The thriller of the thirties
7 August 2016
The Fairground Heritage Trust,
operator of Dingles Fairground Heritage Centre, has announced
that it has been awarded £90,000 from the National Heritage
Memorial Fund (NHMF) to help safeguard Shaw’s Moonrocket, the
only historic thrill ride of its kind still fully intact and
The money from NHMF launches
the Trust’s fundraising appeal to raise the final £17000 to
secure this unique piece of fairground heritage.
Built in the
1930s, the Moonrocket was the
ground-breaking forerunner to the white
knuckle rides now a staple of theme parks
and fairgrounds across the world. It
represents an era when speed, thrills and
excitement were the height of fashion.
Streamlined excitement for a streamlined
A new book on the history of the Moonrocket
ride has just been published to help raise
Moonrocket: the Thriller of the Thirties
by Kevin Scrivens, Michael Smith and Stephen
Smith includes detailed histories of every
UK example of this ride.
here for more details.
book tells story of pioneering UK theme park
Blackgang Chine is one of the
oldest theme parks in the UK, with a history dating back to the
1800s, and it is still operating today. Possibly the closest
thing we have to Disneyland in Britain, the park is a collection
of family rides and themed lands, all set in rambling Victorian
gardens that hang precariously along a cliff edge.
Blackgang Chine remains a truly
unique and iconic attraction.
Blackgang Chine: Journey into Imagination by Joanne
Thornton explores the Chine's early history as a garden and
beauty spot right through to its development as a land of
imagination. Many visitors over the years have fond memories of
their own journey into imagination at the park; now they can
re-live those memories as they once again discover a world of
fairies, dinosaurs and pirates...
Click here for more details of this book.
Joyland Books also has a copy
1970s Blackgang Chine guide book in its
book looks at circus entertainment of the 1800s
6 March 2016
The Clown King by Gareth HH
Davies is a micro-history of popular entertainment in
the period 1840 - 1860, woven out of the career of Arthur
Nelson, the Clown King.
Born around 1816, Nelson began as an actor in provincial and
minor theatres before specialising as a ‘talking’ or
Shakespearean clown. While some contemporaries wrote accounts of
their lives, Nelson left no such formal record and yet, as one
of the most popular clowns at the time, his career was one full
of interest. Traced through playbills, advertisements and
newspaper reports of the period, he moved seamlessly between
circus ring and pantomime stage, as well as performing in
concert halls with his musical novelties. His ‘benefit’ stunt,
being drawn in a washing tub by four geese, although not
original, drew huge crowds when performed in a town or city.
Farm launches crowd funding campaign
3 February 2016
Joyland Books partner Fairytale
Farm reached a major milestone on 1 February, when its
crowdfunding campaign went live, and if successful it will
enable the farm to embark on a whole series of exciting
improvements. The farm needs need £91,500 to complete a series
of projects over the next two years, which will complete the
original farm concept. Those contributing to the crowdfunding
campaign will receive a range of rewards and incentives that are
not available to anyone else. There is a lot more information on
the farm's crowdfunding website, which has just launched today
www.fundthefairytale.com. So please tell all of your
friends and family and ask them to visit
www.fundthefairytale.com. You really can help make the
fairytale come true.
Farm crowdfunding website on Indiegogo:
Tower Circus book available again
31 December 2015
Unavailable for several years,
Blackpool Tower Circus, edited by David Jamieson with
text by Daniel Potier, is now available again at Joyland Books.
It remembers the host of clowns
who tripped, fell, joked, made music and were totally soaked by
buckets of water and 'slosh' in their efforts to amuse. The
hilarious roll-call includes Kellino and Pim Pim, August and
September, diminutive Doodles, the legendary Charlie Cairoli and
Company, Coco and Co., the Rastellis, Tony Alexis Trio and David
Larible, right through to today's young clown star, Mooky (Laci
Endresz Jnr.), who tells us how he became the latest in this
long line of funsters to grace the Tower ring.
English translation of definitive book on German mechanical organs
28 December 2015
After three year’s preparation,
Dr. Herbert Jüttemann’s excellent book about German mechanical
organs, Waldkircher Dreh- und Jahrmarkt- Orgeln has been
translated into English by Andrew Pilmer under the title of
WALDKIRCH STREET AND FAIRGROUND ORGANS. Dr.
Jüttemann has already published a number of books on mechanical
music and related subjects which have become standard works;
this is the first to be translated into the English language.
With the co-operation of Dr.
Jüttemann, the original German text has been completely revised,
and a number of new drawings have been specially prepared for
this new edition.
Printed on quality art paper,
hard bound and with a full colour dust jacket, the book consists
of 300 pages.
Dingles Fairground Heritage Centre Illustrated Guide - New Edition!
28 November 2015
The popular illustrated guidebook
to Dingles Fairground Heritage Centre in Devon has been updated
with a brand new edition in time for Christmas 2015. Now
expanded to 60 pages, it
features information on the Museum's rides and exhibits – Super
Dodgems, Supersonic Skid, Rodeo Switchback, Super Chariot Racer
Ark, Ghost Train, Toyset, Happy Caterpillar, Autodrome, Shows,
Palace of Pleasure Arcade, Stalls, Wagons, Transport and
Click here for more details...
Dreamland history book
18 October 2015
Dreamland Revived: The
story of Margate's famous amusement park by Nick Evans has
been updated to include the opening of the park in June this year.
Click here for more
The Showmen of Castleford - out of print but back in stock!
5 September 2015
The Showmen of
Castleford by Mark Middleton has been out of print for a
number of years, but is now back in stock and available
exclusively from Joyland Books! We only have limited stock and
when it's gone, it's gone, so make sure you buy your copy.
In this book you can meet the
colourful showmen of this Yorkshire town. Featuring Proctor's Amusements, RE Eddy and
Sons Funfair and James Finnie's Funfairs.
Many showmen have either been born, or
settled in the "showman friendly" town of Castleford. This is the
story of three families, their history, transport, rides, and their
way of life - life on the travelling funfair.
vintage Blackpool Illuminations light up again
5 September 2015
Every Saturday and Sunday evening
in September and October you can see a number of vintage
features from Blackpool Illuminations light up again. The
attraction is at
Farm near Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire, where you can
see much-loved features such as the Film and Camera, Party
Poppers, Sea Creatures, Mermaid and the Extinct illuminated
again. They have all been lovingly restored, and light up at
dusk each weekend. There is discounted admission to the farm
after 5pm (£2 for adults and £1.75 for children), so don't miss
at Fairytale Farm
announced for Fairytale Farm
19 July 2015
A number of exciting events have
been announced by Oxfordshire's Fairytale Farm visitor
attraction. Next Saturday and Sunday (25th and 26th July)
visitors can join in with the Teddy Bears' Picnic Weekend. There
will be a giant picnic in the adventure playground, a
storytelling teddy bear, best dressed teddy competition and
discounted entry and food for children who bring their teddy
bears to the Farm. Full details here.
Walking with Alpacas returns to
Fairytale Farm this summer on selected dates. For full details
of the Summer 2015 Walking with Alpacas events and dates,
Teddy Bears' Picnic Weekend on 25th and 26th
Fairytale Farm is being invaded by TV's most
frightening aliens on Saturday and Sunday
15th and 16th August when the farm park
holds a special Sci-Fi Weekend in aid of
charity. The aim of the weekend is to raise
money for a local charity (Let's Play
Banbury - a charity which supports local
disabled children), and there will be
opportunities to donate to the charity at
various places around the farm. The Sci-Fi
Weekend runs from 10am to 5pm on both
Saturday and Sunday. Put the date in your
Diggerland theme park for Worcestershire
28 April 2015
Diggerland has announced that it
will be opening a fifth theme park in the UK, at the Evesham
Country Park in Worcestershire.
The park will open in 2016 at a
cost of £5m, and will add to the existing Diggerland sites in
Devon, Durham, Yorkshire and Kent. The theme park forms part of
a rebranding of Evesham Country Park as 'The Valley', which will
include new retailers, new food and drink outlets, cycle paths,
zip wires and climbing walls, creating a significant leisure
destination for the south Midlands.
story-telling Easter Bunny
31 March 2015
Fairytale Farm's unique Easter event runs right through the
Easter Weekend, from 3rd to 6th April 2015. Visitors to the children's farm on
the A44 just outside Chipping Norton can enter the Giant Rabbit Burrow and
listen to the Farm's own Easter bunny telling a charming Easter tale, and every
child will receive an Easter egg.
Farm also has other Easter activities running
over the weekend, including an Easter egg hunt.
Owner Nick Laister says: "Last year we launched our
first ever Easter event, which was a huge hit with our visitors. They told us
that they wanted us to do it again, so we have, with some new touches this year.
Once inside the giant burrow, the rabbit will be telling a
lovely Easter tale and giving away Easter eggs to every child that visits. And
the Burrow is entirely under cover so you
can visit the Bunny whatever the weather. There are lots of other Easter-related activities for our visitors to enjoy. And
everything is accessible for those with disabilities."
event runs from 3rd to 6th April (Good Friday, Easter Saturday, Easter Sunday
and Easter Monday inclusive). Open 10am to 5pm. The rabbit burrow has an extra
charge of £3 per child, which includes the burrow visit, Easter story and an
Fairytale Farm, which was opened in 2013 by the Prime
Minister, David Cameron, is the UK's first visitor attraction to put the needs
of disabled children first, but is open to all and with no pre-booking required.
The Beanstalk Cafe is open all day and serves a selection of hot and cold
details on the Easter event are
here. You can buy tickets to
Fairytale Farm from Joyland Books
here. (Note that admission to the
Giant Rabbit Burrow is an additional £3, and
these tickets can be bought at the
admissions desk as you enter the Farm.)
Big discounts on
roller coaster DVDs
5 March 2015
Big discounts on the 'Roller
Coaster Adventures' DVD series from today.
will witness some of the greatest, tallest, and fastest
roller coasters in the United States. The DVDs will take you to some of
the best amusement parks in the country and let you experience the
feeling of riding front row and showcase numerous different roller
Each DVD in the series is
reduced from £16 to £12, or buy the entire series of 7 DVDs for
only £74! More here.
Also big discounts on the
Front Seat Thrills
series of DVDs - ride some of the world's best roller coasters
from the front seat!
We have a huge selection of
roller coaster DVDs
and books - so do
check them out.
All the Fun of the
28 February 2015
Award winning DJ Reg Chandler
decided to take the challenge of writing a book about a unique
subject that has only been lightly touched within the
publication world, and having already written a 8,000 word
thesis many years ago about fairground life for a diploma in
project management, it has proved an interesting journey that
has involved 18 months of research in order to add a further
20,000 words and revisit the original version.
The idea of
the Fun of the Travelling Fair by Reg Chandler is to
provide information about how a fair operates and to highlight
700 years or more of great British history. Other topics within
the book include fairground artwork, famous UK fairs, fairground
transport, popular rides, fairground history, sideshows and
catering, steam rallies, fairground life and all that is 'All
the fun of the fair'.
Wooden Rollercoasters in
27 February 2015
Wooden rollercoasters are
considered to be wild, thrilling and nostalgic. But even today,
new rides are installed. To celebrate the 100th birthday of the
oldest rollercoaster in Europe that still exists,
Up & Down by Ralph Latotzki
presents every ride installation during the modern era of the
wooden rollercoaster in Europe up to the present day and
provides insights into the technical development of this ride
type. Additionally, this book includes portraits of the people
and companies involved in the construction of those imposing
Packed with colour photographs
of every surviving wooden rollercoaster in Europe, along with
the stories of their development and operation, this large book
is the ultimate reference source for wooden rollercoasters in
colour circus posters in hardback book
25 January 2015
edited by David Jamieson and the late Malcolm Clay, is a
beautiful A4 book, in full colour throughout, with 250 colour
posters featuring all the major circuses, including Astley and
Ducrow, Sangers, Broncho Bill, the Great Carmo, Chapman, Bertram
Mills Circus, Blackpool Tower, Great Yarmouth Hippodrome,
Chipperfields, Billy Smart, Sir Robert Fossett’s, Robert
Brothers’ Circus, Gerry Cottle, the Austen Brothers, the Mack
family’s Circus Hoffman, Gandey’s, Zippos and the Moscow and
Chinese State Circuses.
