The Blackpool Illuminations are now switched off for the 2013 season.
Blackpool just wouldn’t be the same without a trip to the world-famous northern lights – the Blackpool Illuminations. More than three million visitors a year can’t be wrong!
This year, the magical Blackpool Illuminations kept the resort aglow for 73 nights from Friday 30 August to Sunday 10 November 2013.
Once described as ‘Artificial Sunshine’, the Illuminations have been a major part of Blackpool’s attraction since 1879 and have been a guiding light for visitors to the resort ever since.
And to ensure this year’s event was the most spectacular yet, there were a whole host of new and revamped displays including Theatre D’Amour, Venus Reborn, Talbot Square and Brilliance, which are designed to dazzle and delight the crowds with new programmes, sounds and shows. Not forgetting the magnificent jewel in the crown, Blackpool Tower helped showcase just why the Illuminations are regarded as a truly world class lighting attraction.
For information on Blackpool including updates about the 2014 illuminations, register for VisitBlackpool newsletters here.
Blackpool’s Illuminations evoke a sense of nostalgia, and to this day retain the magic and excitement which every visitor experiences on their first trip through the Lights. The styles and technology however are constantly adapting to address the green issues of conservation and energy efficiency.
Blackpool Illuminations have a limited number of spaces available for £49.99 which will give you the chance to have you, members of your families or even a pet’s image “displayed” in the 2014 Headlights display” located on the cliffs section (opposite the old Miners Home) in the world famous Blackpool Illuminations.
If you would like to have your image after the display we can send it to you for an additional £9.99 which will make a great souvenir to treasure!
Images need to be a head and shoulders shot. We will accept digital images by email (minimum of 3mega pixels) or photographs (min 10”x8”) by post
We will then apply our colourising special effects to your image .This image will be displayed in Headlights 2014.
Details of how to submit your image will be provided with your order confirmation.
Terms and Conditions
• Actual size of image will be 520mm x 520mm
• Pets images are allowed.
• The Council reserve the right to accept or reject images for display. If an image is rejected you will not be charged.
• If you require your image to be returned to you at the end of the Illuminations, the Council will return the same image to you as used in the display, which of course will make a great souvenir to treasure!
• We can accept no legal liability for any copyright or associated issues with this promotion.
Location – Just north of the Metropole hotel
The biggest gallery of original Illuminated urban art in the world. Comprising 48 panels from 12 artists, these are all original street artworks overseen by Blackpool resident Robin Ross and co-curated by Laurence Llewlyn Bowen.
The 12 artists from around the country including Blackpool have created the world’s first illuminated street art gallery.
The artists are: Inkie, Osch, Catch22, Foundary, Lowdown, Oliver Winconek, Danny O'Connor, Agent Provoceteur, Infected by Design, TeaOne, Neil Ennui and The Legendary Toasters.
This section is sponsored by Graham and Brown Design.
Graham and Brown Design and marketing director Mark Radford said " It is great to be supporting the Iconic Blackpool illuminations, our long association with Laurence Llewelyn Bowen was instrumental in introducing us to the show but now we have seen what has been produced we are extremely happy with the product and feel it is highly worthwhile for Graham and Brown to be financially supporting both the illuminations and fresh creative and artistic talent like this"
Location – On the cliffs opposite Penbroke Avenue
Just 65 years young this year, the Blackpool legend is finally realised in the illuminations for the first time ever, in a colourful new tableaux depicting Sooty, Sweep and pals in exciting action, coupled with a spectacular video montage of some of Sooty’s favourite moments from his ever popular ITV series.
Sooty’s owner and presenter Richard Cadell said:
"Its fabulous in our 65th year to see Sooty, born in Blackpool in July 1948, brought to life, for the first time ever, in the Illuminations . It's so fitting that the lights switch on coincides with the launch of yet another new TV series for ITV and I know so many Sooty fans -young and old -will be thrilled to see Sooty , Sweep and Soo in lights.
Sooty is truly a British institution - but his home will always be Blackpool."
"Sooty is thrilled to be working with another great institution - Blackpool Illuminations! Together they are planning a very magical display to celebrate Sooty’s 65th Birthday- Izzy Wizzy - they are certainly very busy!"
