"This very British seaside destination offers everything from childish fun to serious cultural exploits"
Classic Victorian sites sit side by side with contemporary architecture and innovation in Blackpool thanks to the town's recent face-lift. This very British seaside destination offers everything from childish fun to serious cultural exploits, making it an ideal location for a weekend escape.
Bright and early
Kick-start your weekend with a coffee in St John's Square and take in the iconic Wave sculpture before heading to the famous Tower for the best views of Blackpool and the Golden Mile. Brave the glass floors of the sky walk and experience the all-new 4D cinema, then drop the kids off at Jungle Jim's while you take a turn in the Tower Ballroom, following in the footsteps of Sir Bruce Forsyth and the Strictly Come Dancing contestants. On your way out, don't miss the Comedy Carpet on the new Festival Headland. One of the largest pieces
of public art ever commissioned in the UK, the carpet is a celebration of British comedy where each step reveals more jokes and catchphrases from our nation's comic geniuses. Call it Britain's version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame or join the crowds dubbing it the horizontal Angel of the North. However you describe it, the carpet is well worth a visit.
Fun in the sun
After lunch, hop on one of the snazzy new trams towards the Pleasure Beach, keeping an eye out for the Central and South piers as you go. Once at the south end of the town, there are choices to be made. Will it be the famed Pleasure Beach theme park, where stomach-turning delights await? Here you'll find the brand-new Nickelodeon Land, where the kids will have the chance to meet some of their favourite characters such as SpongeBob SquarePants. Bigger kids won't be disappointed by the rides, either! The Pleasure Beach is also home to classic rides: race on coaster trains from the Grand National's original Art Deco station or climb aboard the Pepsi Max Big One for a ride to remember. Alternatively, head to nearby Sandcastle Waterpark, which has opened two new slides. If plummeting headfirst in complete darkness or loop-de-looping in your swimmers is more your thing, then this is for you. But be warned, it's not for the faint-hearted!
Book an evening meal at the Empress Grill Room in the newly renovated Grade II-listed Winter Gardens. Recently given a new lease of life, the Winter Gardens are also home to the beautiful Floral Hall and the Opera House. Round the evening off with one of their shows or, for a change of scenery, move on to The Grand Theatre, just a short stroll up the road. Before hitting the sack, stop off for a nightcap at The Saddle Inn, the town's oldest pub.
Spend the morning poring over stalls at Abingdon Street Market, where you can indulge in sugary treats from the sweets and fudge stalls. But don't fill up too much because a visit to Yorkshire Fisheries is a must. Take away a portion of paper-wrapped fish and chips from the best chippy in Blackpool and meander down to the sea to munch on your golden hoard.
When you've had your fill, take a stroll along the North Pier and breathe in the salty air. Whether you fancy a turn on the carousel, a face-full of candyfloss or a walk along the 149-year-old decking, the pier is a great place to survey the town. After a leisurely coffee overlooking the water in the Carousel Bar, make your way to the Grundy Art Gallery, a haven of calm amidst the bustle of this lively town, and a must-see for any art lover. For more energetic souls, challenge yourself on the George Bancroft Park's climbing walls with the Tower looming overhead.
After all the excitement, a stroll along the golden beach and a drink at The Shovels pub will help bring you back down to earth. Nobody can say that Blackpool is boring!
Places to stay
The Marina B&B (from £50)
This home from home B&B offers light and airy rooms. Opt for the four-poster bed for a touch of romance. Excellent breakfasts are included
in the very reasonable price.
Fourooms (from £79)
Choose from four beautiful suites in this small and friendly B&B, each representing a different season. Complimentary WiFi, bathrobes, underfloor heating and L'Occitane toiletries are just some of the indulgences offered. A stylish haven in the heart of Blackpool.
Big Blue Hotel (from £89)
Sitting beside the Pleasure Beach and boasting an exclusive guest-only entrance to the park, Big Blue Hotel has the best location in the resort. Sleek rooms are furnished with luxurious fabrics, personal TVs and PlayStation consoles.