Tag Archives: Blackpool

15 Fantastic things to do in Blackpool

Living in Manchester and having been a semi regular visitor to Blackpool since I was in a pram, so I like to think I know the town reasonably well. We recently visited the area for a weekend of glamping, so I’ve compiled a list of some good stuff to do in the area.

The Blackpool Tower – the tower is such an iconic place to visit. I always like to race up to the top to see how far I can see. The tower is packed with attractions and things to do, you can happily spend a whole day here.

The Sandcastle Waterpark – don’t forget your trunks! The Sandcastle is a brilliant place to spend the day with the family, riding the slides and splashing about.

Blackpool Tower Dungeon – Not for small children, but if you love being spooked, a visit to the dungeon is a must.

Blackpool SEA LIFE Centre – being beside the sea, this SEA LIFE Centre gives visitors a great, and often hands on idea about the creatures which lurk beneath the waves.

The Ultimate Review Round up of Merlin Attractions in the UK

Madame Tussauds Blackpool – a rainy day activity for sure! Visit all your favourite famous faces, and have a drink in the replica Rovers Return.

The Blackpool Tower Circus – the show changes every year, but it’s always funny, frivolous and fabulous. It’s a brilliant family show in a beautiful theatre.

Coral Island (other arcades are available) – I can never resist a trip to an arcade, it’s a great place to spend up your loose change and win a few prizes with the family.

Blackpool Pleasure Beach – spend a day riding the roller-coasters at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Classic seaside fun!

Blackpool Zoo – one of the best zoos in the UK, Blackpool Zoo has everything from a children’s farm, to elephants and sealions.

Blackpool Rail Trail and Walk – For keen walkers and explorers, the Rail Trail sounds excellent. The Rail Trail begins at Blackpool North station and takes you along the streets lined with local shops, down onto the Promenade and beyond. It’s a great way to explore the area and see things you might usually miss.

Blackpool Comedy Carpet – the comedy carpet is probably my favourite place to visit in Blackpool. It’s 2,200 metres square of comedy quotes from 1000 of our favourite comedians. Every time I visit I seem to find something I’d not seen before. It’s a real treat and is located in front of the Tower on the Promenade.

15 Fantastic things to do in Blackpool

Blackpool Lifeboat Station – The Lifeboat Station is on the Central Promenade. It’s one of only two RNLI stations to house three inshore lifeboats – an Atlantic 85 and two D class lifeboats. There’s a visitors centre and shop and a visit to the lifeboat station is a great place to learn more about this lifesaving charity.

Blackpool Illuminations – Were you even brought up in the north if you didn’t go and see the illuminations. Bigger, brighter and better each year, the illuminations are a solid tradition.

Heritage Tram Tours  – take a ride along the world famous tramway aboard a piece of moving history! It’s a fun way to see the sights aboard one of their vintage trams.

Marton Mere Nature Reserve – a short drive from the town, but a must for nature lovers, Marton Mere Nature Reserve. There’s an otter enclosure, pond dipping zone, an inspirational eco-garden and the opportunity to enjoy close-up encounters with around 100 species of international water-birds as they swim, feed and wander in wetlands custom-designed to mimic their natural homes.

Blackpool is so much more than these 15 attractions and things to do I’ve picked out. Have I missed any must see things? Please comment below to add to the list!

15 Fantastic things to do in Blackpool

Glamping at Stanley Villa Farm Camping, Lancashire

AD – Press Trip. Regular readers will know that I love a good glamp. I grew up holidaying under canvas, but times have changed and I like sleeping in a proper bed and not living in fear of the tent collapsing in the night (which seemed to happen with alarming regularity when I was a child). Over the weekend the boys and I headed an hour from home, to the comfort of Stanley Villa Farm Camping, just outside Blackpool.

Stanley Villa Farm Camping is a really sweet site. Located next to its own fishing lake, there are 24 pods on site. The pods are nicely spaced apart and are dotted around the edge of a field. Naturally all the children on site meet in the middle and all play together, which was brilliant for my only child. It never takes him long to make friends and before we’d unpacked the car he was running around with his new chums.

