Plans for a £300 million Blackpool leisure development expected to attract 600,000 additional visitors a year is set to feature an "advanced virtual reality experience".

The masterplan for the Blackpool Central Station site was unveiled this morning, featuring new hotels, restaurants, apartments, a food market and event square.

It has been hailed as the biggest single investment in Blackpool's tourism industry for more than a century.

It is estimated that the development will attract 600,000 additional visitors a year with a combined annual spend of £75 million. It will also create around 1,000 new jobs.

The first major phase of the project will incorporate the UK's first 'flying theatre' (pictured below), an indoor theatre which will be fully immersive with on-board special effects including wind, fog, water and scents, with state-of-the-art projection and surround sound.

The scheme also promises to deliver "the most advanced VR experience on an epic scale" with free-roam, multi-player capability, body tracking and motion simulators.

It will also include the world's first multimedia exhibition of its type exploring extra-terrestrial influences on the great ancient civilisations. A fully-immersive educational and entertaining experience created with leading-edge technology.


Blackpool Council leader Simon Blackburn said the scheme is a "once-in-a-generation opportunity" that has the potential to alter the face of the town.

"Over more than fifty years, many ideas for this site have come and gone," he added.

"The difference this time is that we have worked very hard with our fantastic partners at Nikal and MIE for almost two years to create a scheme that is not just aspirational, but highly deliverable.

"These new attractions are of ground-breaking international quality and their cutting edge technology will take Blackpool's tourism offer to another level."

The £300 million project is a collaboration between UK-based development company Nikal Ltd and Media Invest Entertainment.

Work on the scheme is expected to start as early as 2020 and the first phase, which will also feature a hotel and restaurants, is due to open in spring 2024.

The second phase of the development will deliver apartments, further food and drink outlets, a second hotel comprising 250 bedrooms, with additional landscaped public open space.

Future phases to the southern end of the site will include further leisure attractions, residential apartments and a music venue and nightclub.