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Destination Guide 2021

What’s Hot For 2021 | All Hail The Empress | Happy Birthday Blackpool Pleasure Beach

A warm welcome to Blackpool If we had a red carpet long enough to stretch along our famous Golden Mile, we’d lay it out to let you know how pleased we are to see you!

award-winning attractions, incredible free events, year-round programme of top-class shows and entertainment, and the UK’s best public park.

This past year, we have all experienced times like no other. Now it’s your time to enjoy a resort like no other.

Relax and recharge. From a budget bolthole through to boutique chic, Blackpool offers quality accommodation whatever your budget.

There is so much to embrace. Happiness awaits. Carefree times lie ahead. Magical memories are here to be made. Whatever your heart yearns for, you’ll find it in Blackpool. Enjoy the taste of freedom and the feel of sand between your toes on our beautiful beaches. Delight in our

Whether you are looking for a next-generation luxury hotel with a sea view or a cosy, comfortable guesthouse, the town has an impressive array of places in which to enjoy your stay. Join in the celebrations as the world-famous Blackpool

Pleasure Beach marks its 125th anniversary. The UK’s most ride-intensive amusement park plans to commemorate this remarkable achievement in style – so make sure you’re in on the fun. The coming year will mark another momentous occasion with the opening of our new £28million Blackpool Conference and Exhibition Centre, offering a very different experience for event organisers and delegates alike. We are also eagerly anticipating the opening of Blackpool’s first five-star hotel. Sands Venue Resort Hotel and Spa on Central

Promenade will offer guests unparalleled luxury and boast the largest penthouse suite outside London. Take a spin on a boardwalk Ferris wheel. Catch your breath at the top of The Blackpool Tower. Hang out with Friends. Take in the fresh, salty sea air. Lick your lips after the best fish and chips. There are so many reasons why millions of people come to Blackpool every year. We hope this destination guide will give you the best insight into how to plan and enjoy a trip to the ultimate family resort. See you soon! 3

What’s Inside At a Glance


What’s Hot For 2021 The heat is on with our can’t-miss to-do list

8-9 Place of Many Colours Find out how Blackpool is supporting the nation’s rainbow uprising 10-11

World-Class Events The resort is home to an extraordinary 2021 events programme

12-13 A Pipsqueak’s Paradise Bring your little pirates to a world of not-so hidden treasures 20-21 A Year We’ll Never Forget 2020 will long live in the memory with some unforgettable moments 22-23

125 Years of the Empress Join The Empress Ballroom for a right royal birthday celebration


Year of Shows Blackpool is razzle dazzle ready to put on a great show

26-27 Oi, Punk The biggest punk festival in Europe is set to celebrate its 25th birthday 28-29 Bring on the Light Get ready to shine with more than a million magical bulbs


30-31 Eating Out Enjoy a taste of the good life with great eating out options 32-33 The Sweet Spot A match made in heaven – the seaside and Notarianni’s ice cream

10-11 4

Bring on the Light

Image: Sean Conboy

43-50 36-37 A Dog’s Life How Blackpool goes the extra 56-57 yard to welcome man’s best friend 40-41 As Time Goes By Take a trip down memory lane 60-61 with a century of Blackpool holiday guides 34-35

Our Green and Pleasant Land Check out Blackpool’s other side at one of the nation’s best-loved parks

125 Years of Blackpool Pleasure Beach The UK’s most ride-intensive theme park is getting ready to celebrate a special birthday Blackpool Means Business Discover the extraordinary venues that offer unforgettable experiences to conference delegates Rediscover Wyre Revel in coast and beautiful countryside in the towns and villages of our near neighbours

Blackpool 2021 Destination Guide Creative Design: Gemma Alderson, Georgie Ireland. Editorial Content, Colette Cassin. Sales: Jo Ashton, Gillian Whitehouse. Cover Image: Gregg Wolstenholme. Please note: The information in this guide was correct at time of going to press. For regular updates on all shows, events and attractions go to


125 Years of the Empress Ballroom 62

Image: Dylan Foto

Delights of the Fylde Coast Great places to eat and visit just a hop, skip and jump away from Blackpool


64 48 Hours in Lancashire Explore the diverse beauty and attractions of the Red Rose county 66-67

Check-out then Check-in Brand new hotels ready to offer you a traditional Blackpool welcome



Win A Luxury Break Win a luxury break at the Berkeley Apartments and enjoy some holiday heaven


100 Years of Transport A big birthday for our buses!


AccessAble Blackpool A warm welcome for all


Big-Hearted Blackpool Share the love for the UK’s favourite resort with some special people!

Regular Features 68-69 Boutique and Classic Luxury Take a peek inside some of the resort’s opulent places to stay 70-85

Accommodation A guide to everything that Blackpool has to offer to suit all tastes and pockets

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What’s CLOWNING AROUND FOR 30 YEARS! Hot For 2021 2021 promises to be special for the world-famous Blackpool Tower Circus as the talented Endresz family celebrate 30 years and nine generations in the show.

What’s up? The temperature dial that’s what! The heat is on with our can’t-miss list of new things to see and do when you visit Blackpool in 2021. Explore our one-of-akind experiences and attractions and, don’t worry if you can’t do them all in one visit. It’s a good excuse to come back!

To mark the occasion they’ll be presenting more spectacular acts than ever before and starting the 2021 season early in time for February half-term.

Headline acts for Lytham Festival 2021 include Diana Ross, Lionel Richie, Lewis Capaldi, Snow Patrol and Duran Duran, with special guests such as Jack Savoretti, Luke La Volpe, Gloria Gaynor, TLC, Kodaline, and Jade Bird.



There will also be DJ sets by Adele Roberts and Craig Charles. The festival will take place on Lytham Green from Wednesday 30 June to Sunday 4 July. Five-day passes and individual tickets are available at

A Blackpool designer best known for creating wildly theatrical outfits for Lady Gaga will be bringing a new dimension to Blackpool Illuminations in 2021. Jack Irving, who created the infamous inflatable sea urchininspired showgirl dress for the final night of the singer’s 2014 World Tour, was joint winner of an Illuminations design competition along with a team of students from Lancaster University. Artists were asked to create a new installation and the


Although still a closely-guarded secret, Laci has revealed there will be one unique artiste who holds 15 world records and a ‘Wheel of Death’ stunt act. Blackpool Tower Circus is very much a family affair. Laci, together with his father, Laci Senior, mother, and brother, Bubu, write the show, make the costumes and props, create the music and source the acts from around the world, ensuring the best in circus entertainment is brought to Blackpool every year. Make sure you don’t miss it.

Laci Endresz Junior – better known as Mooky the clown – said: “There really is no better circus audience than the one we have here in Blackpool. As a family we have performed all over the world and it really doesn’t get much better than Blackpool!

FES TIVAL SUPERS TAR LINE-UP Some of the biggest names in the music industry will be performing on the Fylde Coast in a fantastic five-day extravaganza.

“We are really looking forward to celebrating our 30-year birthday in Blackpool next season with some incredible acts which we are starting to line up already.”

deep-sea themed design by 26-year-old Jack, who studied at Central St Martins College of Art and Design, wowed a judging panel led by Illuminations Creative Curator Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen. Unfortunately, the Coronavirus pandemic meant the plans to create a piece inspired by ‘the glamour of Blackpool, sea organisms and the BBC TV series Blue Planet had to be put on hold. But, fingers crossed, the installation will be on display as part of the Illuminations from September 3 to November 7, 2021.


Ship ahoy! Little ones can sail the seven seas without leaving dry land at the new outdoor play area at Anchorsholme Park. Designed to be fully inclusive for children of all ages and engaging for youngsters with special needs and disabilities, it includes an activity area designed like a boat! Situated at the northernmost end of Blackpool seafront, the park has a new café, comfortable outdoor seating, sports areas, a music and performing arts amphitheatre and a popular bowling club.

