It’s been a rainy couple of weeks here in the UK, but that didn’t stop us having a brilliant time in Blackpool over the weekend.
If you’ve never been to Blackpool, it’s right on the west coast of Lancashire and has been a popular seaside resort for Brits since the 1800s, I’m told. It’s easy to get to from Nottingham – we just hopped on a train and changed at Manchester, arriving in Blackpool around 3.5 hours later.
As you can see, it was really very rainy during our trip, but we wrapped up warm and got stuck in.
The main focal point of Blackpool as a short break destination is Blackpool Pleasure Beach, a theme park packed with rides, games and places to eat. As Blackpool South is 2.4km from the theme park, we grabbed a cab.
Entry to the park is actually pretty reasonable – a family of four pass, including access to rides, is £64. Inside, you’ll find all the usual fairground rides and games you’d expect. You can check out the prices here.
And while older children and adults tend to head for the huge roller coasters, families with small children head to Nickelodeon Land inside the park, where there are loads of rides themed to their most popular shows, such as Dora the Explorer, Spongebob Squarepants and The Last Airbender.
Everything’s labelled with height restrictions, which means you can have a good look before you promise a go on a particular ride. The ones in Nickelodeon Land are mostly suitable for even tiny ones, but if, like us, you have two children of quite widely different heights, it’s easier to have two adults on the trip so that you can split up occasionally to go to different parts of the park.
Nickelodeon Land has a brilliant atmosphere – even in the rain, the kids loved running around and looking at all the features.
Here’s a taste of some of our favourite rides. Backyardigans Pirate Treasure is a simple ride where you whizz forwards, then backwards in a pirate ship. It was fast enough to get the kids giggling.
Fairy World Taxi Spin is themed to Fairly Odd Parents and sees the taxi go round in circles. However, if you press the button on the dashboard, the taxi whizzes into the air. With Miss J ‘steering’, JD controlling the height and me in the back as their passenger, this was a lot of fun.
And this is Diego Rainforest Rescue, where you climb into hot air balloons that whirl around the jungle. As they lift up high, you use a rubber wheel in the middle to make the balloon swing back and forth. Really good fun, although the rain was so cold we couldn’t feel our fingers.
Worn out and soggy from our rides, it was time to see a show. This was the main event, as far as Miss J was concerned. The chance to dance and sing with Poppy Cat.
The show was very interactive, as Poppy Cat’s companions got the kids shouting, pointing, hunting with imaginary magnifying glasses, jumping, singing and more. Our two kids got really into it and hung around right to the end.
After some story telling, there was a chance for Miss J to hug Poppy Cat and get a photo – this turned out to be a little overwhelming and she starting wailing, telling me later it was because she didn’t want to leave Poppy!
As well as the brilliant Poppy Cat show, there are also appearances from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Dora the Explorer, Spongebob and more during the day, so there’s plenty to entertain little ones.
For food, we had bands that include the option to eat anywhere in the park (except Burger King and Tiger Bills). ‘All You Can Eat’ bands are £20 adult, £15 child if you book online, or £22.50 adult, £17.50 child if you buy at the gate.
We opted for the buffet at Big Pizza Kitchen.
The quality and choice of food was really good – lots of salad, plenty of tasty pizza and pasta choices and unlimited refills on drinks. We were all really happy and bought desserts (not included on the bands) as a treat.
After a day of thoroughly enjoyable adventuring, we stayed at the Big Blue Hotel, which is attached to the resort.
We were so pleased with the quality of the accommodation. A bright and airy room with a window looking straight out onto the park, a good sized bed for us, and a well stocked bathroom.
The highlight of the room, though was the kids area, which featured bunk beds and a TV each, much to their excitement.
Once they settled, I even managed to get a sneaky bit of work done at the desk using the free wifi, which offers a really decent speed.
In the morning, the breakfast buffet included as part of our stay was also excellent, offering continental and cooked breakfasts.
Full of energy from all those pastries, we decided to walk back to the station rather than catch a cab or tram, and stopped at Ripley’s Believe it or Not museum.
Entry was only £15 for all of us (under 4s go free) and would have been less if we’d booked online. It’s packed with weird, funny and slightly scary oddities.
JD liked it so much, he asked to go round again. My favourite part was this tunnel. The walls rotate and it causes an optical illusion which convinces you the walk way is turning. A very strange feeling!
All in all we had a seriously brilliant time in Blackpool and will definitely be going again – will you?
We visited Blackpool on a press trip organised by team Poppy Cat