The Gruffalo Merlin p. Merlin Entertainments

The Gruffalo Clubhouse will provide play areas and a sensory room. Credit: via Merlin Entertainment

Blackpool welcomes £2.3m Gruffalo attraction

Entertainment company Merlin will bring the deep dark wood to the seafront this May with a family-friendly clubhouse, inspired by the works of author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler.

Featuring characters from the Gruffalo, as well as Zog, The Snail and the Whale, Room on the Broom, and The Highway Rat, the attraction will immerse visitors in fictional worlds and provide play areas for children as young as three.

Architect Kay Elliot designed the project, which includes challenges, adventure trails, and a sensory room.

The Gruffalo Merlin p. Merlin Entertainments

Play zones will be inspired by six Julia Donaldson books. Credit: via Merlin Entertainments

Located inside the Golden Mile Centre along the resort’s Promenade, the indoor playground has been developed in partnership with production company Magic Light and Blackpool Council.

The council will lend the money for the £2.3m project. The developers will make repayments to the council from the scheme’s revenue, before moving on to share profits.

The announcement comes 18 months after plans to reinvent the council-owned space were revealed, following a lengthy negotiation to acquire the Gruffalo brand.

The Gruffalo Merlin p. Merlin Entertainments

The £2.3m attraction is located on Blackpool Promenade. Credit: via Merlin Entertainments

Cllr Lynn Williams, leader of Blackpool Council, said: “Blackpool already has the biggest portfolio of branded attractions outside London and the addition of this world-class family attraction will strengthen that position.

“The family audience is key to Blackpool’s tourism growth strategy and we are delighted to be working in partnership with Merlin Entertainments to deliver something that will truly resonate with that audience, as well as providing new jobs for local people and economic growth to our town.”

The experience joins Merlin’s seven other attractions in Blackpool, such as the Blackpool Tower, SEA LIFE, and Madame Tussauds.

Kate Shane, regional director for Merlin Entertainments, said: “Blackpool is the UK’s number one family seaside resort and this latest partnership with a globally recognised brand will provide compelling new reasons for visitors to come to Blackpool.” 

Alex Sanson, senior brand manager at Magic Light Pictures, added: “The Gruffalo & Friends Clubhouse will be the first of its kind and we can’t wait to see this amazing space, full of play and adventure, come to life.”

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