Merlin Entertainments, a global leader in location-based entertainment, today announced that a brand-new world class attraction will launch on Blackpool’s seafront this May, featuring favourite characters from creators Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.
In a world first, The Gruffalo & Friends Clubhouse will bring together six of the best loved stories to create an indoor play adventure like no other. The £2.3 million investment has been 18 months in the making and is part of Merlin’s aim to bring the very best stories and brands to life in their family friendly attractions.
Developed in partnership with Magic Light and Blackpool Council, the attraction is set to open next door to Sea Life Blackpool in May 2023. The new experience will join Merlin’s seven other attractions in Blackpool including The Blackpool Tower, SEA LIFE Blackpool and Peter RabbitTM: Explore and Play, making it a key destination for families of all ages from both the UK and abroad.
Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler are the picture book partnership behind bestselling books such as The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom and Zog. Donaldson was the Children’s Laureate between 2011 and 2013 and honoured with a CBE in 2018 for services to literature. Axel Scheffler is the award-winning illustrator whose artwork has even featured on 50p coins, and stamps from Royal Mail and Deutsche Post. Julia Donaldson is the #1 UK author across all publishing and Axel Scheffler is the #1 illustrator.
So far, ten books by Julia and Axel (published by Macmillan Children’s Books and Scholastic) have been adapted by Magic Light to become Oscar nominated and BAFTA winning animated specials for BBC One.
In the new Blackpool experience, guests will burst through the pages of some of their favourite stories and into a magical 3D world. From The Gruffalo’s deep dark wood, to Princess Pearl’s castle in Zog, guests will embark on an adventure of imagination, discovery and play as they join their favourite characters. Distinct play zones are inspired by The Gruffalo, The Gruffalo’s Child, Zog, The Snail and the Whale, Room on the Broom and The Highway Rat. The attraction will include play suitable for children under 10, with a toddler play area specifically for those under 3.
Kate Shane, Regional Director for Merlin Entertainments, said:
Cllr Lynn Williams, Leader of Blackpool Council, said:
Alex Sanson, Senior Brand Manager at Magic Light Pictures, said: