The North’s champion resort has been drawing crowds for over a century. In 1900 the count was 3 million people a year; by the 1960s it had peaked at 8 million. It made its reputation as a resort for Lancashire’s millhands before World War I, but it’s always kept up with the times. In 1840 there was a single row of cottages on the seafront, but then the railway arrived in 1846. Between 1870 and 1910 the population multiplied sixfold and the major attractions were established – promenade, piers, winter gardens, the Empress Ballroom, and the Tower itself. The Pleasure Beach, opened in 1890, is now a massive complex of boasting rides, rollercoasters, and cartoon-related fun.
Since 1879, the Illuminations have lit up the front. Miles of inviting sands offer safe swimming and traditional donkey rides and Punch and Judy shows, but in case of rain the enormous indoor beach in the Sandcastle Waterpark saves the day. Amusement arcades still offer 2p-coin pushers and air hockey alongside all kinds of video entertainment.
For most holiday-makers Blackpool has everything: three piers, a 7-mile promenade; ice rinks and a waxworks; theatres, dancing and merrymaking; and you can still get a stick of rock and a kiss-me-quick hat.