Gosh, the weather has been something else.
All over the world there have been storms, winds, and lashings of rain. Luckily, in Northern Europe, it hasn’t been too bad.
Just to recap, I’ll be visiting Cheshire, Staffordshire, Manchester, Blackpool, Derbyshire and Yorkshire, with a few secret bits added along!
However, not all of our travels would be the countryside itself, some of it would be of English quirkiness, and one of those places is Blackpool!
When people think of England, they don’t really think of the seaside.
Come to think of it, they don’t think of the seaside in Germany either!
Blackpool is a seaside resort on the Lancashire coast of North West England.
England isn’t known for sunshine!
So what do you do on a cold, windy, rainy day?
On a beach.
In Northern England.
Otherwise known as Blackpool!?
Well, I’m going to tell you.
Here we go!
WHAT TO DO IN BLACKPOOL?
There are loads of things to do on the Blackpool beach starting with:
- Go to the sea: There’s nothing better than a day out to the seaside anywhere in the United Kingdom!
- Take a stroll on the beach: Believe it or not, Blackpool is one of the best beach resorts in the UK and is considered at par with beaches in the Mediterranean Sea and the Pacific coastline! It’s not going to be spicy hot as it isn’t Thailand or the Philippines, but the English seaside is crisp and fresh, you can run along the beach, and it’s absolutely free of charge!
- Have ice-cream: You can’t go to the seaside without availing yourself of a lovely 99 flake ice-cream whippy!
- Experience Blackpool Illuminations: The Blackpool Illuminations are world-famous and has been one of the UK’s greatest visitor attractions since 1879! It’s such a unique event that it brings in more than 3 million visitors every year! It’s a family seafront show of miles of traditional garlands of lights, models, figures, images and extraordinary 3D projection on the front of the Blackpool Tower building, and other buildings around the town. It takes place every night from the end of August until early November, and is free of charge! Is it any wonder that the Blackpool Illumination is known as the greatest free light show on Earth!
- Dance in the street: We ended up dancing in the street with strobing lights, a live DJ, embarrassed parents, and kids jumping up and down to disco classics!
- Have an exciting day at Blackpool Pleasure Beach: Let your hair down, take off your glasses Ho! Ho! and experience the largest number of roller coasters in the United Kingdom, at Blackpool Pleasure Beach – the most visited amusement park in the UK!
- Ramble through the streets and take the air: Although Blackpool became fashionable in the mid-18th century, Blackpool has been around since the Middle Ages when it was just a coastal hamlet, and has quite a number of interesting buildings and monuments!
- Go for a walk along Blackpool’s Golden Mile: The “Golden Mile” is the name given to the stretch of promenade between the North and South piers in Blackpool and is 1.6 miles (2.6 kilometres) long in length. It emerged in the late 19th century, when small amusement ride operators, fortune-tellers, and oyster bars set up in the front gardens of boarding houses and dodgy hotels, to take advantage of punters and passing trade, as well as the very high concentration of slot machines!
- Amass yourself in local amusement: Blackpool today is a very long stretch of family attractions, theme pubs, fish-and-chip shops, amusement arcades, souvenir stalls, rock (candy) shops, and general seaside knockabout cheer!
- Use public transport: Blackpool isn’t just a town for modern jollies, but also has a lot of historical background by use of traditional old-time public transport! It may surprise you, but only three cities in the UK actually have an underground train system – London, Tyne and Wear, and Glasgow! Most cities tend to use either the overland train, or the buses. A few use the trams! These seven (7) cities are London, Birmingham, Sheffield, Newcastle, Nottingham, Manchester, and Blackpool!
- Take the Heritage Tram: The Blackpool Tramway dates back to 1885, runs for 11 miles (18 km), is the only surviving first-generation tramways in the UK, one of the few systems to still use double-deck trams, and one of the oldest electric tramways in the world! Not only that, but tram conductors are still very much in play. Wow!
- Go up Blackpool Tower: Inspired by Eiffel Tower in Paris, Blackpool Tower is a popular tourist attraction and opened in 1894! It’s 518 feet (158 metre) tall and is the 120th tallest freestanding tower in the world!