This book contains posters from
170 years of circus in Britain.
Click here for
The Crystal Palace is on
11 January 2015
The Crystal Palace was destroyed
in November 1936 in the biggest peacetime conflagration London
had ever known. "The Crystal Palace is on Fire!" was the frantic
cry that brought thousands of people on to the streets on that
fateful night. This "Palace of the People", constructed of iron
and glass, had been London's centre for 'enlightenment and
entertainment' for four generations. Its demise was, for many,
like the passing of an old friend. The fascinating tale of the
fire is told in
Palace is on Fire: Memories of the 30th November 1936 by
Alison Edwards and Keith Wyncoll.
Also available are
Palace Dinosaurs by Steve McCarthy & Mick Gilbert and
The Perfect Playground: Childhood
Memories of the Crystal Palace by Pat Scott, Alison Edwards
and Eileen Pulfer.
DVD history of Disney's
4 January 2015
In 1958, while vacationing in
Cologne, Germany, Walt Disney discovered a mode of
transportation that travelled above on a steal beam: the
monorail system. Walt immediately knew that he had to have a
monorail in his newly-built theme park, Disneyland, so along
with several engineers and imagineers, the smooth travelling
Monorail was built in 1959 and journeyed through Fantasyland and
A brand new DVD has been
released, called The
Monorail, which tells the story of this ride from its
inception to the present day.
More details here.
to Joyland are a number of DVDs on the history of famous Disney
rides and attractions, including
Tower of Terror: Journey
to the 5th Dimension,
It's a Small World and a double release of
Rocket to the Moon and the Flying Saucers.
documentary on the history of Disneyland's
The posters of Bertram
29 November 2014
Crown Books has announced the publication of the first book in
its 'The Posters of...' series - a collection of books dedicated
to showcasing historic illustrative artwork in entertainment
advertising. Featuring over 260 posters, hanging cards and other
rare items of circus ephemera,
Posters of Bertram Mills' Circus by Steven B Richley
tells the story of the Bertram Mills Circus through its amazing
promotional artwork. It covers Mills’ initial shows at Olympia,
tenting as a joint venture with The Great Carmo in 1929 prior to
going on the road with the Mills’ circus ‘under canvas’ from
1930. Completing the story are posters from Mills’ Circus’
travelling the length and breadth of Britain via train until
1965 and the post-war shows productions at Olympia until 1967.
Fairground transport of the 1980s in colour photos
29 November 2014
East coast amusement parks head up new DVDs at Joyland Books
29 November 2014
Several new DVDs have been added
to our DVD Store in time for Christmas. Spend some time at Great
Yarmouth's Pleasure Beach in 1995 on the DVD
Parks, and then move on to experience the rides of
Fantasy Island in Ingoldmells and Botton's Pleasure Beach at
Skegness in 2012.
See Race-O-Rama, Disneyland
Ride and Sea On Land built up in
The complete build up of Albert
Holland’s six arm, KMG built 'Extreme' Orbiter, which he
acquired from a Scottish Showman during early 2014 is in
another, brand new, DVD release:
Building Up the
Bewdley Town Council votes to approve safari park development
28 November 2014
Bewdley Town Council has voted
unanimously to approve the proposed new £80m water park, hotel
and conference centre at West Midland Safari Park. A full
planning application was submitted by planning consultant RPS
for the water park in August this year, with outline plans for
the hotel and conference centre also forming part of the
application. Park bosses say the improvements, which will be
built over 10 years, would transform the park into a resort to
rival other parks such as Drayton Manor and Alton Towers.
Loudoun Castle Theme Park redevelopment moves a step closer
28 November 2014
Plans have been unveiled for a
£450m holiday resort development at Loudoun Castle Theme Park,
which closed in 2010 and has been standing but not operating
since. The 610-acre estate will be transformed into an
all-weather resort featuring luxury lodges, with lake, indoor
sports facilities and an indoor subtropical water park. The
Loudoun Castle Project, the group behind the plans, hopes to
create as many as 2,500 jobs and provide a multi-million boost
to the local economy. More at
Herald Scotland and
Scottish Daily Record.
Meet Santa at
Oxfordshire's Fairytale Farm
23 November 2014
Santa is returning to Oxfordshire's Fairytale Farm this
Christmas at weekends from 6 December to 21
December and then daily from 22 December to 24 December.
At our 'Christmas Fairytale', children can meet Santa in
his indoor fairytale Grotto and receive a present, join in with various
Christmas activities, enjoy all the usual Fairytale Farm attractions and see our
magical Christmas lights, which are bigger and better this year.
Owner Nick Laister says that it will be a Christmas event
with a difference: "The feedback from our first Christmas event last year
was so good that we will be doing it again this year, but even bigger and
better. We have designed and built a grotto with a difference, that will appeal
to adults as well as children, and all the Christmas activities from last year,
including Christmas cookie decorating, mulled wine and mince pies, will return.
Our spectacular Christmas lights are back again this year, with the Enchanted
Walk and other parts of the farm illuminated from dusk with lots of new seasonal
additions that will delight visitors."
The animal areas and adventure playground will be open
until dusk, after which we switch on our Christmas lights, creating a
wonderland of colour. This will be a truly magical event which will create
Grotto tickets are £4.95, plus normal admission, and this
includes Santa visit, gift, Christmas cookie decorating plus the mince pie and
mulled wine for the parents. Non-farm visitors can still meet Santa for £7.50.
The farm is located on the A44 just outside Chipping
Norton, and more details are on our website: www.fairytalefarm.co.uk.
here for more information.
great seaside amusement park poll
22 November 2014
Which is the UK's best seaside
amusement park of the past or present? Cast your vote
roller coaster proposed for Scarborough sea front
10 November 2014
Scarborough Borough Council has
announced that the proposed bidder for the redevelopment of the
site of the Futurist theatre on Scarborough's seafront is
Flamingo Land theme park.
