Blackpool

Blackpool Tower and the 'Golden Mile'.

Blackpool is a seaside resort town in the North West of England and Britain's favourite beach resort.

Understand

Over 12 million people visit Blackpool each year, making it Britain's number one holiday resort. Many come for the two largest attractions, Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Blackpool Tower, although the town features many other smaller attractions including three piers, numerous amusement arcades, seven miles of beaches and pedestrian promenade, and a vibrant nightlife.

Following a heyday in the first half of the twentieth century as the working classes gained freedom and disposable income, Blackpool has struggled to find a new role with the advent of package holidays to the Mediterranean. It has long used the Blackpool Illuminations light show to extend its tourist season into the autumn months, and has recently been campaigning the government to allow the redevelopment of its central seafront Golden Mile with Las Vegas-style casino hotels in an attempt to become a gambling haven.

While many tourists go to Blackpool nowadays for party weekends (often hen or stag groups), an older clientele enjoys the nostalgia of the town. The Tower Ballroom remains a global mecca for ballroom dancing and many remember Reginald Dixon playing his Wurlitzer organ with songs such as "Oh I do like to be beside the seaside" - synonymous with the town.

Get in

Blackpool Tower

By car

Blackpool can be reached via the M55 from the M6, the UK's main motorway through the North West of England. Blackpool has many car parks available to visitors, several of which are very close the town's main attractions and promenade.

By bus

Local bus services run from Preston, Lancaster, Nelson, Southport and Fleetwood. Long distance bus services, and charters, run from virtually everywhere in Great Britain.

By train

The trains run to Blackpool North and Blackpool South stations from Preston, Nelson and many other destinations. Blackpool North is the main station but for a day trip to the Pleasure Beach, change at Kirkham and take the Blackpool South line; the last station before Blackpool South is the Pleasure Beach Blackpool. Blackpool north is served by frequent trains from York, Manchester Victoria and other cities in the north of England. Interchange at Preston is provided for services to Scotland and Southern England (Birmingham, London)

By plane

Blackpool has its own airport with scheduled flights to/from Alicante, Belfast, Dublin, Faro, Geneva, Girona, Ibiza, Isle of Man, Mahon, Malaga, Murcia, Mallorca, and Tenerife.

Blackpool Airport is one of the fastest growing in the UK and is served by budget airline Jet2, whilst an increasing number of charter flights also operate from there.

Manchester Airport is also easily accessible from Blackpool and offers a greater selection of destinations.

A classic Blackpool tram.

By boat

The closest ferries from Blackpool are Fleetwood to Larne and Heysham (near Morecambe) to Douglas (Isle of Man) and Belfast, operating in Summer only.

Get around

By tram

The Blackpool Tramway has antique electric trams on its original 1885 tram system which runs along the complete length of the sea front from Starr Gate near Blackpool Airport to Fleetwood at the northern end of the Fylde coast.

If arriving by train, a "Plusbus" ticket allows travel on trams between Starr Gate and Thornton Gate.

By bus

The town is well served by buses; the main operators within the town are Blackpool Transport and Stagecoach. Note that Blackpool Transport altered or renumbered most of its routes in July 2010. Until the change, every route had distinctive colour-coded buses but this system has been abandoned and the buses are now deployed on any route. Both operators sell day tickets but with very few exceptions these are only accepted on their own buses.

By horse

Horse-drawn "landaus" offer an old-fashioned alternative to modern taxis for journeys along the seafront.

On foot

The majority of Blackpool's attractions are located on the promenade and, as a result, most are easily accessible on foot.

See

"Bid me discourse, I will enchant thine ear"

The inscription above the stage in Blackpool Tower's ballroom is from the poem Venus and Adonis by William Shakespeare.

Blackpool Tower Ballroom, the Sistine Chapel of North West England.
Donkeys on the beach.

Do

Buy

A man sells Blackpool rock from his stand in 1959. Prices may no longer be accurate.

No trip to the seaside capital would be complete without purchasing a stick of Blackpool rock (hard candy) with your name written right the way through it and a mandatory "Kiss Me Quick" hat on Blackpool's Golden Mile.

Shopping

Beyond these specialities, Blackpool plays host to most other shops that you'd expect to find on a British high street including a Marks & Spencer department store as well as the Houndshill Shopping Centre, home to a Debenhams department store, Boots the Chemist, Next (clothing) and other chain stores.

Eat

Fish and Chips. "Chippies" are everywhere in Blackpool, however, the quality varies enormously. The promenade hosts many take away outlets and restaurants serving an assortment of fast foods and snacks, with fish and chips alongside them.

Drink

Blackpool's night life is varied and numerous. There are clubs and pubs to suit everybody who comes to Blackpool looking for an evening out, With so much going on in Blackpool it is difficult to decide where to go.

Stay safe

Visits to Blackpool are generally incident-free. During Friday and Saturday nights, the busiest areas of the town centre such as Talbot Square and Queen Street can become very crowded and somewhat rowdy, but there is a large and generally good-natured police presence. The sea front and piers are usually crowded so are generally safe.

You should take care in the Central Drive area at night, and avoid back-alleys anywhere in the town centre after dark. In particular there are a small number of street prostitutes operating in these areas after 11PM, who approach single males who are under the influence of alcohol. Do not accept any offers of sex; you will be risking being mugged by the prostitute and/or a male accomplice.

Gay male visitors should avoid the Middle Walk cruising area; a gay man was recently murdered here and there have been several violent homophobic attacks. Lighting in this area has been improved and there are regular police patrols. Note that the "gay quarter" around Talbot Road, Dickson Road and Queen Street is as safe as the rest of the town centre. It is now being heavily monitored with CCTV.

Sleep

It used to be said that Blackpool had a million tourist beds. These were mostly in small guest houses, and these have changed as customer expectations have increased - most have renovated simple bedrooms into en suite rooms, typically turning three rooms into two bedrooms with en suite bathrooms. Blackpool still enjoys a huge number of beds, and this keeps the market competitive and the prices low.

At the higher end of things, Blackpool has a number of larger hotels, including the Imperial Hotel which is used by politicians during political party conferences which take place at the Winter Gardens.

Self Catering

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Go next


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Wednesday, December 09, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.