Most people come to Blackpool on a weekend break for one reason: fun. And there’s plenty of that to be had in this jolly seaside town
Blackpool is the UK’s most popular seaside resort. 13 million visitors flock here every year in search of holiday fun, great value entertainment and a dose of invigorating sea air. A seven mile promenade promises all the fun of the fair – with three piers, the huge Pleasure Beach amusement park and, from September to November, the illuminations – a stunning light display along a five mile stretch that gives Blackpool a strong claim to be the Las Vegas of Britain. There are plenty of attractions in Blackpool to entertain the weekend visitor… all provided you’re up for some good old fashioned holiday fun.
See the tango and foxtrot in Strictly Come Dancing’s favourite ballroom
When the BBC’s flagship dancing show really wants to make a spectacle, they move their whole production to Blackpool’s Tower Ballroom. This is the UK’s premier ballroom venue, and one of the world’s most spectacular dance arenas. For a couple of pounds you can take a walk around the magnificent Victorian space. But where would be the fun in that? Instead, book to watch others whirl from the sidelines while you enjoy an afternoon tea. It’s an unforgettable experience, currently enjoying a real renaissance thanks to Strictly Come Dancing. And it’s one that’s quite unique to Blackpool.
See Lancashire from the top of the tower
Inspired by Paris’ Eiffel Tower, this 158m-high construction was first opened to the public in 1894. Superb panoramic views await those who make the ascent (fear not, there are lifts), with a stunning vista of the Irish Sea. You can see as far as North Wales and the Lake District on a clear day. And as what goes up must come down, it’s worth also calling in on the Blackpool Tower Dungeons – a light-hearted tour of Blackpool’s murky past brought to life by actors posing as medieval torturers, criminals and smugglers.
Take an old-fashioned promenade along the piers
The Victorians, who were the first generation to really learn how to holiday on the coast thanks to the advent of railways, were responsible for the construction of Blackpool’s three piers in the 1860s. The central pier is probably the nicest, and was the second to be constructed in 1864. The emphasis was on fun, so dancing, roller skating and fairground rides were all installed. After the popularity of dances waned following the second world war, these were turned over to theatres, bars and amusement arcades. In 1990, an enormous Ferris wheel was installed, cementing the pier’s status as a centre of pure unadulterated recreation. The theatre hosts all-singing, all-dancing musical spectaculars for all of the family. Come at Christmas time and you’re sure to catch a classic panto. Oh, yes you are!
Be dazzled by the illuminations
The illuminations have been a fixture of Blackpool recreation since 1879, when they were described as ‘artificial sunshine’ by the Victorians. It’s a fantastic light show, consisting of lasers, neon, light bulbs, fibre optics, searchlights and floodlighting, arranged in more than 500 special scenes. In 2012, there were more than 500 scenic designs and features. The buildings and fairground rides along the promenade are all illuminated with fairy lights and synchronised light displays.
Let there be more light at Illuminasia
While Blackpool has succeeded in extending the tourist season by running the illuminations every evning throughout the autumn, there is year-round light to be found at Illuminasia, a new indoor display of traditional Chinese lanterns, shaped by more than 50 skilled Chinese craftsmen into fun, towering light sculptures. Six themes include The Mysteries of China, Under the Sea, and the Wonders of the World. Even babies and small children will be captivated by the display in the historic Winter Gardens.
Hit the Pleasure Beach
Britain’s most famous fairground has everything you’d expect from a seaside fun park. For 70 years, the Grand National, an old wooden rollercoaster, has terrified and delighted Blackpool revelers, and it’s still in full working order. There are even more high octane-thrills to be found on The Big One – at 65m-tall, it is the UK’s highest rollercoaster, soaring over the coast and then plummeting down at 85mph. Raining outside? Check out the Valhalla, an indoor rollercoaster with a touch of the ghost train about it, as it swings around murky corridors. And if you’re really feeling brave, have a go on The Infusion, the UK’s only rollercoaster that’s suspended over water.
There are lots of things to do in this famous seaside town, so why not take a look at our hotels in Blackpool.