We have been to Blackpool Tower a couple of times before in the past, but decided to go back today and revisit what we most enjoyed before. We had bought Merlin annual passes earlier this year, so that gave us free entrance into the Tower.
The Tower has varied opening times throughout the year, so you really do need to check the website. In peak season though it opens every day from 10 am. They have a number of different attractions inside, you pay according to what you want to do and see. If you want to do everything - the Tower and Eye, the Dungeon, the Circus, the Ballroom and the play area it costs a huge £51.80 per person or £39.35 per child. There is a massive reduction if you buy on-line in advance, so definitely try and do that.
We had really only come back because we wanted to visit the ballroom. On our last visit the ballroom was closed as they were hosting a private function. This time, to our disappointment, it was also closed as there was a darts tournament going on. We had to content ourselves by peeking in through the window. In my opinion, this is the best part of Blackpool Tower - charming, beautiful and stylish in an old fashioned, glamorous way. The seating is red velvet, the walls are golden and if you do actually time it right during your visit, you can sit and have afternoon tea while listening to the organ and watching people dance. You can even glide around yourself, should you so choose.
You pay to go inside the Ballroom, but you can just watch from the upper balconies for free. I definitely think you don't get the real atmosphere if you do that.
As we couldn't visit the Ballroom, we decided to revisit the Tower Eye. You get to watch a great 4D film about the history of the tower - great effects, then go clunking up in the lift to the top where you can walk around and enjoy great views. My sister came with us on this visit and didn't realise she would be struck by vertigo. She has been to the top of the Eiffel Tower and the Empire State Building and been fine, but was crippled with nerves here and could not come out onto the balcony - so be warned.
The rest of us enjoyed it though - especially the SkyWalk where you walk on glass and look out of floor to ceiling glass windows.
Do not expect to find any nice places to eat or have a drink inside the Tower - they are all really grotty and fast food type places (most of them not up to scratch even for fast food).
We enjoyed this visit despite the ballroom disappointment. I would suggest you don't pay to see everything - pick and choose, that way it is more reasonably priced. Also pick carefully the time of year you visit - we came this time on a summer afternoon and did not experience any queuing and were able to go straight to the 4D film and the lift. Last time we visited in the evening during the Illuminations - it was a nightmare - we queued for 1.5 hours in sweltering heat for the 4D film and then a further hour to go up in the lift. Once at the top, the viewing gallery was packed and uncomfortable.
So pick and choose the attractions and pick carefully the time of year you visit, that way you will have a much better experience.