Blackpool is a seaside resort on the Irish Sea coast of England. It's known for Blackpool Pleasure Beach, an old-school amusement park with vintage wooden roller coasters. Built in 1894, the landmark Blackpool Tower houses a circus, a glass viewing platform and the Tower Ballroom, where dancers twirl to the music of a Wurlitzer organ. Blackpool Illuminations is an annual light show along the Promenade. If you happen to be in Blackpool for less than a day, here are the main things to do:
Take the Tram
I think this is the friendliest tram ride I have ever had; people smiled and nodded at each other – quite a (welcome) shock to a Londoner! There was a temporary pause when some men tried to jump onto the tram for fun – I don’t think I would look forward to spending my free time like this but each to their own, I guess. To be clear, when I say ‘take the tram’, I don’t mean try to freeride.
Walk on the Promenade
You hear waves lapping at the shore; neon lights flash alerting you to the many games arcades around you; the smell of doughnuts wafts through the air; occasionally, Michael Jackson songs blare out of a speaker. If you’ve ever wanted to know what it feels like to be an ant looking up at a giant blade of grass here’s your chance: there are three thirty-metre high blades of grass which move in the wind. Blackpool Tower also looms high above you. At the base of Blackpool Tower is the Comedy Carpet which innovatively makes use of public space by displaying famous catchphrases and jokes.
Have some Mushy Peas
Harry Ramsden’s fish and chips is excellent; the fish is perfectly cooked and the batter is golden and crispy. There are free refills for chips but the portion is so generous I am not sure how many take up this offer! (If the owner sees this, I wouldn’t say no to a free fish and chips when I’m next in Blackpool… haddock, please.) This was my first time trying mushy peas. Unfortunately, I wasn’t a fan, although I did provide my friend with the extremely insightful comment that they “taste like peas, but mushy”. If requested, I am sure I could oblige with other similarly helpful reviews such as “taste like chips that have been made with sweet potato” – I haven’t actually said this, don’t worry. Make sure you look at the plate – it’s in the form of a newspaper with articles relating to the restaurant.
Look at the Illuminations
Blackpool Illuminations is a lights festival and is between late August/early September and November. The Illuminations stretch out into the distance and there are a huge variety ranging from spacemen who looked lonely and seemed to have their arms reaching out for a hug but were doomed to loneliness as they were all facing away from each other (an apt illustration of social media and its impact on the world nowadays, perhaps?), to slightly menacing mermaids who clearly had not understood the concept of restraint when using eyeshadow.
Walking past the tableaus was a walk back into my childhood. There was an animated tableau of Little Miss Muffett being frightened by a spider (I still relate to this) followed by Hickory Dickory Dock, and Alice in Wonderland made way for Noddy and Big Ears. It may not have been early in the morning but ‘Postman Pat and his black and white cat’ were out delivering the mail and I finally managed to get a picture with the most famous postman of all time.
Catch up on an episode of Sooty
Blackpool is the home of this classic television programme: its creator Harry Corbett bought the puppet whilst on holiday there, and having watched it for the first time, I would recommend it for the adorable puppets and puns.
Enter the West Rock Café (and never leave)
What better way to shake off journey (or any) blues than with a milkshake? These milkshakes are made out of whatever chocolate or candy you select and embellished with toppings of your choice. It’s like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, but better because everything is in the form of a milkshake (Can you tell I’m a huge fan of ice cream?).
Wear Woolly hats
It’s cold. Woolly hats are cosy.