Glamping at Stanley Villa Farm Camping, Lancashire

We were met by Alex, the owner who showed us to our pod and made sure we had everything we needed. The pod itself contains two comfortable single beds. We brought our own air bed and if you move the beds there’s room for a double airbed. Plenty of room for two adults and two children. Each pod has its own outdoor fire pit and you can buy in optional extras, like camping chairs, or a firewood package, or fairy lights. They’ve thought of everything.

Glamping at Stanley Villa Farm Camping, Lancashire

On site there’s a games room overlooking the lake. It’s a wooden lodge which had a comfortable room to hang out and play games in. There’s also a kitchen area where you can make hot drinks and light snacks, tea and coffee are provided free of charge, which is nice. There are also several bathrooms with showers; they’re warm and clean and a welcome change from some of the campsite facilities I’ve been familiar with over the years.

Glamping at Stanley Villa Farm Camping, Lancashire

The fishing lake is a lovely thing to be near. The lake is well stocked with trout and we enjoyed evening strolls around it. There was lots of wildlife to be seen if you’re looking in the right places. We spotted swans and their cygnets, geese, ducks, moorhens and even a hedgehog. I went for a walk at dusk and I’m pretty sure I saw a couple of bats too!

The pod is basic, but it doesn’t feel like you are roughing it. You do need to take your own bedding and towels, and the other things you might need, like camping chairs. We took a cool box and couple of disposable BBQs and cooked sausages for our tea. The pods are light and bright, with big windows at the back. There are blinds too, so you can shut out the light. The fresh air and exercise meant we all slept like a dream.

Glamping at Stanley Villa Farm Camping, Lancashire

We’ve glamped in lots of different places, this was our first pod and I was worried that it would be chilly at night. I had nothing to worry about; it was so cosy that I slept on top of my covers (even though there was wind and rain outside).

Besides the games room there’s lots for kids to do; there’s a Mini Play-Pod with an assortment of toys including footballs, swing balls; badminton rackets and a host of board games in the main lodge for when the weather isn’t so nice.

In terms of location, it’s 15 minutes drive from Blackpool and nestled in a really good spot for exploring Lancashire. While we were there we drove to Lytham St Annes for a look around the shops. It’s full of really good old fashioned shops, which I loved. We also drove over to the Forest of Bowland for a walk and lunch at the Inn at Whitewell; a real treat!

Glamping at Stanley Villa Farm Camping, Lancashire

It costs from £49 to hire a pod for a night and it’s a really chilled out place to stay. We thought it would be ideal if you’re visiting the bright lights of Blackpool but don’t fancy staying in a hotel or B&B. For us it was just a great spot to chill out. We didn’t have grand plans to go to the Pleasure Beach or stroll along the prom; just getting away from home for a couple of nights and switching off from everything at home did us the power of good.

We would absolutely stay at Stanley Villa Farm Camping again. Small but perfectly formed, with all the comforts of home and with the cosiest of cosy pods. The location was great and we had a very warm welcome and a great stay.

To find out more about Stanley Villa Farm Camping, visit their website.

stanley villa

Disclosure: We were invited guests of Stanley Villa Farm Camping, all images and opinions are our own.

Days Out: Blackpool Sea Life Centre

The small boy and I love visiting Sea Life Centres. We share a love of jellyfish, stingrays and sharks so wherever we go in the UK, if there’s a Sea Life Centre nearby we will be there! Earlier this year we had a couple of days in Blackpool and while we were in town we took the chance to visit the Blackpool Sea Life Centre. 

Days Out: Blackpool Sea Life Centre

Blackpool Sea Life Centre is on the promenade, about five minutes walk down from Blackpool Tower. There are ticket deals to be had, so if you’re planning to go buying tickets in advance, or multi-attraction tickets are a good bet. We have a Merlin card, so we just showed those on the way in and we were given a guide and waved through.

Like all Sea Life Centres, Blackpool Sea Life Centre is laid out in zones – Rockpool, Atlantic Depths, Quayside zone, Stingray Adventure zone, Kingdom of the Seahorse, Submarine Explorer, Rainforest Adventure zone, Shark Mission and Ocean Tunnel and lastly the Jurassic Seas zone. 

Blackpool Sea Life Centre

We have been to Blackpool Sea Life Centre before and we really like spending time in the Ocean Tunnel and the Stingray Adventure Zone. When we visited this time, we spent quite a lot of time with the octopus.

