Visiting Blackpool as a #TravelodgeTourist

Friday, November 6, 2015

Journey with us as we play #TravelodgeTourist in Blackpool and discover some of the city's must-see attractions for a rip-roaring family day out!
A diary of two days spent visiting Blackpool as a #TravelodgeTourist from

What do you think of when you hear the word Blackpool?

 Is it the UK's number one destination for hen and stag debauchery? Or perhaps that it's a stomping ground for one of the largest and most invigorating gay communities in the Northwest? Or Strictly, the fact that it's home to one of reality TV's most-loved shows? More than just a seaside resort, Blackpool has been called the Vegas of the UK and while that comparison might be inflating things slightly, it is a splendidly dazzling destination with something for everyone.

Being a #TravelodgeTourist in Blackpool

Just before October half term, I received a request from Travelodge to play tourist in Blackpool. Armed with a £200 budget and a tick list of 10 must-see attractions, I began to plan our trip. The remit didn't include a stay in a Travelodge hotel (although there are quite a few in Blackpool, including a rather ritzy modern establishment, just a short jaunt from the sea front), so we kipped at my mother-in-law's in nearby Lancaster and commuted in to the city on our second day.

Our first day was a murky, drab day, the rain came in with the tide yet Blackpool still heaved with daytrippers: gaggles of hen parties and families out for one final hurrah before the glory days of half term ended. Thick fog hugged the coastal city on our second day, cloaking the vibrant promenade and even obscuring the view of the piers and the landmark Blackpool Tower. In spite of the weather, we still managed to tick off quite a few destinations from our list:

Blackpool Model Village & Stanley Park

Kick start your Blackpool break with a jaunt around the Blackpool Model Village |
From top left: Callum with his treats for a successful mole hunt, a quiet village street, a posh chateau, the weekly village market complete with pottery stand and Callum conquering one of the many bridges.
An unassuming shed-like structure sits on the outskirts of Stanley Park, a sign cautioning you to beware of guard dogs and barbed wire loops the outer wall. Enter through the archway and make your way round to the right to Blackpool Model Village (BMV)'s tiny shop and ticket office. Entrance fees for a family of four will cost just under £30, inclusive of a £2.50 charge for making use of the facility's pay and display car park.

Armed with two activities to complete whilst wandering through the model village, a mole hunt for the under 5s and a 30 question quiz about the nuances of BMV village life (What are the vicars names?; How many shops are there in the village?), we said our goodbyes to the resident pussycat, lounging in the foyer of the shop, curled on one of the garden chairs, and made our way up the slight incline, through the gate and into the miniature world.

As far as model villages go, BMV does a pretty impressive job. With it being the penultimate weekend before winter closure, there were some models in need of a bit of TLC, a lick of paint, a window repair et cetera, but all-in-all, the model village was entertaining and exciting. You'll find your usual model village staples: out-of-date corner stores and ancient vehicles, but you'll also find a few unique additions like a suspension bridge, a pier, a meditation corner and a Romany camp.

A placid view of Stanley Park's boating late in Blackpool |
The serene lake just moments after we were nearly viciously (and comically) attacked by a hungry swan.
Stanley Park lies just behind BMV and boasts of a beautiful boating lake populated with swans and a few different varieties of ducks. Nature trails loop around the lake and the entire park, busy with joggers, walkers and families out for a stroll. There's also a BMX park, a cafe, a shuttle train and ample space for picnicking, weather permitting, of course. Entry to the park is free and other various activities range in price from £1 to £5 with a return spin on the shuttle train costing two quid per person.

Our Favourite Pub and Favourite Restaurant in Blackpool

Blackpool's best kept chippy secret and a family-friendly pub are excellent refuelling stops |
You'll find the best fish and chips in Blackpool in Bispham and you can't beat the prices at a Crown Carvery for a roast dinner.
I don't want to tell you this; it's a best-kept secret and you have to promise not to tell anyone. Each year after we've crawled through the Illuminations traffic, oohing and ahhing over the coloured lights, we stop off for fish and chips at an award-winning chippy in Bispham called The Top Chippy. Whilst the portion sizes aren't as generous as at most chippies, the food is consistently mouthwatering. Of course, in the number of times we've been frequenting this place, the only things we can accurately account for are the fish and chips, but they do get 10 out of 10 for those!

The Top Chippy is tucked away down a side street, just opposite Bispham Station, at the end of the Illuminations. Some days there's a queue and when there is one, it's usually out the door! It's a proper English takeaway with no space inside for eating; you get your grub and go elsewhere to scoff it down. Usually that means along the seafront in the car, overlooking the water. But on this particular occasion, said front was blanketed in fog and the traffic in Blackpool was too heavy to warrant a hunt for more scenic locations. We gobbled up our fish and chips in the carpark of the Sainsburys just a few feet down the road! Prices are reasonable with a portion of fish and chips from £2.70.

