Looking for some ideas to entertain the family during the October school holidays?
Look no further. It’s been an unprecedented year for many and we all need something to look forward to. Blackpool has set its stall out to offer families an unrivalled selection of half-term holiday fun. From the famous Blackpool Illuminations lighting up the skies every night to spine-tingling Halloween horrors, the resort has an extraordinary line-up of COVID-safe indoor and outdoor events and attractions to celebrate the school holidays.
Here’s a selection of some exciting things to do in Blackpool over half-term which have all the necessary COVID measures in place to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable time.
Autumn wouldn’t be the same without the world-famous Illuminations. The free display along the entire length of the promenade has some great new features for 2020 including a touching hearts and rainbows tribute to the nation’s key workers who have helped keep the country moving through times of uncertainty; a World War Two replica Spitfire with a spectacular laser show every 15 minutes; and the reimagined Pirate Tableau in partnership with Coral Island.
For the first time ever, the Blackpool Illuminations have been extended until January 3, 2021, giving you even more time to visit us when the time is right for you. Even better, it’s also the perfect excuse to visit again when the kids break up for Christmas! Explore the Blackpool Illuminations here and check out the switch-on times for this year’s display, plus more illuminating info.
Heritage Tram Tours:
Did you know our illuminated tramcars have been a feature of Blackpool Illuminations since they began? Climb aboard a piece of moving history and travel along the promenade and Golden Mile, passing the three piers, the iconic Blackpool Tower and the illuminated tableaux section at Bispham.
Booking an Illuminations tour on a Heritage tram is one of the best ways to see the Lights. Most importantly, you don’t need to choose who is going to be the designated driver! All you need to do is sit back, relax and take in the spectacular light show. The illuminated fleet is returning to the tracks this October, giving you an opportunity to not only see the light spectacle but be a part of it.
Unlike previous years, where you could spontaneously board one of the trams at one of the designated Heritage tram stops, you need to book in advance. Spaces are limited due to capacity measures, so we recommend booking ahead of time.
Book your Illuminations tram tour here
October is a time of year when many places are bunkering down for the winter. Not here in Blackpool where we have the biggest portfolio of attractions outside London. Take your pick from Blackpool Pleasure Beach with its amazing ICON rollercoaster and Nickelodeon Land; splashes of indoor fun at Sandcastle Waterpark; discover the underwater world at SEA LIFE; take a walk on the wild side at Blackpool Zoo; try your luck at the UK’s largest indoor amusement arcade, Coral Island; explore our three piers; experience the illuminated and heritage trams; brave the depths of the Blackpool Dungeon; journey to the top of The Blackpool Tower; enjoy the excitement of the Blackpool Tower & Circus, and Madame Tussauds with its Marvel Super-Heroes and Strictly Come Dancing interactive exhibitions. There’s plenty to choose from to keep you endlessly entertained!
Browse all of Blackpool’s top attractions here
Top tip: once you know your travel dates, we recommend booking any attractions in advance, especially leading up to the half-term holidays. Due to COVID-19 measures, many attractions are operating at a lower capacity than normal, which means they are booking up and selling out more quickly. Take a look at how attractions in Blackpool are keeping you safe.
Halloween in Blackpool is going to look a little different this year due to COVID-19, but that doesn’t mean you’ve escaped the frights and thrills.
We’ve got ghost trains, socially distanced ghost walks, ghost trams, and a Haunted Hotel tableau in the Blackpool Illuminations - in fact, more ghosts than you can shake a stick at! Watch out for a stack of electrifying events at various attractions including The Blackpool Tower Dungeon and Blackpool Pleasure Beach which, from October 27-31, will host the return of Circus of Horrors in the Globe Theatre. Blending horror, rock music and burlesque with unbelievable acts from an almighty cast, Circus of Horrors is a spine-tingling show set to make your pulse race. The show kicks off at 8pm or you can opt for the child-friendly shows at 4pm.