Whenever we’ve seen octopus before they’ve always been hidden away in the back of the tank having a sleep. This time the octopus was curled up in the corner at the front of the tank. We stopped to have a proper look at this amazing creature and we caught its eye. We’re not sure if we spooked it (we don’t tap on tanks or anything) or if it just wanted to show off for us, but we had a good five minutes with it swimming around and puffing itself up for us. Thank you Mr Octopus.

Blackpool Sea Life Centre

We also spent quite a lot of time watching the stingrays. There was a really good viewing area where you could pop your head in the domes inside the tank and watch all the fish and stingrays swim by. Sadly we’d just missed the stingray feeding session, but it did mean we had the area almost entirely to ourselves for a little while.

Blackpool Sea Life Centre is a really good sized aquarium with a fantastic collection of weird and wonderful creatures. It’s slap bang in the middle of Blackpool prom and the perfect place to take the family if it’s raining, or too sunny, or if you just want to spend a couple of hours feeling chilled out watching the creatures.

If you time your visit carefully you might catch them feeding the sharks. Or you could go backstage to find out more, or maybe catch a special talk. My tip is to go as soon as it opens when it’s quiet and it feels like it’s just you and the fish. 

I wonder which Sea Life Centre we’ll visit next?

Blackpool Sea Life Centre

For more information about Blackpool Sea Life Centre visit their website.

I’m a Merlin Annual Pass Blogger Ambassador. I have been given a Merlin Annual Pass to do this review with my family.  I wasn’t paid to write this post.

Days Out: Madame Tussauds Blackpool

Blackpool is the Vegas of the North. As a Manchester lass, Blackpool has always been my first port of call for days out, trips to the beach, or for a fun mini break. There is so much do see and do in Blackpool, it’s very easy to fill a couple of days. I recently took my son on a trip to Blackpool and amongst all the traditional bucket and spade fun, we visited Madame Tussauds Blackpool.

Days Out: Madame Tussauds Blackpool

The last time I visited Madame Tussauds Blackpool maybe 30 years ago and I don’t really remember much other than the Princess Diana waxwork. I know they keep their waxworks up to date, so I was interested to see what, or rather who would be there. 

We got our tickets and we were ushered through to see Simon Cowell. Lots of people were having pictures taken with him and we don’t watch talent shows so we just walked past him and to Paddy McGuinness, John Bishop, Gok Wan and Chris Tarrant. We didn’t linger as my son had no idea who these people were and I don’t watch their shows either. 

Through the doors and by the stairs stood John Thaw and Helen Mirren being good cop, bad cop. We paused for a photo with John Thaw, who grew up near where I live and my Grandma knew him when he was a boy. 

Up the escalator we found more reality TV stars (we don’t watch those kind of shows either). We managed to spy Ben Fogle and David Attenborough amongst the elaborate I’m A Celebrity areas, which we mostly skipped because it was busy. That said, we did enjoy looking at the frogs.

Days Out: Madame Tussauds Blackpool

Once you’ve escaped from the I’m A Celebrity area, you move on to the sports zone, which was a bit more like it. Even I recognised a few faces, Wayne Rooney, Joe Hart, Lewis Hamilton, Mo Farah, Gary Lineker etc. 

From the sports zone, your next stop is the Rovers Return, which is a working bar where you can get drinks and snacks. Bet Lynch is behind the bar looking fierce. It’s an ideal stopping point if you need a break. But my son has never seen Coronation Street and was keen to move on. So we did. 

I was pleased to find myself in the music zone. Where Freddie Mercury and Michael Jackson were the most notable stars. Again, talent show singers dominated, with Olly Murs, Susan Boyle and Leona Lewis featuring. 

Days Out: Madame Tussauds Blackpool

Moving on to “Best of British”. We met Hugh Bonneville as he was in the Paddington movie. Plus Morecambe and Wise, some of the Ab Fab gang and Her Majesty and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Ben was very pleased to be standing next to the Queen.

Days Out: Madame Tussauds Blackpool

I was hoping my son would enjoy the “Family Favourites” area a little more, which he did. He enjoyed seeing Spider-Man, Bob the Builder and Sooty and Sweep. I would have liked to have seen a bit more in this area, but it was good there were some things he recognised.

