Hope you’ve all been enjoying the hot sun and not getting too burnt. I’m very pale so I’ve been sat under the gazebo we’ve put up in my back garden quite a lot, keeping myself in the shade. It is officially summer for me now. I’ve moved out of my university house and now I’m chilling at home, avoiding getting a job. I’ve been saving up so that this summer I’d be able to actually relax for a change rather than panicking about earning money and then not having any time to do stuff. I have no travel plans but if I have enough by the end of summer I’m thinking of booking a short trip to Madrid – I’ll keep you updated as to whether or not that happens. In the meantime, I have lots of blogging to do, I’ve started my TEFL qualification, and I’m properly knuckling down and learning as much Spanish as I can before I start my free elective back at uni in October. I am trying to make a conscious effort to get out of the house and see more of my local area, especially while the sun is out. There are an awful lot of events happening in my home town throughout summer and there are so many places around in Lancashire that are worth the visit so here’s to a summer of local adventures!
First up, since I was born there, Blackpool. Though Blackpool can often get a bad rep, and I’m guilty of saying bad things myself, when the sun is out, Blackpool is such a wonderful, traditional place to visit. It’s the place your grandparents may have taken your parents on holiday back in the day when a beach holiday meant getting on the tram or bus to the closest coast to you. People came from all over to enjoy the amusements on the pier, rides at the Pleasure Beach or simply paddling in the sea water eating ice creams and fish and chips! Even for me, it used to be a tradition that me and my friends would go to the Pleasure Beach every year with a wristband and enjoy every ride possible. Since I went to college that tradition faded away. It’s time to bring back the days out to Blackpool and make the most out of our local seaside towns!
Things to do in Blackpool
Here are just a few of the things that you can do in Blackpool to make your staycation to the coast all that more worthwhile!
It seems that when we think of Blackpool we either think of the Pleasure Beach or the tower (which I mention later) but still to this day they are two of the most popular attractions in the North West. Of course there is everything from the Big One to the older roller coasters like the Grand National. I’ve already said how often I used to go and every time, there would be something different or we’d have a completely different day out! Now there is a new ride called Icon which I’m yet to try, perhaps that’s a plan for this summer! I have to admit, I am very much a thrill seeker and will go on all the rides no matter how high or fast they go, in fact, the faster the better! Still to this day I would say the Valhalla is my favourite. I never liked the dark but since I know exactly what’s happening I got used to it and it just became an adventure. There’s something about being around water which I always love too so being covered in it by the end of the ride is always a perk – although it’s a nightmare if you decide to go on it first. Usually we wait until the very end of the day then queue up at least five times to make the most of it, getting as drenched as possible! Child or not, it’s definitely worth it to visit Nickelodeon Land as there are some great rides to go on there. The Avatar Airbender is great fun, providing you’re not terrified of falling out. I’m not going to deny that we used to repeatedly go on Dora’s World Voyage when I was around 14 years old. It’s just a nice relaxing ride OK.. Yes ok, I was an odd 14yr old.
In heat like this all I want to do is jump in the pool so spending a day in a water park sounds idyllic. I’ve not been in quite a few years but it was always a great day out even if most of it is spent floating around the rapids or bobbing in the wave pool! Top tip: do not, I repeat, DO NOT wear a bikini or tankini. Worst mistake I ever made. I went on the Masterblaster whilst wearing a tankini and as I got to the bottom and the inflatable stopped, my pants fell off. I pulled them up pretty quickly so I always hoped no one saw, likelihood is though that at least the life guard did. I will never know. How embarrassing!
I’ve already said how popular the tower is and I suppose it’s obvious since it is basically a mini Eiffel Tower. Other than it’s height and location, that is Paris, I honestly don’t believe the Eiffel Tower has much more going for it (I haven’t actually been so maybe one day I can be proven wrong). The Blackpool Tower however has an awful lot more to do than just the view at the top! If you’re a fan of Strictly Come Dancing you’ll know there is the traditional ballroom you can visit and do a little jive, or perhaps you’re more of a waltz kind of person? There is Jungle Jims for the kids! Unfortunately if you’re 4ft 9″ or taller you can’t go in, which to me is such a shame because I would absolutely love to go and explore the lost city! The circus has been open to the public since 1894 and you can see the longest running tribute show Legends nowcelebrating 20 years in Blackpool. There is Dino mini golf, and of course the Blackpool Tower Dungeons for all you thrill and horror seekers. Definitely a perfect day out for any weather!
Sea Life Centre
I know there are Sea Life Centres all over the country but this one has always been a huge part of Blackpool. I have many memories of going as a child; seeing the sharks swimming above my head! If you want to, you can swim with the sharks now! There are other experiences you can do whilst there if you fancy something a bit more than simply walking around looking at all the varying types of fish. The Behind the Scenes Tour allows you to visit the working areas to find out more about the sea life and their conservation efforts in Blackpool and across the country. Perfect for anyone who love marine biology!
Fancy meeting some of your favourite celebrities? At Madame Tussauds you can take photos with Olly Murs, Paddy McGuinness, Ed Sheeran, the Queen, and the leading man of Queen himself, Freddie Mercury (I couldn’t believe that he was alive and has been living in Blackpool this whole time)! More excitingly, you can even meet your favourite Marvel superheroes. I’m first in line to meet Thor!