For a full line-up of what's on this Halloween in Blackpool, click here.
JORVIK Viking Centre in York have invaded the Winter Gardens with their exciting touring exhibition, ‘Fearsome Craftsmen’. Located in the Pavilion Theatre, the exhibition is a fun, educational look at expert craftsmanship, featuring rare archaeological findings and replicas on display. Discover how gnarly Vikings turned simple materials into complex objects and explore the sights and sounds of the Viking age with a replica boat, house, market stalls and even a toilet! Learn how advances in Viking boat technology eventually led to the development of a thriving trade network, with Lancashire establishing an important position on this well-travelled route.
Be quick, you only have until 13 December to view the exhibition before it set sails on other ventures.
Book your tickets
Where: Winter Gardens, FY1 1HL
When: September 19 – December 13 at 11am daily
Tickets: £5 per person
THE LIGHTS - Grundy Art Gallery:
Grundy Art Gallery recently announced its exciting light-themed autumn programme and they’re seriously upping the voltage! THE LIGHTS, shorthand for the Blackpool Illuminations, is a free exhibition showcasing and celebrating Grundy’s light-themed collection gathered over the last five years, giving viewers the opportunity to see the artworks altogether for the very first time.
Grundy has been developing a special interest in artists that use light as a material within their work, including world-renowned contemporary artist Tracey Emin; one of the originators of 1960s conceptual art, Joseph Kosuth and five new works that have been brought into the collection this year. Perfectly timed for the Blackpool Illuminations, expect clashes of colour and a dynamic array of neon, moving image, photography, digital drawing and sculpture.
Find out more about the new exhibition here.
Where: Grundy Art Gallery, FY1 1PU
When: Wednesday 23 September – Saturday 19 December 2020
Tickets: Free admission: Wednesday – Saturday 11am – 4pm (last admission 3.40pm) Closed Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.
Jurassic Earth – Winter Gardens:
Calling all dinosaur fanatics! October half-term is your chance to get up close and personal with life-like dinosaurs, prehistoric props and giant dinosaur eggs.
The 90-minute family-friendly experience at Winter Gardens takes you on an epic adventure as you discover the largest creatures that ever roamed the planet. There will be plenty of photo opportunities as you run with a raptor, scream with a Spinosaurus and roar with a 12ft T-Rex. This immersive experience casts light on these lost giants and how these magnificent beasts fiercely ruled the world millions of years ago.
Limited tickets are available due to capacity measures in place, so we advise booking your tickets as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. Book tickets here.
Where: Blackpool Winter Gardens
When: Saturday October 31st
Tickets: £15 per person. Three time slots daily: 11:00am, 2:00pm and 5pm
Embrace the outdoors
October is one of the most colourful months to explore the open spaces Blackpool has to offer. On milder days, the invigorating sea air is the perfect ingredient for a relaxing stroll down the six miles of promenade; the lush 82-acre landscape at Stanley Park, voted the best UK park in 2019, dramatically turns into an abundance of rich red and yellow hues with pathways blanketed in crunchy leaves, making way for endless photo opportunities; and our three piers offer a refreshing walk over the waves. Sometimes it’s the simple things that matter the most on holiday, so bask in the autumnal air, recharge your batteries and discover our wide open spaces.
Throughout October, we will be sharing tips on our Facebook and Twitter on how you can #EscapeTheEveryday in partnership with Visit England, so make sure you give us a follow.
Whether you’re looking for a quick last-minute getaway or a short but action-packed break, our businesses can’t wait to welcome you for your autumn staycation.
Many of our accommodation partners are still taking bookings for October and half-term breaks. From cosy B&Bs, holiday parks, national names to self-catering options, there’s something for everyone. Find your accommodation here.
We also recommend checking out our Know Before You Go guide, which gives you the latest information on the COVID-safe guidelines to follow in Blackpool, as well as the safety measures our attractions and accommodation are taking to keep you safe in the resort.