Days Out: Madame Tussauds Blackpool

One area my son really enjoyed was the mirror maze and funny bendy mirrors. It’s worth taking a few minutes to enjoy rather than rushing through. 

At the end of our tour of Madame Tussauds Blackpool was a room full of classic comedians. Ken Dodd, Tommy Cooper and The Two Ronnies were probably my highlight of our visit. 

Days Out: Madame Tussauds Blackpool

There was a small display about how they make the waxworks. I would have liked a bit more on the behind the scenes aspect really. It was also very loud in some areas. If you are troubled by loud noises, music and cheering then you might want to wear earplugs. My son who has sensitive hearing walked around with his hands over his ears for most of our time there.

The attraction is dominated with reality TV and talent show waxworks, so we whizzed by them quite quickly. We are probably very much in the minority of visitors to Madame Tussauds Blackpool, but if you watch those kind of TV shows, then you will enjoy Madame Tussauds. 

The staff were excellent, very helpful, friendly and smiley. They are a real credit to Madame Tussauds Blackpool. The waxworks were well done, some of them were quite eerily lifelike. I loved the comedians at the end of the tour and it was worth it just to see them (for me at least).

Tickets to Madame Tussauds Blackpool cost from £10.50, but entry is free with a Merlin Annual Pass. If you are visiting several Merlin Attractions in Blackpool you can get multi-attraction tickets which will save you money.

For more information on Madame Tussauds Blackpool, or to buy tickets, visit their website.

 

I’m a Merlin Annual Pass Blogger Ambassador. I have been given a Merlin Annual Pass to do this review with my family.  I wasn’t paid to write this post.

Days Out: The Blackpool Tower Circus

Over the Easter break, the small boy and I headed off to Blackpool for a couple of days of seaside fun. We had a bit of a check list of things we wanted to see and do while we were there, but mainly we wanted to have fun and chill out a bit. First on our holiday agenda was a trip to the Blackpool Tower Circus.

I’d heard very good things about the Blackpool Tower Circus. Virtually everyone we told that we were planning a trip to Blackpool said that it was well worth seeing. I have very vague memories of going when I was a child, but that was about 800 years ago and things have probably changed since then.

Days Out: The Blackpool Tower Circus

We had been told be friends to visit the Blackpool Tower early and pre-book our tickets. You can pay an extra £5.99 on top of your ticket to sit on one of the front few rows if you like. If you do this you get drinks and snacks included and a chance that some of the performers will chat to you. Sadly these tickets were fully booked, so we got a pair of tickets in the stalls instead.

An adult ticket is £13 and a child is £10.50. We are Merlin Annual Pass holders, the ticket price is covered by our Merlin Passes, so we just showed our Merlin cards at the box office and we were issued our tickets.

You’re advised to arrive a good half an hour before the show starts. Tickets are unreserved so you have to find your own seats. We sat around 5 rows from the front and we had a great view. If you’re in a large group you might struggle to find seats together, so do go early.

Before the show and during the interval you can join the performers in the circus ring to buy lights and tricks, learn to spin plates or have your face painted like a clown (for a small additional cost). There is a bar at the back where you can buy drinks and snacks too.

The Blackpool Tower Circus has been in residence in the Tower since 1894. We visited the circus on 5th April which was only the 5th day of their 2017 season. We felt pretty honoured to be seeing it all so early in the season.

The approach down the winding corridors to the circus ring is filled with memorabilia and exhibits. We felt a bit pushed past it all by the crowds keen to get to their seats. This was a bit of a shame and I’d very much like to go another day and have the time to take it all in. 

Days Out: Blackpool Tower Circus

The circus ring itself is in the round, meaning wherever you’re sitting you should get a good view. The current circus design was completed in 1900 and it is remarkable. It’s beautiful and baroque with padded velvet seats. There is room for several hundred people to enjoy the show but you still feel you’re close to the performers.

Photography is not permitted once the show has started, so I wasn’t able to take any photos of the performance. However, the two hour long show, with additional interval was both breathtaking and hilarious.