THE BEST OF FRIENDS! The ultimate Festive Friends event is heading to Blackpool for the very first time! Comedy Central UK has announced the event - which celebrates all the best seasonal moments from the world’s favourite TV show – will be heading to Blackpool Winter Gardens from 5th – 19th November 2021. FriendsFestive will give fans the chance to:

Visit The Holiday Armadillo’s Grotto Recreate the titles in the snow with a digital snow globe photo opportunity Ring Phoebe’s bell outside the mall Re-enact the iconic Thanksgiving floating heads scene Channel their inner Monica and Ross as they

grab a picture at the New Year’s Rockin’ Eve Disco Check out Monica’s apartment, Joey and Chandler’s and Central Perk, all dressed for the holiday season There will also be themed food stalls and Christmas cocktails as well as brand new and exclusive FriendsFestive merchandise.


HIGH-FIVE OUR FIVE-STAR HOTEL Blackpool’s first five-star accommodation, The Sands Venue Resort Hotel and Spa is preparing to open its doors on Central Promenade over the coming year. It will feature two-rosette dining with panoramic views and a fabulous Art Deco reception. The hotel’s new Wild West Diner is already open for business. This themed American-style family eatery is serving a menu of mouth-watering steaks, burgers, ribs and chicken. 7

Place Of Many Colours Rainbows have become symbolic of many things. They represent courage and compassion, hope and harmony, trust and thankfulness. Over the past year, the brightly coloured arches have played an important part in our lives, proudly displayed in the windows of homes, emblazoned cheerfully across jumpers and T-shirts, and even painted on the chubby cheeks of our children. Blackpool is proud to be supporting the nation in this rainbow uprising and we have already incorporated the symbol into our world-famous Illuminations. It’s a perfect fit because this is a place that radiates brightness and beauty even when skies are grey. You’ll find every colour of the rainbow here waiting for you and, who knows, maybe a pot of gold at the end of your visit!




The rich ruby velvet drapes in the spectacular Blackpool Tower Ballroom. They have provided the stunning backdrop to lots of magical occasions such as visits by Royalty including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and hosting BBC’s prestigious Strictly Come Dancing show. A visit to Blackpool is not complete without stepping inside this truly iconic venue.

Bikini Bottom Bus Tour in Nickelodeon Land at Blackpool Pleasure Beach! Take a spin as you hop on board and bob up and down past coral and fish. It’s just one of 12 amazing rides offering family thrills and memories that will last a lifetime. Join SpongeBob Square Pants and his friends for a fab day out.

The world’s first indoor white-knuckle Sidewinder - an almost vertical drop into an exciting half-pipe ride. You’ll find it at Sandcastle Waterpark, the UK’s largest indoor waterpark featuring 18 attractions including breath-taking slides, fun pools, a wave machine and great water-based play for younger visitors.




Almost 400 acres of beautiful green space at Stanley Park. Step through the magnificent wrought iron gates and you will understand why this Grade II listed park, which opened in 1926, has been voted the best in the UK twice in three years. More than 2million people visit every year. Make sure you’re one of them. You’ll leave feeling impressed and inspired.

Captain Marvel – just the kind of woman you need when Earth is caught in the middle of a Galactic War between alien races. You can rub shoulders (and take a selfie!) with one of the Universe’s most powerful super-heroes at Madame Tussauds along with Thor, Iron-Man and a host of jaw-dropping A-listers.

Purple The colour of light with a wavelength between 380 and 450 nanometres! Impressive, huh? But not nearly as mind-blowing as what you’ll witness during the awardwinning Lightpool Festival which returns in October with a spectacular display of light installations, 3D projection shows, art trails and live performance. 9

World-Class Events for 2021

5 JUNE BLACKPOOL PRIDE All the colours of the rainbow come to Blackpool for Pride By The Seaside, a weekend celebration of diversity featuring a carnival parade and a full programme of entertainment including big-name music acts.

Celebrate with Blackpool Pride

Blackpool is home to some extraordinary events – and the best thing is many of them are free! Here are some 2021 highlights. (Please note the 2021 events programme could be subject to change depending on any coronavirus restrictions in place at the time of each event. Please check the website for regular updates).



It’s a unique opportunity to join thousands of runners on a traffic-free Promenade for a 7.5km fun run under the Illuminations – and raise money for the Brian House Children’s Hospice at the same time.

One of the most magical nights in our events calendar when, for one night only, the six miles of Promenade will be closed to give thousands of cyclists an opportunity to get a sneak


3-5 SEPTEMBER ILLUMINATIONS SWITCH-ON WEEKEND The biggest weekend of the year when Blackpool celebrates the start of Illuminations season beginning with a fantastic outdoor party featuring a stellar line-up of musical talent and the Switch-On moment by a guest celebrity. Join the 20,000-strong audience by entering the ballot for free entry or guarantee a place by purchasing a Golden Circle ticket.




preview of the Illuminations before the official switch-on. Prepare to be dazzled as bikes of all shapes and sizes take advantage of the traffic-free route. Free event, suitable for all ages.



Celebrate the arrival of autumn with a trip through the country’s most enduring and endearing free attraction. Take the opportunity to get out of the car and marvel at some of the magical tableaux and light installations along the Prom.

Get your finery on for two nights of classical music with a twist at Blackpool Cricket Club - an outdoor arena surrounded by beautiful parkland.

Make some noise for the bright lights of Blackpool!


18-20 JUNE INTERNATIONAL SOUL FESTIVAL 5 Sea, sand, and the sound of soul. Can life get any better! Legendary names such as Betty Harris, Dean Parrish, Darrow Fletcher, Maxine Brown, Barbara Mason, G C Cameron, and Jimmie Delphs will be gracing the stage at Blackpool International Soul Festival 5 at the Winter Gardens.

Get ready for Blackpool’s biggest international soul festival to date!


7-8 AUGUST BLACKPOOL AIR SHOW Watch in wonder as some of the world’s most incredible aircraft and aviators perform jaw-dropping aerobatics and fly-bys over Blackpool seafront. A brilliant weekend of free family entertainment with food stalls, sideshows and a real festival atmosphere.

21-27 JUNE ARMED FORCES WEEK Blackpool has long enjoyed a special relationship with Britain’s armed forces. During the Second World War, it was home to one of the world’s largest military training centres with almost 800,000 recruits. Ready-made accommodation meant Blackpool was a natural base for billeted servicemen, relocated civil servants and thousands of evacuees.

2021 celebrates 25 years of iconic music and style

5-8 AUGUST REBELLION Festivals don’t come with much more attitude than this one! Expect coloured hair, tartan clothing and ripped leg-wear for an extended weekend featuring the best in live punk rock with bands performing on seven stages in the Winter Gardens.



Image: Darren Nelson


10,17, 24 SEPTEMBER AND 1 OCTOBER WORLD FIREWORKS CHAMPIONSHIP BLACKPOOL Watch the Blackpool night skies light up with brilliant firework displays synced to music as teams from across the globe battle it out. Free to attend – simply head to the Tower Festival Headland on the seafront and prepare to be thrilled!

We will be marking the occasion with a flourish, as we did in 2020 when our VE Day and Battle of Britain anniversary commemorations included lighting The Blackpool Tower in patriotic red, white and blue.



The resort evokes fond memories for those based here. That’s why we celebrate the contribution of them all over several days with a range of formal and informal events leading up to Armed Forces Day.

16, 17, 18 OCTOBER NICKELODEON SLIMEFEST If you have never experienced the awesome entertainment that is SLIMEFEST, then prepare to be amazed. It’s a glorious mix of music, mayhem and slime. A star-studded lineup will feature in six concerts over three days at Pleasure Beach Arena.

The award-winning Lightpool Festival returns for October half-term with an amazing programme of light installations, 3D projection shows, art trails and stunning live performances.


Image: Gregg Wolstenholme

A Pipsqueak’s Paradise! Bring your little pirates to the perfect Pipsqueak’s Paradise and let them uncover a world of not-so-hidden treasures!

Why not join a trail of pint-sized adventures that will leave youngsters giddy with delight. Blackpool through a child’s eyes is a truly magical world of wonder, from sharks swimming above their heads to colourful carousel horses with golden manes! Fun in Blackpool can be as simple as tickly sand between podgy toes and ice cream dripping down sticky fingers. It doesn’t matter how many times they have been, there’s always something new to discover for little ones in the UK’s favourite seaside resort. They’ll leave with new memories worth their weight in buried gold and, like the best pirates, hatching plans for a return journey.

