When you think of Blackpool, you might think neon lights, entertainment, sticks of rock and a golden mile of beaches perfect for sandcastles and donkey rides, but Blackpool is undeniably also one of the Britain's greatest seaside towns and a cultural institution.
From the experimental to the traditional, capture all of the culture that Blackpool has to offer.
Take a walk on the B/Side of the seaside – here are our top 7 cultural highlights!
1. J’adore la tour . . .
Inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Blackpool's very own cultural landmark has been an iconic sight of the North West since it first opened to the public in 1894. Home then to the aquarium on the ground floor, tower circus, famous ballroom and roof gardens, it's one of the most beautiful and exciting attractions in the UK!
2. Not one, not two, but THREE piers!
Blackpool's piers are all included in the World Monuments Funds 2018 World Monuments Watch list, and all well worth a visit. The most culturally significant is arguable North Pier. Created by Eugenius Birch and built in 1862, it’s designated as a Grade II listed building by English Heritage.
North Pier was originally intended as a promenade, but competition forced the pier to widen its attractions to include theatres and bars.
Today, North Pier is home to a Victorian tea room, ice cream parlour, two-tier Venetian Carousel and a penny arcade. Look around and you’ll find one of the oldest remaining Sooty glove puppets, paying homage to Harry Corbett’s original puppet purchase of his very first bear at the end of the Pier in 1948 for the princely sum of seven shillings six pence!
3. Rollercoasters of past and present
Since 1896 the Blackpool Pleasure Beach has been one of the most beloved theme parks in the UK. It is home to The Grand National, one of only three Möbius Loop coasters in existence and Sir Hiram Maxim Flying Machines, Europe’s oldest ride affectionately known as the "Flyers". This ride has delighted millions of visitors since it opened in August 1904.
4. A walk in the park
Designed and built in the 1920s, under the eye of Thomas Mawson, the 390-acre Stanley Park is a landmark in its own right, a beautiful blend of architecture, floral displays and playful activities. Relax and unwind within the Italian gardens, water fountains and ornamental bridges, the elegant surroundings taking you away.
5. Wonders of modern engineering
Blackpool tramway has been in operation for over 135 years, running along 11 miles of Fylde Coast since 1885. Our trams are the quintessential image of Blackpool. For some people, they invoke treasured childhood memories, whilst others marvel at the historic engineering expertise.
6. It’s only Rock ‘n’ Roll (but we like it!)
As well as The Old Rock (of the candy variety) Factory becoming a venue for all types of artists, creatives and anyone wanting to ‘get into’ the arts scene in the Blackpool area and Blackpool's largest rock factory ‘Coronation’ now being open to the public– Blackpool has played a prominent role in Rock (of the musical variety). The First Musical Festival was held in Blackpool back in 1901, and the town has since continued to host live performers from the Beatles and Rolling Stones (who thanks to their notoriously wild antics were banned from playing in the town for 44 years) to present day one-nighters including The Killers, Stone Roses and Florence and the Machine.
Blackpool also welcomes punks with the annual Rebellion festival at the town’s impressive Grade II listed building, Winter Gardens. With famous bands such as Sham 69, The Buzzcocks, Goldblade having played there this year, if you like your punk get to Blackpool in August, and maybe bring your gran too.
7. Blackpool Illuminations
Blackpool’s famous Illuminations, first lit up the town in 1879 when they were described as 'Artificial sunshine' ingeniously extending the resort’s season. First created using just eight carbon arc lamps, it’s now home to millions light bulbs of different colours and size to create the greatest free light show on Earth.
Look around and see new showstoppers - the LightPool project - which will bring a whole host of additions each year– described as “a bit like some shiny new pearls along a string”.