Blackpool

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Blackpool Tower and the 'Golden Mile'.

Blackpool is a seaside resort town in the North West of England and Britain's favourite beach resort.

Understand[edit]

Over 12 million people visit Blackpool each year, making it Britain's number one holiday resort. Many come for the two largest attractions, Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Blackpool Tower, although the town features many other smaller attractions including three piers, numerous amusement arcades, seven miles of beaches and pedestrian promenade, and a vibrant nightlife.

Following a heyday in the first half of the twentieth century as the working classes gained freedom and disposable income, Blackpool has struggled to find a new role with the advent of package holidays to the Mediterranean. It has long used the Blackpool Illuminations light show to extend its tourist season into the autumn months, and has recently been campaigning the government to allow the redevelopment of its central seafront Golden Mile with Las Vegas-style casino hotels in an attempt to become a gambling haven.

While many tourists go to Blackpool nowadays for party weekends (often hen or stag groups), an older clientele enjoys the nostalgia of the town. The Tower Ballroom remains a global mecca for ballroom dancing and many remember Reginald Dixon playing his Wurlitzer organ with songs such as "Oh I do like to be beside the seaside" - synonymous with the town.

Get in[edit]

Blackpool Tower

By car[edit]

Blackpool can be reached via the M55 from the M6, the UK's main motorway through the North West of England. Blackpool has many car parks available to visitors, several of which are very close the town's main attractions and promenade.

By bus[edit]

Local bus services run from Preston, Lancaster, Nelson, Southport and Fleetwood. Long distance bus services, and charters, run from virtually everywhere in Great Britain.

By train[edit]

The trains run to Blackpool North and Blackpool South stations from Preston, Nelson and many other destinations. Blackpool North is the main station but for a day trip to the Pleasure Beach, change at Kirkham and take the Blackpool South line; the last station before Blackpool South is the Pleasure Beach Blackpool. Blackpool north is served by frequent trains from York, Manchester Victoria and other cities in the north of England. Interchange at Preston is provided for services to Scotland and Southern England (Birmingham, London)

By plane[edit]

Blackpool has its own airport with scheduled flights to/from Alicante, Belfast, Dublin, Faro, Geneva, Girona, Ibiza, Isle of Man, Mahon, Malaga, Murcia, Mallorca, and Tenerife.

Blackpool Airport is one of the fastest growing in the UK and is served by budget airline Jet2, whilst an increasing number of charter flights also operate from there.

Manchester Airport is also easily accessible from Blackpool and offers a greater selection of destinations.

A classic Blackpool tram.

By boat[edit]

The closest ferries from Blackpool are Fleetwood to Larne and Heysham (near Morecambe) to Douglas (Isle of Man) and Belfast, operating in Summer only.

Get around[edit]

By tram[edit]

The Blackpool Tramway has antique electric trams on its original 1885 tram system which runs along the complete length of the sea front from Starr Gate near Blackpool Airport to Fleetwood at the northern end of the Fylde coast.

By bus[edit]

The town is well served by buses; the main operators within the town are Blackpool Transport and Stagecoach. Note that Blackpool Transport altered or renumbered most of its routes in July 2010. Until the change, every route had distinctive colour-coded buses but this system has been abandoned and the buses are now deployed on any route. Both operators sell day tickets but with very few exceptions these are only accepted on their own buses.

By horse[edit]

Horse-drawn "landaus" offer an old-fashioned alternative to modern taxis for journeys along the seafront.

On foot[edit]

The majority of Blackpool's attractions are located on the promenade and, as a result, most are easily accessible on foot.

See[edit]

"Bid me discourse, I will enchant thine ear"

The inscription above the stage in Blackpool Tower's ballroom is from the poem Venus and Adonis by William Shakespeare.

