Blackpool Guide

If you love vibrant seaside towns full of nostalgia and tradition, Blackpool will be right up your promenade. Look beyond the kiss-me-quick hats and flashing arcades and you’ll find fabulous art deco buildings, beautifully preserved ballrooms and vintage trams - features that will take you back in time to the town's heyday of the early 20th century, when Blackpool was filled with holidaying factory workers in their thousands. Whether you’re here for a big event or a fun-filled break, you’ll find a curious mix of old-fashioned charm and glitzy modernity - for example, the donkey rides now take contactless payment. Incredible theme parks and countless attractions make this a utopia for the young, but there are natural wonders here too. Seven miles of golden sands and a clean shoreline make it a great location, whatever brings you to Blackpool.




Music, comedy and theatre

As you might expect from a town hailed as the Las Vegas of the North, Blackpool has a history of glitzy entertainment. This showbiz town has a long heritage as the home of variety, hosting everyone from Frank Sinatra to Bob Hope in the 1950s, through to One Direction and Peter Kay today. And if you love to dance, you’re in the right place. Blackpool is a ballroom mecca - and even if you’re not a die-hard Strictly Come Dancing fan there can’t be a better place to take a turn around the floor than in front of the Wurlitzer organ at the grand Tower Ballrooms.


Shopping

While Blackpool is a great place to buy souvenirs, it’s not all tourist tat. In the centre of town there’s a shopping mall crammed with all your high street favourites. Head further afield and you’ll find out-of-town designer outlets that are great for grabbing a bargain, while foodies will love the Abingdon Street Market full of tasty local produce just waiting to be sampled.

A leisurely 50-minute tram ride (or a 20-minute drive in the car) takes you to Freeport Fleetwood, an outlet village with 45 clothing and lifestyle stores. Set in a beautiful marina, expect big high street names such as Marks & Spencer, Gap and Next, offering huge discounts - some as much as 60% off what you’d pay in the normal store. When you’ve grabbed enough bargains, there’s a nautical-themed outdoor play area so the kids can let off steam and plenty of places to sit and watch the boats and get a bit of fresh sea air. Food and drinks-wise, there’s a McDonald’s, a Costa or the outlet’s own Bay Tearooms to refresh you ready for some more shopping.

Luckily, a spot of wet weather doesn’t need to spoil your retail therapy. With a good variety of shops all under one gleaming roof, the Houndshill Shopping Centre is in the centre of Blackpool - just a few minutes’ walk from the Tower. Although it’s nothing like on the scale of the Trafford Centre, it’s bright, modern and a very decent size for a town centre. There’s parking onsite for 700 cars and once inside you’ll find big brands including Debenhams, Primark, Next, H&M and River Island. When you’re all shopped out, head upstairs to the food court and you’ll find plenty of fast food options, plus sit-down meals at Bella Italia and Prezzo. Phone addicts will be pleased to learn there’s free WiFi throughout.

With a magical atmosphere, this Aladdin’s cave is full to the rafters with antiques, craft, collectibles and all things vintage. Located in a grade II-listed former cinema (and one of Blackpool’s oldest buildings) it’s great for a rummage through all the kitsch memorabilia on offer - and hipsters will love the selection of vintage clothes and vinyl. If a trip to the tea room with its china plates, cups and saucers doesn’t take you back in time, head upstairs to the refurbished cinema to really scratch that retro itch. It’s recently opened and shows a fabulous programme of black and white favourites. The Regent is open seven days a week from 10 am.

Make like the locals and do a spot of shopping at Abingdon Street Market - a popular indoor market that’s been held in the same, beautiful building since 1928. Great if you’re a foodie, there are some delicious local delights to sample, from yummy deli food, fresh bread, local meat and whole foods, all under one roof. The cafes in the market are well-known for their fantastic breakfasts and great coffee. Best buys here are the scones from the bakery stall - but it’s not just food on offer. There are leather goods, jewellery, make-up and clothes - and even a tattoo parlour. It’s open Monday to Saturday each week, and even on Sundays in autumn when the Illuminations are on.


Events and festivals

Don’t worry if you miss the summer season, because Blackpool doesn’t just come to life when the sun is out. Just when you think the town is winding down for the winter, the Illuminations come on, drawing visitors in their thousands and turning the Promenade into the North’s version of the Las Vegas Strip.  And while the festival of lights really is a must-see, there’s also a fireworks festival and an airshow - and all these fantastic events won’t cost you a penny, either. More money to spend on candy floss!


Sport

OK, so it’s football club may not be in the Premier League, but that doesn’t mean the locals are any less passionate about their support for the orange-clad Tangerines. If the beautiful game has brought you to Blackpool, we have all the information you need about the Bloomfield Road Stadium. And while you’re here for your footie mad weekend, why not try some adventure sports, or perhaps even a round of golf?


Museums and galleries

When you think of Blackpool, it may not be cultural pursuits that immediately spring to mind. But the town has a vibrant art scene, with a gorgeous little gallery that focuses on Blackpool’s colourful heritage, not to mention some fantastic art installations on the Promenade.


Attractions

Blackpool’s huge range of year-round tourist attractions turn the town into a magnet for both young and old. The town does them so well - theme parks with some of the best rides in the world, incredible water parks, a zoo and not to mention a certain tower with stunning views across the North West. Find out more about what makes Blackpool Britain’s most popular holiday destination here.


Around Blackpool

While there’s plenty to do in Blackpool, if you fancy a day trip out of town, a world of outstanding natural beauty awaits. Pretty mill towns, quaint seaside villages and stunning walks are right on its doorstep! You’re spoilt for choice, but our pick of the bunch is below.


Eating, drinking and nightlife

Synonymous with hedonism, Blackpool is a party town that’s crammed with almost as many bars, restaurants and clubs as there are revellers. Luckily, if you’re staying at the Premier Inn in Blackpool, you’ll be right in the heart of all the action - safe in the knowledge that there’s a comfy bed waiting for you, no matter what time you decide to call it a night.


Getting around

While Blackpool is a great town for walking, there was some artistic license used when they called the main promenade the ‘Golden Mile’. In reality, the distance from the Blackpool Pleasure Beach in the south to The Blackpool Tower is more like three miles long. Luckily, it’s super easy to jump on a bus or tram to save your aching feet.


Looking for a hotel in Blackpool?

Light up your visit to the Vegas of the North with a stay at the Premier Inn Blackpool (Beach). And whether you're jetting away or 'holidaying at home', the Premier Inn Hotel Blackpool Airport is a great base. Right by the airport, yet within walking distance of the seafront.