- Frighten yourself at the Blackpool Tower Dungeon: The Blackpool Tower Dungeon is one of the must-see signature attractions of the Blackpool resort and a 60 minute journey through 1,000 years of Lancashire’s murky past. We’re huge fans of the Dungeon franchise and have been to many of them in London, Berlin, and Edinburgh, and they’re based in Hamburg and York too!
- Stroll along the promenade: Make sure to visit at least one of the piers as Blackpool has three (3) – The Central Pier, the South Pier and the North Pier. All of them are completely free of charge!
- Get excited on the Blackpool Big Wheel: You can find it on the Central Pier which opened in 1868! It’s also known as the People’s Pier, since it’s emphasis was on fun and dancing rather than genteel relaxation! There are fairground rides, amusement arcades, roller skating venues, bars, and theatres galore.
- Go on the Dodgems: You can find them on the South Pier which opened in 1893! It was known as Victoria Pier, contains a number of amusement and adrenalin rides and is only opened from March to November! It was originally considered more “upmarket” than the North and Central piers, as it had very little “entertainment.” Today however, it has an amusement arcade, live entertainment, and white-knuckle rides.
- Take a ride on the Venetian Carousel: The Carousel is almost a quarter of a mile out into the Irish Sea, and is unusual because it’s a two-tier-double-decker! You can find it on the North Pier which was built in the 1860’s and is also the oldest and longest of the three piers! Originally intended only as a genteel promenade, competition forced the pier to widen its attractions to include theatres and bars. Unlike Blackpool’s other piers, which attracted the working classes with open air dancing and amusements, North Pier catered for the upper middle class market, and had orchestra concerts and respectable comedians. Its attractions today include a Fortune Telling palm reader, an ice cream parlour, a theatre, a Victorian tea room, the Carousel, Merrie England bars, live entertainment, an amusement arcade, and a wide promenade deck that is still in its original Victorian 19th century glory!
- Visit the Winter Gardens Blackpool: The Winter Gardens Blackpool is a large entertainment complex opened in 1878! It has twelve (12) different venues, including a collection of theatres and ballrooms. The great thing about the building is the Art Deco architecture found everywhere, and the Opera House which is one of the largest theatres in the UK!
- Go on a donkey ride: Ha! Ha! You’d think that they no longer exist, but they still do! We saw a few donkeys on the beach taking kids for a ride. Even in October!
- Blackpool rock: You haven’t been to Blackpool if you haven’t got yourself some Blackpool rock!
- Indulge in fish n’ chips: Where would we be, if you couldn’t indulge in a portion of good ‘ole fish n’ chips? Eaten on the beach! Be careful though as it was so windy, that a quarter of my chips simply blew away!
TAKE ME THERE?
Our holiday was half a family visit, and half a mid Autumn / Winter break!
We had planned just fourteen (14) days in the UK because of school commitments, but as I always advocate, be smart, use all the weekends, and make it work!
I’m no longer a fan of budget airlines, but I very much enjoy flying with EasyJet, so I booked our tickets with them. We flew Berlin Schönefeld – Manchester – Berlin Schönefeld, with flights being a speedy 1 hour and 15 minutes!
Being that we booked ahead, return flights for 2 adults and a 15-year-old “child” cost a rather wonderful €89.03!
Effectively, €30.00 each!
In fact, if I remember clearly, one of the flights for The Tall Young Gentleman was just €5.00, and ours was €12.00!
We booked it immediately!
Mind you, the cost of luggage was €20.00 per person on each leg of the journey. It was still worth it though, but we tried to save money by booking only two suitcases instead of three, and on the way back found it very difficult to stuff all the chocolates, biscuits, and other gifts, into our already over-packed luggage. We were close to being charged a penalty of £50.00, but we made it work!
We certainly won’t be stingy with luggage anymore.
As such, we started from Cheshire where my family live.
We were staying with my brother – The Writer – and took a train into Manchester. We then took another train from Manchester Piccadilly to Blackpool North.
I booked the tickets online and in advance. If you use the website National Rail Enquiries, it would give you the variety of available train options. Britain isn’t known for having cheap transportation, so the trick is to book well in advance!
Our journey took just a little under 2 hours with two (2) sets of trains!
Cost: Warrington Central or Bank Quay to Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Victoria, Manchester Oxford Road or Manchester Deansgate – on an Anytime Day Single ticket – Adults – £6.20 each. Children (5-15) – £3.10 – Altogether a lovely £15.50 on the TransPennine Express train.