Flamingo Land is the largest
visitor attraction in Yorkshire, which attracts more than 1.5
million visitors annually. The theme park is partnering with
established Leeds based property and construction company, GMI
Estates, to progress the project.
The development will be a "premium visitor
attraction" showcasing and displaying three
distinct environments consisting of
‘subterranean, on the coastline and sky’.
Key elements of the attraction would
include: iconic glass roofed botanical
gardens, a high octane, adrenaline fuelled
roller coaster, a 55 metre iconic lighthouse
structure and Space Shot Tower, which
propels customers 55 metres into the sky, an
elevated sea view bar, restaurant and
function space, a walk through aviary and a
new town square for Scarborough.
Nightmare Farm: The
Fairytale is Over!
10 October 2014
Farm near Chipping Norton will be turning down the lights and switching on the
scares with a special Halloween event aimed at older children and adults. The
event is called Nightmare Farm and sees the fairytale come to an end when the
Enchanted Walk is turned into a giant outdoor horror maze with live actors
prowling around with only one thing on their mind: to terrify visitors!
Owner Nick Laister explains: "We held our
first Halloween event last year
and the feedback was so good that we are going to do it again, but bigger and
better and with more scares. Visitors will be taken on a late-night adventure as
an old monk guides people through the most haunted part of the site to safety -
we hope! In the horror maze they will meet a
possessed flower seller, some horrible scarecrows, vampires, zombies, a not very
friendly circus clown plus a gardener from the 17th Century who has an unpleasant
use for his spade. Plus some surprises. We challenge people to make it from one
end of the Enchanted Walk to the other without screaming. Nobody has done it
Farm: From 6.30pm on 31st October and
1st/2nd November 2014.
The walks will be taking place approximately every 20 minutes between 6.30pm and
10pm on three evenings from 31st October to 2nd November. Click
here for the poster and
here for more information.
Demolition of Barry Island's Haunted Goldmine commences
30 September 2014
Demolition of Barry Island
Pleasure Park's legendary Haunted Goldmine ride (formerly the
Wacky Goldmine) has commenced this week. The front of the ride
has reportedly now been removed, with the remainder of the ride
to follow. The ride's construction utilised timber from the
former Scenic Railway roller coaster which previously stood on
the site. The ride has been standing but not operating for
about the Goldmine at themagiceye
Goldmine pictured in 2010.
A Tale of a
Twist: Barry Island Pleasure Park
14 September 2014
nostalgia website themagiceye
@ Joyland Books, has launched a brand new exclusive
A Tale of a
Twist: Barry Island Pleasure Park. In this fantastic
journey behind the scenes, ride operator Heather Spierling tells
the story of 1975's new arrival at the popular South Wales
amusement park - the Twist. At first treated with suspicion, the
ride would become her 'baby'.
At the end of the
article we have links to other articles on the Pleasure Park.
Vintage Blackpool Illuminations light up in Oxfordshire
6 September 2014
A collection of restored former
illuminated features from Blackpool's famous
are to be relit tonight at Oxfordshire's Fairytale Farm and will
be shining every Saturday and Sunday evening until the end of
October. The illuminated features, which will be familiar to
those who have driven along the 6-mile Lancashire display over
the past few decades, include the Sea Creatures, The Extinct
Band, Film and Camera, Party Poppers (from the Blackpool
Millennium display) and Light Fountains, plus an unrecogniseable
section of the Doctor Who display converted into a fountain!
view of the ex-Blackpool lights. Click on
image for a larger version.
Amusement park owner dies
25 August 2014
The death has been announced of
William Knightly, who developed Knightly's Fun Park in Towyn,
North Wales, from a small collection of rides to a major family
entertainment centre. Mr Knightly, 70, was also a councillor at
Conwy Council, had been suffering from motor neurone disease for
some time. Knightly's has been a feature of this north Wales
seaside resort since the 1970s, and Mr Knightly had operated it
for 45 years.
Blackpool's Seaside Heritage
12 August 2014
Painstaking research across two
years has preceded the publication of
Seaside Heritage by Allan Brodie and Matthew Whitfield.
This book looks at the history of the town's most famous
buildings and other structures, including the Pleasure Beach,
Tower, piers and the amusement centres along the Golden Mile.
The book is packed with colour photographs and archive material,
and also looks at some of the less celebrated (but no less
interesting) buildings, including the town's first amusement
park, Raikes Hall. The authors told the Blackpool Gazette:
“...there is nothing else like
the Pleasure Beach in the world. There are more historic rides
in America than in Britain, but Blackpool has six which date to
before 1939, and nowhere else has that many in one area. And
these rides are still popular today. It’s remarkable that rides
built for people in the early 20th century are still in use
Click here for more information on this new
book, which is reduced from £14.99 to
record straight: Cooke's Circus
11 August 2014
Cooke's Circus appears in many
circus histories, often retelling the same story which was
printed in the scarce booklet by Harry S Lumsden called
Cooke's Royal Circus, or the even scarcer reprint called
Life and Times of John Henry Cooke, which was sold at the
circus in 1897. When the Cooke family of performers got too big,
some of the sons took out their own circus with their own
families. This meant that there could be up to four Cooke's
Circuses touring Britain at one time. Often newspapers recorded
a show at Cooke's Circus without mentioning which one, or often
talked about Mr Cooke without saying which Mr Cooke. Because of
this, many errors have been made in circus books. A new book has
been published called
Cooke's: Britain's Greatest Circus Dynasty by Stuart
McMillan, which puts the record straight.
New guide to
every British pier published
10 August 2014
Published to mark the bicentenary
of the opening of the first public pier in 1814, at Ryde on the
Isle of Wight, the new book
British Seaside Piers by Anthony Wills and Tim Phillips
is a complete gazetteer of all piers which the public can visit
around the coast of Britain with details of their location,
history and current operations, and a variety of historical and
contemporary illustrations. Whether your summer invariably
includes visits to the coast or you enjoy the vicarious pleasure
of the seaside from a winter armchair, this book is an essential
companion for all who admire and value Britain's rich seaside
goes into administration
5 August 2014
News sources are reporting today
that the Fantasy Island resort at Ingoldmells, near Skegness,
has gone into administration. Fantasy Island is one of the
largest amusement parks on the east coast of England, and features
major roller coasters such as the Millennium and the Odyssey.
