Gala dinner to celebrate life of true resort icon

Winetr gardens from Victoria Street entrance 1890
Winetr gardens from Victoria Street entrance 1890

The starting gun has been fired for a year-long celebration of one of Blackpool’s most iconic venues.

The Winter Gardens is set to celebrate its 140th year in style, hosting over 140 events kickstarting with a gala dinner this July.

In July 1878, a lavish ceremony was hosted at the venue to mark it’s opening, attended by the Lord Mayor of London and Mayors and Mayoresses from 68 towns throughout the country.

Now 140 years on a gala dinner in the Empress Ballroom on Friday July 6 will mark the occasion before a yearlong calendar of exhibitions, projects and community events.

Since opening it has welcomed millions of visitors across its collection of theatres, ballrooms, exhibition halls and public spaces.

Hollywood stars such as Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland and Bob Hope have graced the venue, and more recently, the likes of Little Mix, The Killers, Bob Dylan, Peter Kay and One Direction have performed to sell-out audiences.

It has also hosted political party conferences hosting the likes of Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher through to Tony Blair and Bill Clinton.

Michael Williams, Managing Director, said: “We’re incredibly proud and honoured to be in a position to celebrate 140 years of such an iconic and magnificent building, one which is not only a focus for community pride and enjoyment but a venue which has played host to so many world changing events, all of which we intend to celebrate during the anniversary year.

“The anniversary is testament to the vision and aspiration of those who helped create the venue and all those since who have ensured the venue remains at the forefront of the Blackpool offer.”

Kathy Smith, General Manager, said: “The Winter Gardens Blackpool is the people’s palace.

“The venue means so much to so many and this is the most important aspect we’re set to celebrate through sharing and recognising the many stories the Winter Gardens has been integral too.”

Tickets for the 140th anniversary gala dinner on Friday July 6 are now on-sale online at and in the box office.