by brady58 on December 11, 2012
Blackpool is one of those places that is fantastic for kids and adults alike but it is so expensive as everything there seems to cost money to do. The SeaLife centre is a great place to visit but I do think it is expensive especially if you have a large family that you have to pay for. Even with just myself and the kids I thought it was a bit steep. The centre has a fantastic selection of creatures to see and should fascinate both kids and adults alike with the range of unusual creatures to see. There were several there that I had never even heard of and I loved seeing them up close as although some were the types of creatures I might be petrified if I ever saw them up close in the wild behind the glass they were quite beautiful to see. One thing that I did like and was thankful for was the fact that all the tanks in the centre looked large enough to house the respective creatures and they were clean and the creatures were all swimming about quite happily. In fact the SeaLife centre is not only an attraction for visitors but it also works to rescue, breed and protect endangered sea creatures. The centre is laid out in an attractive manner with all the tanks being labelled quite clearly with what they were holding. The tanks were lit up so that you could easily see what was in them. This did make the centre quite dark but this added to the whole overall experience in my opinion. The highlight of the day for both myself and the children was the shark tunnel where you could get an amazing view of these magnificent creatures swimming about above you. This really was spectacular and even the living area where the sharks lived was pretty special with a recreated underwater ship wreck which the sharks could swim through. We are really enjoyed this part and agreed it was the best part of centre. Although the sharks were absolutely amazing there were also loads of other wonderful things to see and do. The Japanese Spider Crab was pretty scary though absolutely fascinating due to its size. I was a little bit creeped out seeing him but my son was absolutely fascinated with him and insisted on standing watching him for ages and taking loads of photos. I was the same with the large lobster couldn’t believe how big he was in comparison to the other lobsters that I have seen before. The Octopus was another creature which I found myself being a little intimidated by even though the kids both loved him. Luckily for me there were loads of other more colourful and ‘pretty’ fish for me to admire. For instance the Clownfish were gorgeous to see. I also particularly enjoyed seeing the turtles and the seahorses while the kids really liked the Interactive Rockpool. The Interactive Rockpool is a pool where you can actually put your hands in and feel about and hold creatures such as crabs and starfish. I obviously avoided putting my hands in but my son did love holding a real life crab since it was the closest he has ever come to one in real life. There is an onsite gift shop here selling souvenirs as well as pictures of your time at the SeaLife centre but it is expensive and most of the things for sale can be bought elsewhere for less. I was stung into buying a soft toy for an eye watering price so try and steer children quickly through this area to save yourself a small fortune. I loved the SeaLife Centre and thought it was a wonderful day out. There was loads to see and the information about the creatures was interesting without becoming boring. The only problem with it is that it is expensive. For a treat I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend going as it really is enjoyable but be prepared to pay for the pleasure of visiting. For adults it is £15 and for children it is £12. Like with most things in Blackpool you can get it cheaper if you can find a voucher at your hotel or else booking online or in combination with another attraction. The centre is open every day except Christmas day from 10am until 5pm. There are daily feeding times but you need to check the website to see what time these are at.
