City guide: What to do in Blackpool

February 6, 2023

Blackpool, you could argue, embodies Britain’s love affair with the seaside. It’s the only resort in the UK with three piers. The iconic Blackpool Tower boasts a list of attractions almost as long as it is tall. There are white-knuckle rides at the famous Pleasure Beach, or you can enjoy fish and chips by the water. Or come later in the year for the famous Illuminations - the annual light festival stretching 6 miles along the Promenade. Wet your feet on the beach or slip on your dancing shoes in the celebrated Ballroom, Blackpool has something for everyone.

What to do in Blackpool with the kids

The seaside is more than sandy beaches and seagulls. Plunge beneath the waves and discover a hidden world at Sea Life. There are over 50 fascinating displays, exploring everything from Britain’s own coastline to the Amazon’s rainforest. Plus, they have over 2,000 aquatic creatures, including sharks, colourful reef fish, octopus, and even sea horses.

Another family favourite is the Blackpool Zoo, with more than 1500 exotic animals, birds and reptiles. There are elephants, gorillas, giraffes, zebras and of course the big cats. There’s also the Orangutan Outlook allowing visitors to get very close to these delightful apes.

Dinosaurs and dungeons are always popular. And Blackpool Tower offers both. For younger families, step back in time for 9 holes of prehistoric fun at Dino Mini Golf. Then descend into Blackpools dark history with the Tower Dungeon. It provides a spooky but light-hearted journey, with a thrilling drop ride.

Blackpool tower ballroom

What to do in Blackpool as a couple

Blackpool Tower Ballroom is world-famous. It has spectacular architecture, a wonderful sprung dance floor and a Wurlitzer organ as the centrepiece . So if you consider yourselves light on your feet or you’re fans of “Strictly”, swing by. And don’t forget your dancing shoes. The daily afternoon-tea dances will have you spinning and dipping to waltzes, foxtrots and tangos. But if that’s a twirl too far, relax, sit back, and soak up the atmosphere. They also lay on themed dance nights year round that will have you dancing the night away.

If formal dancing isn’t your style, then the Grade-II listed Grand Theatre may appeal. The elegant Victorian interior, is perfect for date night. It showcases musicals, stand-up comedy, opera and variety shows all year round.

The Promenade is ideal for slow walks, fresh air, and seaside charm. It's also perfect for an impressive collection of art works that highlight local history and culture. The Great Promenade Show is located beside the South Pier. You'll discover 10 pieces including the High Tide Organ and the dance-hall mirror ball.

After exploring, grab a table at Hauze. It's a cosy restaurant serving European flavours to foodie fusion. The cocktails aren't bad either. There’s also La Fontana, a family-run Italian restaurant which has been dishing up tasty pasta and pizza for almost 30 years.

What to do in Blackpool with friends

The Blackpool Tower Circus will amaze and amuse. Seriously. It stages astonishing death-defying stunts alongside slapstick comedy acts. And their artists are often a mix of local and international talent. It’s a must-see show, suitable for all ages.

The Winter Gardens is no stranger to entertaining the crowds. It’s been going strong since 1878, and today its collection of theatres, halls and ballrooms stage quite an eclectic mix of acts. The Opera House, a Grade II listed building, attracts some of the world’s biggest performers and shows. It’s hosted Royal Variety Performances, and hosts the annual Rebellion Punk Rock festival.

Blackpool is famous for its comedy. And many of the UK’s best comedians appear live on stage is at the Comedy Station. Four different stand-ups perform each night, all introduced by comedian and compere Ryan Gleeson.

If the Pleasure beach seems a bit tame, then the Adrenaline Zone on the South Pier might raise the heart rate. There’s a climbing zone, a massive trampoline area, or leave your stomach behind on the Sky Coaster - a free-fall swing casting you out over the sea! Or, for fans of "Maverick", test yourself on the Sky Screamer. It's a reverse bungee that launches you skywards with incredible G-forces.

With excitement over, you can refuel or relax at No.10 Ale House & Thai Kitchen. The micro-pub serves tasty ales, and even tastier meals. For lovers of traditional pub fare, settle yourselves in at the Old Victoria. Or try the Beach House, a popular bistro with a Mediterranean vibe, offering delicious food, cocktails, and excellent view.

What to do in Blackpool North Pier

What we like to do in Blackpool

The North Pier, the oldest and longest of the three piers, opened in 1863. Take a stroll and breathe in its Victorian charm. The large arcade with retro video and gaming machines may tempt you. Or visit the Joe Longthorne Theatre, which stages a range of shows for all ages. Plus there are plenty of bars for refreshments and snacks. For starters, there's the luxurious Bloom Bar, with drop-in DJs on weekends. Or the Garden Gin & Prosecco Bar, with comfy outdoor seating. However, if it’s fairground and ferris wheel rides you’re after then the Central Pier, to the south, isn’t far. It’s much louder, with arcades, and plenty of food and drink stalls.

Fancy rubbing shoulders with Mo Farah, Bear Grills, or Ant & Dec? Then put, Madame Tussauds on your list. You’ll be star struck with a vibrant mix of celebrities from the world of music, sport and entertainment. You might also walk away with that perfect selfie!

And if the amusements and celebrities get a bit too much, head for Stanley Park. The 256-acre gardens are one of England's largest and most historic green spaces. There are scenic trails, ornamental gardens, woodlands and lakes. It also boasts a golf course, model village, boat hire and an always welcome Art Deco café.

If it’s food you’re after, well you can always find great fish and chips at Yorkshire Fisheries. There’s also Bank Bar and Grill, serving up British, contemporary, and vegan-friendly options. And West Coast Rock Cafe does a great mix of Tex-Mex and British with vegetarian and gluten-free options.

Blackpool tower

What not to miss in Blackpool

When it opened in 1894, the Blackpool Tower was the tallest structure in the British empire. Even today it's a standout attraction. You could easily spend a whole day here. Remember, it has the Dungeon, the Circus and the Ballroom. But it's history is best appreciated through the breathtaking visuals at the amazing 4D Cinema. Then enjoy the spectacular views from the Blackpool Eye. On a clear day you can see the Isle of Man, the Lake District, and even North Wales. The courageous can step out onto the SKYWALK, and walk on air. From the glass-floored viewing platform you can look straight down at the Promenade, 380 ft below, between your feet.

If you love carnival rides, then Blackpool Pleasure Beach has it all, including around 125 fairground rides. This amusement park comes with thrilling rollercoasters, including the Big One. This exhilarating ride - 235 ft high & 85 mph - is reputed to be the tallest and fastest in the UK. There’s also a haunted house, filled with zombies to keep you on your toes. And for the little ones, there’s Nickelodeon Land with its own fun-filled rides, like Rugrats Lost River and SpongeBob's Splash Bash.

Predating even the Tower, Blackpool’s electric tramway dates back to 1884. The oldest in the world. The trams still run along an 11 mile scenic stretch of coastline. But these days you can choose between state-of-the-art trams or the magical Heritage versions.

Where to stay in Blackpool

With plenty of car parking, and good connections by rail and coach, visiting Blackpool is simple. What’s even simpler is booking a place to stay. Pass the Keys, can help you find the perfect apartment for your city break or romantic getaway. We can also help you locate spacious homes for the family or group holiday.

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