Newest Review: ... a year, either to go to the pleasure beach for the day or to spend a night at the Big Blue Hotel (which is awesome & which I have re... more
Oh I do like to be beside the seaside!
Blackpool in General
Member Name: thebigc1690
Blackpool in General
Advantages: Amazing atmosphere and more fun than you can shake a stick at.
Disadvantages: A bit grubby at parts but what the heck!
I now have a 5 year old son of my own who has already visited Blackpool on several occasions and is well and truly hooked on the place just as I was and just the other week I took my 11 month old daughter there, too young to understand it all now of course but she too will soon be a Blackpool addict I am sure.
Ok so what does Blackpool have that makes people want to come back again and again? Well there are many, many things to do in Blackpool including a fantastic zoo, a fairly decent deep sea centre, a DR Who exhibition, dozens of very, very good amusement arcades and much, much more but the main attractions of Blackpool are the massive theme park (the pleasure beach), the three giant piers crammed with things to do and probably the main attraction for most the world famous Blackpool Tower.
Different people will of course find different things that they enjoy about Blackpool and some people might go for the more relaxed closed season when they can stroll the enormous promenade in the morning have coffee`s in the tower ballroom in the afternoon and take in a show in the winter gardens of an evening but for me it has to be peak season every time.
Now most holiday places tend to have the same peak season but Blackpool`s is a bit different because of it`s annual illuminations (thousands of coloured lights and decorations that stretch the huge promenade and beyond). The illuminations start mid to late august and run until early November and this has now become Blackpool`s peak season and although thousands of people still visit Blackpool for summer vacations the Illumination period is when Blackpool really comes to life.
Now you have to be prepared when you visit Blackpool for the illuminations to face some pretty cold evenings but wrap up well, soak up the sea air and the fantastic atmosphere and have the time of your life. The illuminations really are an attraction for young and old alike and everything in Blackpool just seems a little better during this time, the tower is lit up, some of the trams are decorated with lights, the piers are all ablaze with lights and there is an annual world fireworks competition which now runs in Blackpool during this period also which can be simply breathtaking to watch.
I still get excited when I approach Blackpool and catch my first glimpse of the massive tower on the skyline which has now been joined by the tip of the enormous roller coaster (the Pepsi max big one) these can be seen from afar when you approach Blackpool either by bus, car or train. I don't know if it's the excitement of memories gone by or the anticipation of the fun ahead but something just clicks when the tower comes into sight.
Before I go into what entices me to return to Blackpool year after year I will speak a bit of the other things this great place has to offer. If shopping is your thing then Blackpool will not let you down on that front. Blackpool like any other place has shopping arcades with all the usual favourites but it also has a huge selection of back street stores where many bargains can be found and there is also a market on Thursdays which gives you the opportunity to browse through anything from towels and bedding to classic videos, DVD's and CD`s amongst all other sorts of things.
If like me you are not too big on shopping then perhaps a visit to the zoo which also has a dinosaur safari which at night is ablaze with lights and really is quite a sight. The zoo is great for kids and adults alike if you are into that sort of thing. I personally do not enjoy zoo`s all that much but the dinosaur safari is excellent and my fiancée and my son love the zoo.
Right next to the zoo is Stanley park an amazingly beautiful park that has a secret garden, where colourful floral carpets have been laid across nature's floors, beautiful fountains in Italian gardens, enormous rose gardens, a huge lake, an excellent playground for the kid`s, a sports area where you can try your hand at crazy golf, putting, tennis or bowling, and right at the edge of Stanley park is a place that amazed me as a kid and still get`s me smiling these day`s, the delightful Model Village.
The model village is exactly what it`s name suggests, it is a perfectly laid out village with houses, shops, telephone boxes, parks, cars, van`s and even people but of course they are scaled down to a fraction of the size, it really fires the imagination of all ages.
Another place of interest in Blackpool outside of the main attractions is the winter gardens and opera house. This place has changed dramatically over the years I have been visiting, I remember as a kid when the inside of this famous building was filled with fruit machines, kids rides, a show stage and ice cream and sweet stands. These days it is very upmarket containing designer eateries, galleries and an opera house, a truly interesting place to have a look round especially if like me you remember how it used to be.
Now let's move onto the things that I return to Blackpool to enjoy time after time. The atmosphere for me during illumination time is where it all starts, the beautiful lights, the clickety clack of the trams trundling by, the smells of the burgers being fried on every street corner and the sight of kid`s and adults alike enjoying themselves is enough to make this a special place but there is so much more also.
