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Blackpool is a Lancashire town residing on the coast of the Irish Sea. At its most popular during 1900 to 1960, Blackpool was an enormously popular seaside resort with northern industrial workers. In recent times the area still sees a big influx of holidaymakers from Glasgow, but is perhaps more renowned as a stag and hen weekend destination, often to the chagrin of locals and some hoteliers.
Blackpool is also well known for its amusements and entertainments, with visitors drawn to the Blackpool Pleasure Beach and its three piers. The North pier (built 1863), Central (1868) and South (1893) offer a huge range of bars, eateries and amusements for families and friends to enjoy.
By Air: Blackpool has its own small airport, although you may not always be able to fly directly to the town. The airport is based 2 ½ miles from the town centre and has daily flights to London's Stansted, Dublin, Isle of the Man, and Belfast.
By Train: There are direct and connecting trains running regularly from Birmingham to Blackpool North railway station. This is located close to the sea by the North pier, and by the Tower and Stanley Park. Blackpool South railway station is the closest to the Pleasure Beach but does not receive a direct train from Birmingham.
By Coach: Direct and connecting journeys are available by the National Express calling at Talbot Road.
By Road: Blackpool can be reached from junction 32 off the M6 onto the M55. To reach the Pleasure Beach, follow signs for Blackpool, South Shore (via Blackpool Airport).
To explore your surroundings, you might like to hop on the tram. Covering the 12 miles of the Promenade, the Blackpool trams carry over 120,000 passengers at the busy summer times. Not only a fascinating tourist attraction, the trams are a vital part of the public transportation.
If you take the tram along the Promenade, you will find the Sea Life Centre on the famous Golden Mile. It houses over 40 displays of sea creatures and a recent addition of the UK's only display of poisonous sea snakes.
About 2 miles from the Promenade, you will find the 256 acre Stanley Park. Opened in 1926, Stanley Park is one of the biggest purpose-built parks in England. Its award winning design and features hosts a beautiful Italian garden, boating lake and bandstand to name a few. It also contains the Model Village and Gardens of Blackpool to enjoy away from the bustling crowds.
One of Blackpool's oldest attractions is Louis Tussaud's Waxworks. Its present location however was built in 1929. Undoubtedly however, the most famous sight to see in the town is the Blackpool Tower and its many attractions. Completed in 1894, the Tower stands at 518ft 9 ins tall and weighs 2586 tons.
As well as the attractions inside, lifts run to the top of the Tower every 5 minutes, where you can post a letter at Britain's highest post box and tell everyone about the Tower's aquarium, Ballroom, Jungle Jim's play centre and the restaurant.
Blackpool Tower's famous Ballroom houses the equally famed Wurlitzer Organ, which is now accompanied by the world's most technologically advanced organ; the 3 Deck Wersi. Costing over £30,000 the Wersi has more than 600 sounds and can create the music of an entire orchestra. It is the only one of its kind to be publicly played in the UK.
The Aquarium predates the rest of the Tower, as it was originally a Menagerie opened in the late 1870s. It hosts around 75 species of fish and marine life, including eels, seahorses, and the Amazon's giant Pacu fish.
For a great day's family entertainment, try the Sandcastle swimming pool. Ride the chutes and slides or the wave pool, as well as 35 other interactive features throughout the pool. Food and drink facilities are onsite, so you can keep your family entertained all day.
Most Blackpool visitors however, are likely to head straight to the Blackpool Pleasure Beach. The Pleasure Beach can boast the world's biggest ensemble of white knuckle rides that includes 10 rollercoasters. There are an excess of 145 rides to choose from, as well as further attractions and shows. The Pepsi Max Big One is one of the better known rides on the beach; a rollercoaster at 235ft high, driving you up to 87mph for a mile of twists and turns. The Ice Blast shoots you 210ft vertically, before allowing you to freefall back down the stomach-churning height.
September - October: The Blackpool Illuminations have been an end-of-season tradition since 1879 when their first electrical arc lamps lit the Promenade. Nowadays, the traditional lamps light the way alongside stunning visual displays utilising neon and fibre optics. The shimmering 6 mile length of illuminated displays costs around £1.8 million to create with an electricity bill of £60,000. The results however, attract over 8 million visitors.
For a bit of culture or some musical entertainment; plays, shows and concerts are shown year round at the Grand Theatre, the Winter Gardens, and the Opera House.
As Blackpool attracts a large number of stag and hen parties, you will likewise be able to find a lively pub or two, as well as some quieter watering holes. Rumours Fun Pub, Branningans and The Castle are all guaranteed to give you a noisy night out!
Blackpool is also a good destination for gay drinkers and clubbers, with Flamingo being a popular dedicated gay club. Funny Girls is a renowned transvestite cabaret show bar, frequently attended by all kinds of crowds and becoming a local institution.
The Syndicate holds 5000 revellers dancing to the latest dance tunes, while at Flares nearby you can shake your booty to 70s disco.
There are a variety of eateries to suit the multitudes of tastes of locals and visitors. For Indian cuisine for example, there is the Gulshan Tandoori. For a taste of the Orient, the Mandarin Chinese Restaurant can be found on Clifton Street, while Via Vineto satiates those with an appetite for Italian flavours.
There are many reasons why tourists come to Blackpool, and although shopping is not usually among them there are places to find quality goods or grab yourself a bargain. The Hounds Hill Shopping Centre is in the centre of the town between Blackpool Tower and Winter Gardens. It is home to more than 40 high street shops and a large café.
For independent shops and speciality goods, try Market Street, Church Street, Victoria Street or Bank Hey Street. When you need a break, try Birley Street for a huge choice of indoor and outdoor cafes as well as a variety of shops.
Looking for a market? Find one at Abingdon Street. It offers fresh fruit and vegetables alongside an array and gifts and products.