REVIEW: Blackpool - something for everyone, come rain or shine!

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For this single mum and teenage daughter, the opportunity to spend some quality time together is few and far between, so when we were offered the chance of a weekend break to Blackpool we jumped at it, and it was non-stop laughter and fun from start to finish.

The west coast seaside resort is best known for its Pleasure Beach - an old-school amusement park with vintage wooden roller coasters alongside state-of-the-art modern stomach churning rides - as well as its landmark tower built in 1894.

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We set out to see what else was on offer and to discover just why Blackpool is one of Britain’s most favourite family holiday destinations.

We opted for a spring weekend and, thankfully, the weather was on our side. However, we discovered that there are so many indoor attractions to visit that come rain or shine, Blackpool could not disappoint.

Our three day, two night, break was spent in the Hotel Sheraton - a short tram/bus ride from the bustle of the town centre and promenade amusements, pubs, cafes and gift shops.

We were lucky enough to get to try out one of the 20 newly refurbished rooms all with new bathrooms, décor beds and furnishings. Our room had all the mod cons including a large flat screen TV, tea and coffee making facilities, hairdryer, along with a double and two single beds. The cost of one of the new ‘Beach House’ rooms is £195 per night, including an evening meal and breakfast.

The family run hotel, situated opposite the sea on the cliffs at Queen’s Promenade, has 108 en-suite rooms in total.

The venue has re-decorated its lounges and bar area, with new furniture provided for the dining room.

There is also a neighbouring sister hotel called Elgin Hotel

It was our intention to cram as much in as we could during our visit so 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, {http://www.thedungeons.com/blackpool/en/The Blackpool Tower Dungeon|The Blackpool Tower Dungeon} and the model village and gardens.

Any family considering a couple of days at the seaside town 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 attraction - unless you REALLY like walking!

Our first stop was at Madame Tussaud’s and I have to say I was very impressed. We had previously visited the London version but found it far too chaotic to be enjoyable. The Blackpool attraction was a much different experience. Although it was busy we got to see all the waxworks at a leisurely pace with plenty of opportunity for photographs, and the staff were really helpful and very informative.

An added bonus for me was getting to have a drink with Bet Lynch in a realistic version of Coronation Street’s Rovers Return!

Next up, food!

You simply can’t visit the seaside without sampling fish and chips. And if you’re going to have fish and chips you might as well try the best.

We dined at the new Harry Ramsden’s restaurant, situated at the base of the Tower.

I opted for the cod, chips and mushy peas, and my daughter the scampi. Simply delicious. Portion sizes were more than adequate, we certainly didn’t have room for dessert!

As our dinner digested we took a walk along the Comedy Carpet - a brand new floor covering with a difference. The carpet’ sits in the shadow of the Tower and it’s one of the largest pieces of public art ever commissioned in the UK. It is a bit like a trip to the Hollywood Walk of Fame; but immortalising and celebrating the jokes, songs and comedy catchphrases of Britain’s most well loved comedians and writers. It’s been called the horizontal Angel of the North - a must visit spot.

From here we headed for the Pleasure Beach where we spent a good four hours riding on as many of the gravity-defying rides as we could.

The following day we opted to spend time at the Sandcastle Waterpark, directly opposite the Pleasure Beach. And at 45-years-old, I proved you’re never too old for slides!

Sandcastle Waterpark is the UK’s largest indoor waterpark. It features over 18 attractions including water slides, fun pools, a wave machine, water chutes, burger bars, snack bars, arcades, swim shop and much much more.

It was a very busy day but despite this the queues for the Hyperzone’ slides - which are only available to anyone over eight-years-old - went down fairly quickly. We managed to get round them all in about two hours and thoroughly enjoyed every minute.

The facility caters for all ages and abilities and I would thoroughly recommend it - especially good if the British weather turns typically inclement.

All that activity meant we were soon ravenous so we decided to try the delights of the famous Notarianni Ices. One word. Wow!

Whether an ice cream fan or not you just HAVE TO visit.

I do not have a sweet tooth at all but I was blown away by the tasty treats on offer.

I opted for the choc nut sundae, my daughter chose Notties Mess - layers of ice cream, rspberries, meringue and raspberry sauce.

Both dishes were demolished. You can find Notarianni’s just down from the Pleasure Beach, just off the promenade, behind McDonald’s.

I think the highlight of the weekend for me was the visit to the Tower Eye, 4D Cinema and ballroom with afternoon tea.

The ascent to the Eye at the top of the tower was up there as a highlight of the adrenaline-fuelled few days. Between the metal struts of the Blackpool Tower was what appeared to be a 380ft drop down to the famous beach promenade below.

So my heart was in my mouth when my daughter jumped into the void. Thankfully, a plate of heavily reinforced glass supported her, she didn’t seem in the slightest bit bothered by the dizzying perspective.

I was pretty glad the lift attendant revealed the glass floor is just under two inches thick only when we were safely on the way back down.

Blackpool provides more thrills and spills than a day as James Bond’s stunt double, nothing demonstrates this better than the 4D cinema on the lower level of the tower. As we watched, we felt we were careering off the rails of some of the resort’s legendary roller-coasters during the short film. In Blackpool, it’s sometimes easy to forget it’s not normal to be upside-down.

Far slower-paced was the famous Tower Ballroom below. We spent an hour and a half watching couples glide expertly in the stunningly ornate Victorian setting, whilst enjoying a luxurious traditional afternoon tea.

It was like going back in time.

Our evening meal was spent at Viva Vegas restaurant. This is an American style 50s diner, bar and grill. It was like sitting in a scene from Grease or Happy Days, and whilst burgers and fries aren’t my thing, the food was extremely enjoyable. Try the pizza fries - delicious!

Our final visit of the weekend was to the circus which also takes place within the iconic Blackpool Tower.

Prepare to be amazed!

The Tower Circus is without doubt one of Blackpool’s grandest spaces and the show was one of the most entertaining I have seen for quite some time.

Think old school slapstick with extreme stunts and you’ve just about got it.

The Endresz family has wowed audiences and delighted families for over two decades with astonishing jaw-dropping stunts and comedy capers in what can only be described as the must-see show of the season. Mooky and Mr Boo deliver belly-laughs aplenty with their hilarious antics teamed with edge of your seat death defying stunts from top class acts all over the world.

Afterwards it was with heavy hearts that we headed back to the car ready for the journey back to Yorkshire.

Blackpool cannot claim to be Britain’s most picturesque seaside resort, but there cannot be anywhere that matches it for sheer fun.

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