The park was set up by Blue Anchor Leisure in the 1990s, but was
sold to Conduit Skegness Ltd in recent years. Read more at
Lincolnshire Echo and the
circus attraction opens at Fairytale Farm
19 July 2014
Travelling 'Mouse Towns' were
popular on the travelling fairs and circus in the
last century. Mouse-towns were living landscapes - houses,
workplaces, recreation, infrastructure - with mice running
freely and within various wheels and devices, presented as
colourful sideshows. Fairytale Farm in Oxfordshire has opened a
permanent Mouse Town attraction in a disused stable, featuring a
quaint, beautifully-crafted town with a large family of mice
going about their daily business.
Blackpool Pleasure Beach voted the UK's best theme park
15 July 2014
Blackpool Pleasure Beach, billed
as Britain's most ride-intensive amusement park, has been voted
the best theme park in Britain by TripAdvisor in its Travellers'
Choice Awards. This is compiled by TripAdvisor based on millions
of reviews and is considered to be the most accurate industry
awards, being based primarily on customer satisfaction.
TripAdvisor spokesman James Kay
said: "Blackpool Pleasure Beach is not just the country's
best-rated amusement park, it is also one of the cheapest for a
family day out among the UK top 10, proving that great value
often trumps bigger rides in the eyes of consumers."
Paultons Park came second in
the poll with Alton Towers third. Other featured parks include
Drayton Manor (4), Thorpe Park (5) and Southend's Adventure
Blackpool Pleasure Beach opened
in 1896 and has regularly been listed as one of the most visited
attractions in the UK, featuring 10 roller coasters and the
world's biggest dark ride, Valhalla. It also features a range of
big shows, numerous restaurants, retailing and the UK's only
Nickelodeon Land. The park has recently invested millions of
pounds in improvements, which has resulted in spectacular
customer satisfaction ratings on TripAdvisor, making it the now
UK market leader. Reported in
The Daily Mail and
investment at West Midland Safari Park
6 July 2014
West Midland Safari Park near
Bewdley in Worcestershire has announced an £80m investment into
the park, which will see the development of an indoor water
park, hotel and conference centre, creating 500 jobs. This will
be the biggest transformation of the park since it opened in the
1970s. Plans will be on display at the Safari Park on Tuesday
8th July from 11am to 8pm.
Photographs of the development
appear on the
Express and Star website.
Click here for 10/7/2014 update
proposed water slides at West Midland Safari
3 June 2014
You have all bumped your way
around the dodgem track, now a new book reveals what was
happening behind the laughter.
With details of manufacture from the very men who put them together,
the new book Dodgems
by Kay Townsend is the untold story of this popular fairground
know the dodgems have been with us for over 80 years? But where did
they come from? Who made them? What makes them stop and what makes them
go? This book takes you on a trip down memory lane and tells how this ride
developed and how they work. With chapters covering the origin
of the ride, the different British manufacturers and dodgem
transport, this book is a step back in time.
25 May 2014
At 2pm today the Dreamland Trust
opened Dreamland Expo, the brand new visitor centre telling the
story of Dreamland and giving a taste of things to come when the
park reopens next year. Dreamland chair Nick Laister said a few
words to the crowd and company secretary Susan Marsh cut the
ribbon. People flooded into the former amusement arcade in their
hundreds and feedback was very positive.
To celebrate the opening of the
Expo, Nick Evans has updated his highly successful Dreamland
Remembered, with 40 new photographs and brought it up to
date with the present plans for reopening Britain's first
amusement park of historic rides. The new book is called
Dreamland Revived: The
story of Margate's famous amusement park and it is
available from Joyland Books at a discounted price.
Click here for more...
cover of Dreamland Revived
Exclusive birthday party packages at Fairytale Farm
20 January 2014
Hold your birthday party at
Fairytale Farm in January, February or March whilst the park is
closed to the public, and the entire farm is yours for the
duration of the party. And we won't book another party at the
same time as yours - so you won't need to share with anybody
Each party package includes:
exclusive use of Fairytale Farm for two and a half hours; your
own party host; all food provided; goody bag for all party
guests; free bag of animal feed for each child (daylight hours
only); party invitations; birthday card for birthday child with
£5 gift voucher to use in Fairytale Farm shop; one adult free
with every full paying child; and a free return visit for every
fairground transport images
19 January 2014
On - Today's Showmen's Transport is a new fairground
transport book by Dan Grantham, published by the Fairground
The book includes 80 full page
colour photographs of modern day fairground transport, as the
packed up rides arrive at their destinations around England.
The book features photos by Dan
Grantham, Tim Holmes, Ian Cant, Mike Hart, Mick Wells, Ant
Williams and Steve Barton.
Fairytale Farm to reopen for 2014 earlier than planned
2 January 2014
Due to popular demand, Fairytale
Farm is reopening earlier than planned in 2014. The farm will be
reopen on Tuesdays and Thursdays only from 21 January,
throughout January, February and March 2014. Owner Nick Laister
says that this is due to demand from visitors:
Farm was opened by the Prime Minister in
June last year and we have been really taken
by surprise by its popularity, with visitor
numbers far exceeding expectations. Visitors
are telling us that they would like to be
able to visit the farm throughout the
winter, and lots of people have been turning
up at the farm to find us closed. We have
therefore decided to pilot winter openings
through to the end of March, when we will be
opening on Tuesdays and Thursdays only. All
the attractions will be open as normal, and
our land drains very well so we will not
have any issues with standing water or
significant mud. We believe it will be a
great winter day out."
Enchanted Walk, Huff & Puff Adventure
Playground and Alfie & Friends Animal Zone
will all be open, as will the cafe, shop and
indoor play room. More at
life on the fairgrounds
24 December 2013
An 82-year-old Sheringham resident
has fulfilled a childhood dream by writing a book of her life on
the fairground that she lived between the 1930s and 1970s.
