When talking about tourism and holiday locations in the UK, Blackpool is always near the top of the list, and for good reason. Blackpool is one of the most central cities in the UK, and despite having a relatively small population compared to other cities, it’s one of the most lively too. This is because there’s just so much things to do in Blackpool. If you’re looking for somewhere to visit in the UK, or have already decided on Blackpool and are looking for some things to do, there’s definitely something here for you.
Blackpool is a city unlike any other, in that as much as it is a very kid-friendly city, there’s also plenty of things to do in Blackpool for couples, there are plenty of options in the evening and attractions for people without kids so no matter who you decide to bring you'll find lots of fun things to do.
For the thrillseekers and sightseers
Pleasure Beach is definitely one of the most popular things to do in Blackpool, and you’ll see why if you decide to go there. Pleasure Beach has a huge library of rides and attractions from roller coasters to…. Well, mostly more roller coasters. There are loads of roller coasters - water coasters, wooden coasters, etc. That’s not to say that there are not other things to do at Pleasure Beach, there is lots of other traditional theme park rides, with hurricane spinners, drop towers, and pendulum type rides, but if you’re not interested in roller coasters, then pleasure beach may not be for you.
However, if you heard the words “roller coaster” and your ears pointed up, then a trip to Pleasure Beach will definitely be worth it, if not for the sole reason that it is home to the tallest roller coaster in the UK, “The Big One”, which at the time of its construction in 1994, stood for 2 years as the tallest in the world. At Pleasure Beach, you’ll also find the UK’s first looping roller coaster, Revolution, as well as the terrifying log flume style coaster Valhalla, and many others.
Nothing about Blackpool tower is necessarily aimed at children, but if you have kids, going here without them would just be unfair. Why? Coming in at 380ft (120m) off of the ground, the view from the top of Blackpool Tower is beyond magical. The top of the Tower is known at Blackpool Tower Eye, so if you hear that thrown around, you’ll know what it means. Blackpool tower sits right on the coast, and from the top of it, your view is consumed by the Irish Sea, as far as the eye can see. You can also see all the people on the road below you, and the latitude isn’t so gargantuan that you can’t make out anything on the ground, so if you wanted, you could stand up at the top of the tower all day and just watch the city below you in action. If you had to pick one of these things to do in Blackpool choose this.
If you’re as captivated by the experience as I was, then there’s also a gift shop, which could also make for a great source of souvenirs for your family and loved ones.
The Blackpool Beach and The Piers
If you happen to visit during the summer, then I’m sure you’ll love visiting the coastline, as Blackpool does have one of the nicest coastlines in North-West England. No doubt you’ll encounter many happy families who are visiting the beach, and the beach has nice access to the piers. You could make a full day out of a trip to the beach and visiting the piers. The coast also has great access to other areas such as Blackpool Tower and places to eat.
The piers, Northern, Southern, and Central are piers that run along the coast of Blackpool. They hold carnival-style attractions, as well as places to eat and bars/pubs if you happen to be visiting without the kids
The Central Pier is another location in Blackpool which has amusement park-style rides, which can’t be found in Pleasure Beach. It has a Ferris wheel, carousel, tea-cups, and more. It doesn’t really compare in scale to Pleasure Beach and Nickelodeon Land, but it can make a great addition to your day out. The vintage vibe reminds you of summers of old and the rustic strippy deckchairs are perfect to relax on and watch the sea with an ice cream.
The Northern Pier is the oldest and longest of these 3 piers, having been built in the 1860s. Being the first of the piers, it wasn’t originally built with the idea of having attractions for tourists in mind, with the original idea being that the pier would instead be a promenade. The northern pier was also the pier that originally catered to a higher class of citizens when it was first built, holding theatre and comedy evenings, and it only stopped consistently charging admission in 2011.
The Southern Pier is, as you might guess, the southern-most of the 3 piers, and has a plethora of amusement and adrenaline rides to keep you going. It does have the most amusement park themed attractions of the 3 piers, but it is pretty much exactly the same, and not necessarily a new experience from pleasure beach or the other 2 if you’ve already visited them. That said, it is still a very fun time.
