If you’ve never been to Blackpool – or, in fact, if you’ve ever been to Blackpool in your youth – you probably have a picture in your mind of a cheesy British seaside resort best known teenaged antics and stag do’s. You’re probably thinking ‘kiss me quick’ hats and lurid sticks of rock, noisy bars and greasy chips. And there is that side of it. But to discount it as an option for your family would be to deprive yourself of one of the happiest holidays you could get with your children. For Blackpool has so much to offer to families, and is the perfect weekend getaway for making memories with the kids. Here’s our top suggestions for families on how to spend their time there:
5 things to do in Blackpool with kids.
For the thrillseeker: Blackpool Pleasure Beach is without a doubt one of the best amusement parks in the UK, if not the world. With white-knuckle rollercoasters, spectacular shows, and traditional rides to appeal to all ages, it’s the ultimate Blackpool destination, and no trip to the seaside of the Northwest of England would be complete without a visit. For younger children the park plays host to Nickelodeon Land, and the world’s first Wallace and Gromit ride, which caused as much of a chuckle amongst the adults as it did the kids. It truly is a coming of age kind of place, with The Big One – the fastest and tallest coaster there – allowing anyone over 132cm to ride. That’s an average – very excited – 9 year old!
For the thrillseeker.
For the celeb-hunter: Madame Tussaud’s is about a mile further along the main Blackpool attraction stretch. Wander your way there via stalls and shops selling the usual seaside bric-a-brac that is a must have souvenir of any English seaside holiday. You may declare it tat, but I defy anyone to go home without something that will raise a smile for a long time after the trip is over. Unless it’s the mandatory stick of Blackpool rock – that will be gone by the time you get back to the hotel! Tussaud’s Blackpool is smaller, and much less crowded than the London version, and so it’s a really comfortable space to spend a happy afternoon watching the children discover all their favourites, be it football stars or X-Factor idols.
For a special occasion: take a short ride along Blackpool’s seafront in a horse and trap. For £20 the whole family can ride up high and see the sights at leisure. Some of the traps are decorated, and you can even hire a horse-drawn Cinderella princess carriage for your drive along the promenade, prompting declarations of intent to get married one day in Blackpool! Perfect for little girls with big dreams. We chose our trap for this quirky character sitting up front.
For oohs and aahs: Blackpool Illuminations and Illumi nasia. Strictly speaking these deserve 2 separate points, but for us they’re in the category of gorgeous light displays. Every year from the end of August to early November, Blackpool stages the Illuminations, a 3 mile stretch of stunning wattage that lights up the seafront every night. It’s like every single Christmas you’ll ever see, all in one evening, only it has nothing to do with Christmas. Drive through the bulk of the lights, then stop at the north end and walk around the fixed installations. The lights are so clever, and children will love them! If you miss the Illuminations (and even if you don’t, it’s still worth a visit) you need to visit Illuminasia, an indoor light installation that is surreal, but beautiful. Wander through the various zones, and end with the Wonders of the World and a very cool laser show.
For letting your hair down: the Beach. Let’s face it, you cannot go to a beach with children and not take off your shoes for a wild run on the sand – even in the middle of winter. It’s the whole reason that chips in newspaper were invented!
Helen took her family to her old teenaged haunt, Blackpool, for the weekend during the Blackpool Illuminations. For more on their trip check out her post on Actually Mummy.
Join the conversation on Twitter @Pleasure_Beach, @visitBlackpool, @MTBlackpool, @IlluminasiaBP.