Friday, 17 June 2016

Blackpool has got the lot

There’s seaside fun galore for couples and families

Written by Wendy Gomersall
travel-176-2As any Strictly Come Dancing fan knows, the competition really hots up once the show rolls into Blackpool. The competitors look so elegant as they glide around the dance floor of the world-famous, architecturally splendid Tower Ballroom, which dates back to 1894.

So of course it was on my list of must-sees on my recent weekend in the ever-popular seaside resort. The best way to experience this exquisite venue is to enjoy afternoon tea – 0871-222 9929, www.theblackpooltower.com – which costs £50 for two and must be booked in advance. You can also dance to the sounds of the Wurlitzer organ yourself, or just watch other couples having a lovely time.

Blackpool offers plenty of other refreshingly simple, unpretentious fun too. The resort grew in the mid-18th century after it became fashionable to bathe in seawater for good health. Later, a railway made it cheaper and easier for families living in industrialised regions in northern England to head to the seaside, and more attractions arrived in response.

Today, Blackpool is still hugely popular, whether it’s just two of you or you’re in charge of the grandchildren for the weekend. Apart from the magnificent ballroom, Blackpool Tower – which was recently revealed in all its glory after an eight-year restoration – offers the Blackpool Tower Eye and 4D cinema for amazing views from the top, as well as shows in the Circus and the Dungeon. Jungle Jim’s Children’s Indoor Play is an adventure playground set within a themed ‘lost city’.

Meanwhile, Blackpool Pleasure Beach, celebrating its 120th anniversary this year, has exciting rides galore, such as steel megacoaster The Big One and the Red Arrows Skyforce ride. I’m not a coaster fan but I loved the Wallace & Gromit ride Thrill-O-Matic and the old-fashioned Ghost Train.

Entrance costs £30 for adults and £27 for juniors on the gate, but book online in advance – 0871-222 9090, www.blackpoolpleasurebeach.com – and prices drop to £21 and £19, respectively.

Some attractions cost extra, including Adventure Golf, the Hot Ice Show and Craig Christian’s intriguing Evolution of Magic show. And if the children have any energy left, there’s still Sea Life, Madame Tussauds and Blackpool Zoo. Do visit the gorgeous Winter Gardens, with its splendid architecture and range of show venues.

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The place to stay is the Big Blue – 0871-222 4000, www.bigbluehotel.com – a comfortable, modern hotel close to Blackpool Pleasure Beach and a short tram ride from The Tower. It has great family rooms with a separate area and bunk beds for children, from £105 per night; double from £80 per night. The full English breakfast buffet is fantastic, and will set you up for a day of fun.

More information at 01253-478222, www.visitblackpool.com

Contact Wendy at wendy.gomersall@lady.co.uk
Prices are correct at time of going to press.


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