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Blackpool, Blackpool, Blackpool! What can I say about Blackpool!? A place like no other, what it lacks in class is completely offset by an abundance of weird and wonderful things to do. From going to the top of the iconic tower and braving the “Blackpool eye” glass floor, taking a horse and carriage ride down the promenade, sampling the finest/greasiest doughnuts known to man, risking it all on the 2p machines in the arcades, to soiling your under crackers on the big one. Blackpool’s got it all!! Here’s everything you need to know for when you visit Blackpool…
Living within a half-hour drive of Blackpool since birth has meant trips to visit Blackpool are a regular occurrence, well in summer anyway. Winter days on the promenade are defined by wind-swept grimness with only the most hardcore/skint stall owners being open for business.
For centuries Blackpool has been a firm favorite with holiday makers and tourists, let’s have a look at some of the many things that make it worthwhile to visit Blackpool….
I’d have to say hands down, the most iconic thing about Blackpool has got to be Blackpool tower! Built between 1891 and 1894, Modeled after the Eiffel tower and standing at over 518 feet tall, Blackpool tower, on a clear day can be seen from many miles away. In fact, it can be seen as far away as the Lake District from the north and Wales from the South.
Things to do:
The tower itself is jam packed with things to do, here’s my pick:
The Tower Circus; Since the door opened all the way back in 1894, the tower circus has been offering up to 3 shows a day. The amount of shows on offer can be pretty sporadic, especially in the quieter winter months so be sure check the circus schedule.
The Blackpool Tower Eye; Head up to near the top of the tower and, if you dare step onto the glass floor that over-looks the famous Blackpool promenade from 380ft up. I assure you it’s perfectly safe. Apparently the glass is 5cm thick and can carry the weight of two elephants. I’m not gonna lie, when people start crowding on it, it’s squeeky bum time! You’ll even learn all about the history of the Blackpool tower via a 4D cinema tour on your way up to the top of the tower. Two birds, one stone eh!?
Blackpool tower dungeon: Worth a look if you’re a bit of a history nerd. This walkthrough history lesson combines, theatrical actors, stages and special effects to take you back in time. There’s even a themed ride where you’ll taken back to the Lancaster Gallows. Not spectacular but worth a go.
Although that’s my top pick of things to do at Blackpool tower, there’s certainly more to do. If you wish to do more than one or two of the available activities then it’s probably worth investing in one of the passes which could save you up to 52%. Click here to see available attractions and prices.
Blackpool Pleasure Beach – One of the best theme parks the UK has to offer.
Do you like adrenaline? If yes, then visit Blackpool Pleasure Beach!
I’ve personally been here countless times over the years, after all I do like a good theme park. Although relatively small by todays standards, there’s not a single inch of the available space that has gone to waste. It’s pretty cramped but cramped with quality attractions.
The most notable attraction has to be “The Big One”. Out of all the rollercoasters I’ve ever been on in many different countries, this is the only one that I’ve been on once and to be completely honest I’ll probably never go on again. It’s not that I’m a shitbag, it’s just that first drop is, to be frank… Bloody terrifying!! After all when The Big One was built in 1994 it was the biggest and steepest drop in the world and there’s non of this shoulder harness business. Were talking flimsy little bar that hardly even touches your legs, it’s a definate pin your feet into the corners and hope for the best jobby. Even the long chug to the top is pretty hairy to be fair.
A few tips:
Try and avoid the school holidays; If you must go in the summer holidays get in there early, well, as soon as the gates open and get to the newest rides before it starts getting busy or 45 minute queues are not unheard of.
Buy tickets online; Basically the only way into the theme park is by purchasing a wrist band. You can either do this online or on the gate. The gate price is from £39 or online in advance from £25. It may even help you get straight to the big attractions before everyone else. That’s gotta be another win, win if you ask me.
Going on “The Big One?”; Pack some spare underpants 😉
Take a packed lunch; As with any theme park establishment, once you cross the threshold into there realm, the price of fodder doubles and you’ll have to queue for the priviledge of being ripped off. I might have shorter arms and deeper pockets than most but I think most of you will agree with me on that point.
Make sure it’s open: Blackpool Pleasure Beach is closed between November and March, even early and late in the open season, it’s only open on weekends so be sure to check before you go.
For anyone travelling with offspring, the Blackpool illuminations is a must! Running from end of August to the beginning of November, 10kms long, over 1 million light bulbs, it’s free to see although they do ask for a small donation to help keep them running.
It’s probably an idea to park up and walk the illuminations rather than drive as it may only be 10kms but at 3kms an hour you could be there for a while. Guaranteed as soon as you start you’ll need the toilet… That’s just life!
