The BIG idea
- Credit: James Bass
Liam Holmes is general manager at Pleasurewood Hills Family Fun Park, and preparing for a busy summer season.
Please tell us a little about the history of Pleasurewood Hills.
Since its opening in 1983 by local entrepreneur Joe Larter, Pleasurewood Hills has seen many changes in ownership in its 32 years, the most recent being Looping Group who acquired the park in 2011. The park experienced its best attendances in the late 1980s and early 1990s, with one season seeing over 500,000 guests visit Pleasurewood Hills.
How has the park grown and developed in the past three decades?
From its early beginnings, which included two miniature railways, the park saw rapid expansion of its 55-acre site with the addition of various rides, shows and attractions throughout the 1980s. In 1995, Noel Edmonds’ Crinkley Bottom show, complete with Mr Blobby, took residence at the park in the Castle Theatre which gained national attention. In 2007, the park opened East Anglia’s tallest and fastest roller coaster, Wipeout.
After the introduction of Wipeout, the investment in new attractions was minimal until 2011 when Looping Group took ownership and have since invested in 11 new attractions which now bring the total number of rides, shows and attractions to over 40.
What new rides and new investment have you brought into the park during the past season and what’s planned for 2015?
- 1 20 of the best places to eat out in St Ives
- 2 Seven Falls, Tintwistle - a hidden gem in the Peak District
- 3 Win the full range of Bashall Spirits Gins
- 4 9 Devon pubs and bars with great beer gardens
- 5 10 great circular walks in Lancashire
- 6 15 festivals and shows happening this summer in Devon
- 7 6 waterfall walks in Derbyshire and the Peak District
- 8 Fish and chips in Cornwall you need to try
- 9 Somerset villages: 9 of the prettiest to visit
- 10 20 of the best restaurants in Hertfordshire
The park introduced its fourth rollercoaster, Marble Madness, in June 2014 and also staged the New High Dive show throughout July and August, both proving popular additions with our guests. We have invested again for 2015 with the New Hyperdrive attraction and the popular high dive show will return for its second season in July and August.
What are the biggest challenges you face as part of the area’s tourism and leisure industry?
Aside from the obvious, the notorious British weather, we are very dependent on the success of the holiday parks and accommodations in the local area. Our survey showed that 68pc of our visitors were locals, so its important that we entice holidaymakers to this area.
Teamwork seems a big part of the Pleasurewood Hills success story – can you tell us how you view customer service and its importance to the park?
We are proud of the feedback we receive regarding the customer service our team provide our guests, just by going the extra mile a guest’s day can be made so much more memorable. Guests will tend to return to a venue where they have received a high level of customer service, so it’s of great importance that we maintain our current trend.
So, Liam, what is your Big Idea for taking Pleasurewood Hills forward into the future?
To value and revitalise the Pleasurewood Hills brand. As East Anglia’s largest theme park, it’s our focus to offer a fantastic family fun day out which is great value and to welcome back guests who have not visited the park for many years, maybe since their own childhood.
Pleasurewood Hills, Leisure Way, Lowestoft, NR32 5DZ; 01502 586000; www.pleasurewoodhills.com