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Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach development 'edges' closer
14 July 2017

Great Yarmouth Borough Council has resolved to grant planning permission for a new leisure development, which will extend Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach onto the site of a former caravan park. The development will be in several phases, with the first phase (a Premier Inn hotel) starting in October. Phase 2 will include an indoor play centre, 10-screen cinema and restaurants, with Phase 3 being a casino. The development, called 'The Edge', is expected to revitalise this part of the seafront. Click here for more...

New range of seaside DVDs added
2 July 2017

Summer is here and many of us will be heading to the traditional British seaside resort for some fun in the sun. Here at Joyland Books we love to celebrate the history of some of the country's greatest resorts and already have a large number of books and DVDs covering this very subject; your favourite resort is sure to be here somewhere.

We have now added a range of new DVDs chronicling the history of some of our most famous resorts. From 'The Way We Were' series of DVDs, you can visit Clacton, Torbay, Brighton & Hove and Canvey Island. From the 'Looking Back' series, you can visit Worthing and the Isle of Wight. We have also added Bournemouth on Film, Isle of Wight and Solent from the Air and a DVD on the history of Clevedon Pier. More can be found at our Seaside DVD Shop.

Book looks at Great Yarmouth’s 19th century forgotten entertainment acts
11 June 2017

It is a resort that sees large crowds of people enjoy the summer weather, its sandy beach and a wide range of attractions and amusements every year. And now a new book is casting a fresh glance at Great Yarmouth’s entertainment past, including crowds gawping at General Tom Thumb.

Local historian Gareth H H Davies (author of Pablo Fanque and the Victorian Circus) has written Forgotten Yarmouth Entertainments: Reflections of popular culture in a 19th seaside resort.

It looks at how the resort in the 19th century brought local, national and international entertainers and acts to the town. More...

Story of the first black circus proprietor released
4 June 2017

Author Gareth H.H. Davies dips into the entertainment world of the mid 19th century. With Pablo Fanque and the Victorian Circus he looks at the life of Norwich-born entertainer, horseman and impresario Pablo Fanque, born William Darby in 1810. In describing the circus as "the ultimate form of spectator entertainment" the author relates how it professionalised, commercialised and industrialised types of performance that had existed for hundreds of year. The fact that Pablo was African British tells us something about Victorian Society, but so does the fact that he was born of very humble origins and became one of the best known and loved circus proprietors of the Victorian period. Click here for more information.

Two limited edition circus books now available
12 March 2017

For a limited time only, two major circus history books are available from Joyland Books - on a first-come-first-served basis.

The first of the two books is the second in Double Crown Books' 'The Posters of...' series - a collection of books dedicated to showcasing historic illustrative artwork in entertainment advertising. The Posters of Billy Smart's Circus by Steven B Richley tells the story of this famous circus via its amazing artwork and follows the 2014 release of The Posters of Bertram Mills' Circus by the same author.

Also released is Sir Robert Fossett's Circus: The Definitive Visual History by Mark Twitchett and Steven B Richley.

Two new fairground DVDs added to our online store
12 March 2017

Two new DVDs have been added to our online store. One features one of the latest white knuckle rides and the other takes you on a trip back in time with one of the country's most traditional fairground rides.

In Building up the Xtreme Bomber we look at a KMG-built machine, which began life at Brean Leisure Park in 2005 before being purchased by a French operator six years later. Bertie Holland acquired the ride for 2014, when it is recorded being built up at Buxton in Derbyshire. More...

In Noah's Arks and Speedways Volume 2, we see a number of these traditional rides being operated at various locations around the UK, including at Folly Farm and Dingles Fairground Heritage Centre. More...

Camelot Theme Park history book back in stock
5 March 2017

Alec Price's excellent history book of the Park Hall/Camelot Theme Park site is back in stock at Joyland Books - but we understand that the availability of new stock of this book is now very limited, so this is on a first-come-first-served basis.

Camelot Theme Park was one of Britain's best known and longest established theme parks, but the history of its site - Park Hall - goes back much further. Alec Price tells the full story of the site in his book, From a Saint to a King: The History of Park Hall, Charnock Richard. This book is well illustrated with many specially commissioned photographs and is a fascinating read for anyone interested in the colourful past of Park Hall/Camelot Theme Park. With the park having closed in 2012, it makes the book all the more fascinating.  More...

Roller coasters of the UK photographed in major new book
4 February 2017

The first book by roller coaster enthusiast Peter Andrews is a photographic look at the rides of the UK, along with some of the classics that have been lost since the mid 1980s. Featuring nearly 400 colour images over 224 pages, including many behind the scenes shots, Coasting Around the UK is the ideal book for anyone with an interest in these wonderful machines. Covering the length and breadth of the UK, this photographic and historic guide takes you from Brighton up to Glasgow, and from Gwynedd over to Great Yarmouth, and provides the ultimate adrenaline rush. More...

Drayton manor boss receives OBE
31 December 2016

Colin Bryan, Chief Executive at Drayton Manor Theme Park, and son of the original founders, has received an OBE in the New Year's. This is in recognition of his charity work and his ongoing contribution to tourism.

Colin comments: “My parents opened the park in 1950 and I have been working there since I was a young boy, when my first job was helping them clear the rubble with my miniature wheelbarrow. I have worked in nearly every department over the years and qualified as a Chef to really understand what makes the park and catering companies what they are today. It is in my blood so I feel very honoured to receive this OBE. I still love watching our guests have fun, enjoying themselves, knowing I have played a part in that.”

