Blackpool Out Of Season Visit 5-6th Jan 2008
So the family and I went to the mighty Blackpool at the weekend. We have been a few times before out of season, usually spending a day in the Tower. This year we gave it a miss as a: there were no special offers on the ticket prices and b: Jungle Jim's was closed for refurbishment.
After arriving we started a slow walk down the front and looked into Ripley's Believe It Or Not, which is situated at the front of the Pleasure Beach. We have never been in before but have always wondered about it. A gust of cold, chilly wind decided our minds and in we trotted. The price was a very nice, off season £4 for adults and £2 for children. The size of the building is quite small but there is a surprisingly large amount of exhibits. There is loads to see and learn and it's a fun visit with a most definite wow factor as you learn the many amazing facts. Coaster nuts will enjoy the exhibit of pieces of false teeth that were found when the lake was drained for the building of the Big One! Ripleys Believe It Or Not is a must visit.
We wandered down towards the tower and spent some time in Coral Island. It's a huge arcade with lots to do including some family and kids rides. Britcit Jnr wanted a go on the Pirate Flyer, which is a monorail around the arcade. (I said it was big!) My step daughter and I took him on it and all enjoyed it. We were charged £2 for a family ticket, which was good value and when we got off, we were given a voucher that gave us 2 free games of Bingo or for additional 50p, another kids ride for Britcit Jnr. We decided on another ride and the lady operator didn't want the 50p, which was very nice of her. Britcit Jnr loved the second ride, a train of cars/buses etc that drove round a fixed circuit. His face was a picture as he steered his wheel and that made the long journey worth every minute.
We perused some shops behind the tower and found a few bargains. Blackpool has a wide variey of high street retailers and there is plenty to do, if you enjoy shopping. As the sea front was still being refurbished, there was no tram service, which was a huge disappointment. No matter though. We walked on back to the car and went to our hotel.
We spent most of the next day in the Sandcastle Water Park. Another first for us but we will definitely return again. It's recently been revamped and now has tons of water slides and lots of facilities. The whole place has an excellent tropical theme with palm trees all over the place and the slides are something else. Master Blaster is the main attraction, here. It's like the one at Splash Landings at Alton Towers and is advertised as the world's longest roller coaster water slide. It has nothing to do with roller coasters but it is a great ride/slide. You sit on a ring and water pushes you around the 200 meter slide, including up hills! It's fast, fun and thrilling and I rode it a few times. The day we were there, the water park was nice and quiet but on busy days, Master Blaster gets huuuuge queues apparently. I'm glad it was quiet when we went. Another great slide was Side Winder. Think a giant half pipe, with you on a ring in it and you get the idea. After you get up the stairs and onto the ring, the life guard/operator, pushes you over the edge and you zip down a vertical drop and quickly soar up again. My heart was shoved into my mouth so fast! Once was enough!
For a more leisurely break, there is the main pool (including a wave machine) and a cool bit where you drift around a steady current, around a small island. Yep, and this is all indoors. (Can you imagine it outdoors with Blackpool's climate?!!) The indoor park has bars and a fast food shack, which we tried but it wasn't very tasty, unfortunately. The entrance fee was quite pricey but if you stay there all day, then I feel it's value for money. We strolled back to the car and I noticed that some of the track of the The Big One was missing and scaffolding in it's place. It was track from some of the second hill on the return journey. (Above Ocean Boulevard) Some last minute work before the Thrill Weekends start? Also, outside the main entrance to the Pleasure Beach, construction work is under way for the new Crazy Golf but so far it's mainly dirt and rubble with a faint outline of some of the course layout.
So, overall, another great visit to Blackpool. There is always plenty to do there, even when the Pleasure Beach is shut (but I always feel it a crime to see the rides I love, closed) and the weather was generally mild and dry. (But very windy on Saturday.)
My only grulmble was that the back street that paralleled the sea front was a horrible experience to walk along (we walked it to take shelter from the wind.) It's choc full of out of business shops, run down houses and posters against government suppression on tobacco and alcohol! The drains also had strong sewage smells. Yuk! It's quite incredible to think, that if you were to walk this road during the peak season, you would never believe it to be the one that we walked down at the weekend. It was like walking in a different world. Despite this alternate reality taste of Blackpool, we had a great visit and I'm hoping we will return for a Pleasure Beach session, later in the year!
Happy New Year everyone.
Thanks for that, Chris. You've made me fancy an off-season visit! In fact, I did go to a Clacton shopping village on Tuesday, and I was shocked at how much of a ghost town it was.
But really, how I'd like to wander around an old pier or something, with a few woodies to look at.
Wonder if that's just routine maintenance on the Big One?
I love Ripley's..
Chris do you know what I'm referring to when I say:
In one part did you gurn then later squirm??
I can't say too much without spoiling it for those who haven't been inside Ripley's Believe it or Not yet.. :-)
Any seaside town out of season holds a fascination for me..be it the 'razor blade' wind blowing in from the sea, the lonesome person on the beach throwing a stick for a yelping, excited dog or the "Vacancies" signs adorning the B&B front windows.
Agree with Graeme, Great TR!
Cheers, guys. I didn't even attempt a gurn!!!
I can confirm that when I was in Blackpool last summer, me and the wife (not officially but might as well be) went to the sandcastle and the MasterBlaster queue took approx 1hr 15 mins. Gets pretty crazy.
The weirdest off season visit ive had was last year. I was working in Manchester and popped up to Lytham to see my best friend (both from Glasgow but he got a job down there). Left his at nine and decided to drive the prom before heading back to Manchester.
Darkness. All around. Didnt see a single person, and the only light was the airport beacon on the tower and one solitary hotel I saw lit up. Honestly, it was what id imagine the end of the world would be like, if you were the only person left. Made me feel quite sad.
That's quite a surreal scene, you described there, although I think any sea side visit has a ghost town feel to it, out of season.
> That's quite a surreal scene, you described there, although
> I think any sea side visit has a ghost town feel to it, out
> of season.
That reminds me of when I visit Clacton every Christmas Eve. I should say, it's nothing like Ross described, but I always wish they had specialist illuminations along the seafront.