Captain Jack awaits! A bag of doubloons (or 2p coins!) is all you need for hours of fun at Coral Island. The amusement arcade on the famous Golden Mile is Blackpool’s largest free admission attraction. Kids can eat free all day, every day with a paying adult. Soar above the action on the Pirate Flyer ride and watch out for Captain Jack who is regularly on the prowl with his loot bag of chocolate coins.

Riding high Join SpongeBob SquarePants, Chase, Marshall and Skye from PAW Patrol and Team Nick for a fun-filled day at Nickelodeon Land at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. It’s home to 12 amazing rides and a whole host of characters from the world’s number one kid’s entertainment channel. Watch out for those nifty Ninja Turtles too. Shiver me timbers! Does anything beat a cold ice cream on a warm day at the seaside? Maybe one served in a special Teddy Bear cone! Established in 1928, Notarianni’s Ice-Cream Parlour at South Beach uses a secret recipe that has been passed down through four generations. Choose from sundaes – including one named after the Golden Mile - milkshakes, ice cream floats, and classic favourites such as a Knickerbocker Glory. Yum! Bear thrills! Light up your day – or night - by seeing one of Britain’s bestloved bears and his famous friends. Giant models of Sooty, Sweep and Soo take pride of place on Blackpool’s famous Golden Mile as part of the Illuminations. The colourful display is a celebration of the little glove puppet, right here in his birth town!

Sail the seven seas Dive into the deep end at SEA LIFE Blackpool. Enter the mesmerising world of a tropical reef or, if you feel brave enough, trek through the Amazon on a Rainforest adventure. Go face to fin with more than 2,500 sea creatures and get closer than ever before with inhabitants of the deep… including sharks!

Golden gems Building sandcastles, splashing about in the sea, scouring for seashells, sandwiches that taste SO much better in the great outdoors, magical sunsets, the screech of hungry seagulls (not to mention peckish Pipsqueaks!), sun-kissed noses… nothing comes close to a day at Blackpool beach.

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Feathery, furry, scaly, slimy, hairy, cuddly, cute, or just plain scary … we’ve got lots of wonderful wildlife in our seaside resort.

And then of course, there are the animals. You’ll find mammals, reptiles and birds of every shape, size, and colour from every corner of the globe at Blackpool Zoo.

If you love animals, you’ll love a day out at Blackpool Zoo. Our award-winning, family-friendly attraction, has more than 1,000 incredible creatures.

Get ready to go wild!

If you’re looking to have a fun-filled, fact-fuelled day, you can’t go wrong with fabulous Blackpool Zoo. You won’t believe what’s waiting for you. Petrifying, prehistoric, animatronic dinosaurs for starters! The life-size models have pride of place in the newly-improved Dinosaur Safari. Little ones can monkey around in one of the many play areas, including OrangU-Tangle where children can climb, swing, and mimic the nearby apes. Or get up close with the guinea pigs, goats, rabbits, ponies, and donkeys in the Children’s Farm.


Entertaining and educational u Blackpool Zoo is one of the must-see attractions in Britain’s favourite seaside resort. Often described as a hidden gem, the zoo provides a haven of peace, tranquillity and more than 1,000 animals in 37 acres of traditional, spacious parkland and lakes, as well as offering an educational yet fun day out for all the family, whether you’re nine months or 99 years old! From aardvarks to zebras, marmosets to giraffes, the residents come in all shapes and sizes. Learn all there is to know about the animal

kingdom as you explore the zoo, and with babies arriving year-round, there’s always something new to see.

Intrepid explorers welcome! u Your journey starts 230

million years ago as you enter Dinosaur Safari, home to eight animatronic dinosaurs. Come face-toface with the terrifying tyrannosaurus rex, mighty marine reptiles, awesome pterodactyls and more than 30 other stunning prehistoric creatures. These are all set around an erupting volcano,

a lake with running streams and a living curtain of water. Sound effects and thousands of authentic living plants and trees bring the prehistoric world vividly to life. Project Elephant Base Camp, the largest indoor elephant house in the UK, opened its doors in 2018. A huge outdoor space provides grass paddocks, a sand area, and a large, deep pool, all of which you can enjoy views of from raised and ground level walkways. It offers the latest handling facilities to ensure the highest standards of care and welfare for its residents, a herd of six Asian elephants ranging from six to 50-years-old. The newest arrival to the herd, 28-year old male Emmett, joined us in 2019 with the hope of breeding in the future.

Come up close to fierce predators as you head down to the Big Cat House to see the Amur Tiger and fatherand-son African lion duo, Wallace, and Khari, before standing tall at Giraffe Heights. Blackpool Zoo boasts the only family of gorillas in the North of England, so make your acquaintance with Bukavu, Miliki, Njema, Meisie, Moanda and baby Makari. Next door, in Orangutan Outlook, you’ll find a family of amazing and lively Bornean orangutans. If you’re looking for something a little more serene, why not head to a quiet corner of the zoo and appreciate some of the lesser-known animals such as the beautiful red pandas or fascinating anteaters.

There is usually a full schedule of talks, feeds and displays as well as walkthrough exhibits such as Lemur Wood and Rainbow Landings. These are currently dependent on government guidelines and restrictions at the time of your visit, so please check the website before planning your visit. Share your memories with your family and friends and keep up to date through the zoo’s social media channels. Blackpool Zoo is open every day from 10.00 am. (except Christmas Day)

Buy online to guarantee entry! Blackpool Zoo East Park Drive, FY3 8PP T: 01253 830830 E:

Hungry for more? u Feeding time at the zoo is important so enjoy a tasty meal or snack from the Lakeview Café or newly themed BBQ Hut. Oh, and don’t forget to buy your souvenirs in the gift shop on the way out!

Tiger Fact: Tigers are primarily solitary animals, coming together only to breed. They can live up to about 15 years in the wild and longer in captivity. 19

A Year We’ll Never Forget 2020 will long live in the memory.

It was a year when so many of the things we know and love were transformed by pandemic lockdown and restrictions. It was a time when VisitBlackpool adopted a “Don’tVisitBlackpool” mantra over many weeks as health experts battled to contain the coronavirus. And as the lockdown started to ease, our attractions opened up but with a very different mode of operation including safe distancing, face coverings and limited capacity. But throughout it all, there were moments that we will cherish as we welcomed back visitors old and new.


LIGHT OF OUR LIVES The NHS is the cornerstone of our great country. So it was a fitting tribute when our most famous landmark, The Blackpool Tower, was illuminated blue every week as a mark of respect to the healthcare professionals, keyworkers and volunteers who worked so tirelessly. The Blackpool Tower and Winter Gardens also joined other major UK monuments and landmarks such as Windsor Castle, the Palace of Westminster and the Royal Albert Hall in supporting the #TurnItBlue campaign to mark the 72nd birthday of the National Health Service and remember those who lost their lives.

UNTROUBLED WATERS We all need breathing space even our seas.

u Troubled times helped turn the tide for our seashore.

A mixture of reduced traffic and emissions, less pollution, and a drop in demand on marine resources helped transform the sea at Blackpool into a crystal clear blue. Dust caused by driving and human activity can create particles that make the waters look dark and murky. Less disturbance for the sea and everything beneath it left it looking almost tropical.

DOLPHINS CAME A CALLING! u Amid blazing temperatures in late spring, a pod of bottlenose dolphins was spotted swimming a few hundred yards away from Blackpool’s shoreline. According to the Sea Watch Foundation, sightings of this popular species of marine mammals are rare in our waters. These beautiful creatures that normally swim in pods of up to 25, have a short thin beak and a curved mouth, giving the impression that they’re always smiling. Which is exactly how we like to see all of our visitors to Blackpool!



Heroes come in all guises, each with a different story to tell.

u Blackpool Illuminations switch-on is always a unique event. Never more so than in 2020, when we scored a new first by staging a virtual switch-on party.

The courageous champions who lit up a special section in Blackpool Illuminations are no exception.

FROM STANDSTILL TO SUPER THRILL Thrill seekers went from having their life on hold to experiencing the acceleration of a Formula 1 racing driver! As soon as they were able to, visitors to Blackpool Pleasure Beach were back in the hot seat on Icon – the UK’s first double launch rollercoaster - but this time in branded face masks.