Location- Starr Gate
The arches at South Shore have received a massive makeover in 2013 with a brand new sponsor and new vibrant colour scheme fully revitalising the classic favourite.
KRS founder and managing director Sven Knight said: "It is wonderful to this year support Blackpool Illuminations. The Illuminations have a great historical and cultural significance with the nation and KRS has built its reputation on facilitating the creative industries throughout the country with a core staff sourced from the Blackpool and Fylde area.”
Location – Cliffs South
These fabulous “Rock” images are taken from Ray Lowry's original sketches for the Clash's Iconic 'London Calling' Album sleeve.
Ray passed away in 2008 and the images have not been seen prior to this display, this collaboration with the Ray Lowry Foundation has been very rewarding seeing how the Illuminations team worked in collaboration with curator Robin Ross to develop something special, and truly unique.
Location – Tram turning circle opposite the Pleasure Beach
Artist Inkie who is a legend among street artists worldwide, returns to the Illuminations in 2013 with his most exciting project to date, describing himself as being “honoured” to bring his art deco style of painting to such an historic tram.
There were 7000 hits in 24 hours on his website as the first picture of the tram painted was published….and that’s before it had been lit!!
Location : Cliffs displays
A brand new video screen featuring Thomas and all his friends in their fabulous adventures.
Location – South Promenade
The Bling section of the Illuminations has been revamped for 2013 has now has a sponsor – Beaverbrooks.
Beaverbrooks Head of Multichannel Roger Fairhurst said: “We have had a long and happy association with the Illuminations sponsoring one of its most iconic items the “Beaverbrooks Arches” on the South shore for many years.
When the opportunity arose to move North and position ourselves opposite the Tower we happily accepted. We are committed to supporting the Illuminations with the new Beaverbooks area.”
Location: Full length of the display
Black Ridge Technologies together with Blackpool Council and Stay Blackpool will deliver a new and exciting experience for visitors to the Illuminations this year, something that has never been done on this scale anywhere in the world.
Bringing the famous Blackpool Illuminations to life by adding in 3D holograms of characters that compliment the themes for the various displays along the length of the lights. These 3D holograms can be seen on a compatible Apple iOS devices or Android smartphone that are running 'The Blackpool Experience' app and the user has purchased the Blackpool Illuminations content pack.
There are over 90 visual markers along the entire length of the Illuminations that will trigger unique content when visitors point their devices at them, ranging from tigers and elephants; to pirates, zombies and even a mermaid or two!
Visitors to the Illuminations can try the app for free and view a number of the characters that can be found within the lights, including the Glitter Ball Gang, a group of friendly virtual children who will act as guides throughout the Illuminations and have been voiced by local school children. There is even a 'video only' version so that children and young adults who are hard of hearing or will have trouble keeping their phones pointed at the markers, can view video animations of the 3D characters with subtitles for the audio.
A portion of the revenue generated will be donated to the Illuminations fund and also to the NSPCC.
Stay Blackpool president Claire Smith said: “We are thrilled to be supporting such an innovative and exciting addition to the illuminations, by actually funding this we hope to raise the profile of both Stay Blackpool and the illuminations display”
Location – South Promenade
Rested for a while, now back again as the show celebrates its 50th year in 2013 , we bring you the return of a classic era of Dr Who as David Tennant takes the role making it his own in one of the shows most iconic periods!
Location -Talbot Square
Thousands of multicoloured falling led lights drop from the sky as if by magic in a dazzling display of light and animation atTalbot Square.
Location: Gynn Island
Refuelled for 2013 the very popular and legendary Rocket tram now features extra spaceman and a new sponsor and looks ready to blast off at any time!!
Ronnie Brown, Managing Director of Blachere UK said: “It is wonderful to have the Worlds largest illuminations supplier supporting the Worlds most iconic illuminations show and we are both glad and proud to be associated”
Refurbished at a cost of over £300k over the past two years and for the first time complete to enjoy in an Illuminations season, the Tower now features a state of the art led system capable of running millions of patterns of light through it. Over 5400 leds can change colour and sequence individually creating up to 16Million colours and multiple patterns and arrays. This years Illuminations will see us show the Tower off to its full potential!