Blackpool Tower Ballroom, the Sistine Chapel of North West England.
  • Blackpool Tower. A Victorian alike of the Eiffel Tower, the view from the top is worth seeing, but gets busy at the peak of the tourist season. Blackpool Tower is one of the famous towers in the UK. Once inside, you climb through seven levels of attractions, including a circus, children's indoor adventure play area and ballroom (for you film buffs, this is the lavish ballroom seen in the 1996 Japanese film Shall We Dance?), before going up in a glass elevator to the observation decks.
  • The Piers. Blackpool is the only British resort with three piers. All are free to visit. North pier is relaxed and has a sun trap lounge area at the end. Central Pier has arcades, rides and theatres, and South Pier also hosts arcades, rides and family bars. North Pier is the oldest and largest of the three coastal piers in Blackpool.
  • Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Is perhaps Britain's largest amusement park, with eleven roller-coasters including the original Roller Coaster which gave the rides their name. This has been eclipsed by more modern coasters, including Britain's tallest roller coaster ride the "Pepsi Max Big One" (more commonly known simply as "The Big One") which is over 200 feet high. Other roller coasters include the Irn Bru Revolution and Big Dipper. Rides require 2-9 £1 tickets, or a £30 all day wristband, which is a few pounds cheaper when bought online. A wristband is needed for entry into the park. In addition to the all day ticket there is a spectator pass which allows entry into the park and access to a small number of attractions. Tickets can then be used for other rides. As well as the adult rides, children's rides area, and sidestalls, the park also has some excellent architecture to see. The park began life as a funfair on the sands in the Victorian era, and by the 1930s some permanent buildings arrived in the style of the day - Art Deco. In particular don't miss the station of the Roller Coaster ride, and the White Tower at the south entrance to the park, both of which have "streamline moderne" influences just like some of the classic trams which operate on the seafront nearby.
Donkeys on the beach.

Do[edit]

  • The Winter Gardens, Blackpool. Many shows are happening at the Winter Gardens this year including Russell Brand and Blackpool Fringe
  • Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Fun fair and roller coaster rides. New for 2011 Nickelodeonland themed on the TV Channels favourite characters
  • The Grand Theatre. A 1100-seat theatre designed by Frank Matcham in 1894.
  • Go to watch the town's long suffering football team Blackpool FC play at Bloomfield Road and witness their recent revival!
  • Take a donkey ride on the sands.
  • What's on in Blackpool. Month by month view Blackpool Events
  • Blackpool Illuminations. Stretching for 6 miles along the Blackpool Promenade 'The Lights', as they're fondly called, consist of spectacular displays using over one million light bulbs. A vast collection of characters and themes are displayed, along with lasers, and searchlights. Free.
  • Blackpool Shows. Details of shows in Blackpool for Opera House, Legends - Central Pier and Tower, North Pier, Pleasure Beach and Blackpool Tower
  • The Blackpool Tower DungeonBank Hey Street,Blackpool, FY1 5BJ +44 1253 622 242. 10:00-18:00. Opened 1st September 2011. New attraction with 10 actor-led shows, that take visitors into the dark chapters of 1000 years of Blackpool and Lancashire history. Scary, entertaining and educational.

Buy[edit]

A man sells Blackpool rock from his stand in 1959. Prices may no longer be accurate.

No trip to the seaside capital would be complete without purchasing a stick of Blackpool rock (hard candy) with your name written right the way through it and a mandatory "Kiss Me Quick" hat on Blackpool's Golden Mile.

Shopping[edit]

Beyond these specialities, Blackpool plays host to most other shops that you'd expect to find on a British high street including a Marks & Spencer department store as well as the Houndshill Shopping Centre, home to a Debenhams department store, Boots the Chemist, Next (clothing) and other chain stores.

Eat[edit]

Fish and Chips. "Chippies" are everywhere in Blackpool, however, the quality varies enormously. The promenade hosts many take away outlets and restaurants serving an assortment of fast foods and snacks, with fish and chips alongside them.

  • Harry Ramsden's60-63 The Promenade, FY1 4QU +44 1253 294386. 11:30-21:00 Sunday to Thursday. 22:00 close Friday and Saturday. Part of the "world famous" Harry Ramsden's chain located on the promenade. Ideally located near many of Blackpool's attractions and the sea front. Offers eat-in and take away services.
  • Mandarin27 Clifton Street, Blackpool, FY1 1JD +44 1253 622687. Award winning Cantonese restaurant established over 46 years ago. A regular recommendation from hotel owners and taxi drivers.
  • West Coast Rock Cafe5-7 Abingdon St, FY1 1DG (Directly opposite the Winter Gardens),  +44 1253 751283. A legendary Blackpool restaurant loved by the locals and visited by the stars! Winner of Restaurant of the Year 2009 & 2011. Great 100% Burgers, the best Steaks in town, succulent Barbecued Ribs, Chicken, Pizza, Pasta and loads more. Only place to go for Tex-Mex food for over 20 years.

