Blackpool Pleasure Beach is offering immersive video experiences of its popular rollercoaster, ICON.

Rollercoaster fans can enjoy the thrill of the 1.4km ride from their own home at specific virtual showings of the coaster.

On Saturday April 4, fans can take a virtual ride on the ICON, which was the first double launch rollercoaster in the UK.

The virtual experience will be the first of a series of immersive videos to be offered by the theme park in coming weeks as the Pleasure Beach remains shut due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Each Saturday, Blackpool Pleasure Beach will be showing exclusive footage of its most iconic and popular rides on its social media channels.

As well as experiencing virtual rides, Pleasure Beach fans can take part in fun activities and exercises that the theme park is sharing on social media. There will also be videos with Team Nick, alongside art and craft sessions.

Amanda Thompson OBE, managing director of Blackpool Pleasure Beach, commented: “We understand that theme parks are an escape for people and rollercoasters are an amazing, feel-good journey. During these times, if we can bring some of that joy home for people, that would just be wonderful.”



Nick Thompson, deputy managing director of Blackpool Pleasure Beach, is to open the 2020 Interfun Expo in Leeds next April.

Thompson visited this year’s Interfun Expo and said he would be delighted to open next year’s event.

The Pleasure Beach’s deputy managing director was brought up in Blackpool. He first started working at the family-run business when he was at school.

After travelling the world working in different capacities within the leisure and tourism industry, Thompson returned to his roots, taking the role as catering manager at the amusement site in 1993.

A year later, he was promoted to catering and retail director and also became a Blackpool Pleasure Beach board director.

As head of the Sponsorship Committee, Nick Thompson attended the international attractions and amusement parks Association business course in the US.

In 2004, Thompson took over as deputy managing director, working with Amanda Thompson OBE to transform the iconic Blackpool amusement park.

In 2017, Thompson made history by becoming the first ever third generation chairman of the British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions. The post sees Thompson follow in his father and grandfather’s footsteps, who also held this prestigious title.

InterFun Expo is taking place at the New Dock Hall, the Royal armouries, Leeds, on April 28 to 29, 2020.



Amanda Thompson OBE, managing director of Blackpool Pleasure Beach, has been named IAAPA’s 2020 Chairman of the Board of Directors. The announcement was made during the Kickoff Event at this year’s IAAPA Expo in Orlando, Florida.

Thompson has a lifetime of experience and knowledge within the industry. In 1896, Thompson’s great-grandfather, William Bean, established Blackpool Pleasure Beach. In 1931, her grandfather, Leonard Thompson, took over as leader of the amusement park, a role that her father Geoffrey oversaw from 1976 to 2004. From 2004 onwards, Amanda has been the iconic Pleasure Beach’s CEO.

Thompson’s appointment as IAAPA Chairman of the Board is historical in the sense she is the second member of the same family to have chaired the trade association, is the first female Chair from Europe and only the third woman in the IAAPA’s history.

In 1982, Thompson founded Stageworks Worldwide Productions, a subsidiary of Blackpool Pleasure Beach Ltd. that creates shows around the world. As well as being president of Stageworks, Thompson is producer and director of the Hot Ice Show in Blackpool.

The industry veteran has been an IAAPA member for decades and has chaired IAAPA Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) Regional Advisory Committee. She has also served as a member of IAAPA’s Executive Finance, Membership, and Entertainment Committees.

In 2012, Thompson received the Order of the British Empire (OBE) honour for her services to tourism in 2012. She is also a Patron of Blackpool’s world-famous Grand Theatre and the Blackpool Civic Trust.



Blackpool Pleasure Beach is continuing its multi-million-pound investment with the opening of its luxurious The Boulevard Hotel.

This high-end accommodation is located on the Ocean Boulevard, next to Blackpool beach and not far from Valhalla, which was named the world’s best water ride at the Golden Ticket Awards for a fourth consecutive year.

The Boulevard Hotel has cost £12 million to construct. It features 120 stylish bedrooms, including two park view suites, eight junior suites and eight coastal suites.

All the rooms comprise of bespoke artwork and use materials sourced from well-known British companies, including handmade furniture from Designers Guild Fabrics and Tetrad.

The Beachside, a 90-seat signature restaurant, will complement the hotel.

The Boulevard is the latest accommodation to be built at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, featuring alongside the award-winning Big Blue Hotel.

Both hotels are part of the Blackpool Pleasure Beach portfolio, which has been run by the Thompson family since the resort was founded in 1896.

Amanda Thompson OBE, managing director of Blackpool Pleasure Beach, spoke about the opening of the new luxury hotel:

“We are delighted to be able to build on the success of the Big Blue Hotel by offering both leisure and business visitors another hotel which exceeds all expectations. This is a continuation of Blackpool Pleasure Beach’s ongoing investment and a pivotal moment for the town as a whole.

“We are proud to be at the very heart of a transformation that will see Blackpool become one of the UK’s most exciting resorts,” Thompson added.



The glitzy, glamorous and daring ice-skating show, Hot Ice, has returned to Blackpool Pleasure Beach’s live entertainment calendar this year, with sequin-studded costumes, daring lifts and stunning lighting.

Each skater that takes part in this fast-moving ice show has been hand-picked to work with the company. The talented skaters have undergone years of training and each have their own unique style.

The choreography is performed to unique music, conceived and inspired by a rousing soundtrack. Each costume sparkles in a symphony of colour, with dazzling stones handsewn onto the fabric.

The choreography for Utopian has been created by Oula Jaaskelainen, a world and Olympic skater who understands the quality of each individual skater performing in the show. The show is directed by Amanda Thompson OBE.

Hot Ice’s 2019 season at Blackpool Pleasure Beach involves the usual glamour and glitz with a star-studded cast of international stars thrilling the audience.

Hot Ice has been performing on the Pleasure Beach’s live entertainment calendar for more than eight decades. In 2016, the theatrical company celebrated 80 years at the Pleasure Beach Arena.

Their 2019 show, Utopian, is running from July 4th to September 7th.


David Bailey, the general manager of the Pleasure Beach Arena and Globe Theatre in Blackpool, is celebrating being with the company for 40 years.

David began working backstage at the Arena on June 18, 1979. It was the ideal job for a young ice-skating enthusiast, providing David with the opportunity to tour the world with Hot Ice and even work as a magician’s assistant on Showtime on Ice.

David eventually became assistant manager at the Arena before going to the Globe in 2000.  It was David’s commitment to pushing the venue forward that saw the Arena be nominated for the Blackpool Tourism Awards, winning several prestigious accolades.

David Bailey commented on his 40 year at the Pleasure Beach’s Arena.

“Over the time I have been with the company I’ve worked in the Skate Shop, the cafe bar, looked after the ice and even worked as DJ for the Arena’s Beat Nights. You just adapt yourself to what is needed at the time”

Nominated as the UK’s favourite Ice Rink Manager and favourite ice surface, the Arena has certainly maintained its status as the home of The Hot Ice Show.

The venue’s new show, Utopian, which opens on July 4, has attracted some of the world’s best skaters.

“Looking after the skaters and ensuring that they have the right ice surface on which to perform and show off their fabulous tricks right in front of a live audience is a truly special part of the job,” David added.

Amanda Thompson OBE, managing director of Blackpool Pleasure Beach, spoke about the team’s appreciation of the Arena’s long-standing manager:

“We are really privileged to have such loyal staff, David’s passion and dedication has helped form a part of the company over the years and we would like to raise a special thanks to a gentleman who has dedicated forty years to working with us.”