The iconic Merseyside amusement park Southport Pleasureland, with its rich history dating back 110 years, is set to unveil in June, the next stage of a large-scale investment programme.
Following hot on the heels of significant investment in 2022, this landmark development represents a further multi-million pound injection into the park’s transformation, designed to put the site firmly on the map as a national must-visit UK attraction, and bringing the 12 month total investment in the park to £4.7 million.
In the coming weeks, Southport Pleasureland will open ‘Discovery Bay’, a new 67,000 square foot area within the park, which includes six new rides including two new thrill rides, and a large family ride, within a retro-futuristic styled new land, and a major outdoor themed festival venue (capable of accommodating 3000 people).
Discovery Bay takes elements of Victorian ingenuity and industry and gives them a more whimsical feel. Taking inspiration from steam-powered contraptions and fantastical machines of old, the new fully immersive land will evoke a magical era of exploration and discovery with ‘steampunk chic’ vibes abound.
Norman Wallis, CEO of Southport Pleasureland is a sixth-generation attractions professional whose great great great grandfather was known as The Seaforth Barnum. Norman has continued the family’s rich heritage in the industry and most recently has spent the last 12 years regenerating Southport Pleasureland from a burnt-out and derelict abandoned site to a busy, profitable and popular anchor attraction for families.
Commenting on this latest development and the most significant investment in its history to date, Norman states: “We are delighted to share news of this monumental development, which follows on from our previous capital investment in 2022 in the 18-hole Viking Adventure Golf attraction and the 35-metre high The Big Wheel Southport. Together these all represent a combined investment of in-excess of £4.7 million into Southport Pleasureland and the surrounding area over the past 12 months.
“Our theming architects are really bringing the immersion of Discovery Bay to life – the props, the seating areas, the catering. All designed to give guests an out of the ordinary experience. The new land we are building will be a major draw to performers and festivals, and we are already in discussions with a number of parties in regards to special events we will be bringing to Southport.”
Since 2019 and the granting of the long-term lease, Norman and Southport Pleasureland are now firmly rooted in the long-term. Even though there had been consistent investment and a programme of improvements since 2007, the long-term lease is the key to developing the park and unlock its full potential.
Internationally Norman has been the lead consultant across leisure projects in Dubai, Russia and Kazakhstan (Concept Design Destination Leisure Attraction Astana Kazakhstan). He and his Senior Leadership Team visit other international theme parks and exhibitions regularly to keep abreast of emerging trends.
Formerly a member of the North West Tourist Board Commercial Members Committee he is a member of IAAPA (the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, representing more than 5,300 amusement-industry members in 100+ countries worldwide).