Blackpool Tower has reopened to the public following a multi-million pound refurbishment, but visitors are going to need an exceptionally good head for heights.
The revamped tower now sports a ‘Walk of Faith’ glass floor which looks straight down to the Blackpool Promenade 380ft below the gallery, originally placed at the top in 1998.
The grandeur and heritage of the 118-year-old building has been retained, including the Tower Ballroom and Tower Circus.
But it now boasts two new attractions – the Blackpool Tower Dungeon, a walk through some of the North West’s most horrible history, and the Blackpool Tower Eye with 4D cinema experience.
Visitors who take the lifts to the top are immediately confronted by the Skywalk, a 4.15 tonne glass floor and floor-to-ceiling observation platform, which now runs along an entire side of the Tower Eye.
But before they get there they can watch a specially-commissioned film which takes guests on a trip down memory lane to see history in the making, including Mayor John Bickerstaffe’s construction of the tower, seen through the amazed eyes of a young boy.
The film is brought to life with sensory effects, dubbed the fourth dimension, from sea spray to the unmistakable aroma of the beach donkeys.
The cinema is located under the tower’s steel arches, which have been exposed for the first time, and the film will be shown before visitors are guided into the lifts and taken up to the Tower Eye.
They can then walk the route of the Blackpool Promenade, hundreds of feet in the air, and marvel at the uninterrupted views of the North West coastline.
Blackpool Council, which bought the tower, has been working with attractions operator Merlin Entertainments to return it to its glory days as part of the council’s £250 million regeneration plans for the resort. So far the refurbishment has taken 10 months.
Nick Varney, Merlin Entertainments CEO, said: ‘This is a landmark day for Blackpool and the Blackpool Tower.
‘While there is still more work to be done, the tower itself looks fantastic – and has been restored with a great deal of skill and care.’