Days Out: The Blackpool Tower Circus

The glue which holds the show together are the clowns Mooky and Mr Boo. Mooky the Clown is the hilarious and cheeky funny guy which everyone loves and Mr Boo is his straight man. They’re brilliant and they were very much the highlight for my six year old. Mooky the Clown is a Blackpool Tower Circus legend and has been clowning around in Blackpool since 1992.

The whole show was incredibly good. With acrobats, an amazing tightrope walker, trapeze artists, a fantastic live band and a troupe of beautiful dancers. There were several eye-watering acrobatic feats, my favourite being the neon clad trapeze artists and the Chinese tightrope walker. The circus is filled with amazing acts from all over the world and is genuinely incredible.

Days Out: The Blackpool Tower Circus

Blackpool Tower Circus – April 2017    Picture © Jason Lock Photography

The finale of the circus show is the dancing fountains. The circus ring is lowered and filled with water and beautiful acrobats twirl and swirl on a Roman themed carousel of sorts. It’s an awesome sight. The Blackpool Tower Circus is one of only four circus rings left in the world that can do this.

We felt it was excellent value for money, especially with our Merlin Annual Passes. We would definitely consider the £5.99 VIP seating upgrade next time though. The circus itself was awe inspiring. The show is two hours long with an interval and it’s packed with fantastic performers and performances. The small boy is still raving about the clowns and I’m keen to go back and watch it all again. Always a good sign.

For more information about The Blackpool Tower Circus and to book tickets visit the Blackpool Tower website.

Days Out: Blackpool Tower Circus

I’m a Merlin Annual Pass Blogger Ambassador. I have been given a Merlin Annual Pass to do this review with my family.  I wasn’t paid to write this post.

Review: The Gin Festival Blackpool 2017, Blackpool Tower Ballroom

In recent years gin drinking has enjoyed something of a renaissance. Although gin has been drunk for centuries, gin distillers have been tapping into the growing trend for small batch, artisan and craft gins for a little while now.

In 2012, in celebration of all things gin, the Gin Festival was born. Since then the Gin Festival has been popping up in fabulous locations up and down the UK. The Gin Festival is a fantastic travelling festival; full of vintage flair and with all the gin you could possibly want. It’s a great place to go and try new gins, meet the makers, sample some new things and pick up a new favourite.

Last year I went to the Gin Festival Manchester and absolutely loved every second. This year I went a little further afield and spent an afternoon at the first ever Gin Festival Blackpool.

Review: The Gin Festival Blackpool 2017, Blackpool Tower Ballroom

Photo Credit: Bob Bardsley

Set in the stunning Ballroom at the iconic Blackpool Tower, it was the perfect venue for the inaugural Gin Festival Blackpool. The festival took place on Friday 10th March and Saturday 11th March, I went along to the Saturday afternoon session and had a ball!

The Gin Festival Blackpool served up over 100 gins to the eager Blackpool crowd, including many new and exclusive gins. There were masterclasses with distillers, cocktails, hot mulled gin and toe tapping live music.

With so many gins on offer, my companion Bob and I tried our best to sample as many of them as we could. After consulting “The Gin Book” we were given on arrival, we variously tried Daffy’s, Poetic Licence – Old Tom, Wicked Wolf Exmoor Gin, Wight Mermaid Gin, Inverroche Amber Gin, Isfjord Gin, Masons Tea Gin, Whitley Neill Quince, we also tried some hot mulled gin and a brand new gin from Yorkshire, Tinker.

Each gin was served with plenty of ice, a perfectly matched garnish and you could top it us with one of the six premium Fever-Tree tonics and mixers which were freely available.

Review: The Gin Festival Blackpool 2017, Blackpool Tower Ballroom

Photo Credit: Bob Bardsley

Our stand out favourite was a British made, Spanish style gin called Tinker. Tinker is a move away from traditional, juniper gins and is a fresh and innovative gin. Light on the palate and bursting with juicy berries. It is made by distilling juniper, coriander, orange, lemon, cassia, cinnamon, orris, angelica, liquorice, nutmeg and elderberries to create a contemporary classic. It’s one to watch out for in the future, that’s for sure!

Update: The Gin Festival has now gone into administration.

Win 4 tickets to the Gin Festival Blackpool

In recent years gin drinking has enjoyed something of a renaissance. Although gin has been drunk for centuries, gin distillers have been tapping into the growing trend for small batch, artisan and craft gins.

