Blackpool is England’s mecca of entertainment and has attained this position through sheer size, extravagance and wholehearted devotion to the big business of holiday-making. The world famous Blackpool Tower, Blackpool illuminations and Golden Mile beach are the resort’s star attractions, but they merely spearhead the endless amusements Blackpool has to offer.
Over the last two centuries Blackpool has exploded from a small fishing village with a population of less than 1,000, to become one of the largest, most spectacular holiday centres in Europe with well over 150,000 resident inhabitants.
It was the advent of the railway that opened up to Lancastrians and Yorkshiremen the possibility of going away for holidays. With this new-found mobility people flocked to the coast; Blackpool was quick to see the opportunities which existed and the town plunged into the industry of entertainment. Now. during the summer months, approximately eight million people flock to Blackpool and for at least half of them it is their annual holiday resort.
It is difficult to imagine the sheer size of a resort which has to cater for such numbers. From the town itself seven miles of sandy beaches stretch southwards, backed by entertainments of every kind. During September and October five miles of the promenade are ablaze at night with dazzling coloured lights. These are Blackpool’s famous illuminations. Switch on is 4th September this year (2015) and runs for an extra week.
As well as the promenade display, gigantic animated tableaux are mounted on the cliffs and many of the electric tramcars are transformed into creations such as a Moon Rocket, Mississippi Show-boat and the Santa Fe Express. New additions are being made all the time to incorporate current popular fictional characters.
Standing 518 feet high is the town’s landmark, Blackpool Tower. It is a fairytale showpiece which was built in imitation of the Parisian Eiffel Tower. Weather permitting, a lift takes people up to the top for the tremendous views along the coast and with a glass floor in part of the observation room a test of terror.
At the base of the Tower is a family entertainment complex housing the Ballroom, Undersea World, Dome of Discovery and the world famous Tower Circus.
The Golden Mile
As Blackpool promenade is known has three piers, each with a sun-deck and a theatre, the Winter Gardens and Opera House, the Golden Mile and the famous tramway which hase been totally upgraded over its entire length, over the past two years and now operate with brand new state of the art trams out of a new depot at St Annes all along Blackpool Promenade through Cleveleys and on to Fleetwood the trams and stops have been designed to allow easy access for disabled passengers as well as the more able bodied. Some of the original trams have been kept for special excursions and events. This is now a stunning transport system covering the northern Fylde coastal towns.
The piers, trams and Winter Gardens are almost all that is left of the Victorian days that established Blackpool’s popularity. The rest of the promenade is crammed with every kind of amusement gimmick and entertainment novelty imaginable. Amongst the entertainment complexes are Coral Island, Wonderful World the Star Entertainment centre, Sandcastles water world and of course the Pleasure Beach theme park and Nickelodeon Land. Tram rides can be taken along the length of the promenade and onwards to Cleveleys and Fleetwood
The Golden Mile from North Pier to South Pier has also been extensively upgraded over the last couple of years and is once again an eye catching facility, opposite Blackpool Tower is the comedians monument the Comedy Carpet which is humorous sayings from famous comedians and shows from the past and present. See if you can spot your favourites, mine is the Bob Monkhouse joke, its there.
Behind the town can be found a more restful aspect to Blackpool’s character – Stanley Park. Around the large boating lake gardens are laid out in Italian style and many rose gardens adorn the park.
Next to Stanley Park is Zoo Park, one of Britain’s newest zoos. Over 500 large and small mammals and birds are kept in thirty two acres of landscaped gardens.
Grundy Art Gallery and Central Library
Situated in the town itself, the gallery houses a permanent collection of paintings by nineteenth and twentieth century artists.
Tower Buildings open Easter to Oct daily and winter weekends only. Refreshments available. Pleasure Beach (Space Tower) open Easter to Oct daily. Zoo Park open all year (except Christmas Day). Parking and refreshments. Grundy Art Gallery open all year (except Sun and Bank Holidays).