Towering Traditions of Blackpool

In Counties, Lancashire, Mini Breaks, Our Journeys, Trip-Types, UK Travelby Janis2 Comments

Amongst the tango of illuminations

Well, in 2017 our timing could have been better, as we were greeted by hurricane Ophelia on arrival. However, we were not going to be defeated; the show must go on.

The Frigate at the Pleasure Beach, Blackpool Illuminations, Lancashire, England, UK

And so, it did….minus a few light bulbs and billboards.

Illuminated tram at night, Blackpool Illuminations, Lancashire, England, UK

Every year since 1879 (bar a few of the wartime years) Blackpool promenade is awash with twinkling lights for 66 nights, from early September to early November.

With the wind in our hair

Blackpool is located on the Northwest coast of the UK and has an amazing ‘Golden Mile’ shoreline with the Irish Sea.

On sunnier days, the seashore would have been full of excited children building sandcastles, but as the bracing winds took hold, we were struggling to stand up, let alone a sandcastle support itself.

The listed North Pier and Tower, Blackpool, Lancashire, England, UK

The amazing free light display which stretches 6 miles/10km along the coast from Starr Gate to Bispham, is the main attraction this time of year and is enjoyed by visitors young and old, nobody is excluded.

The Casino, Blackpool Illuminations, Lancashire, England, UK
Close-up of the lights, Blackpool Illuminations, Lancashire, England, UK
Theatre D'Amour, Blackpool Illuminations, Lancashire, England, UK

Our favourite travel reads

Lights On

On 30th August 2019, the annual illuminations will be turned on by Lucy Fallon from ITV's Coronation Street. Joining Lucy will be Busted, the English pop band, along with the multi-talented singer-songwriter Nina Nesbitt, and Sigma, the British drum and bass DJ and record production duo who have twice topped the UK singles charts.


Blackpool Rocks, Blackpool Illuminations, Lancashire, England, UK

Many people choose to drive along the route taking in the displays hanging above them, but we believe the best way to enjoy them is strolling along the coastline.

Little Miss Muffet, Blackpool Illuminations, Lancashire, England, UK
Swan Lake, Blackpool illuminations, Lancashire, England, UK

Particularly by Bispham where you can wander next to the older traditional illuminations, that families have enjoyed for decades.

Alice in Wonderland, Blackpool Illuminations, Lancashire, England, UK

Head south

But certainly, don’t miss the ever-changing light display on Blackpool’s iconic tower. If you walk from Bispham towards the tower, you get an incredible view for a couple of miles.

Tram and the Tower, Blackpool Illuminations, Lancashire, England, UK

Don't forget

Every week the lights are turned on 15 minutes earlier. Check out the times on the Visit Blackpool Website.

Take a ride

Another way to enjoy the illuminations is to jump on a tram; there are of course the usual trams which run through the day along the promenade.

However, an extra special ride is on one of the three themed historical trams cars. You have a choice of either the Great Western train, a frigate or a trawler, which is picked up at the Pleasure Beach.

The illuminated Train, Blackpool Illuminations, Lancashire, England, UK


Remember; The illuminations are only on for 66 nights, for 2019 they run from 30th August until 3rd November.

It’s not just the illuminations

The centrepiece of Blackpool is undoubtedly the wonderful iconic tower, built in 1894 and inspired by the Eiffel Tower; it stands 518 feet (158 metres) tall. It is an amazing site day or night.

The mighty Blackpool Tower, Blackpool, Lancashire, England, UK
The Blackpool Tower, Blackpool, Lancashire, England, UK
Retro Tower and Tram, Blackpool, Lancashire, England, UK

I really cannot stress enough, that you can’t visit Blackpool without walking into the incredible Tower Ballroom. It is breathtaking, the décor and the sprung dancefloor are quite astonishing.

It was a must for me to visit, as I love watching BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing (or “Dancing with the Stars” if you are from the States), it’s liked you’ve stepped into another era.

Inside the Tower Ballroom, Blackpool, Lancashire, England, UK

However, if you are not proficient in a Waltz or a Tango like us, you can just sit and admire others as they elegantly glide across the floor.

The Wurlitzer inside the Tower Ballroom, Blackpool, Lancashire, England, UK

If you are confident enough and you don’t mind an audience, you can even take to the dance floor yourself. There is the traditional ballroom and Latin music being played on a lovely old Wurlitzer organ.

The dancefloor of the Tower Ballroom, Blackpool, Lancashire, England, UK

Unfortunately, due to the high winds, we were unable to visit the top of the tower (Hurricane Ophelia had a lot to answer for).

Ticket Tip

Blackpool Tower tickets can be purchased at the Tourist Information office opposite the tower, at a discounted price. The Tower Ballroom ticket was £2.95 cheaper per person, and you were even able to jump the queues.

