Blackpool is every northerner’s summer side retreat. Many of my northern friends told me of times in their childhood when they were bundled into the back seats of their cars with rush and excitement as they left behind the beautiful rolling hills of Rotherham or Hebden bridge, for the sea side resorts of Blackpool. When telling my northern friends my urge to visit Blackpool they continuously tutted at me saying, “Why would you want to go there? You’ve been to Brighton and Bournemouth; you don’t need to go to Blackpool!” (Quick note: Why do all these beach towns start with B… is that a necessity for a seaside town?) However, the traveller in me was not put off. In fact, it spurred me on; I wanted to experience for myself this incredible tackiness they spoke of and to see what it was like.
Taking a day trip from Manchester and conveniently on a sunny day, it took no longer than 40 minutes to get to Blackpool (it could have been because of my driving but oh well). Parking the car near to the pier my eyes immediately caught attention to the Blackpool Tower. My friend, who is a Manchester local, immediately began to tell me of its historic significance, which was of its similarity to the tower of London, in what it represents. With my nativity and gullibility, I wasn’t sure whether to believe him or not. Now I have found it that in actual fact it was made as a replica of the Eiffel Tower, a tourist attraction for Blackpool. And so we spent our time going up the stairs to see the entirety of Blackpool at our feet. Here, there was scheduled entertainment such as plays and shows, as well as an aquarium you can visit, which we decided against.
Blackpool is a stretch of beach that seems as if it continues on to eternity. Rather than the painful pebbles at Brighton Beach, Blackpool has lovely soft sand that sinks between your toes and makes you think that your somewhere else exotic and luxurious in the world rather than the shores of Blackpool. Piers dominate the beach with a number of arcade games that you can easily spend pennies and pounds on to entertain and amuse yourself. If you walk a little further there is the famous “Pleasure Beach”, which unfortunately charges for visitors even to have a wander and a look around, which meant we turned our noses and ventured elsewhere. Although Pleasure Beach is supposedly full of the more “extreme” rides at Blackpool, which can be terrifying if you are suspended mid-air over a pier, however most are the usual fun fair level of extreme- so have no fear.
The streets are lined with bingo, tattoo parlours, fish n chip shops and hotels that offer cheap accommodation with a pub attached. It seems Blackpool is a repetition of these buildings and I imagined in peak season, families would love to come here and invade the beach, building sandcastles and getting burnt under the English sun. Unfortunately, I did not get to see what Blackpool was like at night, I have heard it is notorious for loutish behaviour and public sexual acts so it would have been very… different to say the least, but at the same time, I am quite relieved.
I did have a lovely time playing mini golf and having fish n chips on the beach, however I think, as my northern friends warned, “once is enough.”