A fairground that was permanently closed five years ago has been visited by urban explorers, who have documented how nature is reclaiming the land in a series of eerie images.
Pleasure Island in Cleethorphes, northeast Lincolnshire, was abandoned in 2016 and has since been left to slowly decay. An urban explorer, who goes by the name Abandoned UK, visited the former park to see how it is faring several years after its demise. Colourful facades throughout the park show the grime and dirt of being unloved for several years, but the buildings themselves are intact.
In one shot, the faded peach exterior of the dodgems can be seen. Elsewhere, Ali Baba’s Arcade toilets appear relatively untouched by time, aside from the vegetation springing up around it. Several parts of the fairground have graffiti from previous visitors, the only sign of human life.
Debris litters an empty water feature, which appears to be an old animal enclosure. There is one common theme throughout the park, nature reclaiming the land, with grass and weeds growing up through the paved ground. Inside one large yellow room, takeaway containers are leftover on the floor, presumably from the final visitors to the park.
A video exploring the park was posted on YouTube, where it was viewed more than 5,000 times.
One person said: “It’s such a shame everything gone it’s just derelict.” [sic]
“Brings back old memories,” added another viewer.
Someone else commented: “It’s so sad to see a place that once brought many people’s faces happiness & enjoyment no matter what their age was.”
“Sad to see parks abandoned like this,” another person agreed. The fairground originally opened in 1993 on the site of the former Cleethorpes Marineland and Zoo. Back then, the park was heralded as a 12 million pound wonder.
The park retained some of its zoo roots and hosted Mike Austin’s non-animal circus, sea lion and parrot shows. The Big Top Circus remained a large draw, along with puppet plays, the Magic Water Theater and Billy Bob’s Rackafire Explosion show.
Many visitors remember the Flight of the Condor ride, which hoisted passengers aloft in cars, to spin around a revolving tower, like condors circle a corpse before swooping to devour it. But it was a mild ride compared to White Knuckle Valley’s featured rides. In that part of the park you could find Boomerang, the Crazy Loop and the Terror rack.
When it opened, the park was geared towards warmer whether entertainment, but it soon remodeled to include more indoors activities that could be enjoyed in all climates, like Kiddies Kingdom, catering to the little ones, which could be open or closed, depending on the elements.
Pleasure Island had theme sections, Olde England, Spain, Africa and Morocco (which offered Fatima’s Fish and Chips, which may not be authentically Moraccan … but nevermind).
The park was launched by Robert Gibb, a showman himself and well-known entrepreneur. Since Cleethorpes, a seaside resort, was suffering economically at the time, the theme park was considered a bad investment by many, but for several years it proved the naysayers wrong and brought in tourists, before eventually closing its doors in 2016.
Of course, the memory lives on now, because it hasn’t been razed or renovated. The vestiges of what once was remains to haunt, sadden and sometimes rekindle memory of a bygone era that might have been forgotten completely, like its predecessor the Marineland and Zoo was, if its skeleton wasn’t still here.