Location: Birley Street
Refurbished extensively over the summer, the Brilliance town centre show returns with a series of brilliant fresh shows and effects new to Illuminations season visitors in 2013.
Location: South Pier
Extensively upgraded over winter period the Theatre D’Amour features a brand new light and sound show complimenting the original popular Kylie classic “All the Lovers”!
Designed by our very own creative curator LLB, these Blackpool signs split up the display through its length with a mix of swirling colours and patterns, backed by a series of promotions for the amazing Mamma Mia show coming to Blackpool next year!
|30th August||Friday **||9.25 p.m.||2.00 a.m.|
|31s August||Saturday||8.00 p.m.||12.00 a.m.|
|1st September||Sunday||8.00 p.m.||11.00 p.m.|
|2nd September||Monday||8.00 p.m.||10.30 p.m.|
|3rd September||Tuesday||8.00 p.m.||10.30 p.m.|
|4th September||Wednesday||8.00 p.m.||10.30 p.m.|
|5th September||Thursday||8.00 p.m.||10.30 p.m.|
|6th September||Friday||8.00 p.m.||12.00 a.m.|
|7th September||Saturday||8.00 p.m.||12.00 a.m.|
|8th September||Sunday||8.00 p.m.||11.00 p.m.|
|9th September||Monday||8.00 p.m.||10.30 p.m.|
|10th September||Tuesday||8.00 p.m.||10.30 p.m.|
|11th September||Wednesday||8.00 p.m.||10.30 p.m.|
|12th September||Thursday||8.00 p.m.||10.30 p.m.|
|13th September||Friday||7.45 p.m.||12.00 a.m.|
|14th September||Saturday||7.45 p.m.||12.00 a.m.|
|15th September||Sunday||7.45 p.m.||11.00 p.m.|
|16th September||Monday||7.45 p.m.||10.30 p.m.|
|17th September||Tuesday||7.45 p.m.||10.30 p.m.|
|18th September||Wednesday||7.45 p.m.||10.30 p.m.|
|19th September||Thursday||7.45 p.m.||10.30 p.m.|
|20th September||Friday||7.30 p.m.||12.00 a.m.|
|21st September||Saturday||7.30 p.m.||12.00 a.m.|
|22nd September||Sunday||7.30 p.m.||11.00 p.m.|
|23rd September||Monday||7.30 p.m.||10.30 p.m.|
|24th September||Tuesday||7.30 p.m.||10.30 p.m.|
|25th September||Wednesday||7.30 p.m.||10.30 p.m.|
|26th September||Thursday||7.30 p.m.||10.30 p.m.|
|27th September||Friday||7.15 p.m.||12.00 a.m.|
|28th September||Saturday||7.15 p.m.||12.00 a.m.|
|29th September||Sunday||7.15 p.m.||11.00 p.m.|
|30th September||Monday||7.15 p.m.||10.30 p.m.|
|1st October||Tuesday||7.15 p.m.||10.30 p.m.|
|2nd October||Wednesday||7.15 p.m.||10.30 p.m.|
|3rd October||Thursday||7.15 p.m.||10.30 p.m.|
|4th October||Friday||7.00 p.m.||12.00 a.m.|
|5th October||Saturday||7.00 p.m.||12.00 a.m.|
|6th October||Sunday||7.00 p.m.||11.00 p.m.|
|7th October||Monday||7.00 p.m.||10.30 p.m.|
|8th October||Tuesday||7.00 p.m.||10.30 p.m.|
|9th October||Wednesday||7.00 p.m.||10.30 p.m.|
|10th October||Thursday||7.00 p.m.||10.30 p.m.|
|11th October||Friday||6.45 p.m.||12.00 a.m.|
|12th October||Saturday||6.45 p.m.||12.00 a.m.|
|13th October||Sunday||6.45 p.m.||11.00 p.m.|
|14th October||Monday||6.45 p.m.||10.30 p.m.|
|15th October||Tuesday||6.45 p.m.||10.30 p.m.|
|16th October||Wednesday||6.45 p.m.||10.30 p.m.|
|17th October||Thursday||6.45 p.m.||10.30 p.m.|
|18th October||Friday||6.30 p.m.||12.00 a.m.|
|19th October||Saturday||6.30 p.m.||12.00 a.m.|
|20th October||Sunday||6.30 p.m.||11.00 p.m.|
|21st October||Monday||6.30 p.m.||10.30 p.m.|
|22nd October||Tuesday||6.30 p.m.||10.30 p.m.|
|23rd October||Wednesday||6.30 p.m.||10.30 p.m.|
|24th October||Thursday||6.30 p.m.||10.30 p.m.|
|25th October||Friday||6.15 p.m.||12.00 a.m.|
