Blackpool Tower reopens to public after £20m restoration

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionBlackpool Tower has undergone a 10-month, multi-million pound refurbishment

Blackpool Tower has reopened to the public after a major 10-month restoration programme.

The regeneration project, aimed at encouraging families to stay longer in the resort, is part of a £20m investment for the tower and promenade.

The observation platform at the top of the Grade I-listed structure becomes the Blackpool Tower Eye and features a skywalk.

It has floor-to-ceiling glass and overlooks the coastline.

Other new features include a dungeon attraction, a new entrance and a "4D" cinema with a vibrating floor.

'Magnificent icon'

James Burleigh, from Merlin Entertainments, which runs the complex for Blackpool Council, said: "It's a huge moment for Blackpool.

"It's a magnificent icon within the resort and we have to look after it and care for it."

Much of the tower has been closed to the public since it was bought by Blackpool Council, as part of its £250m regeneration programme for the town.

Councillor Graham Cain, Blackpool Council's cabinet member for tourism and culture, said: "Thanks to the regeneration that has already taken place, visitor numbers have steadily been increasing with 13 million visits last year, and people seeing a new side of Blackpool.

Image caption Blackpool Tower is now home to a "4D" cinema

"Tourism is the town's key revenue driver, and we have to get this right in order to deal successfully with some of the social programmes, which are so important to the town."

Parts of the tower's architecture, including the steel legs, have been exposed and are home to rooms showing historical footage of the town, including Mayor John Bickerstaffe's construction of the tower more than 100 years ago.

Manager of the tower, Kate Shane, said: "We used to have a walk of faith, which was a metre square of glass which looked down the legs of the tower. Now the entire west elevation is glass.

"It makes the back of your knees go, but on clear days you can see Cumbria and over to the Isle of Man."

The opening comes the day before the Blackpool Illuminations are switched on by Leigh Francis in the persona of his comic character Keith Lemon.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites