Saturday, 25 July 2009

Day 12 - North West England Coast - Blackpool - Get ready to ride..

Blackpool is a city that is regenerating itself after a long period of degeneration -millions of pounds are being spent to improve it, especially the seafront area. But the much-needed investment won't be able to improve the scenery; it is not a naturally pretty place. There are more beautiful places nearby to visit, and I don't think even the mayor of Blackpool would argue with that.

If you want a naturally beautiful experience, the splendour of the Lake District is an hour to the north, and glorious Wales (which is perhaps my favourite region so far) is two hours to the south. If Wales is the buxom farmgirl who feeds you up and keeps you warm at night, then Blackpool is the shortskirted minx making eyes at you across the dance floor.

So although Blackpool is definitely not a place to go for a restorative beach holiday, it doesn't pretend to be a genteel, scenic spot, and it's entirely comfortable in its own loud and brash skin. There are certainly lots of fun things to do, especially for young kids and parents who want to be kids again.

In the centre of Blackpool's tourism is the Blackpool Tower, which is a must. It looks quite like the Eiffel Tower (although all comparisons end there), it stands 150metres high, and a lift takes you to the top for great views in all directions.

Within the Tower's building complex, there is a pretty average aquarium, and an old-style circus with daily shows. Kids will love it...there's a live swingband playing, and it's colourful and vibrant.
Further south, the biggest drawcard is the huge Pleasure Beach, a massive playpark of 150 odd different rides. It attracts millions of visitors ever year, and is the main reason why Blackpool - most folk may be surprised to hear this - is considered one of England's most visited cities.

The park hosts what must be the most thrilling rollercoaster in the UK, getting up to speeds of 120km/h, and dropping you 75m in a near-vertical descent. Nearby is the waterpark, an indoor complex withan array of rides, including one the kids will spend a whole day on: the brilliantly named Master Blaster, the world's biggest water slide.

And there are three long piers - north, central and south - which are worth a walk along. There are the usual curio stalls to have a look at. For more things to do in Blackpool, check out the city's tourism website.

The accommodation options in Blackpool consist of a lot of mediocre-looking 3-star B&Bs, a few chain hotels and not much else. But in amongst all the frogs is a prince. Langtry's B&B is a symbol of the way forward for Blackpool. If the town council did for Blackpool what David Webb and Julie Sayers did for Langtry's, then Blackpool will shed it's tawdry look, and become a very slick seaside city.

David and Julia moved to Blackpool a few years ago, bought a shabby-looking 3-star B&B in a road with lots of other similar B&Bs. They ran it as a 3-star for a few years, but soon realised how much Blackpool needed a world-class offering that would appeal to sophisticated business travellers as well as weekenders.

They've spent plenty of money and time converting to 5-star, and it is obvious. It is practically perfect. Decor is modern and minimalistic, and there are great touches like inspirational books by Edward Monkton next to your bed. Best of all though is the flatscreen TV above the bath in Room 3.

If you find yourself in Blackpool, check Langtry's out. It's setting the standard.

A restaurant that would sit well next to Langtry's is Kwizeen, a gourmet restaurant in a part of town that is certainly not suited to gourmet restaurants. But that's Blackpool..there are some diamonds in the rough for sure.

The night I was at Kwizeen, there were only two other tables, and I felt kinda sorry for the owners. Because the food was so good that the restaurant should have been jam-packed. It was an awkward experience sitting in Kwizeen, eating a starter of salmon, bearnaise sauce with a poached egg on top, and a mains of superbly cooked lamb, and wondering why no one else in the whole of Blackpool wasn't doing the same.


View south from top of Blackpool Tower


View north from top of Blackpool Tower


Blackpool Tower...


The girls in Blackpool...


A theme park in Blackpool...one of many that kids will love!


Best thing in Blackpool...Pleasure Beach rollercoaster...dont eat noodles for lunch!!!

17 comments:

  1. this is from years ago

    ReplyDelete
  2. I need help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    What's something famouse in Britian that I can turn into a ride or any type of tourist attraction. It must be something that has to do w/ the UK.

    HELP!!!

    P.S: this is from years ago

    ReplyDelete
  3. One thing you forgot to mention was all the shows Blackpool has to offer. Outside of London, Blackpool has the largest number of shows in the UK. There are beautiful theatres such as the Opera House and the Grand Theatre, to the traditional End of pier theatre on North Pier, and the Show bars of central pier and the Horseshoe showbar in the Pleasure Beach.
    Blackpool is a great destination to entertain. As you say its not beautiful to look at but it is very entertaining.

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  11. This is a great article about Blackpool, I visit Blackpool a few times a year for a break and it has so much to offer people who live there and new visitors. The Blackpool tower and the rollercoaster make Blackpool such a fun place to visit for people and families.

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  12. The theme park looks so fun!

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