|26th October||Saturday *||6.15 p.m.||12.00 a.m.|
|27th October||Sunday||5.00 p.m.||11.00 p.m.|
|28th October||Monday||5.00 p.m.||11.00 p.m.|
|29th October||Tuesday||5.00 p.m.||11.00 p.m.|
|30th October||Wednesday||5.00 p.m.||11.00 p.m.|
|31st October||Thursday||5.00 p.m.||11.00 p.m.|
|1st November||Friday||5.00 p.m.||12.00 a.m.|
|2nd November||Saturday||5.00 p.m.||12.00 a.m.|
|3rd November||Sunday||5.00 p.m.||11.00 p.m.|
|4th November||Monday||5.00 p.m.||10.30 p.m.|
|5th November||Tuesday||5.00 p.m.||10.30 p.m.|
|6th November||Wednesday||5.00 p.m.||10.30 p.m.|
|7th November||Thursday||5.00 p.m.||10.30 p.m.|
|8th November||Friday||5.00 p.m.||12.00 a.m.|
|9th November||Saturday||5.00 p.m.||12.00 p.m.|
|10th November||Sunday||5.00 p.m.||11.00 p.m.|
** Celebrity Switch-On, maybe subject to change
* End of British Summertime
Holidaymakers first tripped the Lights fantastic in Blackpool in 1879 when just EIGHT arc lamps bathed the Promenade in what was described as artificial sunshine... The principle is still much the same 130 years later.
But the sheer scale, style and professionalism of today’s fantastic free show reveals just how much Blackpool’s Illuminations has developed as one of the iconic annual British events.
Gone are the days when the lights went out as the tide came in because water leaked into the cast iron wiring pipes on the seafront!
In May 1912, lights were erected on Princess Parade to mark Blackpool’s first royal visit – Princess Louise officially opened this new section of Promenade.
They were so impressive that the council staged them again in September and thousands of people visited the resort and the commercial potential was tapped the following autumn.
The First World War called a temporary halt to the display in 1914, but by 1925 the Lights were back with giant animated tableaux being added and extending the Blackpool Illuminations to almost six miles from Squires Gate to Red Bank Road.
The Illuminations were halted again when the Second World War broke out and did not come on again until 1949 when Anna Neagle pressed the switch.
More than 3.5 million visitors flocked to Blackpool to see the Illuminations last year.
An army of staff including artists, electricians, joiners, mechanics, painters and engineers work throughout the year to ensure the display is ready for the big switch-on.
Altogether 65,000 staff hours are used on maintenance, preparation, erection, operation and – when it is all over – dismantling the feature, fixtures and fittings.
The Lights’ cable and wiring stretches more than 74 miles (120km) and there are more than 400,000 lamps of various types and styles.
Electricity consumption has been reduced by nearly half in recent years with the introduction of the latest technology low-voltage neon, lamps and micro processor controls.
Top designer and television personality Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen has been drafted in to the Illuminations team and created its acclaimed “Decodance” and “Venus Reborn” features.
A long list of luminaries
Although Lights displays were staged in 1879, 1912, 1913 and then 1925 through to 1933, it was not until 1934 that a proper Switch-On ceremony was devised to launch the Summer Season's Grand Finale. Lord Derby did the honours, followed by an impressive roll call of celebrities.