The faces of more than 50 nominated ‘Corona Heroes’ formed part of a dazzling display of hearts and rainbows on the famous Golden Mile. They were selected from hundreds of nominations by the Illuminations’ Creative Curator, Laurence LlewelynBowen to pay homage to the extraordinary efforts of the NHS and other key workers from around the UK during the pandemic.

The traditional outdoor show was replaced by a free-toaccess streamed event in association with MTV, acting as a curtain-raiser for the Illuminations season. We also extended the Illuminations season to run until the end of the year for the first time in history. One thing that didn’t change was the standard of talent in the line-up which included pre-recorded performances by Spice Girl Melanie C, Fleur East, Becky Hill, Tom

Grennan, Diversity and a magical live performance by Blackpool’s very own Rae Morris in The Empress Ballroom. The virtual show was hosted by Diversity’s Jordan and Perri, and featured charttopping DJ, Joel Corry. It attracted 225,000 views across the globe as people tuned in to see the lights turned on by Corona Heroes Leona Harris (frontline nurse); Rachelle Sutton (Nightingale Hospital nurse); Will Ritchie (courageous six-year-old fundraiser); Dr Jason Cupitt (Intensive Care Unit Consultant); David Anderson and his therapy dog Jasper; Donna Doyle (hospital catering manager); and Kirsty Jones (hospice nurse).

It was part of a range of new policies and procedures introduced by the park to ensure it remained safe for visitors – and served to make the ride even more unforgettable! 21

u 2018 The BBC Philharmonic Orchestra

Light Odyssey at Lightpool


Anniversary of The Empress Ballroom


“A spectacle of majesty, colour and dance unequalled in any other ballroom in Europe.” Just one of the many evocative statements attributed to The Empress Ballroom in Winter Gardens Blackpool, which celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2021. The magnificent ballroom was designed by renowned architects Mangall and Littlewood - who also conceived the original adjoining Opera House with ornate plasterwork by J. M. Boekbinder. The Empress Ballroom was mostly completed in the summer of 1896 when it 22

was first opened for a short season in August of that year. Measuring 49 metres long by 24 metres wide and with a height of 19 metres it was one of the largest ballrooms in the world and was said to be able to “dance over three thousand people simultaneously on its new Wonder Dance Floor” ! An awe-inspiring, highly decorative, barrel-vaulted ceiling, elegant balconies and glittering glass chandeliers added to the breath-taking opulence of the historic building. The main entrance to this magical space where dreams were realised and memories

made was through the newly-created Empress Buildings in Church Street, Blackpool. This led spirited revellers through the Italian Gardens, beside what was then The Indian Lounge - now The Arena - and the Giant Ferris Wheel with its 30 carriages, each able to carry 30 people.

The Legendary Line-Up: Just some of the many famous names that have taken to the stage at The Empress Ballroom u Queen were welcomed

like royalty when they chose The Empress Ballroom as the venue for the opening concert of their first ever headlining tour of the UK on 1 March 1974. It marked the first time legendary frontman Freddie Mercury was seen playing piano on stage and ended with him singing ‘Hey Big Spender’ as an encore!

u Back in 1964, The Rolling

u A WELCOME RETURN Towards the end of the First World War in 1918, The Empress Ballroom was commandeered by the Admiralty as a space to assemble gas envelopes for the R.33 class airships. Thankfully, it was handed back the following year when some restoration work was required. Although the ballroom’s three original chandeliers could not be reinstated, 12 new ones were hung in their place. A new sprung floor was fitted in 1934 which involved laying 10,000 strips of oak, mahogany, walnut,

and greenwood, on top of 1,320 four-inch springs, and covering almost 4,000 metres. The Empress Ballroom remains one of the most popular venues within The Winter Gardens complex and a major attraction for tourists and locals, as well as being a mecca for ballroom dancers from across the globe. It has been the stunning backdrop to an array of events over the years including political party conferences and music concerts. The first Blackpool Dance Festival was held during

Easter week in 1920. More than a century later, the ballroom still plays host to the world’s greatest dancing competition - the British Professional and British Amateur Ballroom Championships. Looking ahead, 2021 will see The Empress Ballroom doing what she does best – delighting people – and welcoming such diverse entertainment as the Foals in concert (6-7 May); an Elvis Celebration (2–4 July); and The Specials (11 September). Be sure to pop in and wish our grand old lady a richly-deserved happy birthday!

Stones were banned from Blackpool after their concert at The Empress Ballroom ended in a riot. Chandeliers were smashed, seats were ripped, a Steinway grand piano smashed, and 50 fans and two policemen needed hospital treatment. The ban was finally lifted 44 years later in 2008.

u Mr Brightside was at

the seaside in 2006 when The Killers launched their big comeback at The Empress Ballroom on a stage festooned with fairy lights in front of an army of 3,000 adoring fans and a live broadcast by Radio 1’s Jo Whiley and Zane Lowe.

u Other luminaries

include Status Quo, The Smiths, Oasis, The Manic Street Preachers, Kaiser Chiefs, Kings of Leon, Radiohead, Beautiful South, Paul Weller, Will Young, Pixie Lott, Mika, Daniel Merriweather - the impressive list goes on and on and on…!

Top left image: Barnet Saidman/ Blackpool Council Heritage Service Dancers images: Dylan Foto



Lights, camera, action… After the darkness of the last few months, Blackpool is razzle dazzle ready to put on a show! Whether you’re looking for a large-scale musical extravaganza, laughout-loud comedy, live performance to make your heart soar, or a spectacle of dance that will have your toes tapping, there’s a seat waiting for you. One-of-a-kind shows are very much part of the resort experience.

Blackpool and ballroom go hand-in-hand in 2021 with three shows featuring a Strictly Come Dancing flavour.

FRIDAY 7 MAY I AM HERE First up on Friday 7 May is Oti Mabuse – I Am Here, a whirlwind celebration of the influences that took her on a journey from growing up in South Africa to following her dream.

TUESDAY 1 JUNE STRICTLY COME DANCING THE PROFESSIONALS UK TOUR THURSDAY 1 JULY HIM & ME Strictly Come Dancing The Professionals UK Tour promises to be electrifying on Tuesday 1 June. On Thursday 1 July Anton Du Beke and Giovanni Pernice join forces for their first tour together HIM & ME.

MONDAY 14 JUNE – WEDNESDAY 16 JUNE MRS. BROWN’S BOYS LIVE SHOW If you haven’t experienced Mrs. Brown’s Boys live show, this tour is set to be one of the hottest tickets for 2021 and is not to be missed. The award-winning Brendan O’Carroll promises to take the audience in Blackpool on an exhilarating and side-splitting adventure.

The Opera House Blackpool

You’ll find something for everyone in Blackpool. Here is just a selection of what’s on offer.


Come on… it’s time to get this show started!

Legendary names such as Betty Harris, Dean Parrish, Darrow Fletcher, Maxine Brown, Barbara Mason, G C Cameron, and Jimmie Delphs will be gracing the stage as part of Blackpool International Soul Festival 5. The event will be the biggest to date so make sure you’re chilling out with the crowd.

During 2021, some shows may be subject to change due to any COVID restrictions in place at the time. Please check the website for regular updates 24

FRIDAY 16 JULY – SATURDAY 17 JULY LET THE LIGHT IN One of the nation’s bestloved entertainers, Jane McDonald, is back in the seaside resort on Friday 16 July – Saturday 17 July with her phenomenal new live show Let the Light In. It promises an evening of music and laughter but following her sell out tours of 2018 and 2019 you’ll need to book early to secure your seat.

FRIDAY 3 SEPTEMBER – SUNDAY 5 SEPTEMBER THE BRITISH COUNTRY MUSIC FESTIVAL Following a successful launch in 2019, The British Country Music Festival will be back in Blackpool in 2021. Five stages will be hosting the best of new country and Americana artists alongside the new wave of British stars and a select number of international performers. Dress to impress. 25

k n u P ! Oi, y a d Birth y p p a –H

Rebellion – the biggest punk festival in Europe - is set to celebrate its 25th anniversary in the place where it all began: Blackpool. The event, originally called Holidays In The Sun, launched in the resort in 1996. It then moved to Morecambe, changed its name to Wasted, before travelling around the globe to Australia, USA, Japan, Germany, Holland, Italy, Basque and Austria, gathering hordes of devotees en route.

