Situated in the North West of England, Blackpool is the UK’s number 1 seaside resort famous for its “kiss me quick” hats and endless sticks of rock. I am also proud to call this crazy town my birthplace and within this article I will explain how you can do Blackpool on a Budget without Breaking the Bank as well as having the time of your life.
Whether traveling by car or train Blackpool has something for everyone as demonstrated by the 13 million visitors a year many of whom return year after year. So what attractions keep bringing families back to Blackpool year after year.
Built in 1894 and standing at 518 foot tall, Blackpool Tower is the photo icon of Blackpool and dominates the skyline for miles around. For many of you that will have visited Blackpool as a child will have no doubt have played “first on to spot Blackpool Tower game”
These days Blackpool Tower is owned by Merlin Entertainments which also owns the Sea Life Centre and Madame Tussauds both based in Blackpool. Within Blackpool Tower there are 5 fantastic attractions to visit
Tower Eye: where you have a 4D experience before shooting up the 518-foot tower in a lift for panoramic views of the North West Coast where on a clear day you can see as far as the Lake District.
Tower Dungeon: where you walk round a scary dungeon with actors and actresses and a ride
Tower Circus: Access to the World Famous Blackpool Circus where you can watch Mooky perform is well renowned circus tricks
Jungle Jims: Indoor soft play area for children to run off their energy
Tower Ballroom: Visit Blackpool’s iconic Tower Ballroom for a waltz or afternoon tea or even just admire the splendid decor of this historic Ballroom which has had something of a renaissance thanks to the television show Strictly Come Dancing.
Although one of Blackpool’s stand out attractions it can be one of the most expensive to access however there are many ways to get in much cheaper. Within Blackpool Tower it is possible to pay for individual attractions therefore if you just wanted to go up the tower and visit the ballroom then it is possible to purchase separate tickets which can offer a discount.
There are also often 2 for 1 offers for Blackpool Tower to be found online. A quick search of Google will quickly identify several voucher code websites such as Discountvouchers or Vouchercloud which will assist you in making a saving. A search of Blackpool’s Newspaper Website, www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk can also provide you with potential savings on Blackpool attractions and will keep you up to date with what is going on in the local area.
Purchasing an annual Merlin Entertainment pass can also offer quite a saving if visiting several attractions in Blackpool or other Merlin attractions round the UK throughout the year. Historically there is a sale on Merlin Entertainment annual passes just after Christmas and if you can afford the initial outlay they can also offer massive savings for your family over a 12-month period. The Other two Merlin Entertainment attractions in Blackpool are shown below.
Situated on the sea front near Central Pier, the Sea Life Centre has been providing families with the opportunity to have an under the sea experience since 1979. These days it is owned by Merlins Entertainment and has 50 attractions for you to view including a panoramic tunnel you can walk through to get up close and personnel with some real life sharks.
Discounts can be obtained in several ways such as booking direct online on the Sealife website or looking out for 2 for 1 or kids go free offers on the side of cereal boxes. As above discount vouchers are easily attainable online or using a Merlin Entertainment pass if already obtained. It is also worth noting that when in Blackpool you can mix and match the Merlin Attractions you visit to obtain a saving. Therefore, you can mix and match your visit to Blackpool Tower, Sea Life or the final attraction we will have a look at, Madamme Tussauds.
One of the newest attractions to Blackpool seafront is also one of my favourites. Some of you may remember the infamous Louis Tussauds waxworks and I can confirm this is a big improvement. Here you can mix with many celebrities such as famous sporting stars, comedians and the cast of Coronation Street. There is even the opportunity to sit and have a pint in the Rovers Return with your favourite cast members.
As with Blackpool Tower and Sea Life the ways to gain discount to this attraction is very similar
Blackpool’s Pleasure Beach is one of the most visited attractions in the UK and home to the Big One which was once the tallest roller coaster in the world. The Pleasure Beach is great day out catering for all the family as you have the thrills and spills of the roller coasters and the child friendly Nickelodeon land plus many more attractions including the famous Hot Ice rink.
Unfortunately you are no longer to enter the Pleasure Beach without paying an entry fee however entry to park can be gained for as little as £5 and this will include a ride on a train that travels round the park. This is ideal if you are just having an amble round with small children.
For those of you wishing to enjoy the attractions on offer the best discounts can be obtained online by visiting the Pleasure Beach Website direct. The best offers are usually available out of peak season around March, April, September, October and November when you can usually find yourself a really good deal.
If you are wishing to eat at the Theme Park there is good value for money all you can eat Pizza and Pasta buffet near Nickelodeon land alternatively there is a Wetherspoons or McDonalds with views over the Irish Sea within a 5-minute walk heading along the promenade towards Central Pier.
The Sandcastle Waterpark is located next to Blackpool’s South Pier and is the UK’s largest indoor water park. The water park has over 18 slides to keep the whole family entertained as well as a wave machine and as the Sandcastle boasts you can have all of this in 84 degree heat.
