Thursday, 9 July 2015

Blackpool - does exactly what it says on the tin.

Thanks to this blog we regularly get offered the opportunity to do interesting things, we don't do them all but some are hard to resist - like the opportunity to go up Blackpool Tower.  A month or so ago an email arrived as part of the #BlackpoolsBack campaign offering us the chance to visit Blackpool and see what it had to offer.  I put on my thinking cap and decided that a nice angle might be to do a wildlife walk along the prom which started and/ or ended at the top of the Tower, however things didn't go quite according to plan.

Having liaised with the PR company we were expecting 2 tickets to the top of the Tower but what we actually got when we arrived was a fabulous goody bag (more of that later), which included not only 2 tickets to the top of the Tower but also tickets to the Ballroom, the Circus and the Dungeon, as well as an all day ticket for the trams.  We had a quick discussion and decided that it would be most rude to waste such lovely gifts so we decided to take a day off from wildlife and immerse ourselves fully in the Blackpool experience and I can honestly say we had an absolute blast!

First up was the Tower for 2 reasons - firstly because we thought the weather was going to turn at lunchtime (we were wrong) and secondly because I have an absolute fear of tall buildings and wanted to get it out of the way.

Before we could get to the lift there was a 4D presentation.  Now I'd like to tell you how wonderful this was but the truth is I was so terrified by the prospect of going up the Tower that I didn't exactly take it all in.  I remember a large screen, 3D glasses a vibrating floor and a seagul throwing water at us - everyone else seemed to love it though.

Right.  Moment of truth.  The lift.  If you watch the video below and listen closely you can hear my pitiful whimpering.  I am absolutely terrified of tall buildings BUT I'm also incredibly bloody minded and determined to go up them.

No joke - when we got to the top I had to crouch into a ball and give my knees a stern talking to before I could walk around, but once I got them going I even managed to force myself onto the glass floor for the 2 seconds it took to take a quick picture.

Don't look down!
After that it was onwards to the very top to take in the views, all the while pretending I was on the top of a lovely, solid hill...

Despite the glorious views my resolve was now wearing very thin and it was time to head down, and keep on going down until we reached the nearest gin so, once safely back on terra firma, we headed directly for the Ballroom.  

I'd been here once before for the Lancashire Tourism Awards last year and was very glad to re-visit with more time to look around.  It's absolutely stunning with a magnificent painted ceiling, superb architectural details, a proper Wurlitzer organ that rises up out of the stage, afternoon tea and couples waltzing, quickstepping and fox trotting their way around the dance floor.  Oh, and gin, plenty of gin.  

The first G&T barely touched the sides so I sent down a second just to be on the safeside but was also sensible enough to get a bowl of soup and a sarnie to go with it (bargain for just £5). Having finally stopped shaking we headed out into the sunshine to admire the comedy pavement before our appointment with the circus.  I absolutely adore the comedy pavement and hope whoever came up with the idea has been knighted or given a million pounds or something.


Can you believe that I'm a 48 year old woman and have never been to the circus?  Honestly, this was my first time, and what better place to see it?  There were clowns, jugglers, dancers, tightrope walkers, acrobats, whipcrackers and motorcycle stunts.  Clearly it was all aimed at the kids but I loved every second.  Well, apart from some of the really scary stunts when I was very glad I'd had that second G&T...

Circus done and time for the Dungeon - no photos of this as it was very dark and really rather scary.  One of those experiences where actors take on various roles and generally put the fear of God into everyone in the room as they fill you in on the goriest bits of local history.  The ride at the end was a great touch though my nerves were well and truly frayed again and I began to understand why everyone who visits Blackpool ends up drinking...

By now the weather really had turned so we decided to admire the seashore from the warmth of a nice dry tram.  We tootled all the way to Bispham, then back to the Pleasure Beach before returning to the Tower and hunting out a decent chippy and a large mug of tea.

Replete, there was only one thing left to do and that was to blow a pile of 2ps in the arcade (and to think my accountant says I can't submit a receipt for that as a legitimate business expense, pah!)

What I love most about Blackpool is that it is what it is.  As I said in the title, it does exactly what it says on the tin.  It embraces fun and the simple pleasures in life - it's not trying to be something it's not and it's absolutely brilliant at being exactly what it is.  

Blackpool Tower from Marton Mere
As well as all the attractions there are miles and miles of sandy beaches.  If it's wildlife you're after take a look at the zoo and surrounding parks such as Marton Mere where you'll find a fantastic heronry, or take a stroll along the prom during the autumn and watch the starling murmurations (which I'm told are best around North Pier).

And of course every year there are the illuminations which kick off this year on 4th September.

If you want to find out more about what's on in Blackpool and plan your visit, check out the Visit Blackpool page.

Oh - the goody bag - I nearly forgot.  Well, here's just one small item that was in there that I'm putting to good use right this moment.  Is that a G&T in there?  I couldn't possibly comment but Steve has his suspicions...

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