In 2012, in celebration of all things gin, the Gin Festival was born. Since then the Gin Festival has been popping up in fabulous locations up and down the UK. The Gin Festival is a fantastic travelling festival; full of vintage flair and with all the gin you could possibly want. It’s a great place to go and try new gins, meet the makers, sample some new things and pick up a new favourite.

Win 4 tickets to the Gin Festival Blackpool

Last year I went to the Gin Festival Manchester and absolutely loved every second. This year I’ll be going a little further afield and spending an afternoon at the first ever Gin Festival Blackpool.

The stunning Ballroom at the iconic Blackpool Tower is the perfect venue for the inaugural Gin Festival Blackpool. It takes place on Friday 10th March and Saturday 11th March. Tickets are selling fast, so if you want to get in on the gin action, grab your tickets now!

Win 4 tickets to the Gin Festival Blackpool

The UK’s biggest and oldest Gin Festival will be serving up over 100 gins to the Blackpool crowd, including many new and exclusive gins. There will also be masterclasses with distillers, cocktails and live music. The Gin Festival Blackpool is an event not to be missed!

If you can’t make it to Blackpool, why not book tickets for the Gin Festival in Glasgow, Manchester, Nottingham, Swansea, Torquay, Bournemouth, Bristol, Ipswich, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, Gloucester, Stoke-on-Trent, Leeds or Oxford.

For more information and to book tickets, visit the Gin Festival website.

WIN 4 tickets to the Gin Festival Blackpool

To be in with a chance to win 4 tickets to the Gin Festival Blackpool, redeemable on the Friday 10th March evening session only, simply complete the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

Check out our other giveaways over on our competitions page.
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5. The winner will receive 4 tickets to the Gin Festival Blackpool, redeemable on Friday 10th March evening session only.
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Days Out: Visiting The Blackpool Tower

As a child I spent a lot of time in Blackpool. Living in Manchester it was our nearest bit of seaside and we had family there, so it was a regular haunt. We thought Blackpool was probably the most amazing place on earth. We never really did the Pleasure Beach, but Blackpool Tower, with its beautiful ballroom, circus and million mile views was somewhere we seemed to visit quite a lot.

Over the Bank Holiday weekend we took the small boy to Blackpool. Our first stop was SEA LIFE Blackpool, which was brilliant. After we’d left SEA LIFE he was keen to hit the beach, but I wanted us to have a quick trip up the Blackpool Tower  before we all got covered in sand. 

Blackpool Tower

Although the Blackpool Tower is home to several famous attractions including the Ballroom, the tower circus, the tower dungeon and Jungle Jim’s, what we really wanted to see and do was the tower itself. 

As Merlin Card holders we showed our cards and got into the lift up to the Blackpool Tower Eye. This is a fairly recent addition to the tower. The first stop was the obligatory before attraction photograph. I always say yes to having these taken out of politeness, but we never buy them and they always look awful and/or really unnatural. The people in front of us declined, so we decided to as well and we were just waved through.

We joined a short queue for the 4D cinema experience. There are no seats in this cinema, so be prepared to stand for the short showing. The short film shows you the history of the tower and is a whistle-stop tour/flight around Blackpool complete with wind through your hair and foamy bubbles being blown at you. I found it quite exciting, the small boy wasn’t quite as keen. I think he was a bit nervous about going up the tower.

Blackpool Tower

Nervous faces…

Once you’ve watched the film you join the queue for the lifts up the tower. We had already decided to stay on the glass SkyWalk platform rather than climbing the stairs to the top. Both of my boys are a bit windy about heights and we thought we could go back another day and push it a little bit further with them.

They were very brave and both eventually managed to step out onto the 5cm thick glass. To be fair, the tower is 380ft tall and it is very strange standing on glass and being able to see all the way down.

Blackpool Tower

Blackpool Tower

I wonder how they clean the windows

It was a gloriously sunny day, the sky was a beautiful blue and you could see for miles and miles. On a clear day you can apparently see the Lake District, Liverpool and across the Irish Sea to the Isle of Man.