Louisa Prestney, author of
Fairground Life, was born in a caravan at Mitcham Fair,
and spent the next 40 years on the travelling fair. Written for
her children and grandchildren, it charts her life travelling
the fairgrounds of Surrey, Sussex and Essex, including London,
Brighton, Weybridge and Canvey Island.
The family ran sideshows
throughout the summer months, but that provided insufficient
income through the winter months, meaning that the family had to
make a living out on the roads. They later travelled a
A guide to Florida's
major theme parks
15 December 2013
Alex Miller is the author of
several books, including
Parks. He works for The Walt Disney Company in Glendale,
California, is a life-long amusement park enthusiast and rides
roller coasters across the world with his wife, Caroline.
His latest book,
Theme Parks: A Guide, takes you on a colourful tour of
several theme parks, some well known, others less well-known.
Alex covers everything from the big hitters such as Disney,
Universal and Sea World to much smaller, lesser-known parks such
as Fun Spot USA, Zoomers Amusement Park and Silver Springs. The
book provides an independently written description of each park
and loads of glossy, colour photographs, which really give you a
flavour of the park.
The life and times of the man who created Pleasurewood Hills
24 November 2013
Read about how Pleasurewood Hills
American Theme Park was born, and the trials and tribulations
along the way, in this
new book from the man behind the theme park, Joe Larter.
is about far more than the American-style theme park.
There's growing up during World
War II for young Joe. The struggles of setting up business, the
successes and the downfalls along the way. After creating East
Anglia's No 1 visitor attraction, including Woody Bear, Joe went
on to create Norfolk Sealife Centres, the Bure Valley Railway,
Ripleys Believe It or Not! and The Village Experience, plus
involvement with attractions and businesses around the world.
This is a fascinating story about one of the biggest names in
the UK's theme park industry.
23 November 2013
Oxfordshire's newest visitor
attraction - Fairytale Farm - is launching its first ever
Christmas event on weekends from 30 November to 15 December and
daily from 21 December to 24 December. Called 'Christmas
Fairytale', children will be able to meet Santa in his brand new
grotto and will receive a gift from Santa's Workshop. With lots
of activities (not to mention mulled wine and mince pies for
parents), it will be a magical day out for all the family.
The animal areas and adventure playground
will be open until dusk, then after dark the
Enchanted Walk will be illuminated, with
hundreds of twinkling lights, creating a
magical festive scene.
tickets are £4.95, plus normal admission,
and this includes Santa visit, gift,
Christmas cookie decorating plus the mince
pie and mulled wine for the parents.
Non-farm visitors can still meet Santa for
£7.50. The farm is located on the A44 just
outside Chipping Norton, and more details
are on our website: www.fairytalefarm.co.uk.
Click here for more information.
Click here to buy tickets online.
full story behind Britain's most famous theme park
23 November 2013
Two hundred years ago, a wealthy
earl began the transformation of a barren patch of land in rural
Staffordshire into the site of a stunning gothic mansion
surrounded by eye-wateringly beautiful gardens. Mocked and
ridiculed by his peers for his strange tastes and outlandish
ideas, he nevertheless succeeded in attracting people from far
and wide to come and marvel at his creations.
As well as documenting – for the
first time – the full and fascinating history of Alton
Towers, the new book
Tales from the
Towers by Nick Sim also explains exactly how the park’s
most popular rides – such as Nemesis, Oblivion and The Smiler –
were created. It even takes an in-depth look at rides that were
designed for the park but never built, enabling you to take a
voyage of discovery and imagine what might have been.
feature Battersea Funfair
21 November 2013
BBC Radio 4's Saturday Live will
feature an item about lost sites of London. One of the sites
featured will be Battersea Fun Fair. Discussing the long lost
amusement park will be author Travis Elborough, journalist John
McCarthy and author of a
on the Funfair, Nick Laister.
This episode of Saturday Live will
be broadcast at 9am this coming Saturday, 23 November.
Click here to
updated and reprinted
9 November 2013
DVDs journey through the history of two famous Disneyland rides
8 November 2013
Two new DVDs have been released
chronicling the history of two famous Disneyland rides. Theme
Parkology takes you on a journey throughout the
Tom Sawyer Island,
sharing with you the history that ranges from the characters of
Tom Sawyer to the antics of Pirates of the Caribbean.
Theme Parkology has also just
released the first of the new 'Forgotten Attraction' series
looking at Disneyland ’s
Mine Train Through Nature’s Wonderland. This DVD covers
the historic telling of one of Disneyland’s vintage attractions.
We sell numerous other DVDs on
famous Disneyland rides, including
The Haunted Mansion,
The Jungle Cruise,
The Submarine Voyage
history of great amusement park
6 November 2013
Comprehensively documented and
Francisco's Playland at the Beach: The Golden Years by
James R Smith is the definitive and authoritative look at one of
America’s landmark amusement parks, Playland at the Beach, a
glamorous park that is still revered by San Franciscans more
than 40 years after it closed. A dearly loved part of old San
Francisco, the park incorporated rides, dining, sight-seeing,
socialization, and its pioneering attractions inspired the
designers of the amusement parks that followed. A companion
piece to San Francisco’s Playland at the Beach: The Early Years,
this keepsake covers the years 1945 to 1972.
The Southend our parents knew
12 October 2013
The back cover of this great new
DVD features a large photograph of the Southend Cyclone roller
coaster at the town's famous Kursaal amusement park. The Kursaal
was part of a Southend that has now largely slipped into distant
Southend Past: The Town
Our Parents Knew is a new DVD that takes a journey back
in time to visit the town as it used to be. From German air
raids to holidays on the beach, see the bygone years come back
to life, including: The visit of the Royal Navy in 1909, scenes
of town life from the 1900s to the 1960s, holidays by the pier,
Ecko electronics factory and Southend Airport in the 1960s.
