Memories of Morecambe’s lost Leisure Park and Bubbles which will soon take on new life as Eden Project

It’s destined to be the site where diggers will start breaking ground to construct the long awaited Eden Project, but this part of Morecambe Promenade has had many past lives.

In the 1930s, Britain saw a boom in open air swimming pools and Morecambe’s Super Swimming Stadium opened in 1936 to rival Blackpool’s huge neoclassical South Shore Swimming Coliseum. The stadium featured a championship swimming course, water polo area, diving stage, grandstands, promenade, a sun terrace and even an artificial beach.

The majestic pool was the longest in Europe and once welcomed 27,000 bathers in just two days. One of the tourist town’s biggest draws, the stadium hosted prestigious swimming and aquatic events throughout the year, and was a regular host of the Miss Great Britain beauty contest.


Sadly, the stadium closed in 1975, and it was announced it would not reopen due to structural defects. It was demolished a year later with part of the structure being used as a Dolphinarium before the whole site was eventually cleared for a leisure park.

Morecambe Leisure Park opened in the summer of 1979 with its main attraction, a heated open-air leisure pool known as Blue Lagoon. The pool was loved especially for its wave making machine; there was also a separate cascade pool and sun-trap terrace.

Morecambe Leisure Centre and dome, 1980s
Morecambe Leisure Park and dome, 1980s

It opened at a time when Morecambe was just at its late 20th century height as a holiday town. The Leisure Park on the sea front was close to Marineland, Europe’s first Oceanarium and the largest Ferris wheel in Europe at Morecambe Pleasure Park – which would become Frontierland a few years later.

Around the same time the leisure park opened, a vast live music and entertainments venue known as the Superdome opened alongside. In its early years, the Superdome held heats for the Miss Great Britain contest and was the destination for the Radio One Roadshow music events.

Morecambe Leisure Park, August 1983.
Morecambe Leisure Park, August 1983
(Image: Flickr user Talster71)

Morecambe Leisure Park was extended in the late 1989 with the addition of a new indoor pool and renamed Bubbles. It created a new generation of fans with new water slides and cannons.

The Superdome had also become the new venue for Morecambe Music Festival, following the closure of the Central Pier due to structural concerns. In its later years the Dome (as it had been renamed) attracted a number of big music acts including Blur and the Arctic Monkeys.

Morecambe Leisure Park, 1979
Morecambe Leisure Park, 1979
(Image: Neale Elder |

But as Morecambe struggled to attract the crowds near the end of the 20th century, the complex suffered financially and Bubbles closed at the turn of the new century was demolished in 2001. The Dome lasted a few years more, closing in 2008 and was soon demolished.

Despite now being consigned to history, many people still have fond memories of attractions on Morecambe’s waterfront. When photos of Morecambe Leisure Park and Bubbles were shared on the We Love Morecambe Facebook group last year, people took to the comments to share their memories.

The Dome, Morecambe's sea front theatre and performance venue
The Dome, Morecambe’s sea front theatre and performance venue
(Image: Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Annabel Lumsden, posted: “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.”

Christine Smart, remembered: “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.”

Mandy Louise Ray, posted: “Remember doing It’s a Knockout there in the ’80s… Good times.”

Helen Attridge, recalled: “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 café.”

While Julie Anne Clark remembered it as a great attraction, and not just for swimmers. She wrote: “It was a great place, I can’t swim so I used to sit in the café on balcony while my brothers and sisters went in. Loved it.”

Does this story awaken any memories for you? Let us know in the comments section below.

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