Blackpool is a bit different.
Sure, other towns on the British coastline have their own character and charm. But do they have iconic theme parks or the 65-metre tall Big One rollercoaster imposing itself above a renowned Blue Flag Beach? Do they have beautiful Victorian-era wooden piers, or their own version of the Eiffel Tower? Blackpool, in 2016, has lots going for it.
I’ve been to Hastings, Brighton, Newquay, Southport and Torquay. Don’t get me wrong, they have their own personalities, attractions and are home to wonderful people.
But Blackpool, above them all, has a special place in my heart.
Right now, my stomach’s rumbling just thinking about tucking into traditional fish and chips on the Promenade and washing it down with a fizzy can of Dandelion & Burdock (and not just because it’s nearly lunch time). If you’ve visited, either recently or a while ago, perhaps even during your childhood, you’ll agree with me on how special the place is to families; from young children to grandparents and everybody in between.
It’s fair to say I like Blackpool, if you hadn’t guessed. That’s not to say the town isn’t without its doubters. But to me, being from North West England, the resort has provided my family with many long-standing memories.
Some say it’s the British Vegas. But that’s not a fair comparison. Of course, you’ll be aware that there’s the odd stag or hen do. But looking beyond the soon-to-be married enjoying one last weekend of freedom, Blackpool is the perfect place to take the kids for a day, weekend or longer.
It won’t cost you a fortune.
Flying to foreign destinations is expensive and costs can creep up when you arrive; just think about the surprise fares that many European hotels bestow upon you when you check in.
Accommodation is good value and so are days out: check out the Blackpool Resort Pass, which gives you access to attractions of your choosing over a seven-day period. It means you can visit the likes of SEA LIFE Blackpool, where, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can swim underwater with the marine life. There’s also Madame Tussauds, where Beliebers can meet lifelike versions of Justin Bieber, and parents can brush shoulders with Dame Helen Mirren or The Queen.
A short journey away, deep down under the ground below The Blackpool Tower, there’s The Blackpool Tower Dungeon where you’ll hear murky tales of Lancashire’s spooky past.
The Blackpool Resort Pass also gives you the option for extras such as cheaper parking, so it’s well worth looking at to try to make the most of these deals and make your money go further.
Kids will always be kids, meaning you never know when they’ll want another go on a ride or have their heart set on winning a Minion from the amusements.
It’s great for all ages.
The children will love making a splash at Sandcastle Waterpark, whereas the grandparents might not be too keen. There is, however, lots for grandma and grandad to do while the kids ride the twisting and turning slides, and I don’t mean riding the rollercoasters at Pleasure Beach; I’m thinking something a little less strenuous.
Blackpool Tramway, for instance, is one of the many jewels in the resort’s crown. Ever since it opened in 1885, trams have journeyed between Starr Gate and Fleetwood Ferry. There are now modern trams which serve about 4.5 million a year, but there’s also the heritage service which runs on bank holidays and weekends, through the summer and during Illuminations season too.
Everyone can get involved, including dogs of course. Trust me, rain or shine, they adore the freedom of the long sandy beach. Something else you won’t be able to enjoy if you fly abroad.
There are things to do all year.
Summer’s great. The beach is often full of families and dads getting buried by their kids in the sand. If it’s windy, hey presto! Just fly a kite. The donkeys are as cute as ever, and still do pleasure rides along the soft sands. Fancy an ice cream? You won’t be short on choice in Blackpool.
The resort doesn’t close down during Autumn and Winter. Far from it. That’s when, I believe, Blackpool is at its best. September sees the famous Illuminations switch-on, with the lengthy Illuminations season spanning most of winter and throwing invigorating light on the resort during the darker months.
There’s also the small matter of the World Fireworks Championships which are returning for again for 2016. They take place on four separate Friday evenings during September, when various countries will create a technicolour spectacle overhead that you can see from miles around.
These are my ideas, but you’ll certainly have no problem finding your own fun. For more inspiration, head to the VisitBlackpool website.
Guest Post by Andrew Williams