I love sea food but unfortunately my children not so much. One thing that we both can agree on however is that we love some fish and chips occasionally. I had read about The Cottage and how they did the best fish and chips in Blackpool so I was curious to visit and see for myself. The Cottage fish and chips restaurant is located a little bit from the Promenade but is easily walkable from the centre. The restaurant does both take away and sit down meals but be prepared to arrive early if you want a table as it is very popular and the restaurant doesn’t take booking so is on a first come first served basis. We got there around about 5 and luckily we managed to get a table straight away but we did notice that when we were leaving that there were people queuing outside the restaurant waiting to get in. The staff were all pretty friendly and service was good even though it was busy. Inside on the walls are pictures of celebrities that have eaten at The Cottage though I have to confess that I didn’t really know most of them. The menu was mainly fish and chips as you would expect but there were a few other things on the menu. I ordered fish and chips with mushy peas and instead of having the usual cod or haddock I decided to try mine with Hake instead. My daughter ordered cod and chips while my son got a child’s portion of cod and chips. Considering just how busy it was we didn’t have too long a wait for our food to come out and when it arrived I am pleased to say that it was cooked to perfection. The chips were lovely and crisp and not at all soggy and the fish was to die for. It was cooked perfectly and the batter was lovely and crisp but really light and airy. The hake was delicious though to be perfectly honest I couldn’t tell the difference between this and say cod as they pretty much tasted the same to me. The mushy peas were also some of the nicest mushy peas that I have ever tasted and were not too mushy so that they just resembled a green slime. Alongside the meals we got the most delicious homemade tartar sauce that I have ever tasted. It really was delicious and even my daughter who normally doesn’t like tartar sauce agreed it was really good. The portions were massive and both my daughter and I struggled to eat what we had on out plates but we both thoroughly enjoyed what we got. The prices were a little bit more expensive than a normal fish and chip shop but I have to say that I think that they were definitely worth it die to the high quality of the fish and the fact that the portions were so big. For the adults fish and chips it cost £8.50 for my hake and £9.50 for my daughters cod. There are smaller portions available though at a lesser price and I would recommend that those who don’t have big appetites order these instead. I would highly recommend that if you are in Blackpool that you hunt out The Cottage as the fish and chips were such a higher quality than the usual chip shops along the sea front and well worth paying that little bit extra for.
by brady58 on November 21, 2012
Madame Tussauds in Blackpool is a fantastic attraction and one that the kids and I both enjoyed visiting. In fact we enjoyed it so much we have been twice now. Entry to Madame Tussauds costs around about £15 for adults and £12 for kids but like most of the attractions in Blackpool there are deals to be had and if you buy the tickets online in advance then you can save money as well as being able to buy combined attraction tickets with other attractions. If you are visiting in the summer when it tends to get busy then the fast track ticket is a good idea which allows you to bypass the main queues and go through a special dedicated one. The Madame Tussauds in Blackpool is very British centric so this probably isn’t the place to come for foreign tourists but for Brits it is fantastic and there are a few international celebrities there too. There is a brilliant range of models here from pop stars to TV stars and there will be people that every generation knows from young to old. There were loads of waxworks which the kids had no idea who they were of but I enjoyed seeing them and there were plenty of other more modern waxworks such as Cheryl Cole. There are loads of waxworks here and the likeness is so realistic. Some more so than other but I can honestly say that there wasn’t one who didn’t at least look like the person they were meant to. Both the kids and I had a right giggle on the ‘I’m a celeb’ exhibit. We also loved being able to get right up close and personal with the exhibits and we got so many good but embarrassing photos with us posing with the waxworks. My personal favourites had to be the royalty ones. They didn’t seem to have a problem with us taking pictures with the waxworks though they also offer a more professional set of pictures which they can take for you but I personally thought this was too expensive to justify when we had our own camera and besides the pictures that we took ourselves might not be professional but we didn’t feel like we had to behave so could be silly and got some fantastic pictures. As I mentioned earlier we have been in both summer and out of season in the winter and for me personally the winter visit was much more enjoyable. There were still visitors in with us but it was much less crowded than in the summer where it was so crowded we couldn’t really get close to the waxworks and it just felt a little claustrophobic. Madame Taussauds Blackpool is open all year round with the exception of Christmas day and although times can be different during the holidays or when the lights are on normal opening hours are from 10:00 till 4:00 Sunday to Friday and 10:00 till 5:00 on a Saturday. For me personally I would highly recommend that you visit Madame Tussauds as it is such a fun place and a great attraction for people of all ages and although the kids will love it adults will also get a kick out of it too.