I guess going to the amusements speak for themselves. Endlessly trying and failing to leave with more money that you entered with or collecting as many tickets as possible. There are plenty of places to try turning your 10p into a pound in Blackpool. Coral Island, as seen in the photo above, is pirate themed and you can even go on a ride around the place on your own little flying ship! Many of the other amusements are along the prom and in the piers themselves. Skip the bar hop and head for the coin dozer hop and release your inner big kid self. Who can win the minion plush first? If you ever win a camera or some pound notes then let me know so I still have hope they actually work!
Along the promenade and in front of the tower is the Comedy Carpet, something that has come about in more recent years. It is a celebration of more than 1000 comedians, many who performed in Blackpool in their early years. It is now an events space to put on performances, concerts, hold weddings, and be the starts and finishes to popular running races like the Race For Life. If you’re looking for something a little different and free to do then taking a stroll along the front and having a giggle with views across the sea sounds so peaceful. Or look out for an event that is on!
BEACH BEACH BEACH
I don’t think I need to include the beach as a thing to do. It’s a beach. It is lovely and a lot more care has been given to it in recently years so when the sun is out and you want to imagine you’re in the Mediterranean, go to the Mediterranean. If you want a close by traditional British seaside holiday, Blackpool is perfect. Get some fish and chips, then an ice cream and watch the world go by and seagulls flying around. Be careful they don’t steal your food!
So, we have North Pier, Central Pier and South Pier, each has it’s own attributes. Central Pier is the one you will most often see in photographs as it’s the one with the big wheel and if you can get that sunset shot, it is gorgeous! The South Pier is more commonly known for its rides, cafes and game kiosks while the North Pier is more relaxing with a smaller arcade and stroll down to the theatre where you’ll often see comedy acts performing.
Though Blackpool has it’s official tram system to travel along the front to other towns, there are also the more traditional trams you can go on to experience a part of history. In 1885, Blackpool had the first electric tramway in mainland Britain. The photo above is the Bolton 66 one of Blackpool Heritage’s oldest working trams and the only one from another tram system. Originally made in Bolton in 1901, it was moved to Blackpool after restoration in 1963 as the tramway in Bolton closed down. There are many others including open top trams, or “boats” as they call them, and the Illuminated Feature Cars that come out during the Blackpool Illuminations seasons and are always a favourite.
I’ve often been asked what there is to do at night if you’re not a fan of night clubs and you don’t just want to go to bars, especially during the spring and summer months when the illuminations are not on. Well, my answer would always be there is plenty to do. There are two big theatres showing plays, musicals, concerts, etc. There are the ballrooms, and what’s to stop you going on the beach (unless the tide is in – then please do not go near it at night). Blackpool is known for it’s comedy nights and cabarets and I’m sure you could find one at almost every hotel along the promenade. However, if you fancy a proper night out with some singing and dancing then Viva Blackpool is the perfect place to go. Over summer they have comedy nights, variety shows, The Jersey Beats singing some of your classic Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons songs, Viva Voulez Vous! an Abba night out, and a whole lot more. I got a little sneak peak at their main room and it reminded me a lot of my holidays where the hotel would provide a show a night that is usually something like the entertainment staff lip syncing and dancing to the soundtracks of Grease or Mamma Mia! Though I caught the performers rehearsing and they were not lip syncing! And the seating area is much nicer. Just walking in there felt like I was about to have a great show. Even for locals, it’s a perfect night out – you get to watch a performance whilst having a bar nearby and in a much comfier setting than being sat in rows like at a theatre. You can book a ‘show and dine’ experience and have a pre-show meal at the Vegas restaurant next door too! Sounds like birthday presents done for me, I could name quite a few people who would love a night out like this.
Thank you to Lee and all the staff and performers for letting me have a little snoop around. Break a leg for future shows!
There is plenty to do in Blackpool but if you’re thinking of spending a week or so there you might want to get out and explore the local areas a bit more. I may have been born in Blackpool but I lived in Lytham most of my life (until I moved to Hull for university) so I’m definitely going to tell you to visit the local towns, I’m bias. Throughout summer the events calendar is booked up with Lytham Festival, 40s Weekend, comedy events, live music sessions, craft fairs, races, carnivals, outdoor markets, beach cinemas, and probably a lot more than I haven’t mentioned! So be sure to check out the Lytham St Annes calendars before you come and see if there’s anything that takes your fancy!
That seems like a lot of things you can do but that isn’t even the start of it. Maybe I’ll have to do another post at a later date to include all the other things. For someone who lives so locally, I’m amazed at how much I haven’t seen or done, or at least not done anytime in the past five years. I have a lot of childhood memories but not many from later so I think it’s about time I see more of my local area and make the most of what I have before I’m back at university for another year. The best thing that I love about Blackpool is that you see people from all ages. It is a place for everyone to visit whether old, young, as a family, a couple, single or not. There is something for everyone to do! And luckily for me, it’s right on my doorstep! Who needs to go to Spain when this is just around the corner?! Ok me, I need to go to Spain but that shouldn’t stop me for having a little staycation too.
Until my next post,
See you later!
– KC xx
* This post was sponsored by Viva Blackpool but all photos, thoughts and opinions are my own!