Drink[edit]

Blackpool's night life is varied and numerous. There are clubs and pubs to suit everybody who comes to Blackpool looking for an evening out, With so much going on in Blackpool it is difficult to decide where to go.

  • The famous Funny Girls transvestite show bar.
  • Blue Room, opposite Syndicate nightclub.
  • The Last Orders pub, in North Shore. Drink with the locals.
  • Sanuk. Another popular nightclub with young people, on the front near North Pier
  • Tache. Blackpool's alternative/rock night club. Formerly behind Talbot Road Bus Station, the club moved to a new venue on Corporation Street.
  • The AuctioneerLytham Road South Shore. A Wetherspoons favourite with its good value drinks and food
  • Duple Club96 Bond Street South Shore Blackpool +44 1253 341647. The Duple CIU club with its traditional Blackpool bingo and nightly entertainment welcomes all guests to visit whilst in Blackpool. Good value drinks and a Friendly including families with children welcome.
  • The Dutton ArmsCorner of Wateroo Road and the Promenade. The Dutton Arms is The Party Pub of South Shore Blackpool. Popular DJ's at the weekend and late closing. Unfortunately a large fire destroyed most of the building on 25 January 2010 but this family friendly pub-restaurant which offers football TV and a beer-patio facing the sea was refurbished that July and is still running successfully.
  • The Harold46 Bond Street, South Shore, Blackpool (From the promenade turn into Rawcliffe St (between Colonial & Queens Hotel) and we are directly infront of you, on the corner of Bond St & Rawcliffe St; close to both The Pleasure Beach & Blackpool FC Football Club.),  +44 1253 408807. 10AM - midnight/01AM. The Harold is South Shores premier venue for both locals and visitors to Blackpool. A fantastic line up of entertainment both day and night, with live bands on Saturday nights (limited during winter months Nov-Feb, please check details). No need for drinks promotions, cheap drinks all day/everyday and you don't need to be a local - all customers are charged the same price.
  • The Albert and the LionCorner of Adelaide Street West and the Promenade. The JD Wetherspoons latest addition to Blackpool opened on 2nd July 2010 and can be found almost under the Blackpool Tower at the junction of The Promenade and Adelaide Street West. As always a Blackpool favourite with its competitively priced food and drinks
  • Rose & Crown22 Corporation Street, FY1 1EJ (2 minutes from the Grand Theatre, 3 minutes from the Winter Gardens),  +44 1253 299821. Continental style eating and drinking in the centre of Blackpool. This locally owned pub has the largest outdoor seating area in the town centre - and it's heated! Steaks, Burgers, Pasta, Toasties. Paninins, Curry, Fish, Pies. Plus of course a great Sunday Lunch!
  • Pump and Truncheon13 Bonny Street, FY1 5AR (Located just behind the Golden Mile (behind Tussauds) next to the Law courts). One of the most famous old pubs in town. The only building on this part of the Golden Mile that survived the great fire of Blackpool. Great real ales and traditionally cooked food. Wooden and stone floors and a roaring fire complement the old style feel of this famous little pub!
  • The Sun Inn88 Bolton Street, FY1 6AA (Less than 100 yards from the Promenade, right next to South Shore Yates). An independent local family owned Pub that isn't tied to anyone. With Real Ales, Big Screen Sport TV and famous Pie and Peas.

Stay safe[edit]

Visits to Blackpool are generally incident-free. During Friday and Saturday nights, the busiest areas of the town centre such as Talbot Square and Queen Street can become very crowded and somewhat rowdy, but there is a large and generally good-natured police presence. The sea front and piers are usually crowded so are generally safe.

You should take care in the Central Drive area at night, and avoid back-alleys anywhere in the town centre after dark. In particular there are a small number of street prostitutes operating in these areas after 11PM, who approach single males who are under the influence of alcohol. Do not accept any offers of sex; you will be risking being mugged by the prostitute and/or a male accomplice.

Gay male visitors should avoid the Middle Walk cruising area; a gay man was recently murdered here and there have been several violent homophobic attacks. Lighting in this area has been improved and there are regular police patrols. Note that the "gay quarter" around Talbot Road, Dickson Road and Queen Street is as safe as the rest of the town centre. It is now being heavily monitored with CCTV.

Sleep[edit]

It used to be said that Blackpool had a million tourist beds. These were mostly in small guest houses, and these have changed as customer expectations have increased - most have renovated simple bedrooms into en suite rooms, typically turning three rooms into two bedrooms with en suite bathrooms. Blackpool still enjoys a huge number of beds, and this keeps the market competitive and the prices low.

