Therme Trafford 3
Therme's £250m wellness resort is among the most exciting plans in the region. Credit: via planning documents

ROUND-UP | The region’s most exciting leisure developments

Dan Whelan

From flying theatres to wave parks, here are some of the most eagerly anticipated experiential schemes coming to the North West in the not-too-distant future. 

Having spent large chunks of the last 18 months indoors, consumers are excited to get out there and feel something again. After such a long time cooped up, the humble cinema might not cut it anymore. But fear not, there is plenty in the pipeline to get excited about. 


Flying fun 

Airborne attractions are growing in popularity. In Blackpool, a flying theatre acts as the centrepiece of Nikal’s £300m Blackpool Central development. As well as the 127,000 sq ft theatre, the development also features two smaller indoor theme parks, a 200-bedroom hotel, a heritage quarter and several bars and restaurants.

map pinBlackpool Central can be viewed on Place North West’s development map. 

In Bootle, Sefton Council is hoping to deliver a flying theatre as part of the regeneration of the Strand shopping centre. A £20m Levelling Up Fund bid has been lodged in the hopes of progressing the project. 

Read more about Sefton’s plans for Bootle 

Blackpool Central

Blackpool Central is being brought forward by Nikal. Credit: via Font Comms

Zip World, the company behind a failed attempt to install a 400-metre zip wire in Liverpool City Centre has won approval for a ‘SkyFlyer’ attraction on the site of the former Sun Centre in Rhyl. 

The attraction would see riders taken 400ft in the air onboard a gondola beneath a Skyflyer-branded blimp. 

The scheme is being delivered in conjunction with Denbighshire Leisure, an offshoot of the local council. 

Read more about the SkyFlier attraction 


Container parks 

Shipping containers are all the rage these days. They are versatile, moveable and a cheaper option to traditional construction. 

Hatch in Manchester, owned by Bruntwood, is packed with containers hosting bars, independent food traders and boutique retailers and has become a popular destination in the city. 

McGoff Group is hoping to replicate Hatch’s success in Urmston where it plans to create Market 41, a £3.5m development complete with a food hall and 30 contactless hotel rooms. 

Read more about Market 41 

Market 41 McGoff 2

Market 41 features 30 contactless hotel rooms. Credit: via planning documents

In May, similar proposals were approved by Preston City Council. Austringer Capita is to create a 37,000 sq ft container park as part of a wider mixed-use scheme in Fulwood. 

The park features a food and beverage offer, retail, co-working space and leisure facilities. 

Place North West has also heard rumours that a container park is being plotted for Liverpool’s Albert Dock. 

Read more about the Fulwood container park. 


Splashing Around 

Two of the region’s most eagerly anticipated leisure developments are coming to Trafford. 

Therme is to create a a 700,000 sq ft wellbeing resort on 28 acres currently occupied by Event City. 

Therme Trafford Park 1

Therme is to be constructed at Event City. Credit: via planning documents

The resort will contain a two-acre wellbeing garden and a large family zone with a wave pool, waterslides, indoor and outdoor pools and steam rooms, which is all expected to attract up to two million visitors a year when it opens in 2023. 

Read more about Therme’s plans. 

Nearby, Irish developer McKinney Group recently won approval to create Modern Wave, a £60m surf park close to the Trafford Centre. 

The scheme is billed as the North West’s first inland, man-made surf complex and features a lagoon powered by Wavegarden, a company that specialises in wave generating technologies. 

Read more about Modern Surf. 

A similar project is being developed in Southport. A 250-metre beach and surf resort with hotel accommodation, restaurants and a spa is to be developed at the Merseyside coastal town, under a deal struck between Sefton Council and UK-based leisure provider Go Surf. 

The £40m scheme would feature “water-based” wellness and spa facilities, four-star hotel accommodation, casual dining and indoor leisure facilities. There would also be gardens and a 360-degree boardwalk for visitors to explore the attraction and watch surfers.

Read more about Go Surf’s plans. 

Modern Surf Manchester, PBECG

Leslie Jones Architecture is the lead architect for McKinney’s project. Credit: via BECG


Manchester: the home of competitive socialising? 

Recently, Manchester has seen a drastic increase in its offer of what is termed ‘competitive socialising’. Roxy Ballroom opened within the former Birdcage nightclub unit last year, while Electric Gamebox is up and running in the Arndale. 

Urban Playground, which gives punters the chance to test themselves at ITV’s gameshow the Cube, is due to open at the Arndale this month within the former Burton and Dorothy Perkins units. 

In the Printworks, Boom Battle Bar provides a similar offer to Roxy Ballroom and is located just across the road. 

Manchester Arndale, P.PNW

Manchester is becoming the go-to place for competitive socialising. Credit: Place North West

Outside of the city centre competitive socialising is taking off, too. 

At the Trafford Centre, Nerf, an indoor laser combat venue is proposed while in Skelmersdale, part of the Concourse shopping centre is to be converted into WonderWorld, which could feature jungle-themed adventure golf, ten pin bowling, and a space-themed virtual reality room. 


The game-changers 

Fewer projects have the capacity to transform a town’s fortunes like Eden Project North. 

The £125m development could act as a catalyst for the regeneration of the Morecambe. 

It promises an immersive visitor experience aimed at educating people about the marine environment.

Eden Project North is projected to attract around one million visitors a year and directly employ more than 400 people. The business case estimates a visitor spend of more than £200m a year in the region. 

17162 EdenNorth Aerial

Eden Project North is slated for the promenade area, close to the landmark Midland Hotel. Credit: via WSP

Plans for the attraction were lodged in September but the hunt for funding goes on. 

Have a look at the plans for Eden Project North. 

Oak View Group’s £350m Co-Op Live arena in East Manchester is to inject further life into an area that already counts Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium and Campus among its assets. 

The arena could prompt an additional 2.5m visits to the area annually by 2025, according to OVG. 

It could also have a lasting impact on the city centre. With a shiny new out-of-town venue due to complete in 2023, what does the future hold for the ageing AO Arena in the city centre? 

Read more about Co-op Live. 

Co Op Live Arena

The arena is due to complete in 2023. Credit: Populous via planning documents

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Other than the Arena will these be delivered ?

By TL

Sad Peel never gave Mcr it’s beaches
Living by the real waterfront is a must.

By Brendan