We don't tend to frequent pubs much these days, but I'm a sucker for a roast dinner, so when we do go in a pub, it's usually to try out their carvery. The best we've found in Blackpool is at a sprawling massive pub called The Squirrel. It's a Crown Carvery, so you can be sure of the quality of food you'll get and a welcoming environment. There's space for dining outside in the summer months, but this time of year, with winter fast on our heels, the cosy interior with its flannelette curtains and quaint decor is just as welcoming. Finish off your meal with a warm pud and you'll be set for the harsh chill outdoors. A carvery for four (although children eat free) including drinks and dessert will be in the region of £30.

Blackpool Illuminations -- Family Friendly Night Life

Blackpool is renowned for its glitz and glamour and the Illuminations are an extension of that. |
Blackpool comes to life after dark during Illuminations season!
As far as traditions go, the Blackpool Illuminations are near the top of my list of things that I love about the UK. There's just something magical about miles of twinkling lights, snuggled in the car with the windows rolled slightly to let in the chilly autumn night. We visit the Illuminations every year, crawling at a snail's pace along the Blackpool Front, faces nearly pressed to the glass as we see familiar favourites and discover new displays in the amazing light show.

What the Blackpool Illuminations mean to a child. |
We queued for over two hours to get through the Illuminations, but that look on his face makes it all worth it.
New for 2015 is an impressive LightPool show, a projected light show along the front of Blackpool Tower. On the night we visited, there were stiltwalkers, LED dancers, streetrunners and all sorts going on! The Illuminations are free to enter, but a £5 donation per vehicle is suggested. Money is collected at cabins at either end of the street.

Take a Thrilling Ride at Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Scream your head off at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. It's good for you. |
Avalanche, the UK's only bobsled roller coaster thunders through Pleasure Beach. Trains of roller coaster enthusiasts cheer as they zoom past reaching speeds of up to 50 mph. From between the supports of this 1988 installation rises The Big One, the UK's tallest and best roller coaster. Nearby, trains from Infusion roar past, taking riders on an impressive five loops, dangling them above water and tilting on their sides as they duck and dodge other attractions in the park.

One of the many kid-friendly attractions at Blackpool Pleasure Beach |
Daddy explains the complexities of reversing around a corner.
Nickelodeon Land in Blackpool will be the place where your kids dream come true. Or where they lose their lunch. |
Looking at his face it's a good thing we didn't eat before. Lol.

We spent most of our time at the quieter end of the park in Nickelodeon Land, where the roller coasters are tamer, the queues (and the riders!) are shorter but the thrill is just as big. My son, who will be four next month, queued up to ride white knuckle attractions in line with his height and age. You couldn't wipe the smile from his face as he and his daddy (who drew the short straw and had to accompany him on each ride) rode on a pirate treasure hunt with the Backyardigans, took a gentle boat ride with Dora the Explorer and soared high above the park with Diego.

Things to do in Blackpool with kids: visit Nickelodeon Land |

He filled his tummy with handfuls of cotton candy before he was ready to tour Bikini Bottom through a giant orange submarine. He flew an orange taxi with the Fairly Oddparents and bounced with the Wonder Pets before suspending up and down at the Krusty Krab and ending his theme park experience with his first roller coaster, Blue Flyer.

Pure joy or pure terror on the Blue Flyer at Blackpool's Pleasure Beach in Nickelodeon Land |
Apparently, it was illegal for me to take this photo. Apologies, Blackpool Pleasure Beach.
All in all, we had a pretty fantastic two days in Blackpool, there's so much to see and do for everyone from couples to families and groups on a night out. Our 48 hours touring Blackpool was crammed and jam packed and there were still things we didn't have time to do such as pretending to be statues while visiting Madame Tussauds, having our minds blown in Ripley's Believe It or Not, getting back to nature at Blackpool Zoo, descending to the top of Blackpool Tower, taking a dip at the water park and playing the penny slots on one of the two piers and loads more.

What I loved most about this opportunity from the lovely folks at Travelodge, is that it reminded me that you don't always have to leave the country to have a good time on holiday! If you want to take the challenge and spend 48 hours in Blackpool and do what we did, you'll need a budget of at least £200 and to book yourself a night in a Blackpool hotel!

1 comment:

  1. That looks awesome! I remember going to Blackpool in October when I was about 10 and it was SO blustery we were almost blown over! I got to go on the Pepsi Max and the Playstation rides though so I was well chuffed! :-)


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