The Top Things to Do and See in Blackpool

Blackpool Tower
Blackpool Tower | © Michael D Beckwith / Unsplash
Photo of Marianna Hunt
31 August 2020

The English coastal resort of Blackpool is one of Europe’s hottest holiday destinations. With excellent entertainment – not least the Blackpool Tower and Illuminations – a superb natural landscape and an outstanding food scene, you can see why. Follow Culture Trip’s guide to discovering the best attractions you won’t want to miss.

Blackpool Tower

Architectural Landmark
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One ticket to this outstanding attraction grants visitors entry to a host of Blackpool’s best sights. The tower itself, opened in 1894 and now a Grade I-listed British landmark, was inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris. It’s 158m (518ft) tall and sits between the north and central piers. The Blackpool Tower Eye, a glass-floored observation tower, offers a panorama out over the Irish Sea and also boasts a 4D cinema, which presents visitors with a fascinating film about the town. The tower also comprises the Circus, Dungeons and Ballroom.

Blackpool’s beaches

Natural Feature
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Blackpool’s spectacular sandy beaches stretch out for miles, making them popular with families, couples and day trippers. A site for romantic late-night strolls, family picnics, beach games with friends or a tranquil spot to delve into a good book – Blackpool’s beaches cater for all. Three piers line the shore, and there are stalls and ice-cream vans along the whole stretch of promenade, offering no end of entertainment options.

Blackpool’s piers

Architectural Landmark
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Three piers, north, south and central, attract visitors who come to enjoy carousels, rides, arcades, live music and local street artists. Spend a day relaxing on deckchairs while gazing out on the awe-inspiring sea views, or explore the arcades, restaurants and other establishments that line the piers. These historic sights have formed an integral part of the Blackpool skyline since the 19th century.

Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Park
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Just a few paces from Blackpool’s South Pier, Blackpool Pleasure Beach is one of Britain’s most successful amusement parks, with Nickelodeon Land and of course, hair-raising adventure rides. This is one of the best theme parks in the UK. Adrenaline junkies will love the Big One, the fastest and scariest ride, and Infusion, the world’s first rollercoaster to be completely suspended over water. The complex also offers food, drink and shopping options.

Blackpool Illuminations

Architectural Landmark
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Blackpool illuminations, Lancashire, England, UK
© parkerphotography / Alamy Stock Photo

This yearly extravaganza has become a popular event in the British calendar. Since its launch, in 1879, this festival of light is held each autumn, when more than 10km (6mi) and 1m bulbs light up the streets in style. The Illuminations, which are free, last for 66 days and the Big Switch On is hosted by a different celebrity each year, with concerts held once the lights are on. You can enjoy the light show by a drive-through on a bus or in a car, or choose a local open-top tram or horse-drawn carriage.

Blackpool Zoo

Zoo
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Lush green spaces and fascinating wildlife are what’s on offer at Blackpool zoo. You’ll be whisked away to the African savannah, the Amazon jungle and a host of other far-flung places. Around 1,500 incredible creatures roam around the vast 32-acre (13ha) zoo, including tigers, elephants and zebras to name but a few. Gorilla Mountain and the penguin pool are some of the other must-visit exhibits.

Sea Life Blackpool

Aquarium
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For nature lovers, Sea Life Blackpool offers an opportunity to dive into the world of underwater wildlife. Not far from the central pier, it is home to more than 2,000 different sea creatures, including rare tropical fish, rays, octopus and even sharks. The centre also carries out vital conservation work to protect the outstanding aquatic life of the local area.

Stanley Park

Park
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For those tired out by the endless entertainment Blackpool has to offer, Stanley Park – the town’s major park – is the perfect spot to spend a more sedate day. Relax in the sunshine under the lush green canopies while admiring the exceptional landscaped design and rare wildlife of the park. The area is also home to sports centres, golf courses, a cricket ground, boat hire, an art deco cafe, a skate park and crazy golf. With around 104ha (260 acres) of park land, there’s plenty to explore in this pretty, green space. Heritage walks and musical performances are also held regularly here, just 20 minutes on foot from the beach.

Grundy Art Gallery

Art Gallery
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Take a break from the entertainment and enjoy some art at the Grundy Art Galler. More than 100 years old, it displays artists from the UK and all over the world, both emergent and established. Mminutes from the promenade, the gallery regularly hosts special exhibitions, with volunteer guides on-site and audio tours available. As well as examining art from all over the world, there’s plenty of material that can help you learn about Blackpool’s heritage.

Heritage Tram Tours

Historical Landmark
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Trams have been a part of the promenade scene since 1885, and while they aren’t as vital to getting around as they were, they’re perfect for tours. Blackpool is easy enough to walk around, but why settle for that when you can see the entire city from a tram, which in itself is a piece of local history – some dating back as far as the 1930s. You can tour either the promenade or the coast, and special routes, such as the Illuminations tour, run at specific times of year.

Blackpool Model Village

Amusement Park, Botanical Garden
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The Model Village, Blackpool. Image shot 2016. Exact date unknown.
© northwestfocus / Alamy Stock Photo

Blackpool Model Village is affectionately referred to as the “biggest little village in Lancashire”, and the models themselves chart a timeline through history, including castles, Tudor settlements, cricket matches and lighthouses. It sits on the edge of Stanley Park, and special activities such as Easter egg hunts make it a great place to visit with kids in tow; there is also a cafe and gift shop on-site. New buildings are added yearly, so there’s always something to go back for.

Additional reporting by Callum Davies

These recommendations were updated on August 31, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.