1930's & 1940's
1934 Lord Derby
1935 Audrey Mossom (Railway Queen)
1936 Sir Josiah Stamp
1937 Alderman Ashton and the Duke of Kent
1938 Councillor Mrs Quayle
1939 Cancelled when war broke out, no display during War years or indeed until..
1949 Anna Neagle
1950 Wilfred Pickles
1951 Stanley Mathews
1952 Valerie Hobson
1953 George Formby
1954 Gilbert Harding
1955 Jacob Malik (Russian Ambassador)
1956 Reginald Dixon
1957 John H Whitney (American Ambassador)
1958 A E 'Matt' Matthews
1959 Jayne Mansfield
1960 Janet Munro
1961 Violet Carson
1962 Shirley Ann Field
1963 Cliff Michelmore
1964 Gracie Fields
1965 David Tomlinson
1966 Ken Dodd
1967 Dr. Horace King (Speaker)
1968 Sir Matt Busby
1969 Canberra Bomber
1970 Tony Blackburn
1971 Cast of "Dad's Army"
1972 Danny La Rue
1973 Gordon Banks
1974 Wendy Craig
1975 Tom Baker (Dr Who)
1976 Carol Ann Grant (Miss United Kingdom)
1977 Red Rum
1978 Terry Wogan
1979 Kermit the Frog and the Muppets
1980 Cannon and Ball
1981 Earl & Countess Spencer
1982 Rear Admiral "Sandy" Woodward
1983 Cast of "Coronation Street" (Doris Speed)
1984 Johannes Rau (Minister-President, North Rhine Westphalia & David Waddington, QC, MP (Minister of State, Home Office)
1985 Joanna Lumley, BBC "Children in Need"
1986 Les Dawson
1987 Frank Bough, Ann Gregg & Kathy Tayler, BBC "Holiday" programme
1988 Andrew Lloyd Webber and Sarah Brightman
1989 Frank Bruno
1990 Bet & Alec Gilroy "Coronation Street" (Julie Goodyear & Roy Barraclough)
1991 Derek Jameson and Judith Chalmers
1992 Lisa Stansfield
1993 Status Quo & Radio One
1994 Shirley Bassey
1995 Bee Gees & Radio One
1996 Eternal & Radio One
1997 Michael Ball & Radio Two
1998 Chris De Burgh & Radio Two
1999 Gary Barlow & Radio Two
2000 Westlife & Radio Two
2001 Steps & Radio Two
2002 Ronan Keating & Radio Two
2003 Blue & Radio Two
2004 Geri Halliwell & Radio Two
2005 Chris Evans & Radio Two
2006 Dale Winton & Radio Two
2007 David Tennant & Radio Two
2008 Top Gear Team & Radio Two
2009 Alan Carr & Radio Two
2010 Robbie Williams & Real Radio and Smooth Radio
2011 Keith Lemon & Real Radio and Smooth Radio
2012 Team GB - Gymnasts Beth Tweddle, and Max Whitlock, rower Sophie Hosking, boxer Luke Campbell, cyclists Stephen Burke and judo player Karina Bryant
2013 Jonathan Ross
There's no better way to see the lights this year!
We have historic or illuminated trams running every night from 1st September - 10 November. Click here to see more information on costs and times.
Illumination Tours will operate nightly from the Pleasure Beach Heritage stop. The boarding stop is on the tram turning circle just off the main line, near the Inspector’s cabin, look out for the green circle heritage tram stop.
Have a ride on the Illuminated Western Train, HMS Blackpool or Fisherman’s Friend, The Trawler and vintage trams. The trams go north to Bispham turn around and then journey back to the Pleasure Beach, the tours take approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Concessionary passes and Blackpool 1Tickets are not available on illumination tours. Child fares are available to anyone aged 5-15 years. Children under 5 travel free.
Experts will be on hand throughout the Illuminations season, offering a personal insight into everything you ever wanted to know about the history and making of the Lights.
VisitBlackpool are giving coach parties the chance to have their very own Guide for the Illuminations. The guides will accompany the tour on their six-mile journey of electrifying lights, telling you everything you could want to know about new features, an insight into the history of the Illuminations and some quirky behind the scenes facts.
Our knowledgeable and friendly group of guides, have spent many years working behind the scenes in Blackpool’s Illuminations Department, or across Tourism businesses in resort, making them the perfect ambassadors for the job.
A fee is charged for all our guide services with discounted rates for multiple bookings. If you would like to book a guide for this year’s Lights, please contact Steven Deakin on 01253 477150.
Please download a copy of the recommended coach route for the Blackpool Illuminations.