The Sandcastle tends to predominantly offer discounts on their own website however if you are able to obtain a locals discount card then you can potentially get 50% off entry.
Set inland away a short car or bus journey from the seafront and adjacent to Stanley Park is Blackpool Zoo. With over 1,500 animals to see, a brand new elephant enclosure and many shows to view Blackpool Zoo can be a fantastic family day out on its own.
Deals for Blackpool Zoo can predominantly be found directly on their website with them currently offering 20% off a full family ticket. There are also various discount sites online to gain reduced admission and you can also use Tesco Clubcard Points against the cost of entry. It should also be noted that children under the age of 3 gain entry for free.
Although you are likely to be attracted to Blackpool’s more famous and brashest attractions, you should also be made aware of some hidden gems on the Fylde Coast which will not exceed your budget and keep the whole family entertained.
Starting in early September and finishing early November, Blackpool Illuminations claims to be the world’s number 1 light show with some justification. Stretching all the way from Starr Gate in South Shore to Bispham situated north of Blackpool millions of families are dazzled each year by the different lit up attractions on offer.
As well as the illuminations it can be seen that many of the decorated trams will also run through the illuminations such examples being a tram lit up as a train or a boat. For the more interactive illuminations, I would head to Bispham area of the town where there is plenty of opportunity to walk round the illuminations and gaze at what is the greatest free light show on the planet.
Formally an airfield, this Victorian themed park was voted the best park in the UK in 2017 and offers a little something for everyone. With its famous clock tower acting as a centre point for everything that goes on round it there really are many things to see and do such as botanical gardens, the boating lake, a large newly redeveloped outdoor play area for the young ones, tennis courts, skate parks and plenty of walks to take advantage of.
If you are willing to part with a few pennies, why not visit the beautiful art deco cafe close to the boating lake to have an ice cream or even a spot of lunch. There is also the opportunity to row a boat on the boating lake, play crazy gold or even visit the Blackpool Model Village situated on the easterly side of the park.
If you are looking for something cheap to do in Blackpool then where better to visit that the golden sands of the beach. Recently given a blue flag rating you are bound to find your own space along the beach to build a sandcastle or just to amble along taking in all your surroundings such as the Giant Mirror Ball on Blackpool’s South Beach.
Again if you are traveling with a young family there will likely be opportunity to ride a local donkey for as little as £2.50 each or get yourself an ice cream with Notrianni’s in Blackpool’s South Shore area being a stand out choice.
Blackpool boasts 3 piers aptly named South Pier, Central Pier and North Pier depicting their location along the Golden Mile. All 3 piers are free to enter and provide opportunity to get up close with the sea air especially when the tide is in. If traveling with a young family there is plenty to keep everyone entertained with amusements, rides and shops on each pier.
If you are also looking for evening entertainment, it is well worth checking what shows are on each pier as the quality of the shows are well renowned.
A gigantic carpet situated at the foot of Blackpool, you can lose yourself endlessly walking round looking at jokes and stories told by many famous entertainers who have appeared in Blackpool throughout the years.
Coronation World Rock Factory
If you are lover of rock then you will love this attraction. Offering free admission including a free lollipop, you are likely to enjoy watching the whole process of how rock is made. There is no obligation to buy either though if you are a lover of rock you can normally pick a bag up for as little as £1.
Coral Island Amusements
Coral Island Amusements is a huge amusement situated within a 2-minute walk from Blackpool Tower. Boasting a huge Polly Parrot outside the attraction is unmissable. The entry is free and is worth entering just to witness in amazement thousands of people having slots of fun.
If you wish to participate, you will find plenty of games machines, Donkey Derby, bingo with free coffee plus rides to keep the young ones amused. There is also a restaurant within Coral Island which offers an opportunity for kids to eat free.
Accommodation and Eating Out
As with anywhere your accommodation and dining experience in Blackpool can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be.
Regarding accommodation there are many top end hotels such as De Vere or the Imperial, there are literally thousands of B&B’s from as little as £18 a night or nearby Caravan Parks such as Marton Mere or Cala Gran all of which offer additional family entertainment.
The famous diet when in Blackpool is Fish and Chips of which there are plenty to choose from. Many of the more famous ones are located away from the seafront and will require a car journey such as to the famous cottage chippy or the award-winning Seniors chippy.
Elsewhere, there are many fine restaurants located centrally or mainstream cheaper places to eat out such as McDonalds and Wetherspoons.
Can we have fun in Blackpool on Budget
Of course, Blackpool in many ways wrote the rule book on the perfect budget family holiday. There is literally something for everyone in Blackpool as with every corner you turn there is something for everyone. In summary, it is nearly 20 years since I left the bright lights of Blackpool and I still return on a regular basis with my young family to take in all the local attractions.