Culture Blackpool

Winter Gardens

Blackpool’s Winter Gardens first opened to the public on 11 July 1878, with a lavish ceremony attended by the Lord Mayor of London and Mayors and Mayoresses from 68 towns throughout the country.  

Spanning 4.9 acres, the historic venue welcomes in excess of 1.3 million visitors each year to its collection of theatres, ballrooms, exhibition halls and public spaces which host a diverse range of events.

Developed between 1878 – 1939 the venue boasts 11 unique spaces showcasing the finest in Victorian architecture through to contemporary art deco design and spaces which boast extravagance beyond imagination.

Amongst its many venues is one of the UK’s largest theatres, The Opera House, built in 1939 the venue has a capacity near 3000 and one of the world’s biggest stages. The Opera House continues to attract the biggest touring shows and events from across the globe. The venue is also home to a famous mighty Wurlitzer which rises from the stage.

Adjoining the Opera House is the internationally revered Empress Ballroom opened in 1894 and designed by Magnall and Littlewood. The Empress Ballroom is home to the world’s most prestigious festival of dancing, first taking place in 1920 the Blackpool Dance Festival continues to attract a global audience vying to compete and win at the home of ballroom dancing. This is accompanied by a diverse range of events including the PDC World Matchplay darts, an array of iconic gigs and many more illustrious events which take place in the ballroom.

These are accompanied by the stunning Spanish Suites, Arena and Olympia Exhibition hall, all connected via a central walk way which retains its Victorian grandeur, The Floral Hall. 

The venue boasts a long and illustrious history which has included speeches by every prime minster since Sir Winston Churchill, two Royal Variety Performances attended by HRH Queen Elizabeth most recently in 2009 and a huge array of stars from stage and screen such as Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland and Bob Hope who have all graced the Opera House stage, and more recently, the likes of Little Mix, Bob Dylan, Peter Kay and One Direction have performed to sell-out audiences.

Open 364 days a year the public are invited to spend a day in its range of cafes and bars open daily, explore its breath-taking architecture or witness one of it’s 400 events which it hosts annually.

To find out more about the Winter Gardens Blackpool and its range of events visit: wintergardensblackpool.co.uk