Fairytale Farm's autumn illuminations go snap happy!
9
October 2016

Fairytale Farm will be unveiling its brand new illuminated features when it switches on its popular autumn light display next Saturday, 15th October. This is the park's fourth illuminations event since it was opened by the Prime Minister in 2013. The highlight is a new fairytale-themed 'Giant's Camera', one of the Farm's biggest single investments to date, which comes complete with illuminated tableaux showing a friendly giant in various poses, taken with a camera so large that you would have to be a giant to use it!" More here...

Coast to coast thrills in new roller coaster book
2 October 2016

Thomas Crymes has ridden more than 350 roller coasters. Enamoured with their serpentine beauty, he has been photographing them since 2004 and is forever seeking that perfect shot.

In 2012, Crymes released the hugely successful American Coasters: A Thrilling Photographic Ride. He has now released the follow up, American Coasters 2: Coast to Coast, which contains breathtaking photographs of more than 100 roller coasters in 38 parks and 17 states. More...

Pleasure Island Theme Park to close
22 September 2016

Pleasure Island Theme Park in Cleethorpes is to close at the end of October. Formerly owned by Flamingo Land, the park was personally acquired by one of the directors of Flamingo Land in 2010 and operated independently. According to its owners, visitor numbers have declined to the level where the park cannot be sustained.

The park's final event will be the firework display on 29th October. Joyland Books hopes to be able to present a retrospective of the park on themagiceye in the near future to remember 25 years of thrills.


Photograph of Pleasure Island in the 1990s - this ride moved to Brean Leisure Park in Somerset.

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 functioning.

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 age.

A new book on the history of the Moonrocket ride has just been published to help raise these funds. Moonrocket: the Thriller of the Thirties by Kevin Scrivens, Michael Smith and Stephen Smith includes detailed histories of every UK example of this ride. Click here for more details.

New book tells story of pioneering UK theme park
15
May 2016

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 of a 1970s Blackgang Chine guide book in its Secondhand Shop.

New 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. More...

Blackpool Tower Circus book available again
31 December 2015

Unavailable for several years, Clowns of 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. More...

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. More...

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 Artwork. Click here for more details...

Dreamland history book updated
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 details...

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. More...

See 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 Fairytale 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 it.


The Extinct at Fairytale Farm

Summer events 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, please click here.


Above: Teddy Bears' Picnic Weekend on 25th and 26th July 2015.


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 diary now!

New 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.

Visit the 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.

The 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."

The Easter 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 Easter egg.

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 snacks.

More 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. You 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 coasters.

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 Travelling Fair
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 All 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'. More...

Wooden Rollercoasters in Europe
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 structures.

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 Europe. More...


 

FREE GIFT WITH EVERY ORDER

250 full colour circus posters in hardback book
25 January 2015

Circus Posters, 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 more information.

The Crystal Palace is on Fire
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 The Crystal Palace is on Fire: Memories of the 30th November 1936 by Alison Edwards and Keith Wyncoll.

Also available are The Crystal 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 Monorail
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 Tomorrowland.

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.

Also new 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, Country Bear Jamboree, It's a Small World and a double release of Rocket to the Moon and the Flying Saucers.


New DVD documentary on the history of Disneyland's Monorail.

The posters of Bertram Mills' Circus
29
November 2014

Double 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, The 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. More...

Fairground transport of the 1980s in colour photos
29
November 2014

A perfect Christmas present is this new collection of colour photographs showing a cross section of fairground transport during the 1980s. Fairground Transport in the 1980s by Dick Furniss contains almost 300 captioned photographs of fairground transport from all corners of the UK taken by the author in this colourful decade.

We stock a number of books about fairground transport here at Joyland, including Fairground and Circus Transport by Denis N. Miller and Bart H. Vanderveen, Trucks in Britain Volume 2: Fairground Transport by Malcolm Slater, Fairground Transport Volume 1 by Malcolm Slater (secondhand collectable) and The Malcolm Slater Fairground Album (secondhand).

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 East Coast 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 Building up Juvenile Rides.

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 Extreme Orbiter.

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. More...

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 special memories.

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.

Click here for more information.

Enter the 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 here.

New 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

Fairytale 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 yet."
 


Nightmare 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 several years.

Read more about the Goldmine at themagiceye here, here, here, here, here and here!


The Haunted Goldmine pictured in 2010.

A Tale of a Twist: Barry Island Pleasure Park
14
September 2014

Amusement park nostalgia website themagiceye @ Joyland Books, has launched a brand new exclusive article today, 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'. Read on...

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 Illuminations 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! More here...


General 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 Blackpool's 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 today.”


Click here for more information on this new book, which is reduced from £14.99 to £10.99.

Setting the 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. More...

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 heritage. More...

Fantasy Island 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 ITV News, BBC News, Lincolnshire Echo and the Skegness Standard.

Vintage 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. More...

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 Island (10).

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 Mirror, The Daily Mail and ITV.com.

£80m 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


View of proposed water slides at West Midland Safari Park

All about dodgems
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 ride.

Did you 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. More...

Dreamland Expo opens
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 book 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...


Above: The 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 else!

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 child. More...

Modern-day fairground transport images
19 January 2014

Pull On - Today's Showmen's Transport is a new fairground transport book by Dan Grantham, published by the Fairground Society.

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. More...

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