At the higher end of things, Blackpool has a number of larger hotels, including the Imperial Hotel which is used by politicians during political party conferences which take place at the Winter Gardens.

Self Catering[edit]

Budget[edit]

  • The Sandpiper Bed and Breakfast20 Withnell Road +44 1253 341910. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 10AM. The Sandpiper Bed and Breakfast is situated in Blackpool's South Shore, just a few hundred yards from the Promenade and Beach. Within an easy two minutes walk you can reach Blackpool's most popular attractions including the Pleasure Beach, Sandcastle Waterworld, the South Pier and G Casino. Offers good value accommodation for families and couples with clean, comfortable rooms and a cooked breakfast or a room only option. Double rooms from £30.
  • The Chesterfield Hotel'5 Wellington Road +44 1253 345979. Friendly hotel just off The Central Promenade midway between Blackpool Tower and Blackpool Pleasure Beach, managed and owned by brother and sister Julie and Steve Clarke since 1990. 9 rooms in total - 2 of them are Family Rooms (up to 4 people) and the rest are doubles, all with toilet and shower facilities, freshly laundered bed-linen, colour TV and tea/coffee making facilities with unlimited free tea and coffee available every day. English Breakfast every morning.You can buy full three-meals course as well - it is £11.95 per adult or £5.95 per child. There is a bar lounge area in the basement which is open every night from 8PM till around midnight.with happy hour from 8PM-9PM when most drinks are £1.80 a pint/35 ml spirit! Pets are welcome free of charge. Rooms are from £30.
  • The New Lyngarth55-57 Banks Street +44 1253 622814. Check-in: 13.30, check-out: 10.30. Recently refurbished situated in the gay quarter from £15.00.
  • Norbreck Castle Hotel. Queen's Promenade, Blackpool. A 480 Bedroom Hotel, set in a prime location on the Promenade, offering breathtaking views of the Irish Sea. Rooms from £25 a night.
  • Grand Metropole Blackpool Hotel146-148 Promenade Blackpool, Lancashire.
  • The Savoy Hotel Promenade, Blackpool North Shore, near Blackpool's many attractions.
  • Britannia Hotels. Promenade, Blackpool 3 hotels in Blackpool. Rooms from £30 a night. Near Pleasure Beach.
  • Robin Hood Hotel, at the St. Stephen's Ave. tram stop, one block north. 10 rooms, Single £27, double £54. Rooms 1, 5, and 9 have sea views, relaxing lounge, non-smoking.
  • The Address Blackpool +44 1253 624 238. Set in the Heart of Blackpool Close to All Attractions Including the Pleasure Beach and the Opera House, [1] Single £25, double £50. Ground Floor Rooms with disabled access and free parking. Relaxing lounge with licensed bar, non-smoking.
  • Moorbank House +44 1253 344385. Single from £30, double from £40. Ground Floor rooms and free parking, relaxing lounge with licensed bar, non-smoking.
  • Heywood House30 Rawcliffe Street +44 1253 344413. Blackpool South Shore, Relaxing lounge with pool table, non-smoking throughout.

Mid-range[edit]

  • Norbreck Castle Hotel. Address: Promenade. Facilities include a swimming pool and gym. Hotel rooms from £17.50pppn.

Splurge[edit]

  • Big Blue Hotel +44 1253 400045. Ocean Boulevard, Pleasure Beach, . Offers 4 star contemporary accommodation right next to the Pleasure Beach.

Go next[edit]

  • Take a tram north to Fleetwood, formerly one of the UK's major fishing ports. Visit its famous market and go to the outlet mall called "Freeport". If peacefulness is what is required then catch a bus or train to "Lytham", "Ansdell","Fairhaven" or "St Annes-on-sea". Under the resort name of "Lytham St Annes", these charming family seaside towns offer something different and traditional to Blackpool.
  • Liverpool is easily accessible from Blackpool and is currently undergoing something of a renaissance. The port city is now home to a thriving shopping and cultural culture, building on its history and legacy in popular culture.
  • Manchester can also be easily reached from Blackpool: direct trains run regularly from Blackpool North to the city centre. This 'Cottonopolis' has now hung up its clogs and welcomed in a world of culture, business, music, art, shopping and fine dining.
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