Blackpool Tower

We spent quite a bit of time walking around on the SkyWalk platform, admiring Blackpool and beyond from all angles. We talked about going even higher up the tower, but we decided to leave that for another, slightly braver day.

I would have liked to have spent more time exploring the attractions at the tower, but the boys were very keen to get on the beach, but we will be back another day soon for a proper look around. 

For more information visit the Blackpool Tower website.

Review: Our visit to SEA LIFE Blackpool

Over the Bank Holiday weekend we decided to have a trip to SEA LIFE Blackpool. The sun was shining, we fancied some sea air and it’s only an hour away; so off we went. The boy was really excited, he loves SEA LIFE Manchester and we’d heard that SEA LIFE Blackpool was well worth visiting, especially if you’re gripped by Finding Dory fever! 

SEA LIFE Blackpool

When we got there we were offered the chance to go on a behind the scenes tour, it was an extra £3 each but I was really interested in “going backstage” so we booked our places (more of which later).

We were given a map, an activity trail sheet and pencil and a pair of rather fetching paper goggles to wear.

SEA LIFE Blackpool

SEA LIFE Blackpool is divided into lots of different zones, with different kinds of sea life in each area. We were most excited about the stingrays and the seahorses, but we knew there were lots of other things to explore. The zones at SEA LIFE Blackpool include the Rockpool (you can touch some of the creatures here), Atlantic Depths which has sea life including anemones, starfish, crabs, place, lobster and octopus. 

SEA LIFE Blackpool

I was very taken by the various different kinds of anemones, they were all so colourful, beautiful and delicate looking. I could happily spend hours looking at them all. 

Our next stop was the Quayside zone which was home to stingrays, rays, pollock, brill and dogfish. Stingrays are our favourite, so we spent quite a while watching them fly through the tank in the Stingray Adventure zone, it’s a mesmerising sight.

SEA LIFE Blackpool

Our next stop was a visit to our other favourites in the Kingdom of the Seahorse, a zone which is home to lion fish, unicorn fish, clown fish, regal tangs and of course, lots of seahorses (fun fact: my first pet was a pair of seahorses, one of which was called Ankle). Did you know that seahorses prefer to swim in pairs with their tails linked together? 

Moving on to the next zone – the Submarine Explorer to see creatures who usually live in the darker depths of the sea including jellyfish, puffa fish, eels and tangs. We loved the jellyfish. I’ve never really looked at them very closely before, but they had different coloured lights shining in the tanks so you could pick up the detail. They look like beautiful atomic clouds. 

SEA LIFE Blackpool

We passed through the Rainforest Adventure zone quite quickly, it was a busy area with people looking at the turtles, chameleons and frogs and we were starting to worry about missing our slot for the Behind the Scenes Tour. 

The next stop was the Shark Mission and Ocean Tunnel. Every SEA LIFE Centre has a tunnel to walk through and this one was full of sharks including black tip sharks, white tip sharks, bowmouth guitar sharks, shovel nose sharks, nurse sharks, stingrays and lots of other fish. We were lucky enough to have a shark come and have a rest next to us as we looked through the tunnel, The small boy was transfixed!

SEA LIFE Blackpool

The final zone is Jurassic Seas which has ancient creatures such as the nautilus and more beautiful anemones, we would like to have spent more time exploring this zone, but we were almost late for our tour.

We met Robbie who gave us the behind the scenes tour. We visited the breeding area, full of baby fish who are still too tiny to be out fending for themselves in the main tanks. We met some fish which had been donated to the centre because they’d grown too big and some jellyfish (which don’t have brains).

Robbie then showed us some “moults” which are the discarded shells of creatures who shed them as they grow, such as lobsters and crabs. He also showed us some sharks teeth. Sharks can grow new teeth within a day of losing one. 

SEA LIFE Blackpool

We met lots of creatures who were in quarantine, such as a very pretty blue spotted ribbon tail ray who had been donated to the centre. Apparently lots of people get rays for their aquariums at home, but they often sting their owners who then get rid of them, not always responsibly.

One of the most interesting creatures is the peacock mantis shrimp which has beautiful peacock colouring, but has to live in a special acrylic tank because he is so strong he can punch through glass and escape!