For the past decade, everyone who buys a ticket to Rebellion has received a free, full-colour A4 programme. Like the festival itself, these have gone from strength to strength, with some editions running close to 100 pages. Packed with interviews, reviews, articles, and adverts from key people on the punk scene, the programmes are now sought-after souvenirs and collectors’ items.

Rebellion 2021

2007 saw the official rebrand as Rebellion. From that point on, the festival has grown in size and stature, with literary and acoustic stages, art exhibitions, poetry, vintage clothing stands, tattooists, healing workshops and so much more – but always with punk at its core, 100% independent and a familyrun event. Image: Gisela Szlatoszlavek

When: 5th - 8th August Where: Winter Gardens Blackpool

and Henry Rollins. More acts to be announced.

Line-up includes: The Undertones, Tom Robinson Band, Stiff Little Fingers, Sham 69, Cockney Rejects, Circle Jerks, Cock Sparrer, Bad Religion, Steve Ignorant

Open to all ages. Children under 12 are free when accompanied by an adult.

Punk fact Sid Vicious got his stage name after being viciously bitten by Johnny Rotten’s pet hamster, Sid.

Punk fact The Sex Pistols song ‘God Save the Queen’ was banned by most radio stations because of its disrespectful message. But that didn’t stop it from reaching Number 1 in the UK charts. 26

Image: Visit Fylde Coast

Get ripped Punk is more than just music, it’s a mindset. For over half a century, punk has stood its ground in the world of anti-fashion. It’s all about making a statement and making it heard. According to punk lore, your look needs to clash, not be cohesive.

Oxford English Dictionary punk /pʌŋk/ noun 1. A loud, fast-moving, and aggressive form of rock music, popular in the late 1970s. “Punk had turned pop music and its attendant culture on its head.” 2. An admirer or player of punk rock typically characterized by coloured spiked hair and clothing decorated with safety pins or zips.

Punk fact Johnny Rotten’s favourite fashion item was the bin bag, describing it as a ‘perfect, perfect item of clothing.’ “Just cut out a hole for your head and your arms, put a belt on, and you look stunning” he said.

Think black leather jacket: bondage pants, ripped and skinny jeans; Dr Martens or military style boots; pins, paint, and spikes; plaid patterns; skull rings; graphic hoodies and vintage band T-shirts; leather corsets and kilts; and dyed hair. Anything goes. But only one thing is essential: Attitude. Images this page: Main image: Craig Szlatoszlavek, Other images: Dod Morrison 27



From out of the darkness shine more than a million magical bulbs, bathing the entire Promenade in a sea of light. Each twinkling glow representing joy, optimism, and a promise of good times ahead. For generations, children and adults alike have been entranced by the spellbinding seafront spectacle, lost in the wonder of a world transformed by a heart-warming and uplifting display. Blackpool Illuminations. A kaleidoscope of colour. A thing of beauty for more than 140 years. There is nothing else like them on earth‌

Image: Sean Conboy 29

A Taste Of The Good Life

Eating out Tuck into the seaside favourite of fish and chips (ketchup optional!) or an award-winning dim-sum spread. How about an American-style burger or ring the changes with a lavish tasting menu? Blackpool’s food options are as diverse as the town itself. You’ll find something to meet everyone’s taste. Here are just a few options to whet your appetite:

On the seafront… u You’ll find breath-taking views and fresh wholesome food with a Mediterranean feel at The Beach House Bar & Bistro.s

The signature Beachside Restaurant at The Boulevard Hotel fuses cuisines from across the globe with a focus on locally-sourced ingredients.s

SITUATED ON THE PROMENADE… u The award-winning, nationally-acclaimed Wok Inn offers a great mix of authentic Asian dishes and eclectic modern design. New to North Pier, the Bloom Bar is a luxurious lounge where you can relax and enjoy the most incredible sea views as you eat and drink. You won’t want to leave before you’ve watched the sun go down! On Talbot Square, opposite North Pier, the Cookhouse

h Bloom Bar

& Pub beneath the new familyfriendly Premier Inn is perfectly placed and within easy reach of the Golden Mile, serving up breakfast, lunch and dinner.

American-style family eatery and the place to go for big mouth-watering steaks, burgers, ribs, and chicken dishes.

The Wild West Diner at Blackpool’s fivestar Sands Venue Resort Hotel and Spa is a themed

s Wok Inn

There is a wide-ranging menu of cooked-to-order rotisserie and grilled seafood and meat dishes, together with world-famous fish and chips at Harry Ramsden, beneath The Blackpool Tower. 30

The Buccaneer Family Bar and Restaurant is set on board Captain Jack’s Pirate Galleon in Coral Island where kids eat free, all day, every day, including the Sunday Carvery. Baby food is available on request.


u Saunter down Birley Street and marvel at the Brilliance lighting display while deciding where to eat at the many places on this vibrant, traffic-free stretch. The independent, familyrun Bank Bar & Grill restaurant offers fresh, locally-sourced food including steaks, burgers, mixed grill, fish, stroganoff, and beer-battered fish and chips in a modern, relaxed environment.

Voted ‘without a doubt, the best Chinese restaurant in Europe’ by the renowned Big 7 Travel guide, The Mandarin on Clifton Street has been serving nationally-acclaimed food for more than 55 years. Visitors come from all over the world to try the delicious Cantonese dishes.



Close to the Winter Gardens, you will find Amaro and Stefani’s offering a taste of Italy in Cedar Square.

The Viva Vegas Diner & Bar which overlooks the Comedy Carpet, is an allAmerican dining experience offering classic comfort food, big screen sports, DJs and distinctive late-night live entertainment. Situated on St John’s Square, Quilligan’s Café Bar is renowned for its food and friendly service. Film-themed artwork and dishes create a lively atmosphere. Described as Blackpool’s hidden gem, No. 13 Bonny Street is a good oldfashioned dog-friendly pub that prides itself on serving high-quality, fresh, hearty food including its famous home-cooked Sunday dinner. Get your day off to the best possible start at Number Five on Cedar Square, which is famed for its fabulous full English breakfast! VEGGIES AND VEGANS…

u None of

the staff at Upside Down Coffee on Edward Street eat meat and like to eat what they cook so you’ll find a ‘small but punchy’ food offering as well as a wide selection of coffee and teas. The Cosy Jazz Café on Lytham Road is a 100% plant-based vegan café and takeaway that also offers live music.

Upside Down Coffee


u It’s worth venturing further afield to check out what’s on offer in other parts of the resort with some great independently-owned hidden gems around Highfield Road, Devonshire Road, Squires Gate Lane, and Red Bank Road. The Ghurkha Restaurant and Bar on Waterloo Road serves a variety of Asian cuisine including Nepalese, Chinese, Thai and Indian accompanied by a few English ‘finger foods’ with children in mind. Halfway House on St. Anne’s Road is one of Blackpool’s oldest pubs, newlyrefurbished and featuring a large dining area with stone-baked pizza station. Just down the coast, Lytham has a buzzing restaurant quarter based around the town square. In neighbouring St Annes, Water’s Edge on Heyhouses Lane is a spacious, family-friendly venue with a wide selection of great food available seven days a week. In Poulton-le-Fylde you’ll find a great choice of places to eat out with a wide variety of cuisines, including the regional food of India.

SOMETHING TO DRINK? Chill with a cold beer, cocktail, or glass of wine. There’s so much choice Cheers!

Bank Bar & Grill in the heart of town, family-run The Galleon Bar live music venue on Abingdon Street Bar 380 - at the top of The Blackpool Tower

s The Beach House Bar & Bistro

1887 The Brew Room historic pub on Church Street Soul Suite - on the promenade by North Pier Dirty Blondes - near the Grand Theatre The Velvet Coaster impressive roof terrace overlooking the sea.