Cost: Manchester Piccadilly to Blackpool North – Adults – £5.00 each. Children (5-15) – £2.50 – Altogether a fantastic £12.50 on the Northern Railway train!
The trains are not as plush or as spacious as those in Germany, but if you book reserved seats, it should give you an element of comfort!
IS IT GOING TO BE CROWDED?
I didn’t think so!
Blackpool is a very popular British institution, but it’s not your usual destination for international tourists, so it’s still a little bit of a secret, but I’m writing it here.
Right in this here blog, so it’s not going to be a secret for very long.
WHAT IS BLACKPOOL LIKE?
I was a little nervous as Blackpool has a reputation of being slightly shabby, tacky, and a little rough on the edges, but luckily, we had nothing to worry about.
Most tourists don’t really understand why Blackpool is so popular, but it’s part of our history and distinct English quirkiness.
We were only there for a night, but we could have quite happily spent another day.
We’ll do that next time!
I DON’T SPEAK ENGLISH VERY WELL.
Ha! Ha! Ha!
The locals speak with a Lancashire accent.
The type of working class English that you would find in Manchester, the Merseyside, Cumbria, Cheshire and certain parts of Northern England!
But don’t worry.
Everywhere you go are people with huge smiles, ready to help you.
AM I GOING TO LIVE IN A HUT?
Ha! Ha! It’s England.
We’re cultured and civilised!
I’M ON A BUDGET. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Not. A. Problem!
If you’re ever going to find cheap accommodation in the UK, it’s in Blackpool!
In fact, I saw places going for as low as £16.00 per night!
However, we were definitely not going to be choosing that!
We also didn’t want to go to a bland franchise hotel which would be rather boring, so we chose the middle ground.
A Bed & Breakfast type hotel!
WHERE WE STAYED:
After much research, I chose the family-friendly Rockcliffe Hotel.
I made our reservation via booking.com.
In many cases, I prefer to use booking.com because you can make hotel / hostel reservations, and cancel for free, if you’re not sure. Not only do I recommend them, but I use them myself! Note: I’m an affiliate member of booking.com. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation is booked via my links, I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!
We booked two private en-suites rooms, with English breakfast included.
There was free WiFi but it didn’t always work on the top floor and was a little spotty, so you had to move around a bit to get into position.
However, The Tall Young Gentleman loved his room and our bedroom, was right opposite the sea, which I liked very much.
Cost: For the Third Floor Double Room with Sea View. With breakfast – £60 per room or £30 a pop!
Cost: For the Single Room (with a double bed). With breakfast – £45 per room!
You really can’t get better than that!
Book the Rockcliffe Hotel here!
WHAT ABOUT TRANSPORT POSSIBILITIES?
Blackpool is quite small and compact so that everywhere is walkable.
You could also use the trams, take a bus, hire a carriage, go horse-riding, or take a ride on a donkey!
I recommend the trams as the trams are just so cute, and you actually get to meet and chat with the tram conductor, which in many cities, no longer exist!
We bought a 24 hour saver family ticket that could be used on both the trams or the buses, but not the heritage trams, for just £11.00. Note: It’s valid for 1 adult & up to 4 children, or 2 adults & up to 3 children. A bargain!
It rains, so be prepared and take a raincoat or get an umbrella from your hotel or B&B!
Blackpool is a seaside destination and great fun for the family.
It might have a dubious reputation, but if you look deep enough, you’ll find that it’s still as attractive and as historical as ever.
I wouldn’t leave Germany just for the chance of an English seaside, but if you’re in the North of England, and looking for a new British city to visit, go visit Blackpool!
WOULD I COME AGAIN?
Let’s do it!
21 THINGS TO DO ON A BLACKPOOL BEACH ‘COS WINTER IS COMING!
This article isn’t sponsored, and absolutely all opinions, and the great walks and sea experience we had are my very own!
I have so much to share with you.
In the Autumn, I’ll be visiting the UK and travelling around the areas of Cheshire, Staffordshire, Manchester, Derbyshire, Blackpool, Lancashire, Yorkshire, & a secret location!
November is going to be smashing!
Watch this space!
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Have you ever been to an English beach? Would you go to the seaside in winter? Let me know in the comments below!
See you in Berlin.
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