This DVD is the latest in a
large selection of products available at Joyland Books that give
an insight into Southend's history. Other recommended items
include Southend Memories
Vol 1 and 2,
Southend and South Essex on
Film, By its Dome
it's Known and the book
The Haunted House of
22 September 2013
When the UK theme park Alton
Towers invested millions of pounds in their ground-breaking
Haunted House, a new era of dark rides was born. The spectacular
attraction amazed and spellbound theme park enthusiasts and dark
ride fans for many years, with its breath-taking illusions and
state-of-the-art technology. The original concept was retired in
2002 to make way for the interactive zombie blaster, Duel.
However, the Haunted House left a lasting impression on some of
those intrepid riders who braved the Poltergeist Room and were
scared witless by the Grand Hallway's grinning demon. Michael P
Eley was one of those riders. Through the pages of
Smoke and Mirrors: the Haunted House of Alton Towers,
Eley will guide you back into the darkness, offering
behind-the-scenes insights into the making of creator John
Wardley's 'laff in the dark' attraction, as well as serving up a
brief history of dark rides and haunted houses.
Adventures of a
22 September 2013
A new fairground storybook for
children has been released by Kay Townsend, author of many
popular fairground books such as
Townsends: A Showman's Story,
Fairgrounds at War,
of Dorchester and Their Steam and
at War. The book is called
Charlie and his Fairground Adventures and it is a set of
three lovely bedtime stories for children.
From the back cover: "Who is
Charlie Chaindrive? Charlie is a lorry that travelled around the
West Country fairgrounds and belonged to my grandfather, Richard
Townsend, who purchased him new in 1946. Underneath his chassis,
Charlie has two large chains which drive his rear wheels; hence
his name, Charlie Chaindrive. I used to ride in this lorry when
I was a little girl and now I'm taking Charlie on adventures, so
children will love him just the same as I did."
Drayton Manor founder dies
20 September 2013
George Bryan OBE, who with his
wife Vera founded Drayton Manor Theme Park in 1949, has died
William was famous for his penny arcade slot machines, and Vera
helped her father run his amusement park in Wokingham called
California in England.
When the couple took over
Drayton Manor in Tamworth, it was a crumbling ruin which had
formerly been the site of the ancestral home of the famous Peel
borrowed money to buy the derelict site that
had been used by the army during the war,
and began the task of reconstructing the 17
army huts, installing a few simple rides and
digging a kiddies’ boating pool, to open for
the first time in 1950.
Manor is home to some of the best rides in
the world, including Shockwave, Europe’s
only stand-up roller coaster; the G-Force
coaster with its special hip restraint;
StormForce 10, the UK’s fastest wet-knuckle
ride; and Apocalypse, the world’s first
stand-up tower drop.
Bryan's story of how he created and
developed Drayton Manor into the major theme
park it is today is told in a book:
Drayton Manor: George and Vera Bryan's
Memories of a Family Fun Park by Fred
Bromwich, which is
available from Joyland Books.
development for West Midland Safari Park
18 September 2013
The Express & Star newspaper is
reporting that plans for a new £20m water park, hotel and
conference centre at West Midland Safari Park has moved a step
closer this week, with the planning brief for the site being
approved by Wyre Forest District Council yesterday.
impression of part of the proposed
250-bedroom safari hotel.
Councillor John Campion said it was a
"framework to deliver jobs and growth" in
the district. We want it to be a roaring
success”. He added – with a light-hearted
reference to the amusement park section of
the safari park – that it had been a
"rollercoaster" ride to reach the stage of
having a masterplan for the future of the
supports hundreds of jobs and millions of
pounds of investment,” he added.
director at Planning Consultancy RPS, Nick
Laister, who produced the brief on behalf of
the park, said: “We are delighted to be
taking the next step in this major project.
We look forward to being able to submit a
planning application for the project later
this year.” Read more about the development
here and about councillors' comments
Autobiography of the man who brought the theme park to Britain
15 September 2013
Our featured book is
Creating my own
Nemesis by John Wardley, the autobiography of the man
who designed Alton Towers' big rides and brought the theme park
to Britain, now available at a £3 discount from Joyland Books.
John was instrumental in the
master planning and detailed design of Chessington World of
Adventures in Surrey, the considerable success of which led to
its owners, the Tussauds Group, subsequently acquiring Alton
Towers in Staffordshire. He was then involved in the Group's
major development program at this attraction, including famous
rides such as Nemesis, Oblivion and Air. He has subsequently
created award-winning rides and attractions for theme parks
around the world. Click
more details of this book, and
here for an article by John Wardley on themagiceye.
The greatest free show on
11 August 2013
Following her successful
book on the
history of Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Professor Vanessa
Toulmin has produced a book celebrating 100 years of the
Illuminations: The Greatest Free Show On Earth is a
large, sumptuous book, packed full of beautiful colour
photographs and original artwork. It tells the full story of the
Illuminations, including sections on the switch-on ceremonies,
illuminated trams, designing the lights, and photos of various
features that have appeared in the Illuminations over the years.
For more information,
The Imagineers of Main
4 August 2013
The creator of themagiceye, Gary
Radice, has launched a brand new website called
The Nice Rooms.
This features a fascinating article called
The Imagineers of
Main Street, which takes a journey around the wonders of
one of Europe's most popular theme parks, Diseyland Paris.
Check out this website regularly
as there are some great articles on the way.
The Nice Rooms.
Rare seaside and
fairground books added
18 July 2013
Offer: Black Country cinemas and theatres
5 June 2013
Now available on Joyland books are
two companion books describing every
in the Black Country and South Staffordshire, written by Ned
Williams. Both books are large, hardback A4 titles, and Joyland
already sells them at £20, instead of the recommended retail
price of £25. But if you but both books together, we are
offering them at only £35, a saving of £15 off the cover price!
thrilling photographic ride
28 April 2013
by Thomas Crymes is one coaster enthusiast's photographic
journey across the USA in search of the next great thrill. From
Massachusetts to Florida, from New Jersey to California, this
book contains adrenaline-inducing images of more than 100
different roller coasters from 21 different parks in 12 states.
And for the adrenaline junky searching for that perfect ride,
this thrilling look at American coasters also covers nearly 40
featured coaster profiles complete with all the vitals and a
brief commentary. More...