Blackpool Tower Dungeon
Maybe not one for the younger kids, the Blackpool Tower Dungeon is a spooky experience, featuring state of the art theming and special effects featuring both historical themed attractions, as well as some more general spooky haunted-house style themes. A day in the Blackpool Tower Dungeon will have you flicking between laughing and screaming, and even if you don’t think it is for you, you might surprise yourself if you go in with an open mind.
Lytham St Annes Visitor Spitfire Centre - Hanger 42
This one is a little more for the history buffs, but you’ll find it a super interesting experience even if you’re not that interested in history. Hangar 42 was a very important site during WW2, and includes machines such as Mark II and IX Spitfires and a Hawker Hurricane. This centre only opens on the first Sunday of every month between March and October, which is a pretty specific timeframe, but its definitely a worthwhile experience, and if history is an interest of yours you’ll want to check it out if you get the chance. The admission fee is also very reasonable, being only £3.50 for adults, £2.50 for children over 7, and under 7’s (as well as veterans and serving members of Armed Forces) free.
Things to do in Blackpool with kids
The Sea Life Centre
The Sea Life Centre is a wonderful experience which can really put you in awe of exactly what nature is capable of. It is home to some of the most gorgeous sea life you’ll ever see. The aquarium isn’t all the Sea Life Centre has to offer though; you can buy independent creature experiences too, including feeding the sharks, swimming with sharks and turtles, and a unique experience where you get to spend the day with the care team and get an in-depth look at exactly how they look after the animals. For any animal enthusiasts out there, this attraction is a must.
A slight change of pace from the other entries, Blackpool Zoo is home to over 1350 animals from all over the world. The zoo stretches over 32 acres of park and was opened in 1972. The zoo is home to animals such as lions, orangutan, elephants and many more and is sure to instil a sense of wonder to any child who goes there.
Although technically a part of Pleasure Beach, Nickelodeon Land requires separate admission, and so it will make up a separate entry to Pleasure Beach on this list. It is definitely one of the most popular things to do in Blackpool with kids.
Nickelodeon is maybe the most popular kid’s TV channel in history, which shouldn’t be surprising with a line-up of past shows such as Spongebob Squarepants, Rugrats, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, and many, many more, Nickelodeon has cemented itself in history as the place to go for kids television, and you won’t be the first to be hit by a blast of nostalgia if you make this a destination on your holiday in Blackpool.
Despite all of this, Nickelodeon Land hasn’t been aimed at us grown-ups, and you’ll find plenty of theme park rides and attractions which will be enjoyed by the kids, as well as call-outs from their favourite shows such as The Fairly Odd Parents, Henry Danger, The Thundermans and (again) many, many more. You can have a great day out at Nickelodeon Land and the kids will love it.
Blackpool Tower Circus
The Blackpool tower circus is at the base of the Blackpool Tower and has been a staple of Blackpool entertainment since 1894 when it opened. Acts can involve grand finales with dancing fountains thanks to the pool of water which can lie below the circus ring (which is able to hold 190 000L of water). The circus has also been animal-free since 1990, which at the time looked like it would mark the end of the circus and the plan was to replace it with an animatronic attraction (which would be terrifying if proposed today), but thanks to the popularity of the circus and the fact that the animatronics weren’t ready, the circus remained open. In winter, as opposed to the regular show, the circus puts on a pantomime.
Penny Farm is a World Horse Welfare centre near Blackpool that features rescued horses and is focused around their rehabilitation. This one is definitely one for the animal lovers out there, but they have a range of activities for the people the animal lovers bring along too, such as a farm walk, and a cafe where you can grab a bite to eat. It’s a lovely atmosphere all around and you can really feel the love and care that goes into maintaining the facility and looking after the horses it’s home to.
Madame Tussauds is a well-known wax museum that although isn’t only found in Blackpool, is probably most well known for its Blackpool building. Featuring some of the most famous faces throughout history, as well as many faces you’ll recognise as modern-day celebrities. It is a great experience, and bundles of fun, especially as you are allowed to take photos so you can take a selfie with your favourite. There is a brand new Strictly come dancing stage with judges desk and paddles, a dance floor and the trophy and you can treat yourself to afternoon tea in the Tower Ballroom where the show is filmed. There is a tardis where you can meet the thirteenth doctor, marvel superheroes and sporting stars from past and present. I’d definitely recommend it if you’ve never been anywhere like this.
Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!
Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! will amaze the kids, and it’s definitely cool if you have never visited before. If you’ve ever checked out the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! books, then you know what to expect, although it's amazing seeing it in person. With 8 themed galleries across two floors you could spend an age in here, marvelling at the strange and unusual exhibitions, such as shrunken heads, a 2 headed calf and the tallest man in the world.
The UK’s largest indoor waterpark, Sandcastle Waterpark has 18 slides and attractions, and is open all year round. Among these attractions is the Master Blaster, the longest indoor water coaster in the world. It’s a beloved location by locals, so if you’re looking for something which escaped the tourist bustle, this is perfect.
This is definitely the most time-specific entry on the list, as you need to be in Blackpool on the exact date that they are turned on. You’ll still be able to check them out if you visit during December, but the ceremony for turning them on is only once a year. It’s definitely worth it though, as the Blackpool Illuminations are one of the most Christmas events out there, and it’s definitely worth it if you’re there at the time, as it’s an exclusive experience, and if you miss it you’ll need to come back next year. Six miles of spectacular lights along the Promenade, illuminated tram tours every evening and projections onto the Tower, this is a fantastic way to spend time.
To read more about this fantastic venue for kids read Coral Island, Blackpool
Things to do in Blackpool for couples
Friday and Saturday Night Comedy Club
The only comedy club in Blackpool, you’re sure to have sore cheeks as you’re leaving here. If you’re not interested in laughing or hate humour, this might just become your new least favourite place. There’s also a bar so you can have some fun drinking and laughing with friends, and the club offers top comedians from shows like “Mock the Week” and “Live at the Apollo”. One of the best things to do in Blackpool for couples and groups.
Stanley Park is a lovely country park located right in the middle of Blackpool. It’s on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens. It includes an Italian Garden and a boating lake, perfect for a romantic stroll, a large children’s play area, and a lot more too. It’s a beautiful location that you’ll definitely enjoy if you’re a nature buff or if you just want a break from the loud tourist bustle of the city.
One of the cheapest bars in Blackpool, the Bridge is a fans club for Blackpool FC home games, which also has teams in pool and darts. It’s a well-regarded pub with a lovely atmosphere, and because of the football focus on days during home games, you can really get a feel of the local experience, especially if you live in a country which is less football-mad than the UK!
Marton Mere Local Nature Reserve
Marton Mere is a lake and Local Nature Reserve located near Blackpool. The lake is glacial freshwater. The lake today is a lot smaller than it was originally, as it was drained in the 18th century to make space for farmland. With that said, it is still absolutely stunning and its a wonderful place to visit, especially as its a lot less busy than all the other places on this list. If you’re looking for a nice quiet hike, or again a break from the city, this might be for you.
Central Pier Showbar
Central Pier Showbar is located on the central pier. It features tribute shows to famous artists from throughout the ages, such as Elvis, Queen, and Michael Jackson. If you’re interested in a fun, cheesy experience with some classic music, you’ll have a blast at the Showbar.
The Grand Theatre
The Grand Theatre is a protected building in Blackpool thanks to its age and architectural significance. It is one of the oldest theatre buildings in the country and having been restored from 1990-2007 - and well maintained since - is also one of the nicest. You can find classic shows such as The Nutcracker here, but also some more modern works of comedy, such as Book of Mormon. It also runs comedy shows so no matter what your interest, you can probably find something to enjoy at the Grand Theatre.
Blackpool is a town which was once the place to take your annual holiday. Many have fond childhood memories of summer holidays here but popularity waned once flights became more affordable and they often chose to head abroad to take advantage of the sunny climate. Blackpool still has a lot to offer and it's ideal for a cheeky few days away. There are so many things to do in Blackpool that you'll never get bored. Blackpool is only 1 hr 7 mins from Manchester and only 30 mins from Preston. To read more about this fantastic town you can visit their official websiteVisit Blackpool.