My favourite attractions are the piers, Tussauds Waxworks, the Pleasure beach and of course the world famous Blackpool tower. These attractions between them offer not hours but day`s of entertainment. Let's start with the piers......
Blackpool`s north pier is the most relaxed of the three piers. It is laid out more for a stroll along, a romantic drink or to take in a show in the theatre that is perched on the end of this pier and has seen performances over the years from Roy chubby Brown, Cannon and Ball, Lilly savage and many, many more famous names. Built in 1862. The North Pier was opened on 21st May 1863 as Blackpool`s first pier and has been extended three times since its original completion.
So called because it sits between the other two piers central pier, it used to house a skating rink amongst other attractions but things have changed a lot since then. In 1973 a huge fire gutted most of central pier and led to a complete refurbishment which included the building of the theatre now known as 'Peggy Sue's Showboat' and the construction of a huge 108ft (32.7m) high Ferris Wheel. This huge structure necessitated £750,000 of strengthening work to the substructure of the pier.
Central pier is very bright and cries out entertainment from beginning to end, it even now features a huge outside TV screen which shows adverts of what is on in Blackpool, clips from shows which have appeared in the theatre on the pier and even live football matches. It really does offer exactly what British seaside holiday`s are all about.
The last pier to be built in Blackpool and the most modern South pier is mainly full of white knuckle rides, kid's rides and a giant amusement arcade. It has a roller coaster right on the end of the pier which gives you the feeling of going over the edge and a huge bungee sling that actually throws you over the edge. Both are great fun but not for the feint hearted. If adrenalin bursting fun is your thing then South pier will be right up your street.
Moving on from the piers one of my favourite places to visit during a trip to Blackpool is Louis Tussauds Waxworks. Another place which has changed dramatically over the years but just keeps getting better and better. The recent waxworks refit has seen the addition of celeb city and rock factory, celeb city is a room fitted out like a casino with a red carpet walkway amongst other thing and is filled with movie stars and other massive celebrities such as posh and becks.
The rock factory is full of pop and rock stars from Elvis Presley and the Beatles to present day stars and is sectioned off into stages with the stars on them as if in live performance.
You can go on stage with the Beatles and sit at the drums or pick up a guitar, an excellent photo opportunity or you can stand side by side with Elvis or Michael Jackson not many can say they have done that.
In another section of the waxworks you can take a walk down Coronation Street to the rovers return and sit on the bench outside with Vera and jack Duckworth as well as see the displays of many of the other famous people to have been in the show. Then there is the regal room, The regal room is of course where you can find the royal family not just the present royal family but all the royals down the years including royals from other countries and even great rulers and dictators stand side by side in here, an impressive sight I can tell you.
I spent an hour in this part of the building reading about people whom I had and had not heard of before and reliving history with them standing right in front of me. This part of the waxworks also includes politicians and the popes from down the years as well as stories of the 1st and 2nd world wars.
There really is something for everyone in the waxworks and dozens of brilliant photo opportunities to be had, you can spend around 2 hours taking in this place so it`s well worth it`s entry fee of £8.95 for an adult or £6.95 for kid`s. There are also offers for families which will save you a few pounds.
THE PLEASURE BEACH
Blackpool pleasure beach has been an institution of fun for people of all ages for many years now; in 1896 W.G Bean bought the 42 acre sight that would become Blackpool pleasure beach. He began to introduce rides to the giant area one by one these rides included the sir Hiram Maxim flying machines which believe it or not actually still stand on the same spot where they were erected all those years ago. Although the famous flying machine is still present to this day the rest of the park has changed almost beyond recognition even in the 30 years I have been going.
There used to be a giant sand filled playing area at the beginning which is now sadly gone (my son would have loved it) and a few of the rides I used to enjoy during my younger years have now also disappeared but in there place has come bigger, faster and much more thrilling rides.
There are loads of white knuckle thrill rides at Blackpool's Pleasure beach but there is also dozens of much more relaxed rides for all the family and plenty of rides for just the kiddies to enjoy.
The new millennium brought with it the biggest single investment of the parks illustrious history as 15 million pounds were spent to bring a new enclosed water coaster named Valhalla to the park. having this awesome ride in the park sort of makes up for the loss of the log flume, as this is a giant indoors log flume with outstanding special effects, it takes you through the ages stone age , ice age, and so on and so forth you at one point drop backwards from a high height then travel through the coldest part of the ride the ice age section straight into another steep drop this time forwards through a real ring of fire which is put out as you arrive by the spray from the boat you are in. I enjoy this ride so much I would never visit Blackpool without riding it be it rain hail or shine it's a must for me!