Comedy Carpet

The Comedy Carpet, Blackpool, Lancashire, England, UK

A more recent bit of fun to be added to Blackpool promenade is the Comedy Carpet. Situated just opposite the Tower is a fantastic 1880 square-metre floor covering, which include whimsical quotes from 850 writer and comedians.

Biggus Dickus, Blackpool, Lancashire, England, UK

This free piece of public art is just full of funny quips and lines from famous geniuses past and present.

Don't Mention the War, Blackpool, Lancashire, England, UK

3 Piers

The South Pier, Blackpool Illuminations, Lancashire, England, UK

Blackpool is one of those British seaside resorts which is steeped in history. Although, it is a bit tarnished by modern influences, it still hugely fun to enjoy.

The South Pier, Blackpool Illuminations, Lancashire, England, UK

Hidden behind some of the showy facades, with a little bit of TLC, a bygone era is crying to be let out.

The North Pier at low tide, Blackpool, Lancashire, England, UK

Even its three piers mix the past with the present, with the North Pier being a Grade II listed building.
Unfortunately, again the North Pier was closed due to the weather.


A short stroll back from the promenade and the Grand Theatre comes into view, the wonderful Victorian theatre was built in 1894 and is still used today.

The Grand Theatre, Blackpool, Lancashire, England, UK
The Winter Gardens, Blackpool, Lancashire, England, UK

Just beyond the theatre, the Winter Gardens complex can be found. Also, a Grade II Listed building built in 1878. It appears to be currently undergoing a facelift.

Something to make your travels easier?

The Great Promenade Show

A more recent installation is “The Great Promenade Show” which is a free display of ten pieces of artwork, along Blackpool Promenade, by the Pleasure Beach.

Our favourite here was the High Tide Organ. However, as the waves were lashing over the sea wall, we didn’t hang around too long. We had recently returned from a trip to Croatia so wanted to compare Blackpool’s to Zadar.
Perhaps it was the time of year, but Zadar won it for us (sorry Blackpool).

The High Tide Sea Organ, Blackpool, Lancashire, England, UK
The Swivelling Wind Shelters, Blackpool, Lancashire, England, UK

Don't forget

To check the high tide times for the Organ

The Giant Glitterball, Blackpool, Lancashire, England, UK
Desire - The Great Promenade Show, Blackpool, Lancashire, England, UK

But also along the New South Promenade was the world’s largest mirror ball, which is covered in 47,000 mirrors & weighs six tonnes.

Our Tip

If you want to see “The Great Promenade Show”, which includes the High Tide Organ, catch a tram to Starr Gate and head north to the Pleasure Beach. We found it easier this way.

Getting Around

As with most places and Blackpool is no exception, the best way to explore and discover, is to put on your comfy shoes and start walking.

However, the promenade here is long and a day on your feet can take its toll. The trams are so easy to use, you can just jump on and pay the conductor on board. If you didn’t want to use the modern trams there is also a Heritage Line, for a bit of nostalgia. (these are a little more expensive)

Heritage Tram and Blackpool Tower, Blackpool, Lancashire, England, UK

Saver Ticket

If you want to hop on and off the trams, I suggest you purchase a Saver Ticket which is £6.00 for 24 hours, as most fares are £2.40 for even a fairly short journey.

Where we stayed

Our accommodation for the two nights we were in Blackpool was at “The Imperial Hotel”. Sitting high on the North Promenade, this elegant 19th-century hotel has over the years been frequented by Royalty, politicians and the legendary Bruce Forsyth.

The Imperial Hotel, Blackpool, Lancashire, England, UK

The busy hotel bar is called No.10, as currently eight British politicians have stayed at the Imperial and now all have a mirror inscribed to them.

Its location was ideal for us, about 10/15 minutes walk north of the Tower and had ample parking at £6 a night.

Have You

Visited Blackpool to watch the illuminations, or did you go for a spin in the wonderful ballroom, we’d love to know what you enjoyed?

Something for the Traveller

Inspired to visit Blackpool?

Do the Illuminations tempt you? Don’t worry if you’ve missed them though, there’s plenty to see all year around?

Why not check out the latest deals on Booking.Com?
Towering Traditions, Blackpool Illuminations, Lancashire, England, UK

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About the Author


Janis, the co-founder of Our World for You, was born in London and raised in Kent and the Isle of Wight. Along with Gary her partner, they have been travelling part time since 1995. In 2016, they decided that enough was enough with the 9 to 5, so armed with the knowledge and experience that they had gained on their adventures, that they wanted to inspire others to travel the world near and far.

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  1. Oh, so many things to love about this! The lights, the pier, the amusement rides, did I mention the lights?! Wonderful, and I would love to visit this place if given the opportunity! #farawayfiles

    1. There’s something quite unique about Blackpool, it’s definitely your old style seaside town. Wandering along the promenade and seeing the old trams and Blackpool Tower makes you smile whatever age you are.

      You must visit the Tower Ballroom if you get the chance to go.

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