Silcock's Carousel in Southport. Photo by Andrew Brown Stand Up For Southport

The historic Silcock’s Carousel in Southport has been voted as the fourth best seaside attraction in Britain. 

The beautiful Victorian era attraction was a popular choice with members of the public voting in the first ever Bucket and Spade List 2023. 

The initiative is organised by the The Seaside Heritage Network, with the winners announced at a special event in Blackpool today (Monday 11th September 2023). 

Silcock Leisure Group Operations Manager Serena Silcock-Prince said: 

“We have been recognised in fourth place in the whole of Britain and we are so excited to be recognised by the public in this way. 

“We are very humbled to have been chosen for this list amidst such strong competition among so many seaside favourites. 

“The Silcock family would like to say a big thank you to everyone who voted for us, your support is very much appreciated. 

“Also a huge well done to all the Carousel and Funland team who work so hard throughout the year. Your hard work is very much recognised in this award.

“Silcock’s Carousel has been very popular with so many generations of families over the years who keep coming back. 

“But Southport has so many great seaside attractions, and so many reasons for people to visit, not just during the summer but throughout the year. 

“The Bucket and Spade List is a fantastic initiative designed to celebrate the very best of the Great British seaside and to encourage more people to visit.” 

The Seaside Heritage Network is today delighted to announce its inaugural Bucket and Spade List, the Top Ten favourite seaside places and experiences as voted for by members of the public. 

  1. Saltburn Cliff Tramway, Saltburn-by-the-Sea 
  2. Blackpool Tower 
  3. Morecambe Winter Gardens 
  4. Silcock’s Carousel, Southport 
  5. Donkey Rides, Weymouth 
  6. Papa’s Fish & Chips, Cleethorpes 
  7. South Cliff Gardens, Scarborough 
  8. Dreamland Margate 
  9. Bournemouth Beach Huts 

10.Babbacombe Model Village 

The Bucket and Spade List was announced in the superb setting of Blackpool Winter Gardens on Monday 11th September when the top three finalists were awarded with certificates by designer and seaside regeneration expert, Wayne Hemingway MBE. 

Dr Kathryn Ferry, a founder member of the Seaside Heritage Network, said how important it was to see people and communities geƫng behind the vote:

“There’s a strong nostalgic element to these finalists but that’s no bad thing, it shows how embedded the seaside holiday and seaside resorts are within our island culture. 

“Too often, some of these towns get a bad press but it’s time to change perceptions and celebrate the joy and entertainment the seaside has brought to generations of Britons. 

Silcock's Carousel. Photo by Sarah Pedder

Silcock’s Carousel. Photo by Sarah Pedder

“Embracing the power of seaside heritage to connect with people anew can help places that have been suffering social and economic problems.

“Morecambe Winter Gardens and Dreamland Margate are examples of the potentially transformative power of seaside heritage and we congratulate all of our worthy finalists – not least the donkeys!” 

Among the reasons people gave for voting for Silcock’s Carousel, Southport  was this: “It’s not only heritage and tradition, it’s moving art and part of a limited remaining collection of organs… it’s timeless and family-owned and loved by the town.” 

Herbert Silcock’s Golden Gallopers have been putting smiles on families’ faces since the historic ride was built in 1901. 

It is currently open every weekend until the winter season, and is open every day during the October half term. 

It sits at the entrance to Southport Pier, and next to Silcock’s Funland and Silcock’s Pier Family Restaurant. 

Silcock's Carousel in Southport. Photo by Andrew Brown Media

Silcock’s Carousel in Southport. Photo by Andrew Brown Media

Earlier this year The Carousel was recognised as one of the Liverpool City Region’s top attractions, having been honoured in the top 10 in the Hidden Gems category in the 2023 Liverpool City Region Tourism Awards. 

It stands proudly on the Promenade in Southport, offering fun for people of all ages as they spin round and round to the sound of a Gavioli fairground organ. 

The ride is a beautiful symbol of happy times at the seaside through history, entertaining many thousands of generations over the past few decades. 

The remarkable ride was built in the reign of Queen Victoria, by Savages of Kings Lynne. 

It was purchased by the Silcock family in 1989 and it took three years of painstaking restoration to return it to its former glory. 

This 18 ton ride is 42 ft in diameter, 18 ft tall and has 33 Horses – each of them named after a member of the Silcock family and family friends. 

The horses on the inside of the ride are original Anderson carvings and date to when the ride was built at the turn of the century. The rest of the horses have been replaced by copies due to wear and tear. 

The beautiful Gavioli organ at the centre of the ride, built by Gavioli in Paris in 1901, is worthy of being recognised as a Hidden Gem in its own right. 

The Carousel is surrounded by lots of other fun attractions, including the beautiful Kings Gardens, the Marine Lake, Silcock’s Funland, Southport Beach, Southport Miniature Railway Village, Southport Pleasureland  and more. 

The Seaside Heritage Network aims to connect people, groups and businesses who care about the heritage of Britain’s seaside resorts. 

It is run by volunteers who are specialists from the tourism, academic, history and heritage sectors.

Follow them on Twitter and Instagram @seaside_network

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