'˜Oh I do like to be beside the seaside'
I've always had fond memories of visiting Blackpool as a little girl with my parents and siblings
So, when the opportunity arose for a weekend away at the popular seaside resort, I jumped at the chance. This time I was accompanied by my husband and my two young children, aged four and two, and I have to say it was a fun-packed weekend from start to finish. There is so much to do and see in Blackpool, and therefore, we made our way there on Friday evening.Our stay was at The Elgin Hotel. Situated just one mile north of the town centre, in the cliffs on Queen’s Promenade, the 89-bedroom hotel is the perfect place to enjoy all that Blackpool has to offer. Having undergone a major refurbishment, our room was clean, fresh and beautifully decorated. The family-run establishment prides itself on excellent customer care. Proprietor Nigel Seddon said this is why satisfied customers came back again and again. There is a great choice to eat at breakfast and evening meals and varied entertainment every night. With warm hospitality and exceptional service throughout our stay, I highly recommend The Elgin. After a traditional English breakfast served by the efficient Elgin statff, we made our way to Blackpool Pleasure Beach for the kids to begin their adventure of thrilling rides, games and non-stop fun. As we wanted to see the most of what the resort had to offer, we opted to get a Blackpool Resort Pass. Offering a massive saving, the pass gave us access to the top attractions including Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Sandcastle Waterpark, Madame Tussaud’s, Sea Life Centre, Blackpool Zoo, Blackpool Tower Eye and 4D Experience, The Blackpool Tower Dungeon and the model village and gardens.
Any family thinking of spending a couple of days here really should consider this option, it really will save you money, and also invest in an unlimited tram and bus pass to transport you between each attractionwhich really helped us. With rides, attractions and spectacular shows there is plenty to keep all ages amused on the 42-acre attraction. But having fun can be a hungry business; luckily the park offers a wide range of food from 30 catering outlets and restaurants. After lunch we were treated to dessert at the famous Notarianni Ice Cream Parlour, run by four generations and still attracting ice cream lovers from all over the UK. Situated on the central promenade, the home-made delicious, Italian vanilla ice cream is served daily to thousands of tourists who come from far and wide to sample the secret family recipe. And I enjoyed every spoonful of it. You can find Notarianni just down from the Pleasure Beach, just off the promenade, behind McDonald’s. Our weekend coincided with my daughter’s second birthday and what better way to celebrate the special day with an afternoon tea at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom. Dating back to 1894, the Tower Ballroom has always been a draw – helped even further by BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing – and is well worth a visit. It is a trip back in time sitting in the sumptuous surroundings watching the dancers waltzing by.
The afternoon tea was delicious and my children loved the sandwiches, freshly-basked scones and the mini cakes.
After a long walk along the seafront, which has undergone a £100m regeneration programme, next up was food at Las Iguanas, located a few minutes walk from the Tower. This restaurant, serving Latin American food and a tempting variety of cocktails, has a lovely sea view and is a large, airy restaurant with a menu serving up enough choice for even my fussy children.
We ordered nachos with melted cheese, tortilla filled with roasted tomato salsa, halloumi churrasco skewers, black bean and beetroot burger and the fiesta ensalada, which was absolutely mouth-watering.
All the food was reasonably priced and I recommend a meal here. And if you bring the kids along to Las Iguanas this summer and they could get very special characters created by legendary studio Aardman.
You’ll need to be quick as the Iggy and Friends collection is strictly limited edition. There are six toys to collect and younger visitors will be able to choose one character each time they enjoy a meal from the Iggy and Friends menu while stocks last.
After a short tram ride, we were back at The Elgin for a good night’s sleep. The next morning, we started our Sunday by visiting Blackpool’s famous landmark – Blackpool Tower.
The iconic, 518ft Tower was built in 1894. It was always exciting enough just to go to the top. Now, you first enjoy a 4D “bird’s eye” cinema experience. But I must admit the highlight is standing on the glass Skywalk – it’s daunting to look at the clear 350ft drop below.
After our Tower experience, we decided it was time we sampled fish and chips. Blackpool is home to one of the world famous Harry Ramsden’s restaurants – by the Tower with a scenic seafront location.
Having undergone a total revamp last year, the stylish restaurant boasts beautiful, contemporary surroundings, and is famed for its classic fish and chips and its closely-guarded secret recipe.
We could order so much more than just fish and chips, but we had to order their freshly-sourced cod and home-made chunky chips with mushy peas and tartare source.
There was a kids’ menu too at the 220-seat restaurant and the food was so reasonably priced and beautifully presented by friendly staff.
There is so much to see that we simply didn’t have time for the Sandcastle Waterpark, SEA LIFE Blackpool and Madamme Tussauds.
However, as my boy loves animals, we had to visit Blackpool Zoo.
The award-winning, family-friendly attraction is home to more than 1,500 animals from all over the world.
Situated in 32 acres of sprawling parkland, visitors of all ages will love exploring the zoo’s woodland, waterfalls and lakes. My son especially liked the African Lions, gorillas and the meerkats.
It was a weekend to remember, especially for my little boy who was so sad to be heading home, but was at least armed with a bag full of Blackpool’s famous rock and a massive goody bag courtesy of Blackpool Pleasure Beach.
Thanks to Merlin Entertainments, Visit Blackpool and Blackpool Pleasure Beach for allowing us to visit.
Blackpool has changed for the better over the decades and by investing millions and with a new tourism campaign, the forward thinking resort has changed people’s perceptions and it can truly be regarded as a family destination.
Still a seaside favourite, Blackpool certainly has it all. For more information, log onto www.VisitBlackpool.com