Pictured: The brand-new £2.3million Gruffalo attraction that’s coming to Blackpool’s seafront in May
- The Gruffalo & Friends Clubhouse attraction has been 18 months in the making
- The experience promises to offer an ‘indoor play adventure like no other’
- MORE: Why Warwick Castle’s Zog-themed glamping stay earns a golden star
Renderings have been unveiled of a new £2.3million attraction featuring some of the most beloved characters created by children’s author Julia Donaldson that’s coming to Blackpool seafront.
The attraction, called The Gruffalo & Friends Clubhouse, will open this May and promises to invite visitors to ‘burst through the pages of some of their favourite stories and into a magical 3D world’.
It will feature different zones themed around six of the author’s best-loved stories, which Donaldson crafted in collaboration with the illustrator Axel Scheffler – The Gruffalo, The Gruffalo’s Child, Zog, The Snail and the Whale, Room on the Broom and The Highway Rat.
Billed as an ‘indoor play adventure like no other’, the whimsical site’s highlights will include The Gruffalo’s deep dark wood, Princess Pearl’s castle from Zog and a ‘Zog’s Dragon School Challenge’ play space.
Guests will ‘embark on an adventure of imagination, discovery and play as they join their favourite characters’, a statement notes.
Stroll through a deep dark wood: Renderings have been unveiled of a new ‘The Gruffalo & Friends Clubhouse’ attraction that is coming to Blackpool seafront
The new £2.3million Blackpool experience has been 18 months in the making
The attraction, which has been 18 months in the making and has been developed by Merlin Entertainments, will also include play areas suitable for children under 10, along with a toddler play area specifically for those aged under three.
A children’s classic, The Gruffalo story has sold over 17million copies worldwide since it was published in 1999 and it has been translated into over 100 languages.
Donaldson was the Children’s Laureate between 2011 and 2013 and was honoured with a CBE in 2018 for services to literature.
Award-winning illustrator Scheffler, meanwhile, has seen his artwork featured on 50p coins and stamps from Royal Mail and Deutsche Post.
So far, ten books by the pair have been adapted by the production company Magic Light to become Oscar-nominated and Bafta-winning animated specials for BBC One.
Planned in partnership with Magic Light and Blackpool Council, ‘The Gruffalo & Friends Clubhouse’ – said to be the first experience of its kind – will be located next door to the resort town’s aquarium, Sea Life Blackpool.
It will join Merlin’s seven other attractions in Blackpool including The Blackpool Tower and Peter Rabbit: Explore and Play.
Commenting on the launch of The Gruffalo & Friends Clubhouse, Kate Shane, Regional Director for Merlin Entertainments, said: ‘We are incredibly excited to bring some of the UK’s best-loved children’s characters to Blackpool. Blackpool is the UK’s number one family seaside resort and this latest partnership with a globally recognised brand will provide compelling new reasons for visitors to come to Blackpool.
The attraction will feature different zones themed around six of author Julia Donaldson’s best-loved stories. Above is a ‘sensory room’ that’s inspired by The Gruffalo’s Child
The Gruffalo & Friends Clubhouse is billed as an ‘indoor play adventure like no other’
Above is Zog’s Dragon School Challenge, one of the attractions at the experience
The Gruffalo story has sold over 17million copies worldwide since it was published in 1999
‘The Gruffalo and other characters from the world of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler will be amongst brilliant company alongside our already strong cluster of family attractions on the resort, delivered with Merlin’s world-class guest experience.
‘This significant investment further supports Merlin’s strategic growth plans, bringing further jobs and economic benefit to the local community and wider region.’
Councillor Lynn Williams, Leader of Blackpool Council, said: ‘Blackpool already has the biggest portfolio of branded attractions outside London and the addition of this world-class family attraction will strengthen that position.
‘The family audience is key to Blackpool’s tourism growth strategy and we are delighted to be working in partnership with Merlin Entertainments to deliver something that will truly resonate with that audience, as well as providing new jobs for local people and economic growth to our town.’
Alex Sanson, Senior Brand Manager at Magic Light Pictures, said: ‘The Gruffalo & Friends Clubhouse will be the first of its kind and we can’t wait to see this amazing space, full of play and adventure, come to life.
‘Merlin Entertainments have done brilliant work with The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom at Chessington; as well as with Zog at Warwick Castle. We can’t wait to see what the Clubhouse will bring to Blackpool, and to the stories that we love.’
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