Blackpool, occasionally referred to as the “Las Vegas of Lancashire” doesn’t always do it for me. I fear I’m turning into my mother. I remember childhood holidays in the Lake District with the odd day out in Blackpool when my mother would sigh and compare the resort unfavourably to those misty lakes and mountains. How could that be, my childhood self wondered in amazement, firmly of the belief nowhere was better than this. Fast forward a significant number of years and the roles have been completely reversed. Son adores Blackpool – the buzz and bawdiness and just everything about this iconic resort, now I’m the weird oldie who pines for lakes and mountains.
To be fair Blackpool during the daytime involves honest family fun with ice-creams, arcades and donkey rides on the beach. The evenings see it colonised by raucous stag and hen parties and are to be avoided in my opinion. Brash, bawdy but also fun – that’s what this place is all about. We visit once a year, this time we brought our bikes.
Cycling along the promenade following its £250 million regeneration turned out to be a great day. Flat, wide, traffic free with a view of all the attractions along the way – this was my kind of cycling. After a short stop to watch the Big One – the massive steel roller coaster plunge down its 250 feet drop, we carried on, the screaming of those onboard still ringing in our ears.
Son voted to stop at each of the three piers – we agreed. South Pier was first – the “youngest” of the three and originally called Victoria Pier after the queen. There are lots of amusement rides, it was noisy and hectic and we didn’t hang around for too long. Long enough though to watch two crazy people pay to be catapulted out over the sea.
We had another brief stop at Central Pier – it has more of the same, but we did pause for significantly longer outside Blackpool Tower. On the pavement there is a vast “newspaper” full of saucy seaside jokes – some child friendly, others geared more towards the grown-ups but all very funny. Much chuckling from us.
Last but not least was North Pier – originally designed for genteel relaxation and for the Victorians to stroll and take in the sea views. It is still that way today – quiet and with great views over the Irish Sea if you walk to the end. This is my favourite pier and Son’s least favourite. I like the quiet and genteel. He prefers the brash and bawdy.
We cycled beyond the limits of Blackpool along a sea path to the next town of Cleveleys. Gorgeous views of the sea and rocks on the way but road works scuppered us reaching our end destination so we turned and rode back along a higher path to Blackpool again.
All that exercise creates seriously healthy appetites – nothing better to sort that out than fish and chips, eaten perched on the sea wall. After that we had one last thing to do – a donkey ride along the beach. Thus came the end to what turned out to be (despite my scepticism) a perfect day out by the sea.