Helen Flanagan has attended the grand opening of the £2.3million Gruffalo and Friends Clubhouse Attraction in Blackpool.

The former Blackburn Westholme School pupil took her two-year-old son, Charlie, to the one-of-a-kind magical indoor play adventure featuring six of Julia Donaldson’s and Axel Scheffler’s much-loved children’s stories, has opened its doors. 

The former Coronation Street star, Helen Flanagan, and her son Charlie were the first to experience the enchanting 3D world which brings to life popular characters from The Gruffalo, The Gruffalo’s Child, Zog, The Snail and the Whale, Room on the Broom and The Highway Rat.

Helen, who featured in I’m a Celebrity South Africa, which aired this year, has praised the attraction.

She said: “My children and I are huge fans of Julia Donaldson and have read many of her books.

“The Gruffalo is a particular favourite. We have been so excited to visit The Gruffalo & Friends Clubhouse.

“It is incredible and really brings the books to life. Charlie and I have both had a wonderful time and we are already planning our next trip to Blackpool and The Gruffalo and Friends Clubhouse."

Lancashire Telegraph:

Speaking to the Lancashire Telegraph she said she and her son had a great day out.

She said: “I’ve brought Charlie and he absolutely loves it. I think it’s great that there is somewhere like this in the north west.

“I will definitely be coming here with my kids all the time – it’s amazing.

“My little boy is obsessed with Julia Donaldson. He loves Stickman and The Highway Rat.

“He has a Gruffalo bedroom and all of his parties have been Julia Donaldson-themed.

“He has been so happy and obsessed all day. He has loved seeing all of the figures and there is a brilliant section for children Charlie’s age.

“I can’t wait to take my four-year-old, Delilah, as she will love it in here.”

Helen has praised Donaldson’s books and shows and says they are enjoyable for adults to read and watch.

She said: “As a parent you don’t mind the stories. We have them on all the time in our house.

“I feel like the stories are quite calming and they are interesting. As a parent you don’t mind your children [watching or reading] them as they are quite educational stories, there is always a message behind them.”

A world first, the new Blackpool attraction is unlike anything experienced before and is perfect for families with children under ten, who can run wild and immerse themselves in their favourite stories. 

Boasting six different zones dedicated to each book: The Gruffalo’s Deep Dark Wood Adventure Play and Soft Play, Room on the Broom Toddler Play, The Gruffalo’s Child Sensory Room, Zog’s Dragon School Challenge and The Snail and the Whale Seaside Play, as well as a Gruffalo Meet and Greet Experience. 

The Gruffalo Deep Dark Wood Adventure Play is the main attraction where young explorers can climb, crawl and slide their way through the ‘deep dark wood’. The Room on the Broom Toddler Play is a story-led soft play area specifically for children aged three and under. 

The Gruffalo’s Child Sensory Room is specifically for children with specific and sensory-sensitive needs, including autism, and provides a quiet, mini magical winter themed physical and digital sensory experience.

In Zog’s Dragon School Challenge, young dragons can meet Zog and have a go at Madam Dragon’s challenges. In The Snail and the Whale Seaside Play, adventurers can plunge into the water inspired ball pool, which transforms into a bio-luminescent environment.

The attraction is located next Sea Life on Blackpool Promenade and has been meticulously designed to bring to life the beloved Gruffalo, Mouse, Fox, Snake, Owl, Zog, Snail and The Highway Rat characters, from the popular films produced by Magic Light Pictures. 

Lancashire Telegraph:

Kate Shane, regional director at Merlin Entertainments said: “The Gruffalo & Friends Clubhouse attraction provides young explorers and families with a magical day out. Just like little brown mouse, guests will brave the ‘deep dark wood’ and climb, crawl and slide their way to the life-sized Gruffalo.

“The unique and immersive experience is ideal for families with children aged ten and under, neurodivergent children and toddlers too. Visitors can even meet the Gruffalo himself and check out his terrible-teeth in his terrible jaws, knobbly knees and turned-out toes.

“We firmly support Blackpool’s ambition to be the UK’s number one family seaside resort and with such an adored family brand joining our plethora of attractions we are very excited to finally open the doors!”  

The Gruffalo & Friends Clubhouse joins Merlin’s seven other attractions in Blackpool including The Blackpool Tower, SEA LIFE Blackpool and Peter Rabbit: Explore and Play.