Ripley’s Believe it or Not was somewhere that my son really wanted to go visit as one of his school friends had been and liked it and my son has a couple of Ripley books. My daughter and I weren’t too keen to visit but we agreed he could pick something for us all to do. Although initially sceptical that I would like it I ended up thinking it was a fantastic attraction and one that I would actually be happy to visit again. It costs £12 for adults and £6 for kids to visit but we had found a voucher in another attraction which gave us a significant discount. I think the full prices are a little on the expensive side but then again everything in Blackpool is expensive to visit and at least this was something a little bit different. Finding Ripley’s is easy as it is so close to the Pleasure Beach and it is pretty hard to miss as the outside of the building has a car sticking to the front of it which looks like it has crashed. It is a little bit strange but definitely eye catching and a sign of things to come on the inside. Inside the museum is dedicated to all things weird and wonderful and there should be something to interest everyone no matter the age. The kids and I all had different favourite things at the museum but my son and I particularly liked the wax work of the snake man who has had implants and tattoos to make himself look like a snake. He also has a forked tongue and the waxwork on display is just as detailed as anything in Madame Tussauds and it is fascinating to see up close this man who has dedicated his life to changing himself to look more snake like. Weird but fascinating. Both the kids also liked the floating tap and were fascinated trying to figure out how this tap could be floating and not connected to anything yet still pouring water. The two headed calf was a bit macabre for my own personal tastes but again the kids liked that one. They also had a fertility statue and supposedly they have over 1000 confirmed pregnancies thanks to the statue. I don’t believe in all that but I did still give it a wide berth just in case. The only problem that I had with Ripley’s was that I think it was a little small for the money they charge full price. It is absolutely fascinating but it doesn’t take that long to see and do everything and £12 is a lot of money for one adult for an hours entertainment. I would also absolutely hate to visit in summer as I imagine the crowds are horrendous and I doubt that you get to see very much. I would definitely recommend that you visit Ripley’s as it is great fun and really interesting at the same time. Do look out for discount tickets as they are widely available and it does make visiting much more reasonable.
Blackpool illuminations really do have to be seen to be believed. They are absolutely spectacular and if you can manage to visit Blackpool when they are on it really is worth going and seeing them for yourself. The lights as they are more commonly known run from the end of August until early November for exactly 66 days. The lights have been in Blackpool since 1879 and each year they get bigger and better. The illuminations stretch for more than 6 miles along the promenade and over one million light bulbs are used each year. They are a riot of colour and an explosion to the senses. We went and seen them this year and although we have been before they never fail to impress me. The whole promenade is absolutely awash with colour and lights completely string above the street for miles. My favourite way to see them is on an open top tram as this gives the absolute best way to see everything. As well as just lights there are loads of illuminated displays such as the Doctor Who one which was my children’s favourite as it is their favourite TV show. Some of the construction of the lights are so complicated and it is a marvel to see these ingenious light displays all over the town. The atmosphere when visiting the lights is always amazing and it seems to always bring out the best in people and everyone is always enjoying themselves and having fun. It is an extremely busy time in Blackpool but unlike a lot of places the more people who visit the more enjoyable the lights seems to be and it really does add to the festive atmosphere. The illuminations aren’t exactly what would be called sophisticated but then again they aren’t supposed to be. They are like Blackpool itself big, bold and brassy and I wouldn’t want them any other way. It is a very family friendly event and the kids absolutely love seeing all the illuminations and walking along the promenade and going on the tram. The best thing about the illuminations is that they are absolutely free which in a town like Blackpool where everything costs to visit and you can easily end up spending hundreds of pounds during a few days I appreciate this. You can easily spend hours and hours just walking around admiring them and this could easily be stretched into a couple of nights. The worst thing about going to visit the illuminations is that accommodation goes up loads during this time and it is an expensive time to visit. I personally think it is worth it but be prepared to pay more for your hotel or B&B than you would normally at other times of the year. If you have never experienced the illuminations before then you really need to go and see them in the flesh and even if you have been before but not for a few years then you should go back and remind yourself how amazing they are. I would happily go every year if I could as they never fail to impress me when I visit and especially for children it is a magical experience.
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