Blackpool is famous for being ‘cheap and cheerful’ and was the subject of the recent Channel 5 documentary, ‘Bargain Loving Brits in Blackpool’ but what can you do for free in Blackpool to fill your time? Well, being a tight northerner from a tight northern family myself, a lot of the time I was entertained as a kid…. And still entertain my kids….. without spending money. In this Blog I will run through a few of the thing we regularly do for trips out, without spending any cash!
1. Sit / Walk on the beach.
I covered off in my first blog that a beach trip is a ‘must do’ in Blackpool, whether you’re on the breadline or a millionaire, and this is one of those cases where ‘the best things in life’ truly are free. Blackpool has miles and miles of gorgeous sandy beaches to walk along, collect shells, build sandcastles or go for a paddle (The sea is clean now). We as a family often do a day trip to the beach or even just a half hour walk, my girls love running around trying to find colourful shells to take home…. Though do get quite panicky when they stumble across a crab if I’m honest! The sand hills at the southern end of the town, bordering St Anne’s are also a favourite of my kids, running up and sliding down the hills is a simple pleasure for any child and costs nothing, the only cost considerations for this are parking (you can find free parking near the beach all along the coast except around the centre of town), you probably want to take a drink if you’re staying / walking for a while….. and come to think, maybe 20p for public toilets if you get caught short!
Ok, stay with me…. Not all the tower is free indeed, if you did everything it has to offer and had some food and drink there, then the costs can stack up pretty quickly however, not all the tower experience is paid for. Not everyone knows (as it not that clear what with a booking desk as soon as you walk in) but entry to the tower is free, you can walk around, see the model of the tower on level 1, sit and look out of the windows across the Irish sea, sit and watch kids entertainment in the Level 5 family bar, wander through arcades and best of all, admire some of the beautiful architecture (even if sneaking glances through windows and doors)…….. all for free!
Whilst at the start and end of the illuminations there are collection points for donations to help with the cost, its an optional donation being asked for, as a local I often use the promenade just for getting from A to B, we certainly don’t pay every time we travel down a stretch. The illuminations in Blackpool are fab, walking the whole route would take quite a long time but it’s a nice gentle bike ride on a still night (or better still, come to Blackpool on one of the ‘ride the lights’ nights where they close off the roads for cyclists and put the lights on especially). The illuminations are a wonder to children, and lovely backdrops for photos and making family memories. The council have installed some new features now (I say new, I mean over the past 10 or so years!) which encourage people to get out of their cars and do some walking…. With the aim that some money will be spent in the town on novelty impulse purchases or some food and drink, these are worth taking the time to go and see, the light show against the tower building is fantastic, a display down a street called ‘Birley Street’ in the centre adds music to the light show and in south shore, Venus reborn is….. well, a bit of an anti climax if I’m honest. The big displays north of the town are our personal favourite and well worth walking alongside.
4 . A walk along the promenade
Walking has become many peoples favourite pastime during this lock down (well, that and starting blogs about the local area 😉 and Blackpool is lucky to have such a beautiful promenade. When I was growing up, the promenade was a rather unattractive, tired, drab affair but with massive investment into the sea defenses and installation of art to capture the imagination, such as the worlds largest disco ball, a walk down the prom now is a lovely experience in any weather, in the warm its lovely to feel the sun on your back and feel the sea air and when its wet and windy, it lovely to watch the waves crashing against the sea wall, but my particular favourite is watching the sun set over the sea, you need to check what time it is going to happen but sometimes the sight and colours are breathtaking.
5. The Comedy Carpet
Link in with a walk along the prom and you can easily while away a good couple of hours at the huge 1880 square-metre comedy carpet. The comedy carpet is located opposite the tower on the festival headlands and is one of the largest pieces of art ever commissioned in the UK. It’s made up of hundreds if not thousands of sayings and passages paying homage to 850 writers and comedians. We often share photos of phrases taken from the comedy carpet on instagram, a lot will be meaningless to you, other will whisk you back in time to a show you’d long since forgot about!
6. World fireworks championship
Using the end of North Pier as a base, every year Blackpool hosts the world fireworks championship. The competition is run every Friday over 4 weeks starting in September and features some brilliant eye catching, heart pumping displays to rival Disney! The promenade and beach (if the tides out) do get very busy when the displays are on so for the best view, arrive early and make your way up to the top floor of the multi-story car park located off West street / Market street, just a road back from the promenade and almost opposite north pier. Expect there to be delays on the roads and restaurants to be very busy when the displays are on so make sure you leave plenty of time… and don’t forget your camera!
Blackpool can be as expensive or cheap as you want to make it, one of the strengths of our wonderful town is that it is centered around people and making them happy, be you rich or poor, old or young, gay or straight and all and everything in between, Blackpool tries to be as inclusive of everyone and is a town set out for peoples relaxation and pleasure.
What are your tips to keep the cost of days out down? I think Ive covered off the main activities you can do for free in Blackpool but there are more, can you name them?