Thursday, 10 May 2012

Thursday Tour - today it's Blackpool

If you asked anyone in North West England (and probably other places too) to name a Lancashire town starting with ‘B’, the chances are that most of them would say Blackpool. There are quite a lot of Lancashire towns starting with 'B' but Blackpool is the most famous.

It's the main seaside resort in North West England and has been a ‘seaside playground’ ever since the railway came to the small town in the 1840’s. This provided a cheap and easy way for the workers of Lancashire and Yorkshire to take a break from their long hours in the cotton mills, especially when the mills closed down for a week each summer. By the 1880’s, Blackpool was a booming resort with a promenade, piers, pubs, fish and chip shops, and donkey rides on the beach.

The Tower was built in 1894. Nearly 500 ft high, it was inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and resembles the upper part of that tower. Beneath the tower, there is a leisure complex, with restaurant and entertainment venues, including the famous Tower Ballroom with its huge Wurlitzer Organ.

Blackpool has three piers, each with shops and amusement arcades, and the area between the north and south piers is known as the ‘Golden Mile’, In the 19th century, small-time fairground operators, fortune-tellers, and café-owners set up their businesses along the seafront, and today the area still contains a plethora of amusement arcades, bingo stalls, souvenir shops and the inevitable fish and chip cafes, not forgetting the fortune-tellers either.

At the southern end of the promenade is the Pleasure Beach, a large amusement park dominated by Britain’s largest roller-coaster, known simply as the ‘Big One’.

With the advent of cheap air travel in the 1960’s, Blackpool’s tourism figures declined, but it still remains Britain’s favourite seaside resort. The extra attraction of ‘Blackpool Illuminations’ brings in thousands of visitors at a time when most seaside resorts’ tourist seasons are coming to an end. The Illuminations (or ‘Lights’ as they are often called) consist of a series of lighted displays and tableau, stretching along the entire sea front (about 7 miles), from dusk until midnight, usually from the end of August to the beginning of November. This often results in spectacular traffic snarl-ups on the promenade and on all the roads leading to it too. I’ve been stuck in those snarl-ups several times!


  1. A great overview of an amazing place, Paula! It's quite a few years since we were last there but some people still go down from Scotland for the Septmeber weekend.

  2. Thanks, Rosemary. I've not been for a few years either. I think many Scots also go to Morecambe - I remember what used to be called 'Glasgow Week' there!

  3. I think I saw Blackpool featured on a Gordon Ramsay show. :)

  4. Presumably one of his 'Kitchen Nightmares', Libby?

    Thanks, Claudia!

  5. I am really glad to see more of your home spaces. This was delightful Paula.

  6. Great post--and sounds like a great town. If there are roller coasters, I'll be sure to visit when I come to England!! :) Cheers, Jenn.