There are too many great rides to even consider trying to say something about them all so I will wrap up my thoughts on the Pleasure beach by simply telling you that every time I visit Blackpool I buy a wristband for the Pleasure beach which entitles me to ride the rides as often as I want for that whole day and night which at £28 is a bargain. The Pleasure beach opens at ten o'clock during busy season and does not close till 10.30 in the evening although some of the smaller rides will shut around 9. Whilst I have never spent a whole twelve hours in the park I have come very close so you really should leave yourself a whole day to get the best out of the pleasure beach.
As well as the rides there is also a 4d cinema and an ice arena with excellent shows to take in, you should do these on a separate day from the rides to allow you time to fit everything in.
Now onto what for me is the ultimate in British holiday attractions, the world famous Blackpool Tower....
Built in the 1800`s Blackpool tower still stands proud today and has attracted countless visitors through the years since it first opened it`s doors on the 14th of may 1894. It nearly only stood for thirty years as rust threatened to destroy it but thankfully loads of money was spent and the giant structure was saved.
The tower is a true day out, if you take time to do everything the tower has to offer then you will find you can spend from 10 am opening time to 10 pm closing time (peak season) easily in the tower and you will most probably love every minute of it.
On entering the tower you will have your hand stamped with an ultraviolet stamp which then allows you to leave and return to the tower as often as you like during that day which is excellent if you want to quickly do a few things in the tower and then return for the late showing of the circus or to go to the top at night to see the lights.
The first part of the tower you will see after the main entrance is the aquarium, inside there is a large range of fish and various other sea creatures in massive glass tanks. The tanks all have signs on them clearly stating which type of fish or other creature is inside and enough information on them to be interesting without becoming boring.
Moving on from there you will find an amusement area and the main route to all the other attractions and eateries. Upstairs from the aquarium is the Jurassic walk, The Jurassic walk used to be a dinosaur ride but they have taken out the cars that used to take you round the exhibition and now you just walk round the stone walled eerie walkway staring into the eyes of the massive dinosaur models that surround you. The main reason for taking out the cars is that they have added a new feature to the Jurassic area, a 3d cinema at the end which shows a short film about the under water and on land dinosaurs that used to roam our planet. The 3d effects were brilliant and my fiancée, I and my 5 year old son loved it.
On the opposite side of the tower and up a few steps from the Jurassic walk you will find the breathtaking world famous Tower Ballroom. There is always something going on in the ballroom it can be anything from locals using it for ballroom dancing to quite fantastic shows, we were lucky enough to be there once when the Disney master class was on this was a show featuring all the Disney characters completely played out by kids from the age of 8 to 18 it was a show I will never forget (but then the venue itself is unforgettable).
One of my personal favourite parts of the tower is the Charlie Cairoli exhibition, dedicated to Charlie Cairoli the original clown of Blackpool circus. It looks at the part he played in making the circus the massive success it is today and also a look into the life of the man himself. There are many of his personal items on display including some of the outfits he actually wore to do the shows. I personally love looking around this area even though I must have now seen it twenty or thirty times the hairs on the back of my neck still stand as I stare at the amazing suits worn by him and read about the man himself.
Next on to jungle Jims (a giant themed play area for kids). In jungle jims there is a massive climbing structure with tubes to slide and crawl through, bridges to cross, steps to climb and chutes to slide down along with a seated area or a amusement arcade for the adults to relax in whilst the kids run wild. My 5 year old son loved playing in here, apart from the circus it was his favourite part of the tower
Onwards and upwards we come to the lifts for the tower top ride. Two massive glass elevators which sit side by side and are controlled by people who have scripts to stick to on the way up to let you know how high you are and also to try to give you a wee fright or two. Some people may not like the lifts because they do at busy times tend to cram a lot of people into them and it can be a bit uncomfortable but to get to the top you have to put up with it.
The lift operators will let you know when you are half way up the tower and when you reach the height of the Pepsi max rollercoaster (a giant roller coaster at Blackpool's pleasure beach) they will also crack jokes about the state of the tower coming out with things like " ok fingers crossed folks this is the bit the lift got stuck at yesterday" and " the cables are due for replacement on this lift but we are too busy to get round to it, hope it gets us to the top ok".
Once you are at the end of the elevator ride you will step out onto a metal floored platform which is surrounded by windows allowing amazing views over the whole of Blackpool and the Irish Sea. There is also coin operated telescopes which will allow you to look even further as well as narrating what you should be seeing to you.
