Every autumn, millions of people flock to the northern seaside town of Blackpool to view a gigantic FREE annual light show, known as the Blackpool illuminations. In 2019, the lights will be switched on between 30th August and the 3rd November, which is excellent timing for the October school holidays.
For any families that haven’t yet seen the greatest free light show on Earth, here are 10 reasons why you have to visit Blackpool — and how to make the most of your trip there.
1. Enjoy the Illuminations
Of course, you have to spend some time viewing the iconic illumination display, which has over a million lights across six miles of Blackpool’s coastline. With so much colour and sparkle, it’s difficult to know where to look, but it’s a fantastic experience that can be enjoyed by all ages. To see as many as you can, choose to walk, drive or catch a tram — there’s no one set way!
2. Family Afternoon Tea at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom
The Blackpool Tower Ballroom is world-famous for its spectacular architecture and fantastic dance floor, so it’s absolutely worth the visit. Here, you can pull out the children’s party dresses and smart shirts and the family can step back in time and experience the Tower Ballroom in style with a family afternoon tea.
3. Stroll along the Promenade
What’s a trip to the seaside without a promenade walk? Start at the south end of the promenade and stroll up the North Pier — known as the Golden Mile — and back again to soak up the Blackpool experience. With the wind in your face, a bag of chips and views of the Irish Sea, these are the memories that children cherish. You’ll also pass many of the iconic locations en route, so it’s a great way to familiarise yourself with the area.
4. Blackpool Beach
What’s a stroll along the promenade without going to the beach? While it’ll likely be a bit chilly at this time of year (definitely pack a hat!), there are miles of flat golden sand to explore that are ideal for walking comfortably. You’ll also find traditional donkey rides if you want to add a touch of British nostalgia to the family visit.
5. Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Situated along the promenade is Blackpool Pleasure Beach — a wonderful amusement park and the UK’s only Nickelodeon Land. The park has plenty of rides (including the UK’s tallest roller coaster) and shows and events that both kids and adults will love. Don’t forget to grab a pack of hot doughnuts and a stick of rock!
6. See a Show at the Grand Theatre
The Grand Theatre is one of Britain’s premier heritage theatres, which helps to create a unique Blackpool experience. Seeing a show is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon or evening. So whether you want drama, dance, or family-friendly entertainment, you’ll find the perfect performance to enjoy together.
7. Firework Championships
For four brilliant Fridays in autumn, the World Firework Championships will once again be lighting up the skies above Blackpool. This free event will see fireworks fired over the North Pier with amazing displays synced to music from some of the most talented fireworks technicians in the world. You’ll have a fantastic view from anywhere along the Blackpool seafront.
8. The Blackpool Tower Dungeon
With 100 years of history, live theatrical actors, special effects and 10 scary shows, the Blackpool Tower Dungeon is sure to frighten you. There’s also a terrifying ride for anyone brave enough. If you’re visiting in October, this is perfect for Halloween!
9. Coral Island
Sometimes, you need to let the kids run wild and burn off some steam, especially if it’s cold and raining. That’s where Coral Island comes in as it’s Blackpool’s largest indoor free admission family-friendly attraction. This fun park has plenty of pirate-themed games and rides.
10. Sandcastle Waterpark
Located at South Beach, Sandcastle Waterpark is a massive indoor waterpark set in an 84-degree tropical climate. There are over 18 slides and attractions, including water slides, fun pools, a wave machine, water chutes, burger bars, snack bars, arcades, a swim shop and plenty more.
Back at home, you can continue to tell the kids to “turn of the lights because it looks like the Blackpool Illuminations” — and they’ll know exactly what you mean!