Nostalgia: All the fun of the fair – a look back at Manning’s at Felixstowe
PUBLISHED: 14:30 03 July 2020
Felixstowe’s amusement park has existed on its seafront site for 88 years – providing family fun for daytrippers and holidaymakers for generations.
It was opened in 1932 by Billy Butlin – and is still called Butlins by some older residents with long memories – and was sub-let to Charlie Manning after the second world war when Billy focussed on his holiday parks.
Manning’s Amusement Park is a much-loved attraction and an essential part of a visit to the seaside, and many people can remember the heady days of the 1960s and 1970s with the huge blue-painted wooden rollercoaster – a feature for 40 years – at the entrance to the park in Sea Road, the big wheel, crazy house, dodgems, helter skelter, carousel, various rides for all ages, penny machines arcade and Gypsy Lee telling fortunes.
On the first day of the season – usually the day before Good Friday – local youngsters would gather in crowds to charge in when the gates opened and enjoy a morning of free rides. Charlie Manning would crack open a bottle of bubbly and watch the excitement from the roof of the main building.
The Manning family – who are looking forward to reopening this weekend after the lockdown – have adapted the park over the years, unable to compete with inland theme parks, to provide a range of different attractions. Today these include an arcade, indoor crazy golf, mini bowling, over 18s cash casino, and a thriving market with a huge range of stalls. Work is also underway to create a new attraction called Beach Street, using containers as outlets for a range of food and shopping outlets.
Tell us your memories of visits to Manning’s Amusement Park – email email@example.com
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