22 April 2013
The autobiography of the man who
brought the theme park concept to Britain, and created some of
the world's most thrilling rides and attractions, has been
released. In Creating my own Nemesis: The autobiography of the man who designed Alton Towers big rides, and brought the Theme Park to Britain,
talks about his early beginnings in the
theatre, circus and magical cabaret, his time working on some of
the most incredible special effects in the James Bond films
(including the famous bus crash scene in Live and Let Die), and
how he became associated with Madame Tussauds, the world's most
famous wax museum. This led to the development of Chessington
World of Adventures, then Alton Towers. The book answers many
questions about how enormous theme park rides are conceived and
developed, and the fascinating stories behind them, including
his most famous ride "NEMESIS" at Alton Towers.
New book amusement
park book released
14 April 2013
It isn't every day that a brand
new book on the subject of amusement parks is released. Jim
Hillman's new book, simply called
captures the sights, smells and continuing vitality of a grand
Jones’s Woods, America’s first amusement resort, to Coney Island
during the golden age of the mid-1900s, and well beyond into the
twenty-first century, the thrills of the amusement park have
been a treasured part of childhood for Americans from coast to
coast. Though many of the country’s grand amusement treasures
have now vanished, and many other parks are struggling for
survival, their memory and legacy are very much alive: there
will be a fascination with these American classics as long as
the clatter of the old coaster cars and the thumping of the
carousel band organ remains.
Discount theme park tickets
24 March 2013
As Easter approaches, we have
Discount Theme Park Tickets page with some of the best
deals we can find. If visitors to the page know of any deals we
have missed, please contact us
and let us know so that we can share them.
The voice of
travelling fair people
18 March 2013
Despite a tide of interest in
travelling communities, there hasn't been a mainstream work
about showmen for 40 years.
For over 800 years, showpeople
have brought their rides and stalls to towns and villages across
the country: travelling fairs are as much part of England's
cultural history as steam trains and cricket on the village
Showmen: The Voice of Travelling Fair People by Sally
Festing brings the scene up to date with a book that explores
the place in modern Britain of a close-knit 17,000-strong band
battling to combine tradition with novelty. In an independent
personal exploration that enquires rather than romanticises,
these people speak for themselves about their values and pride
in their way of life. About the prejudice they encounter from
the larger society they both belong to, and are distinct from,
struggle with, and humour.
14 March 2013
One of the best books published on
the seaside is Peter Williams's colourful 2005 book
Seaside. Well after years of being out of print English
Heritage has produced an
updated second edition
of the book, and it is out now.
There is a powerful sense of place
at the seaside. Certain seaside towns have just about
everything: Weymouth, for example, has a grand parade of hotels,
a wide esplanade and a small fishing village. Blackpool has more
of everything - three piers, miles of hotels, the Tower, Winter
Gardens, trams, illuminations, pleasure beach - but no fishing
and no castle!
Peter Williams's evocative
photographs in this fully revised edition of his acclaimed book
will make you want to rediscover what a fantastic place the
seaside is - full of character, charm and 'Englishness'.
"Colourful": The English Seaside by Peter
John Wardley: From Bond
24 February 2013
Well known theme
park concept designer John Wardley has written an article for
themagiceye at Joyland,
the website that celebrates all that is great about amusement
park history. In
From Bond to Barry: Creating Uncle Frankenstein's Scream Machine,
John tells of how Barry Island Pleasure Park owner John Collins
asked a budding young special effects designer if he would be
interested in completely refurbishing an old Supercar
double-decker ghost train at the famous Welsh seaside park. John
remembers how the creation of a new spin on the dark ride
formula started his long and successful career in theme park
Where it all started. John Wardley's Scream
Machine dark ride at Barry Island. Photo:
Pennsylvania's Picnic Groves and Trolley
5 February 2013
During the past
two years, prolific writer for amusement park nostalgia website
themagiceye, Phil Gould, made a couple of US road trips through
Pennsylvania and New York State. The main reason for the jaunts
was to look at the amusement parks that still survive in
this region. While he did stop off at a few of the large
corporate theme parks his primary interest lay in finding the
old trolley parks and picnic groves that had
survived into the 21st century. Phil takes a
look at the amazing attractions on offer at
the parks in Pennsylvania.
Quintessential British piers
20 January 2013
author and broadcaster Chris Foote Wood
achieved a lifelong ambition - to visit
every seaside pier in England, Wales and the
Isle of Man - all 56 of them! This odyssey,
plus copious research, has provided the raw
material for his new book,
Walking over the Waves.
longest pier to the shortest, the oldest to
the youngest, the finest to the most
mundane, they are listed. "Each pier is
different, with its own individual
personality," Chris enthuses, "some piers
are still much as they were when they were
built in the Victorian and Edwardian eras,
while others are wholly given over to
entertainment and modern amusements. Most
are a mixture of the two".
through two world wars
12 January 2013
A new book has
just been published about Proctors Fairs.
Written by Albert Proctor, father of current
proprietor of Proctors Fun Fairs John
Proctors Fairs Through Two World Wars
tells the story of his life and the
fairground through the two World Wars and
Proctor family has been providing fun fairs, predominantly in
Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, for over 100 years. The founder of
the business was John Albert Proctor, whose family were circus
entertainers. His son was Albert Proctor who, in the 1970s, wrote a
book about his life on the fairgrounds through the two world wars
and some of the hardships and tragedies that befell the family
during this time. This book is his story, as he wrote it.
Contrasting old and new
5 January 2013
obscurity just over 150 years ago, Blackpool
- Britain's best-known seaside resort -
nonetheless has an impressive record of
innovation, worlds firsts, development and
progress. The first British electric street
tramway opened here in 1885, whilst the
first electric street lamps were switched on
here, starting a tradition of lighting
displays that came to be the world-famous
Blackpool Illuminations. Opened in 1895,
Blackpool Tower was an instant success,
whilst the Pleasure Beach has passed its
centenary yet is still drawing visitors
Blackpool Then & Now by John Burke
is a delightful and nostalgic tour,
containing a wonderful collection of old
Blackpool postcards compared and contrasted
with modern day photographs.
Click here for more information or
here for an exclusive interview with the
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