Once the pride of the North West of England, the seaside town of Blackpool has suffered a tarnished reputation over the last couple of decades. Known to be loud, brash and tacky and a bit...well, common. However 2 years ago I decided to put my pre-conceptions to one side and headed off with my pre-school daughter for some seaside fun. We enjoyed it so much, we returned again this year! I think it's an unfair reputation and Blackpool is still a great family seaside town, which children in particular will love.
There are some grotty areas in Blackpool to be totally honest, but there's also some really great family attractions too. In fact there are so many attractions in the town, it's pretty impossible (and very expensive!) to do them all. I would advise anyone planning a trip to Blackpool to search on-line and decide which attractions you'd really like to see. Check review sites as some are a lot better than others. Louis Tussards for example is one we decided to miss, as although it sounds fab it didn't have very good write ups. I would also advise that once you know which attractions you are interested in, book online as we saved quite a lot of money by doing this in advance.
The same applies to finding somewhere to stay. There are literally thousands of hotels, b&b's, guest houses and 3 holiday parks to choose from, and there is something to suit every taste and budget. We recently stayed in a fantastic B&B at just £25 a night for a double room. I found it through review sites and each and everyone was a good write up. I would advise to check out a number of sites to get a balanced picture. If luxury is a must for you, then there are plenty of 4 and 5 star hotels to choose from too.
'Be Prepared' is a phrase that could have been invented when considering what clothing to take. Northern England is known for being windy and rainy, so even in summer a waterproof jacket is an essential, I'd recommend one that can role up into your bag. However I have been lucky enough to have had some fab weather whilst in Blackpool, and it's important to remember sun cream as it can be breezy and on a couple of occasions I didn't realise how strong the sun was and burnt.
Blackpool isn't known for it's cuisine, and while visiting Blackpool I haven't made any effort in seeking out eateries. My daughter and I have instead filled up on a full English breakfast at our accommodation and pretty much stuck to fast food...of which there is an abundance and you will never have to walk more than a few meters to find some. There are plenty of convenience stores too to stock up on fruit.
The beaches are huge, with perfect sandcastle building sand although it does stain clothing as it's quite muddy...not forgetting the famous donkeys who take children for rides along the beach. It's possible to spend the whole day just enjoying the beach. However be aware of tide times. It seems to come in at around 11-12 am, and comes in VERY fast. It does go out very fast too, and within an hour or two there's huge expanses of sand. My advise would be to plan an attraction for the morning and save the beach for the afternoon. Blackpool seafront has been undergoing major redevelopement and building work is continuing now, although on our most recent visit (23/6/09) the South beach redevelopement was completed and is extremely nice, modern and clean. It's also nice to take the old fashioned tram cars that still run along Blackpool promenade, right up to Cleveleys, which is a quieter and more sedate town with an equally pleasant beach.
My personal must do's in Blackpool would be the beach including a donkey ride, a tram ride along the prom, visit to the tower, the zoo, pleasure beach theme park and evening strolls along the pier. Travelling around Blackpool is very easy. Most of the attractions are with walking distance for a moderately fit person. regular trams run up and down the Golden Mile stopping at the major attractions, but my personal favourite is the open top sight seeing bus. This stops at the attractions along the seafront, the town centre, the zoo and the 3 large holiday parks (2 haven and 1 pontins). I recommend buying a 2 day hopper ticket for £7.50 giving you 48 hours of unlimited travel.
I love visiting Blackpool for a few days. I just embrace it for what it is, a traditional seaside resort with plenty of fun for the whole family.