The Big One

Blackpool Pleasure Beach

The UK's tallest rollercoaster towers over the Blackpool seafront...

Theme ParkBlackpool Pleasure Beach
Opened28 May 1994
ManufacturerArrow Dynamics
ModelHyper Coaster
Height213 ft
Length5497 ft
Max Speed74 mph
Drop 205 ft
Duration3 minutes
The Big One

The Big One

Towering over the seashore, The Big One is the tallest rollercoaster at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, and indeed in the UK.

The ride, initially sponsored by Pepsi Max and titled The Pepsi Max Big One, opened in 1994. With the high profile openings of Nemesis at Alton Towers and Shockwave at Drayton Manor also occuring the same year, 1994 was named as the UK's Year of the Roller Coaster.

Blackpool Pleasure Beach religiously markets The Big One as being 235ft tall, although it is actually 213ft high: the 235ft measurement is its height above sea level. Even so, at 213ft with a 205ft first drop, it is the tallest rollercoaster in the UK and is a landmark on the Blackpool skyline. There are small circular signs placed every 50ft up the lift hill just to ensure riders know exactly how high they are climbing!

With the huge height and sweeping track which runs all the way up and down the Pleasure Beach, you might rightly expect The Big One would be an outstanding ride. Unfortunately though its just, well, pretty average. The large hills have been built with such graceful swooping that sadly they produce almost zero airtime.

The Big One's lift hill towers over Blackpool

The Big One's lift hill towers over Blackpool

Given that Blackpool Pleasure Beach is so packed with rides, there are some interesting moments where the Big One track interacts with other rides such as Steeplechase and the Big Dipper. However, the big highlight is the first drop: while the rest of the ride could be described as a bit boring, nose-diving 205ft towards the Promenade and the beach beyond is thrilling. Not many rollercoasters can boast such a spectacular and scenic start.

Sitting next to the sea with the constant barage of wind and salt water is not the ideal environment for a rollercoaster, and perhaps understandably sections of The Big One have become a bit rough over its lifetime. To help address the worst spots, several sections of worn out track were replaced over the winter of 2019-2020.

While it may not be the ultimate rollercoaster, The Big One is clearly an icon for the park and draws visitors in. It's interesting to contemplate what might have been: imagine if it had been built 15 years later as a B&M Hyper Coaster rather than using the then state-of-the-art Arrow technology with its mass of support structure.

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