SEA LIFE Blackpool

I found the behind the scenes tour really fascinating and well worth the £3 extra, it’s really worth doing if you’re interested in the inner workings of SEA LIFE Blackpool and how they manage the environment in the tanks, as well as the quarantine and breeding programmes. 

Our visit to SEA LIFE Blackpool was incredibly interesting and we really enjoyed exploring the different zones. I am only sorry that we didn’t have longer to explore everywhere more thoroughly, but that is our fault, we should have booked a later tour. We will have to go back again and do it more thoroughly another time.

SEA LIFE Blackpool was fascinating and full of weird, wonderful and often beautiful creatures. I was enchanted by the jellyfish, anemones and all the colourful fish. It’s worth a visit to see those alone. 

For more information about visiting SEA LIFE Blackpool visit their website.

We are SEA LIFE and LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Ambassadors and we used our Merlin passes to gain entry.

Our Top Five Most Fun Summer Things

It has not by any stretch of the imagination been a boring summer, ok the sun could’ve shone just a little bit more, but we definitely made the most of it. We had days out to exciting places, met new people and tried new things. We had days in and did painting, crafts, splashing in the paddling pool. But mostly we had a really good time. Looking back over the summer here are our top five most fun things we did…

1. Coombe Mill – we snuck in a visit to meet the Coombe Mill gang, and take a tour of their farm while we were on holiday in Cornwall. It’s such a beautiful place and 100% geared towards families. The small boy loved it and still talks about his visit. We met and helped feed all their animals, collected eggs, tracked down a newborn deer, we played pooh-sticks on the river which runs through the farm and best of all, we visited their miniature railway. A grand day out and we can’t wait to have a proper holiday there soon.

Coombe Mill

2. CBeebies Land at Alton Towers – this falls squarely into the “we didn’t think we’d like it as much as we did” category. Neither of us adults like roller coasters, so we visited with very mixed feelings. By the end of the day we were completely won over and the small boy had the time of his little life. His highlights include meeting Postman Pat, the Charlie and Lola House and the In The Night Garden boat ride. A brilliant day out and the queues weren’t as dreadful as we imagined. We’ll be back!

Things to do summer

3. Blackpool – Being a northern girl I have fond memories of trips to Blackpool as a child, one sunny day we decided to hop in the car and head off to see a show on the pier, take in the sights and have a stroll on the beach. Blackpool has changed a lot since I was a girl, but the small boy loved the razzmatazz of it all and couldn’t get over the fact there were actual, real donkeys on the beach. We’re going to try and take him to see the illuminations this year, I think he’ll be wowed by them.

4. Just So Festival – We managed to bag ourselves a day ticket to the festival and we were suitably wowed. The Just So Festival which is held in the Rode Hall Estate in Cheshire was a magical, mysterious, marvellous experience. It’s a family festival which is packed full of amazing things, from pirate boats and buried treasure, forest adventures and crafty fun, drumming and dancing to theatre productions and circus training. All the festival goers dress in “tribes”, so be an owl, fox, stag, fish, frog or a lion, be yourself if you want. This was most definitely the highlight of my summer. I came home with flowers in my hair, looking more relaxed and happy than I’ve done in a long time. Oh, and the boys had fun too, as much fun, if not more than me! We’re already booking our ticket for next year!

Just So Festival 2014

5. Picnic in Delamere Forest – at the start of the summer we hopped on a train and the boy and I went to Delamere Forest. It was our first solo trip since my operations and I was nervous, but everything was fine, better than fine, we had a great day. He loved the train ride and was as good as gold. We got to the forest and found all our friends there, so we set to work making sandwiches for our picnic with the help of Roberts Bakery, while the children ran around and tumbled on the grass, later being entertained by a storyteller. Delamere Forest is a fabulous place to explore, I’ve heard they’ve got a Gruffalo trail, so we’ll be heading back their soon, you never know who we’ll meet in the deep, dark woods!

Roberts Bakery

Of course wherever we go, whatever adventures we’re having, we always take a picnic, you can find some of our favourite picnic sandwich recipes here and here. And if you’re looking for something to keep boredom at bay and for summer things to do, then Roberts Bakery have some great ideas in their 50 Days of Summer Activity Pack which you can download for free from their website.

Note: This is not a paid for post, I have not been financially compensated in any way.