For the more adventurous this is not the top you can also climb another three levels via an old winding metal staircase onto three further outdoor platforms, these platforms are fenced to around adult waist height and then netted off above that so your not going to fall off!! I love going right to the top but my fiancée won't leave the safety of the indoor level. It did used to be possible to climb one further level only a few people at time could go right into the point but this has long since been stopped.
In the indoor section of the top of the tower a massive piece of the metal flooring has been removed and replaced with a two inch thick piece of laminated glass, known as the walk of faith you will be encouraged to go step on to it and look straight down at the road and cars bellow. The initial step onto the glass turns your stomach it is a very weird experience, it really feels like you are stepping off the edge. You can buy certificates to say you have taken the walk of faith whether you have or not but come on no cheating!!
That leaves the world famous Blackpool circus; set in an amazing arena the circus has entertained children and adults alike for decades.
I can remember coming to the circus as a child and being blown away by its brilliance even then. In those days of course there were performing animals and this was always a great favourite with the kids but where many circuses fell to the way side when the use of animals was banned Blackpool circus just took it in its stride and found new and even better ways of entertaining the young and not so young alike.
The circus is run by mooky the clown who is at constant logger heads with the master of ceremonies (all part of the show of course). The shows change twice a year but this is always the main theme and with hilarious outcome. The way these two fight over who should introduce the next act and who could perform better than the other is an outstanding way to keep the audience very entertained between the actual performances.
They use visual humour which the kids love along with adult innuendos to put a smile on our faces whilst going straight over the kid's heads.
The actual performers come from all over the world; you get everything from the usual trapeze artists to some of the best choreographed original shows I have ever seen. The circus is a two hour long extravaganza which has a 15 minute interval where they do the usual (try to get you to part with some more money for their special merchandise or popcorn and ice cream for the kids. When you consider this fantastic circus is well worthy of the tower admission fee itself and you have already experienced some wonderful times in the tower its not like a few pound for an ice cream and a program is going to spoil your day.
Once all the performers have done their bit they all return to the ring along with mooky and the master of ceremonies for the grand finale. You will be gob smacked as the floor opens up and they flood the ring for the aquatic finale`s. Each and every one I have seen (around 20 or so) have been absolutely fantastic. You can then applaud till your hands hurt and then fight your way through the crowds of people all saying how amazing the circus had just been and make your way back to wherever you are staying to continue discussing and appreciating what you have just watched and the fantastic day you have had in general.
So that`s what the tower has to offer you and it truly is a fabulous day`s entertainment which I have been enjoying for years both man and boy and I fully intend to return again and again. Now I have already crammed in loads of info on Blackpool into this ever growing review and I really could go on and on. There is so much more still to mention such as scenic tram rides out of Blackpool and into places like little Bispham and into Fleetwood where you can visit the excellent Fleetwood market.
Weather permitting the kids can enjoy donkey rides on the beach. There is a massive indoor pool attraction known as the sandcastle which has a huge heated pool with plenty slides and stuff for the adventurous and a relaxing area for the not so.
There is also now a large over 18`s casino on Blackpool promenade so if gambling away your life savings is your thing then you can do so in there. For the stag parties there is an ever growing number of lap dancing and strip bars and for those of you who prefer to be served by the fully clothed there are some fabulous every day pubs and clubs.
All in all I would be astounded if anyone could say they went to Blackpool and found nothing to interest them. Just don't go expecting the cleanest and most up to date place on earth because there are parts of Blackpool that have become a bit grotty, there has also recently entered a new trend in Blackpool of street sellers and game stands set along the prom offering people the chance to blow a few quid trying to win unwinnable prizes but just refuse to be led in by this type of nonsense and look past the somewhat grubby exterior of parts of Blackpool and just open yourself up to the superb attractions and the fantastic atmosphere and you will have the time of your life!
Thank you all for struggling through this mammoth review, I hope it did not become boring and it gave you an insight into all things Blackpool rather than just the famous parts most people already know about. I had never intended the review to be quite this long but when you start writing about something you have a passion for it`s easy to get carried away!
Thanks for reading!
Summary: There`s no where I like better!!
More reviews in the field of Destination National
- Beautiful Scotland!
- My Lancaster
- Keswick in the Lakes
- Isle of Wight, peaceful and calm island
- Just a small comment in the great Scheme of things ....
- Wakefield - the Turd of the North!
- Nothing is certain in London but expense.
- Getting the 'Finger' from Northampton!
- There's no place like home
- BELIEVE IT OR NOT- BUT IT'S TRUE