice dance, contemporary and hip-hop.

The ambition in future years is to create an event on the scale of the Edinburgh Festival, attracting a national and international audience to a place already recognised as the spiritual home of ballroom dancing through its unique association with Strictly Come Dancing.

It’s Showtime!

The 2024 Season Launch showcased a huge range of live performances at a wide range of venues including the Winter Gardens, Grand Theatre, Viva Blackpool, Pleasure Beach Resort, Blackpool Tower Circus and the piers.

These include West End shows and musicals such as Sister Act, & Juliet, Rebellion Festival, British Country Music Festival, Jesus Christ Superstar, Grease The Musical, An Officer And A Gentleman, Unfortunate, Heathers The Musical, 2:22 A Ghost Story, and Bonnie & Clyde, as well as performances by some of the UK’s leading stand-up comics and music talent.

Blackpool Events Guide

A new pocketsize Events Guide has been produced to mark the start of the 2024 tourism season in Blackpool.

The guide, which covers April to December, is packed with hundreds of event listings ranging from West End musicals, pop concerts, dramas, pantos and variety shows at numerous venues including the Opera House, Grand Theatre, Viva, Funny Girls and the resort’s three piers.

Copies of the guide can be picked up at the Tourist Information Centre on Central Promenade or it can be viewed online here: www.visitblackpool.com/guide




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