The lost Morecambe leisure park site that will soon be transformed

Morecambe Leisure Park
Morecambe Leisure Park -Credit:Flickr user Talster71

The site of Morecambe's former Leisure Park and Bubbles is set to be transformed into the much-anticipated Eden Project. Once incredibly popular with holidaymakers from Greater Manchester and all over the north west, this area of Morecambe Promenade has a rich history.

Opened in 1936 - a time when Britain experienced a golden age of open-air swimming pools - Morecambe's Super Swimming Stadium was built to rival to Blackpool's grand South Shore Swimming Coliseum. The stadium boasted a championship swimming course, water polo area, diving stage, grandstands, promenade, sun terrace and even an artificial beach.

This impressive pool was the longest in Europe and once saw 27,000 bathers in just two days. It was one of the town's main attractions, hosting prestigious swimming and aquatic events throughout the year, including the Miss Great Britain beauty contest.

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Unfortunately, the stadium closed its doors in 1975 due to structural defects and was demolished a year later. Part of the structure was used as a Dolphinarium before the entire site was cleared for a leisure park.

Morecambe Leisure Park opened in the summer of 1979, with its main attraction being the heated open-air leisure pool known as Blue Lagoon. The pool was particularly popular for its wave-making machine, and also featured a separate cascade pool and sun-trap terrace, reports Lancs Live.

Morecambe Leisure Park and wave pool, August 1983
Morecambe Leisure Park and wave pool, August 1983 -Credit:Flickr user Talster71

The Leisure Park in Morecambe, which opened in the holiday town's late 20th century peak, was situated near Marineland, Europe's first Oceanarium, and Morecambe Pleasure Park, home to the largest Ferris wheel in Europe.

Around the same time, the Superdome, a vast live music and entertainment venue, opened next to the leisure park. In its early years, it hosted heats for the Miss Great Britain contest and was the destination for Radio One Roadshow music events.

Morecambe Leisure Park later expanded and was renamed Bubbles
Morecambe Leisure Park later expanded and was renamed Bubbles -Credit:Neale Elder |

In the late 1980s, Morecambe Leisure Park expanded with the addition of an indoor pool and was renamed Bubbles. It attracted a new generation of fans with its water slides and cannons.

Following the closure of the Central Pier due to structural concerns, the Superdome became the new venue for the Morecambe Music Festival. In its later years, the Dome (as it had been renamed) hosted big music acts including Blur and the Arctic Monkeys.

Morecambe Leisure Park and Superdome, 1980s
Morecambe Leisure Park and Superdome, 1980s -Credit:

However, as Morecambe struggled to attract crowds towards the end of the 20th century, the complex faced financial difficulties. Bubbles closed at the turn of the new century and was demolished in 2001. The Dome survived a few more years, closing in 2008 before being demolished.

Many Mancunians still hold fond memories of bygone attractions along Morecambe's seafront. These reminiscences were shared when pictures of Morecambe Leisure Park and Bubbles were posted on the We Love Morecambe Facebook group over the previous year.

How it is hoped Eden Project Morecambe will look
How it is hoped Eden Project North in Morecambe will look

Annabel Lumsden expressed her nostalgia: "Bubbles Bop in the '90s was epic - in a time when throwing chocolate bars into a swimming pool full of teenagers seemed fully acceptable. Great times."

While, Christine Smart recollected: "I have old cinematic films of us having a wonderful time in there, also films of beauty pageants. Some great times have been spent in there. Oh why-oh-why did it have close."

Another resident, Mandy Louise Ray wrote: "Remember doing It's a Knockout there in the '80s... Good times."

In contrast, Helen Attridge recalled more sensory experiences: "Jumping in the outside pool then running inside and jumping in the indoor pool and it was so warm. The smell of chips and vinegar from the cafe."

Meanwhile, for Julie Anne Clark, the venue wasn't just a swimming spot: "It was a great place, I can't swim so I used to sit in the cafe on balcony while my brothers and sisters went in. Loved it."