For more information on dining out go to: 31

The Sweet Spot The

Treats that bring unbridled joy whatever your age. Ice cream is way up on that wish list and especially if it’s by the seaside. That first delicious taste of a silky smooth scoop instantly melts the heart and brings a smile to our faces. Add some raspberry sauce, a chunky chocolate flake or some rainbow sprinkles and life doesn’t get any better! The Notarianni family have been serving ice cream in Blackpool for 4 generations. One family, one flavour since 1928. Their vanilla ice cream is made fresh every day from locally-sourced ingredients to the same secretly guarded recipe that has been passed down through four generations of the family. It is a long-held tradition that, even after 90 years, 32

they have no intention of changing.

Which is exceptionally good news for all the loyal locals and visitors alike who return year after year!

How it all began… Notarianni’s arrived in Blackpool at the end of a long journey.

Luigi Notarianni was born into a large family in a small village in southern Italy. At the beginning of the last century, it was a povertystricken area and many locals left to find work abroad to be able to support their families. So, like many Italians before them, Luigi and his wife, Messalina, emigrated, first to Scotland - where they opened

their own ice cream business - then to Blackpool. Originally situated on Central Promenade, Notarianni’s Ice Cream Parlour was so popular that they decided to open a second on Waterloo Road in South Beach in 1937. This is where the family still trade today. The Second World War led to Luigi, along with other UKbased Italians being interned on the Isle of Man for the duration of the conflict. It was impossible for Messalina and her daughter to keep both shops running so eventually they closed the parlour on Central Promenade and concentrated on Waterloo Road. After the war ended Luigi once again returned to the business where third and fourth generations of his family still run Notarianni’s Ice Cream Parlour today.


A TAS TE OF SUCCESS Choosing a flavour at Notarianni’s is easy, you can have any flavour you like AS LONG AS IT’S VANILLA! Choosing what to have it served with, less so! A mouthwatering menu of desserts includes traditional two-scoop sundaes, classic favourites such as the Knickerbocker Glory, thick milkshakes, and ice cream floats.

Fresh fruit cocktail, fudge and toffee sauce, honeycomb crunch or chocolate curls, even unicorn pearls and magic glitter – the combinations of toppings are to drool for! Or you can enjoy the simple pleasure of a plain scoop and savour a seaside favourite that has delighted generations of visitors to Blackpool.

Tempting take-away treats Indulge in some delicious goodness-on-the-go with an extensive menu of tempting take-away treats including ice cream cones, sundaes, and milkshakes.

! Notties Mess - fresh raspberries & meringue, two smooth scoops of homemade Italian vanilla ice cream, topped with fresh cream.

Traditional Oyster Delight – coated in chocolate and coconut, with a marshmallow middle, filled with homemade Italian vanilla ice cream.

! Milkshakes - from smooth fruit to your favourite chocolate bar flavour, blended with homemade Italian vanilla ice cream.

Reignite memories of your visit to Blackpool’s famous ice cream parlour by taking home a Notarianni’s vanilla candle! The natural soy wax candles are hand poured into glass jars locally and available to buy for £10.

9-11 Waterloo Rd FY4 1AF @notarianniicesblackpool

! Simply perfect - a homemade Italian vanilla cone, on its own, so you can really appreciate and enjoy the flavour. 33

Our Green and Pleasant Land Think of Blackpool and you immediately conjure up images of the seaside. But don’t forget we also have amazing parks and gardens that offer a lush green sanctuary of peace and tranquillity. Our areas of natural beauty are gorgeous all year round – bursting with beautiful plants in the picture-perfect spring and summer seasons, and a glorious backdrop of red, orange, and gold foliage for an autumn or winter walk. It’s easy for the whole family to escape and enjoy the great outdoors. Choose from fun activities such as pedal boats or bicycle rides or simply take time out for a stroll.

z Band Stand z BMX Track & Model Village

t Boating Lake

Millions of people enjoy Blackpool’s green and pleasant land every year. Make sure you’re one of them. You’ll enjoy a blooming good time!

AN OASIS OF ELEGANCE One of Blackpool’s most historic parks is also one of its most scenic. Stretching across 390 breathtaking acres, the oasis of elegance that is Stanley Park boasts a magical blend of architecture, horticulture, and recreation. Known across the land for its bandstand, boating lake and Italian gardens, this beautiful, tranquil place is a world away from the hustle and bustle of Blackpool seafront. 34

q Crazy Golf

Clock Tower p

q The Garden of Remembrance

Play Area p p Sports Centre

p Athletics Arena

u Twice voted the UK’s best park in recent years, it is open every day between dawn and dusk and is free to enter. The Grade II listed park is split into four zones - the north and western formal gardens; the eastern area lake and woodland area; and the south stretch containing children’s play areas and sports facilities. It’s so much more than a park. It’s a meeting place, a spot to picnic on the grass and a cultural hub that holds some of Blackpool’s most famous landmarks. Just some of the things you should check out during your visit include: The Art Deco Café - a unique restaurant offering spectacular indoor and alfresco views of the park and featuring two Medici lion statues standing guard outside.

u Pitch and Putt

p Italian Gardens

Staying with the big cats, at the impressive Cocker Clock Tower – a memorial to Blackpool’s first Mayor, Dr William Cocker – are two bronze lion head drinking fountains. The amphitheatre surrounding the bandstand and beautiful ornamental bridges over the lake. The Italian Gardens, in the centre of the park, with its marble fountain and four surrounding sea horses. The abundant planting displays in the Rose and Remembrance Gardens.

q Art Deco Café 35

It’s A Dog’s Life For millions of us, our much-loved mutt is not just a pet but a member of the family. So, why leave him at home when it comes to heading to the seaside?

Café Chicco On The Prom (next to Madame Tussauds) and Café Chicco On The Green (at the Solaris Centre) are happy for you to dine in with your dog as are The Gynn Pub and Restaurant (Dickson Road); Albert’s Ale Micropub (Albert Road); Dahlia’s Kitchen Licensed Restaurant and Coffee Shop (Cropper Road); and, not surprisingly, The Little Black Pug Bar (Talbot Road)!

In Blackpool, there is no shortage of places to have fun with your furry four-legged friend. From picnicking in the park with your pooch to a stroll down the Prom, this dogfriendly destination is the perfect place for you and your canine bestie to hang out. Read our special Dog Blog to find out more! A bite to eat

You can even enjoy a traditional seaside supper with your dog beside you in the cosy café at Taylors Fish and Chips (St. Anne’s Road).

When you’re out and about, it’s important to find a venue where there’s a welcome on the doormat for Fido. Whether it’s a cold beer after a long walk, catch-up over coffee and cake or a hearty meal, Blackpool has plenty of dog-friendly bars, cafes, and restaurants. The super-relaxed bar at the extraordinary ART B&B on the Promenade has it all. Sea views; its own bespoke cocktail menu (as well as a full range of beers, wine and spirits); an Alberto 1973 Italian coffee machine; original 1930s-1950s furniture; art installations by Hunt and Darton and it is open to non-residents and their dogs from 10.30am until 11pm, Wednesday to Saturday.


Dog tired!

y Park Betty - Stanle

Pepe - Art B&B

Bella - Stanley Park 36

Upside Down Coffee

Looking for a dog-friendly place to stay? You’ve got plenty of choice to suit all pockets from large hotels and small B&Bs, to self-catering apartments and holiday parks and caravans. These include The Boulevard (Ocean Boulevard) – Blackpool’s stylish new seafront hotel; The Big Blue Hotel at Blackpool Pleasure Beach; The Grand Hotel (North Promenade); the Best Western Carlton Hotel (North Promenade); Adelaide House (Adelaide Street); and the art-deco Corona Guest House on Clifton Drive.

