What to do in Blackpool

An introductory guide to Blackpool

Blackpool is a seaside resort on the Irish Sea coast of England. It's known for Blackpool Pleasure Beach, an old-school amusement park with vintage wooden roller coasters. Built in 1894, the landmark Blackpool Tower houses a circus, a glass viewing platform and the Tower Ballroom, where dancers twirl to the music of a Wurlitzer organ. Blackpool Illuminations is an annual light show along the Promenade.


Here we will give you a brief outline of things for you to do during your stay with the Ellan Vannin Guest House.

Blackpool Illuminations


Blackpool was already a well-established sea-side resort long before the Illuminations came about. Prior to 1879 the streets were lit by gas light but in that year the Council devoted the sum of £5000 to experiment with the concept of electric street lighting. On the 19th September 1879 Dr Siemens' 8 dynamo-electric machines powered by 16 Robey engines were used to power 8 arc lamps on the promenade spaced 320 yards apart, emitting the equivalent of 48,000 candles of light in total. The event had been advertised nationally and between 70,000 and 100,000 visitors travelled from all over Britain to witness the event. The light generated was called "artificial sunshine" and these were possibly the first electric street lights in the world. The nearest to modern day displays were staged on Princess Parade in May 1912 to mark the first Royal visit to Blackpool. Princess Louise officially opened the new section of promenade and as part of the celebrations of this event the Blackpool electrical engineer was instructed to decorate the promenade in what was then a "novel fashion of garland lamps". About 10,000 bulbs were used and the results were so impressive that the local chamber of trade and other business people in the town persuaded the Council to stage these lights again in September of that year. Thousands of people visited the resort to see the illuminations and the event was judged a commercial success. In 1913 the Council was again encouraged to stage the Princess Parade lights as an after season event in September. The response from the public was nothing short of astonishing but hopes of building on this success were short lived with the outbreak of the First World War the following year. Illuminations were back in 1925 on a more ambitious scale with lights festooned along the promenade from Manchester Square to Cocker Square. It quickly became appreciated that Blackpool Illuminations were a worthwhile tourist attraction and they continued to be staged annually for many years. By 1932 animated tableaux had been added and these were erected on the cliffs linking North Shore and Bispham.


Illuminations at the Golden Mile, Blackpool


The length of the lights was extended to its present length of just under six miles from Squires Gate to Red Bank Road. In 1939, although the Illuminations were ready for staging, they were prevented by the outbreak of the Second World War. There was a full scale preview on August 31st complete with a giant searchlight sweeping wide from the Tower top. But the next night the blackout had been enforced and the only colour to be seen was inside hotels and boarding houses where landladies had coloured their light bulbs with dolly blue. Even after the war had finished there were restrictions on the use of fuel and decorative lighting, consequently the Illuminations remained prohibited. The austere climate of post-war Britain meant the Lights did not come on again until 1949 when Anna Neagle pressed the switch, but only after the Council were given permission by the Government to burn the required amount of electricity. Since then the Illuminations have been staged every year in the same format you see today. They are always switched on at the end of August or beginning of September and currently run for 66 nights. It is a popular misconception that the Illuminations extend into the Christmas period but this has never in fact been the case. The Illuminations are a temporary show and every feature has to be taken down for maintenance at the Council's Rigby Road Depot. So 126 years after its birth the role of the Blackpool Illuminations remains remarkably similar to its origins. Held each year at the end of the summer holiday season the Illuminations continue to attract literally millions of people to the Town.


Vintage Illuminated Tram on Blackpool Prom by North PierIlluminations on the Golden Mile, BlackpoolWorlds Largest Mirrorball, Blackpool

Illuminations on the Golden Mile, BlackpoolLit up Blackpool Tower and some of the Illuminations outside Blackpool North Pier


Wolrd Fireworks Championship


The World Fireworks Championship lights up the skies in Blackpool every year in Autumn


The event will gathers together the crème de la crème of the world’s firework elite and exhibits a mouth-watering series of shows with jaw-dropping entertainment for all the family - a great opportunity for visitors to take an extended weekend break.


All displays subject to suitable weather conditions. The events start from 7.30pm, with the first fireworks firing from approximately 8.30pm.


Please note that due to the popularity of the World Fireworks Championship Blackpool, there may be traffic delays arriving and leaving the event.  Please take extra time to arrive and we would suggest if travelling by car to park in the southern car parks and use the tramway to travel to the event.  Alternative public transport via the rail systems and buses are also recommended.


The event is only a brisk walk or tram ride from the Ellan Vannin Guest House.


We look forward to seeing you at the World Fireworks Championship Blackpool 2017 for what promises to be another night of spectacular pyrotechnical displays.


All displays are subject to suitable weather conditions. Click HERE for display dates


World Fireworks Championships that take place in Blackpool every AutumnWorld Fireworks Championships launching from Central Pier, Blackpool. The Championship takes place in Blackpool every Autumn


Attractions in Blackpool

There's a whole host of attractions to enjoy and places to visit in Blackpool, we have listed just a few of them below (click for more information)


Madame Tussaud's  •  Blackpool Zoo  •  Ice Skating  •  Pleasure Beach Blackpool  •  Blackpool Tower  •  Tower Dungeon  •  Sandcastle Water Park  •  Blackpool's Three Piers  •  Winter Gardens  •  Grand Theatre •  Stanley Park  •  Sea Life Centre  •  Model Village  •  Formula Go Karting  •  Ripley's Believe It Or Not  •  Penny Farm Horse Welfare  •  Golf Courses  •  Star Trek Exhibition  •  Pleasure Flights  •  Grundy Art Gallery  •  Bungee Jumping   •  Lifeboat Station  •  Pump and Truncheon  •  Climbing Towers  •  Funny Girls  •  Blackpool Rock Making  •  Grosvenor Casino  •  Genting Casino  •  Sports Centre  •  Coral Island  •  World's Largest Mirror Ball  •  Glassform  •  Hounds Hill Shopping Centre  •  Charabanc Creative Collective Shopping  •  Bootleg Social Club  •  Tower Ballroom  •  Mania Tattoo



Upcoming Events

There's always so much happening in Blackpool that it's hard to keep up, these sites should let you know what's going on when you are here


Alt Blackpool     Visit Blackpool    Blackpool Transport    Blackpool Gazette What's On



Getting About

For details on getting around Blackpool on the Trams and Buses and details on the Saver Tickets head to





The Blackpool Resort Pass helps you save money on your favourite attractions, click here for more info

Ellan Vannin Guest House  |  6 Gynn Avenue, Blackpool, Lancashire, FY1 2LD  |  Tel: 01253 313742 |  Email: sue4501@hotmail.co.uk

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