Pocket Britain

A coastal town famous for its traditional seaside holidays

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Blackpool is a seaside town lying on the coast of the Irish Sea. Found in the county of Lancashire it has a population of just under 150,000 and is located 64km north-west of Manchester.
Up until the Industrial revolution Blackpool remained a small coastal village. However, in the 19th century, with the boom of cities such as Liverpool and Manchester, it rapidly developed as an easy to reach holiday destination for the urban masses. The growth of the town has been dramatic and rapid; in the 1801 census the town's population was recorded as 473, by 1851 it was 2500. This was much as a result of the work of Henry Banks, often called 'The Father of Blackpool' who in 1819 built the towns first holiday cottages. In 1837 his son-in-law Dr. John Cocker built the first assembly rooms, which still stand today. Thus the tourist destination of Blackpool was born. By the 1920's, it was Britain's pre-eminent holiday destination with over seven million visitors a year. The town was lucky to survive World War 2 relatively unscathed and some claim this is because Adolf Hitler had planned to keep Blackpool as a holiday destination post Nazi invasion.
With such visitor popularity, Blackpool soon developed a wealth of services catering to the holidaymaker. Pleasure Beach Blackpool is a family owned themed park and the most visited in the UK, with over 6 million visitors a year. The initial park was founded in 1896 by William George Bean. Bean's desire was to make "an American Style Amusement Park, the fundamental principle of which is to make adults feel like children again and to inspire gaiety of a primarily innocent character." You'll have to visit the park to see if that's true for you! The park includes the rollercoaster Pepsi Max Big One, which on its opening in 1994, was the tallest and steepest rollercoaster in the world. The park is a great day out for all the family and a familiar British outing.
Blackpool Tower is the symbol of the town and opened in 1894. It is the dominant landmark of the skyline and one of the iconic images of Britain. Inspired by the Eiffel Tower it is an impressive 158 metres high and a visit up between its steel girders is well worth the potential vertigo! The famous Blackpool Piers are also a must see on any visit to the town. Made up of the North, Central and South Piers, attractions include the North Pier Theatre and the Central's Ferris wheel. Entertainment is the heartbeat of Blackpool and few places in the world offer a better selection of good old fashioned variety and pier shows, many of which can be seen at the National Theater of Variety.
The Winter Gardens can be found in the centre of the town and include the Opera House, Pavilion Theater and Empress Ballroom. Along with the plethora of entertainment options, Blackpool is also home to the historic Stanley Park, Blackpool Zoo, the biggest Dr Who exhibition in the UK and more obviously its beach! Stretching along the length of the seafront its beautiful golden sands provide much summer fun.
Another highlight is the Blackpool Illuminations, a series of light displays that shine out at night along the entire length of the sea front. They attract thousands of visitors from late August to early November.
Blackpool has suffered in recent years. With the arrival of cheap flights to Europe, many now venture to the continent to reap the benefits of more reliable weather and longer sandy beaches. It's not all doom and gloom though and despite visitor numbers dropping from 17 million in 1992 to 10 million in 2007, Blackpool remains the most popular seaside resort in the UK. Much effort is being spent in attempting to raise the profile of the town, including an ambitious 500 million scheme to build 'Storm City' an indoor entertainment complex with 4 world class hotels, numerous shopping centers, a 12,000 seater arena and rooftop gardens.
Blackpool is one of those British oddities that is an English seaside resort. Unique to this Island nation, with piers, cream teas and packed out beaches, it incorporates a slice of English history and offers an experience you won't forget!
Visitor Information
Blackpool Tower is open daily, 10am to 5pm (times vary). Entry costs around £7. The promenade, Blackpool FY1 4BJ. Tel: 01253 622 242
Blackpool Zoo is open daily, 10am to 5pm. Entry costs around £15 for adults, £11 children. East Park Drive, Blackpool, FY3 8PP. Tel: 01253 830 830
Blackpool Pleasure Beach is open daily, April to October, 10am to 5pm (plus limited opening in winter). Entry is via wristband costing around £10 (prices vary). The Promenade, Blackpool FY4 1EZ. Tel: 0871 222 1234

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