Indie - Comedy Carpet

Rosie on the beach Bulldog Walk - Stanley Park

Shadow The Boulevard

Burbage Holiday Lodge and The Berkeley Apartments (both on Queens Promenade) offer selfcatering accommodation as do Westward Holiday Flats (Park Road). StayBlackpool, the independent hoteliers’ group, can help if you need more information. It is always advisable to contact your preferred accommodation before booking to check for any additional charges and to make sure the dog-friendly rooms are available. Travelling about Dogs are welcome passengers on buses in Blackpool and on both the heritage trams and the new trams too. You must have them on a lead for the whole of the journey, and

Best Western Carlton

– probably unlike at home - they’re not allowed on the seats! A seven-day Rover Ticket will provide unlimited travel for you and your hound. At a cost of £5, they offer a saving of more than 25% compared to purchasing daily tickets. Guide dogs or recognised assistance dogs travel free on both buses and trams. Walkies! Award-winning Stanley Park is a great place to go for a walk with your dog. The Grade II-listed park, which opened in 1926, has been voted the best park in the UK for a second time. Stretching across 390 breath-taking acres, this oasis of elegance boasts a magical blend of architecture, horticulture, and recreation - not to be sniffed at!

Sandy paws

It is advised that dogs are exercised on a lead unless owners have full control using reliable recall, if they are unleashed.

We know that many of you come to Blackpool for our unbeatable sandy beaches and breath-taking views, and we don’t just mean humans! Dogs love to let their fur down by the seaside!

Blackpool Model Village and Gardens This delightful handcrafted model village is set in more than two acres of carefully tended gardens with paved pathways that provide full access for all visitors.

Until 1 May, dogs are free to enjoy the full stretch of our coastline. Between 1 May and 30 September, dogs are not allowed to be exercised on the beach at all between North Pier and the Mirror Ball, opposite the Solaris Centre. Beaches where dogs are always welcome throughout the year are: • The Solaris, Mirror Ball to Squires Gate (South)

BARK - the Blackpool Association for Responsible K9’s and their humans is a new initiative. Supported by Blackpool Council, it is working to make the town more dog-friendly as well as actively encouraging responsible dog ownership. In association with

• North Pier - Anchorsholme (North) 37

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As Time Goes By Some bear creases perhaps where they were hastily tucked into a coat pocket or packed into a suitcase for the journey home. Others are slightly dog-eared and crumpled indicating how well-thumbed they were. All of them promise carefree times in a seaside town like no other. The fascinating collection of official holiday guides and journals, some dating back to as early as 1906, belong to Blackpool Heritage Service. They reveal how Blackpool has advertised itself to the world for more than a hundred years. The sheer pleasure of the seaside and its glorious stretches of golden sands have been attracting visitors to our glorious resort for decades, as this official holiday guide from 1921 highlights. Who knows - maybe one day this very destination guide you’re reading now will find its’ way into the hallowed archives…

To learn more about Blackpool’s diverse heritage go to:

1919-1975 This page, official guide cover 1921. Opposite Blackpool covers 1919 - 1975. 40 41


Special eight-page anniversary supplement

When William George Bean purchased a 42-acre plot of land in Blackpool in1896, he had a vision. He wanted to build an American-style theme park, a place “to make adults feel like children again and to inspire gaiety of a primarily innocent character.” Alderman Bean could never have envisaged that millions of people, both young and

old, would experience unbridled happiness from this fantastical idea. Even less, that in 2021 his creation would celebrate its 125th birthday and still be bringing excitement into the lives of every person stepping through the gates to the magical wonderland that is Blackpool Pleasure Beach…

What A Rollercoaster!

e… an incredible rid t day, has been en es pr e th to 1896 easure Beach in of Blackpool Pl g in en op e th m The journey fro 1910 - 1920

1900 - 1910

u We have lift off! August 1904 saw the launch of the ever-popular Sir Hiram Maxim Captive Flying Machine - the oldest continuous working amusement park ride not only in Blackpool Pleasure Beach but in Europe too.



1930 - 1940

1920 - 1930

u Following the First World War, investment in the park stopped due to the difficulty in exporting rides from the United States. Despite this, profits soared and the company was one of the most prolific employers in the North West of England.


u The 1920s saw a period of great development with the opening of Noah’s Ark and The Virginia Reel. This was followed on 23 August 1923 by the classic Big Dipper wooden rollercoaster offering holidaymakers a fast and modern ride like no other on the park. It is still in operation today.


u In the 1930s, Leonard Thompson succeeded his father-in-law to become Managing Director of Blackpool Pleasure Beach and took over the running of the park. This decade saw the introduction of many new rides including The Rollercoaster, The Pleasure Beach Express and the worldfamous, twin-tracked coaster, The Grand National.


Bring me Funshine! The cheery face of Mr. Funshine was the official logo of Blackpool Pleasure Beach for more than 70 years. Despite being retired in 2006, his big beaming yellow face is still hugely popular with visitors to the park and is still to be found brightening up souvenirs and merchandise. The logo was designed by Tom Purvis, a British


1940 - 1950

u The Second World War put a temporary halt to progress at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. However, during these challenging times the park remained open enabling thousands of evacuees, service personnel and the British public to escape the reality of war.

graphic designer and illustrator whose art deco design work covered many aspects of Blackpool Pleasure Beach including posters, programme covers, and postcards. A selection of his trademark red and black drawings from the 1930s, shown here, are now displayed as artwork in the new seafront Boulevard Hotel.

Tom Purvis was born in Bristol in 1888, the son of a sailor and marine artist. After leaving school he attended Camberwell College of Art in London for more than three years, studying under influential painter and printmaker Walter Sickert and French artist Edgar Degas.

1952 1950 - 1960

u In this decade, the park started a return to prominence with the opening of the highly regarded Wild Mouse wooden rollercoaster in 1958 followed by The Derby Racer in 1959. This carousel has 56 horses, each one hand-carved at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

Purvis was widely known as one of the most important English poster artists of his day, recognisable for his simplified, symbolic, twodimensional and colourful style of printing.

Purvis was widely known as one of the most important English poster artists of his day

He is probably best known for his work with international contemporary artist Austin Reed and the London North Eastern Railway, for whom he produced more than 100 posters from 1923-1945. But, here in Blackpool, he will always be fondly remembered for bringing Mr. Funshine to the resort! 45

Building Blackpool Pleasure Beach into a world-renowned amusement park has been a long and honourable family tradition. Managing Director, Amanda Thompson OBE, has followed in the footsteps of her father, grandfather and greatgrandfather and, to this day, Blackpool Pleasure Beach is very much a family affair.

Amanda’s mother, brother and sister are all actively involved. Deputy Managing Director, Nick Thompson, is involved in bringing new and exciting concepts to the park. Amanda Thompson OBE is also a renowned producer and director of spectacular live entertainment and has been the recipient of the prestigious Michael Elliot Director of the Year award.

rk! e amusement pa ost ride-intensiv m s K’ U e th to ctions ful of small attra From just a hand 1970 - 1980 1960 - 1970

u This decade saw a collection of much-heralded rides opening at the park. These included an enchanting trip through the Looking Glass on Alice in Wonderland; the Grand Prix; overhead Monorail; everpopular Tea Cup ride and the world’s longest Log Flume.



1990 - 2000

1980 - 1990

u Geoffrey Thompson became Managing Director in 1976 and added exciting iconic rides including the Steeplechase, opened by the racehorse Red Rum in 1977. Two years later, Europe’s first 360-degree looping coaster, the Revolution, opened to huge acclaim.


u In 1988, the year the British bobsleigh team were competing in the Winter Olympics, a dazzling new ride, the Avalanche, opened and carried over one million passengers during the first year. It was the first, and as of 2020, remains the only, bobsleigh rollercoaster in the United Kingdom.


u Geoffrey Thompson’s reign saw an investment of £12 million for the world’s tallest and fastest rollercoaster at the time – the Pepsi Max Big One – which opened in 1994. At 235ft tall, The Big One changed the skyline of Blackpool’s seafront.


Her productions include Mystique, Eclipse, Forbidden and the world famous Hot Ice Show returning to the Pleasure Beach Arena for 2021 with Euphoria.

Something for all the family u There is literally nowhere like Blackpool Pleasure Beach, the world’s most ride-intensive amusement park. It has something for everyone including amazing shows, events, restaurants, bars and cafes and unique attractions plus two luxury hotels within walking distance.