Walk down the promenade..
Promenades are definitely a British thing. Blackpool Council has over the recent years spend millions of pounds modernising the promenade and cleaning up the beach. It’s now a nice place to spend a few hours. Grab a bag of chips, find a nice spot and watch the world go by…
Also, check out the piers. I know at least one of them has one of those two-seater bungee ball things as well as many other things to check out.
Go to “Greasy Joe’s” and get some doughnuts…
You just can’t beat Greasy Jo’s doughnuts! Situated towards the south beach end of the promenade, this little square shack, for £1 will supply you will enough doughnutty badness to make even Homer Simpson feel sick.
The best thing about it is that, many of the doughnut shacks you’ll find dotted around the sea front make the doughnuts fresh as you order. As a child, and to this very day I’m still facinated by the little machine that blobs a perfect ring of batter on the little conveyor belt every three seconds, through the bath of oily death and within 1 minute you have a bag of hot doughnuts…. Living the dream!
Go for a swim at Sandcastle waterpark.
When you visit Blackpool you should check out the “Sandcastle”. By no means the best water park in the world. Well, it’s indoors and pretty small but with 18 decent water slides and a wave pool its worth a dabble. The largest and do I dare say the best in the UK!?
£16 entry but if you want to go on the 4 best water slides then it’s an extra £6.25. It’s a bit cheeky and I can’t decide whether it’s worth it. I’ll leave that up to you.
Again, Sandcastle is not open in the winter months and sporadic opening times in the summer months. Don’t have a wasted journey, Check opening times and get 10% off when you book 7 days in advance.
Hit the arcades.
Another thing that Blackpool is famous for is its arcades. Walk in with a £10 note, head over to the change booth/machine, insert said £10 note and recieve 500, 2p coins/hours of fun on the 2p machines… Who needs Vegas eh!? The arcades are pretty much all the same dance but I’d have to say Coral Island is the main arcade to be going for.
Stay away from the propper fruit machines and it’s pretty impossible to blow too much cash.
Word of warning: I used to be a fruit machine engineer… Trust me you cannot beat them, well unless you find the ones that I accidently, on purpose, put the highest win percentage chips in ;).
How to get around.
In all fairness, all of the above activities plus many more are all available along the promenade within 2 miles of each other. There’s literally something to do every 50yrds, transportation won’t really be an issue when you visit Blackpool.
On the other hand, this is Britain we’re talking about… It’s gonna rain!! Luckily there’s more buses and trams than you can shake a stick of rock at.
£5 gets you unlimited tram travel for 24 hours.
£11.50 for 3 days.
£15 gets you a full week.
If you’re feeling flush, you can even hire your very own horse drawn carridge thing. To be completely honest I don’t know how much these cost as I didn’t really want to be “that guy who thinks he’s Cinderella” in the pumpkin cart. But if you’re that way inclined and you rent one I’d love to hear about it and add what it cost to this article so feel free to hit that comments box.
Where to stay!?
Right, accommodation! Where do I start? If there’s one thing that you’ll find in abundance when you visit Blackpool, B&B’s are it! As a remnant from the tourist boom of the 80’s, B&B’s are absolutley everywhere. Some are really nice and some are just down right dirty!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly no accommodation snob but some of these are just disgustingly discraseful. B&B’s start from around £15 per night, some for that price will be good and some will be bad so be sure to check plenty of reviews before booking anything.
Another thing to think about is, as I’ve said before Blackpool has had a lot of investment over the years but to be completely honest, that money is only two streets deep, so to speak. What I mean by that is, walk 50 yards inland from the promenade and you’ll see the poverty. Run down/closed down shops are rife, everywhere you look are boarded up windows.
Also, Blackpool has had a hard time with the now illegal, legal highs that were readily available a couple of years back. Don’t get me wrong, every town or city has it’s problems with drugs but couple a sporadic seasonal job market and drugs and you get a lot of social problems.
In brief, you’re best off booking something along the promenade or pay a little more for your B&B.
To bypass all problems and guarantee a nice place to stay try the next town along, Lytham St Annes. Lytham is a fairly affluent town with some trendy bars and restaurants. It’s got it’s own beach front with plenty of hotels to choose from. It could be a good idea to book accommodation in Lytham and commute the few miles to Blackpool each day.
If you’re planning to visit the north of England or even off on your way up to Scotland, then I would say you should definitely visit Blackpool, even if only for a day to play on the 2p machines. You can’t come to the “North” without a few days to visit Blackpool. Blackpool is easily accessible by bus or train with both stations in the town centre, just a 5 minute walk away from the promenade.