Theme Park, Amusement Park and Attractions Industry News

Merlin magic coming to the Midlands

Merlin Entertainment is constructing two new attractions that are set to open in Birmingham in 2018; The Bear Grylls Adventure, and a Leogland Discovery Centre. This comes at a time of investment by Merlin in its portfolio of attractions in the region, which include the National Sea Life Centre, Warwick Castle, and Alton Towers.

The newest attractions will be located at sites owned by NEC Group, with The Bear Grylls Adventure covering 8,000 square-metres and becoming a permanent attraction at the National Exhibition Centre. The attraction has a build cost of approximately £20m and will take inspiration from Bear’s real-life adventures across mountains, deserts, and jungles around the world. Guests will be able dive, rock climb, and iFly (indoor skydiving) from Autumn 2018.

At an investment of approximately £7m, Legoland Discovery Centre will be located at Arena Birmingham, close to the existing National Sea Life Centre, and will span 3,300 metres-squared. The centre is specifically designed for children aged 3-10 with a typical visit duration of two to three hours. Little ones can enjoy a range of Lego play areas, interactive rides, and master classes from the Lego Master Model Builder – as well as special party rooms for birthdays and other celebrations, a 4D cinema, and the popular Miniland area attraction. The Discovery Centre is due to open in Summer 2018.

Warwick Castle is also investing more than £1m across new attractions and restorations. Dragon Slayer will be a live show based on the legend of ‘Guy of Warwick’ and his adventures to seek the approval of Princess Felice. The show will include battles, a light show, and pyrotechnics.

The company’s investment in Birmingham and the surrounding area has been welcomed by the West Midlands Growth Company which noted its important contribution to jobs, ancillary business opportunities and broader economic impact. The new attractions will create nearly 300 jobs and employ many more local tradespeople in their construction.

“Birmingham is a great hub for location-based entertainment,” said Mark Fisher, chief development officer for Merlin Entertainments. “we are looking forward to opening our two exciting new attractions there, which will complement our existing Sea Life attraction, and attract thousands of domestic and international visitors to the city. The broader Midlands region is an important market for Merlin, which also includes Alton Towers and Warwick Castle. Together these attractions form an inviting regional leisure hub that we are delighted to be investing in.”

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