It boasts an incredible 10 rollercoasters to choose from, plus younger thrillseekers can enjoy the UK’s only Nickelodeon Land with 12 rides and attractions from the ups and downs of the Blue Flyer to the soaking good fun of SpongeBob’s Splash Bash. Voted ‘Best Indoor Attraction’ in the 2020 UK Theme Park Awards, Wallace & Gromit’s ThrillO-Matic transports riders into the colourful world of the eccentric inventor and his canine companion, travelling though scenes from A Grand Day Out and The Wrong Trousers to the Curse of the Were Rabbit.



2000 and beyond f 2000 saw the biggest investment up to this point of £15 million with the opening of Valhalla. f The Big Blue Hotel opened its doors in 2003 offering luxury accommodation. The 157-bedroom hotel has now established itself as one of the most popular hotels in Blackpool.

f In 2004 Amanda Thompson OBE became Managing Director and invested £5m in the park with re-theming and refurbishment. f £8m was invested in 2007 with the opening of Infusion, the world’s first rollercoaster suspended entirely over water. f 2011 saw a six-acre area of the Pleasure Beach transformed into Nickelodeon Land.

f Red Arrows Skyforce landed in 2015 allowing riders to take a 360-degree spin in the sky.

A visit to Blackpool Pleasure Beach guarantees memories to last a lifetime. As park Managing Director Amanda Thompson says: “Who would have envisaged my greatgrandfather’s dream would last 125 years and continues to be as popular in 2021 and beyond.”

Brrrrrr-illiant Shows! It’s the hottest ticket in town for the coolest show! Hot Ice has been wowing audiences at Blackpool Pleasure Beach since 1937. The purpose-built ice theatre is the only remaining one of its kind anywhere in the world and has been recognised by the Guinness Book of Records.

f Another first opened in 2018 – ICON the UK’s first double launch rollercoaster costing £16.25m. f The £12m Boulevard Hotel opened in 2019 with 120 stylish rooms with views of the seafront or park, a 90-seat restaurant and state-of-the-art conference facilities. 47


Fabulous Facts Behind the scenes at Blackpool Pleasure Beach!

f Every year more than a million

mouth-watering donuts are made and devoured! The delicious sweet smell is too great a temptation.

f Each day, the Big One travels on

average around 250 miles - which is just over the distance from Blackpool to London.

f Pizza the action? No problem! More than 70,000 are made every year.

f Rock around the clock. Visitors enjoy over 200,000 sticks of this popular boiled sugar confectionery.

f The Blackpool Pleasure Beach

maintenance teams use more than 170,000 screws, 12,000 litres of paint and over a million white lights every year.

f If laid end-to-end, all the hot dogs

that are eaten at Blackpool Pleasure Beach would go round the Big One track 23 times!

f Game, set and match. Stretching over an impressive six acres, Nickelodeon Land covers the same area as 27 Centre Courts at Wimbledon. 49

(copyright symbol) 2020 Viacom International Inc. All rights reserved. SpongeBob SquarePants created by Stephen Hillenburg Wallace & Gromit (copyright symbol) and TM Aardman W&G Ltd 2020. All rights reserved. 51

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BLACKPOOL MEANS BUSINESS! During the past decade, there has been a gradual repositioning of the resort to create a place with a rich blend of heritage and contemporary attractions.

Hit the heights and hold a brainstorming session at the top of The Blackpool Tower. The fresh sea air will clear the mind while the breath-taking views will galvanise great results. The internationallyrenowned Tower Ballroom provides the ultimate setting for any event and can seat up to 750 people cabaret-style.

Blackpool North train station


Blackpool is a place like no other.


This has led to the town cementing its position as the most visited seaside destination in the UK.


Now, with an enviable track record of delivering an exceptional experience for around 18 million visitors every year, Blackpool is revolutionising its business tourism offer. More than £500 million of investment in the town’s infrastructure has resulted in the emergence of a vibrant conference and meetings destination that can offer an unforgettable delegate experience. With a new state-of-the-art conference and exhibition centre nearing completion; an unsurpassed range of unique venues; a fusion of next-generation hotels and all-budget accommodation; world-class attractions, outstanding year-round shows and entertainment; great connectivity and direct transport links, Blackpool is ready for the next chapter in its glorious conferencing history.


THE BLACKPOOL CONFERENCE AND EXHIBITION CENTRE The new Blackpool Conference and Exhibition Centre will offer a completely different experience for event organisers and delegates alike.

This £28 million, state-of-theart development has been expertly designed so that it seamlessly integrates with the famous Winter Gardens complex. A hub of 12 distinct venues have been created offering almost five acres of connected conference, meeting, event, and exhibition space, with the capacity to accommodate up to 7,000 delegates. With an impressive 2,400sq metres of dedicated space set over two floors and equipped with advanced

audio and visual technology, the new build adds a contemporary twist to the Winter Gardens site offering great flexibility for large and small events. First opened in 1878, the Winter Gardens features some of the UK’s most distinctive and distinguished event spaces including the world-famous Empress Ballroom, iconic Opera House, and the Olympia Exhibition Hall and has an acclaimed heritage of hosting internationally-recognised political party conferences and other major events.


Take delegates and colleagues for a teambuilding exercise amongst more than 1,000 animals! Located just minutes from the M55, this outstanding tourist attraction offers excellent business facilities with a purpose-built, fully equipped, temperaturecontrolled conference room for 70 delegates.

You don’t need to be a fan of the beautiful game to enjoy the backdrop of Blackpool Football Club for your event. With its own 72-bedroom hotel, the home of the Seasiders can accommodate more than 800 delegates in a wide selection of meeting rooms, most of which have views overlooking the famous pitch.



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There’s no clowning around when it comes to supporting your business needs. The Blackpool Tower Circus is a unique venue with a 360-degree audience setting that can comfortably seat 1,300 people, perfect for presentations, product launches or prize-giving ceremonies.



Be a superhero and organise your event at Madame Tussauds Blackpool. Delegates can mingle with Spiderman, the Incredible Hulk, and an impressive cast of stars with 14 zones and eight versatile spaces in which to host a business function.

BLACKPOOL PLEASURE BEACH Blackpool Pleasure Beach, the UK’s most ride-intensive amusement park, isn’t just about thrills and spills. Within the confines of the park is a range of versatile function rooms and venues. In the elegant seafront Boulevard Hotel, the Shoreside Conference Centre has purpose-built facilities for up to 200. 57

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Grundy Art Gallery

Access Fylde Coast

British Paraorchestra


(a project of Disability First)

The guides are available via both the AccessAble and VisitBlackpool websites as well as AccessAble’s free iOS and Android Apps.

Blackpool is already a welcoming place for disabled visitors. Now a pioneering project called Access Fylde Coast has helped all kinds of businesses, attractions and event organisers in Blackpool and across the visitor region, make further lasting improvements in accessibility. This was possible through using Coastal Communities funding from 2018 to 2020. The pioneering project has been pivotal in enhancing inclusion at popular events such as the Illuminations Switch-On and Ride The Lights with British Sign Language Translation and Mobiloos – mobile toilets for people with disabilities. We’ve teamed up with Blackpool Transport and enhanced their popular App by creating an Easy Read format and British Sign Language video for cultural and heritage attractions across Blackpool, making it easier to plan your visit. @AccessFyldeCoast

They detail the facilities available across Blackpool, ranging from car parking spaces and accessible toilets to hearing loops and lighting levels, helping the UK’s 13 million disabled people, and seven million carers, to make informed decisions.

AccessAble Blackpool Do you spend hours planning a trip out? Have you visited somewhere and found access was not what you expected? Perhaps you’re anxious when visiting a new place? AccessAble takes the stress out of going out, providing detailed information to work out if a place is going to be accessible to you.

Blackpool Council has worked with @access_fylde_coast AccessAble to create Detailed Access Guides to more than 400 venues including The Blackpool Tower, Madame


Tussauds, The Comedy Carpet and the Winter Gardens.

Everyone’s accessibility needs are different, which is why accurate information is so important and why everything in the guides have been checked in person, by trained surveyors. AccessAble aims to help people with a wide range of accessibility requirements including visual and mobility impairments, autism, mental health issues and long-term health conditions. The guides are also designed to help others with access needs, such as parents with prams or the elderly needing to know more about walking distances or areas to rest. or download the AccessAble App from the Apple Store or Google Play Store.