Do you like your thrills to have a competitive edge? If so, the Grand National ride at Blackpool Pleasure Beach is the one for you!
This famous wooden rollercoaster is one of the oldest around and is of the same era as the Big Dipper which is located close by. It was opened in 1935 and is one of just two remaining Mobius Loop rollercoasters on the planet, the other survivor being Racer at Kennywood. This is the only remaining twin-track rollercoaster in the UK where two cars race each other on twin tracks.
This ride was constructed and opened at a time when Blackpool Pleasure Beach was enjoying huge growth in visitor numbers and it was the big new attraction for 1935. Many new rides were being opened at that time and this is one of very few to have survived largely unaltered to this day. The ride was restored in 1990 and the station rebuilt, while the attraction was given Grade II listed status in 2017, thus assuring its future for many more generations of thrill-seekers. The name and theme of this ride comes from the famous Grand National race which takes place at Aintree near Liverpool each year in April and elements of this ride are designed to mimic features of the famous steeplechase such as the Canal Turn and Becher’s Brook.
Once passengers have boarded the trains and they are underway, the ride takes them up the lift-hill and past the ‘They’re Off’ sign before they head through Becher’s Brook, Valentine’s and the Canal Turn on their way to the winning post, all the time alongside another train full of passengers travelling at roughly the same speed. One of the trains is always the winner (it can be either one) but you can’t place a bet on this Grand National!
The ride reaches a maximum of 62 ft in height and the track length is 3,302ft or a little over one kilometre. The world record for most naked riders on a ride at a theme park was set in March 2019 when a total of 195 passengers stripped off for the occasion.
Our Thrill Verdict
Here we have a ride which is fast approaching 100 years old and yet it still manages to capture the imagination of the millions of visitors who flock to Blackpool Pleasure Beach each year. The ride itself is similar in many respects to the Big Dipper but the addition of a second train running on tracks parallel to the first other adds an element of competitiveness which adds a lot to the overall experience.
This is a real gem of a rollercoaster and a ride on this is a must when visiting the park. OK, so it isn’t the most thrilling but the sounds of the creaking and rattling over the wooden structure is extremely endearing and helps make this an all-round rollercoaster experience which can be found in few other places. We’re giving this a Thrill Rating of 4.5 but for sheer enjoyment we’d give it top marks.