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Blackpool Lights 2014: Tripping the Lights Fantastic in Northern England!

Blackpool Lights 2014: Tripping the Lights Fantastic in Northern England!

May 12th, 2014, 10:28 AM
  #1  
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Blackpool Lights 2014: Tripping the Lights Fantastic in Northern England!

http://www.blackpool-illuminations.n...14details.html

The Blackpool Illuminations is one of England's most awesome sights IME and one of the most popular events in the UK, drawing millions of mainly locals from miles around.

So if planning a trip to the English North Country spend a night in Blackpool, a still thriving seaside resort that I always love even without the Lights being on.
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 1st, 2014, 10:17 AM
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If anyone is planning to be in the area from August thru early November check out the Blackpool Lights, one of the most popular and interesting if somewhat tacky such extravaganzas I've seen.

If you got a car you can drive along the promenade with zillions of Brits doing the same thing - if not walk or take one of Blackpool's iconic famous trams - one of the oldest tramways in Europe if not the oldest.

Also check out the Blackpool Tower - patterned after the Eiffel Tower and about as half as tall (or more) - a delight on every floor - senior citizens ubiquitously dancing to organ music in the very very grand ballroom is a treat!

Anyone been to the Blackpool Illuminations (a k a Lights) besides me - what did you think?
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 1st, 2014, 10:01 PM
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OK, I'll bite.

It really is pushing things to call Blackpool "a still thriving seaside resort". In the mid-50s, when I used to endure interminable coach trips to that tacky autumn traffic jam PalQ raves over, it was attracting 17 million visitors a year, most staying for a week.

In 2013, that was down to 10 million, with just 42% staying for even one night. In the Orwellian language of the town's promotional agency, visitors in 2013 "almost matched the 2012 annual total" (ie were still falling).

Now you might argue that, with so much against it, Blackpool is doing jolly well to keep its visitor numbers as high as half what they were in the days before cheap foreign travel.

The town's council is trying: it's spending about £300 mn of its (and the nation's, and probably even a bit of the EU's ) tax revenue on trying to tart the place up.

But tourism to places in Northern England (like Liverpool, York, the Lake District and Hadrian's Wall) with things people want to see and do, and decent hotels and restaurants, is booming. Blackpool simply hasn't got a private sector with the resources - or gumption - to match the huge infrastructure investments the rest of the North's tourism has attracted.

It's a quirky theme park devoted to what the Elsie Tanner generation did for fun when they weren't picking each other up at the Rover's Return.

But most of us these days are more interested in walking or cycling through the North York moors, Liverpool's museums and architecture, Manchester's football (well some are), the archaeology of Vindolanda, York Minster's stained glass, the gastropolis of Cartmel (home of the sticky toffee pudding) or the retail horrors of the Trafford Centre. Or the world's finest motorway service station, at Tebay on the M6.

Watch the Tour de France this weekend, realise that the pubs, hotels and restaurants of the Yorkshire towns they're cycling past are beginning to rival the scenery they're labouring through (and the festivals mounted to entertain the visitors), and you'll see the real reason Blackpool simply can't begin to compete any more with the spectacular success stories in tourism throughout the rest of the North.
flanneruk is offline  
Jul 1st, 2014, 10:56 PM
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I recommend walking from the Tower to Bispham to see the lights - this section contains the more elaborate features and is faster than driving! You can combine the walk with a visit to one of the many fine fish and chip shops in Bispham (we like the Middle Chippy - there is a top Chippy but I have yet to find the bottom Chippy). Either end of Blackpool is great for walking at anytime of year. The bit in the middle is the problem.If you want to look down your nose at people, the Tower Lounge on a Saturday night is the place to be. You stick to the floor, the place reeks of beer and vomit and you can witness some spectacular fights - not for the feignt hearted.

Thumbs up to Yorkshire, it repeatedly rewards those prepared to explore it.
stevelyon is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2014, 02:47 AM
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Flanner. The Tebay people have opened Gloucester Services on the M5. I wonder how they are doing. We always stop off a Tebay on the way to Scotland and stock up at the farm shop on the way home
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Jul 2nd, 2014, 03:09 AM
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Tebay Cotswolds has only been open since May, and we just haven't travelled to the SW or Wales since then.

