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About Blackpool beaches, Lancashire

Blackpool has never had any airs and graces, and has managed, by hook or by crook, to maintain its status as one of the UK’s most popular places for tourists. Its success can be put down to an endless dedication to unpretentious holiday entertainment: from tacky pier shows to mind-blowing fairground rides, from tongue-in-cheek kitsch to the famous illuminations. It’s something of a hen and stag magnet, but, on the upside, has pockets of retro charm that are like nowhere else.

Beach:

The 11km (7 miles) of golden, sandy beach is the reason the holidaying hoards come here. Lifeguards are on patrol. Trams run up and down the entire length of the sands, and there are plenty of facilities – including three amusement-laden piers. The sands are overlooked by Blackpool’s famous Eiffel-like tower – the only part of Blackpool that’s in any way similar to Paris. This is the supreme British seaside resort, with an overwhelming extravagance of amusements, fairground rides, and surreal seaside kitsch.

Beyond the beach:

Explore Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, a series of pavilions built in 1878. They have an air of faded, dilapidated splendour: the Spanish Hall Suite is shaped like a carved galleon. Recently they’ve been used for all sorts of entertainments harking back to the kitsch of yesteryear, including historic fairground-style displays by national burlesque specialists The Whoopee Club.

Family fun:

Besides the bucket-and-spade fun of the beach, there’s Blackpool Pleasure Beach (www.blackpoolpleasurebeach.com), a thrilling amusement park with a mind-boggling array of rides, including Europe’s biggest, fastest, scariest rollercoaster: The Big One. As well as state-of-the-art rides, there is a brilliant collection of vintage rollercoasters, including the world’s first Big Dipper. You can buy an unlimited ticket or buy a Pleasure Beach pass, which gives you admission to a couple of things and then you can buy additional rides on top.

For watery fun, Sandcastle Waterpark (www.sandcastle-waterpark.co.uk) is an indoor water complex with pools, huge slides, water cannon, water chutes, and more. Punctuating the beach, with more rides and amusements, are three Victorian piers, best and longest of which is the North Pier.

The Blackpool Tower houses some wonderfully old-fashioned entertainment, such as a sequin-heavy Moorish Circus, and a glittering Edwardian ballroom with regular tea dances. You can also take a lift to the top of the tower, for astounding views.

From early September to early November, the Blackpool illuminations light up the town with over half a million light bulbs.

Exploring further:

Blackpool is the perfect base for exploring Lancashire and the surrounding regions of northwest England. Literature fans will enjoy a tour of Pendle whose stunning countryside provided the inspiration for Charlotte Brontë’s novel Jane Eyre. The Forest of Bowland has been declared an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is perfect for taking hikes of bike rides and blowing away the cobwebs.

Splashing out:

For a touch of class amid the clatter, head to Blackpool Pleasure Beach’s champagne and oyster bar, or to Septembers Champagne Bar & Restaurant, 17 Queen Street, for its sophisticated Italian cuisine.