To get to it, we've got to pass Daylesford. Of all the places to set up as its competitor for the Cotswold Piggy Pound (I suppose it really ought to be called the Gloucester Old Spot Pound), who'd a thunk it'd be a motorway service station?
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Jul 2nd, 2014, 03:26 AM
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I live in Blackpool and I suspect the truth is somewhere between PalenQ's exuberance and flanneruk's downbeat-yet-realistic anaylsis.
Yet the town (borough) council does come up with new ideas and initiatives. The coming of Mama Mia - a major West End show - has certainly added to the town's attractions and there are events throughout the season, such as flying displays and international fireworks competition using the seaside location to good effect. True we cannot compete with the natural beauty of the Lakes, historical monuments of Chester or York and sporting and gourmet offerings of Manchester, but our appeals are to a different kind of tourism based on fun and recreation. 11 million annual visitors can't all be wrong, and residents get a lot out of them too.
Consult http://www.visitblackpool.com/ if you are planning a visit or a stay to see what's on.
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Jul 2nd, 2014, 04:24 AM
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Blackpool Rocks! Well it sells Blackpool rock and all the other tacky stuff along the seaside strip - toffy - cotton candy - yup fish and chippies galore - and rowdy pubs and especially for this rail-nut Blackpool trams - add the Illuminations to all this and you have a very unique scene, albeit one not for everyone's tastes - not much for the chattering classes.

For a foreign tourist Blackpool epitomizes the British working class stereotypes - yup like those you see at the Rover's Return and on Corrie.

All those neat tourist magnets flanner is on about are fab places but their claimed increasing popularity I think has no effect a'tal on Blackpool's crowds - I mean what Blackpool denizen would eschew the city's lures for say a walk along Hadrian's Wall - 11,000,000 visitors still makes Blackpool one of Britain's top visitor places.

Yup just love Blackpool - the other England most tourists never see.
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2014, 04:37 AM
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Eleven million visitors may or may not be wrong.

But Blackpool gets only ten. And those numbers are falling as fast as Coronation Street's audience figures.
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Jul 2nd, 2014, 08:06 AM
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With a good spring and so far a good start to the summer season, Blackpool is expected to top 11 million in 2014.
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Jul 2nd, 2014, 08:12 AM
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"cotton candy"
I very much doubt it's called that in Blackpool.
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Jul 2nd, 2014, 08:52 AM
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Even Corrie characters don't go there anymore, since Jack and Vera passed on. It's the Lake District for a day out now.
anicecupoftea is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2014, 12:13 PM
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What about Roy and Hayley? Shown last October.
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Jul 2nd, 2014, 12:15 PM
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And someone recently took their kid to Blackpool Pleasure Beach amusement park, said to be the most visited paying attraction in Britain outside of London (not sure bout that but that's what I read!).

And others have gone too but not like Jack and Vera - wonder if his pigeons flew over there?
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Jul 2nd, 2014, 12:33 PM
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Hayley was dying and Roy wanted to fulfill her dream of dancing in the Tower Ballroom. Not quite your normal day out.

If you ever watch "Four In A Bed", there's always a Blackpool B&B on there, and they just reinforce the stereotype of cheap, but not cheerful, stag and hen destinations. [Shudder]
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Jul 2nd, 2014, 11:17 PM
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Jack and Vera's favoured place was Southport not Blackpool. In one moving scene Jack has guessed that Vera (who had been missing for some time) had headed to Southport (place of their honeymoon). Vera is looking out to sea in the distant horizon. The conversation went like this:

"Ooooh Jack, you do care, you found me. I was just about to throw myself into the sea"

Sympathetic Jack offers: "Well me little swan duck, you had better get a move on the tide is going out"
stevelyon is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2014, 12:32 AM
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Mrs Bilbo went to hear a court case a couple of years back. Not impressed.
bilboburgler is online now  
Jul 3rd, 2014, 12:43 AM
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I wondered where Pal's annual Illuminations thread was! It's a bit early this year, but hey, it's probably a slow day:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...once-again.cfm

Good to see Alec still acting as Counsel for the defence.

stevelyon, it was "Swamp Duck".
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Jul 3rd, 2014, 06:54 AM
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"I was just about to throw myself into the sea""

At Southport?

There are Olympic 50 km walking champions who'd fail to walk that far.

Standing on Southport prom, and looking out to the horizon, the horizon's closer than the sea.
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Jul 3rd, 2014, 07:14 AM
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I love Blackpool because of the flotsam of British life you see here - warts and all that is Blackpool - to me one of the most fascinating places I've ever been in decades of world travel.

For something different and just pure fun head to Blackpool, Lights or no lights this is always the proverbial human comedy. And is in many ways the real England that many tourists never see - and yes I am on pay from the Blackpool TIC!
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