A Guide to the Blackpool Promenade, Part 2: The Attractions
There is a reason Blackpool is considered one of the premier beach resorts in the British Isles. Like every other location worthy of that title, this seaside town in Northwest England offers that perfect blend of beach-combing opportunities, funfair rides and tourist attractions which reaches deep into the heart of the average Briton.
That may be part of the reason why our Blackpool promenade hotels are in such high demand year round. Even after the summer months are over, the Lancashire coastal town continues to welcome its fair share of visitors, interested in discovering all the city has to offer in a less crowded and more leisurely environment.
It is with those tourists in mind that we have taken it upon ourselves to offer a two-part guide on how to navigate the promenade, the most famous part of Blackpool. It is on the promenade and its adjacent piers that most of the town’s attractions are located, and as such, it is useful for visitors to know what to find where when exploring that part of the city. The first half of this guide laid out the geography of the promenade, so as to make it easier for tourists staying in our Blackpool promenade hotels to get around; this second half, on the other hand, will go into some of the main attractions they can see while exploring the seafront and its different piers.
Main Attractions in the Blackpool Promenade
Some of the most noteworthy tourist attractions accessible from the Blackpool promenade include:
- The Blackpool Tower, located in the central pier;
- The Comedy Carpet, at the foot of the Blackpool Tower;
- The world’s biggest mirror ball, located in the South Pier;
- The wave-powered organ, also in the south pier;
- The Ferris wheel, in the central pier.
The lines below go into more detail into each of these attractions.
The Blackpool Tower
The Blackpool Tower is the centrepiece of the town’s tourist circuit, and a popular destination for most of its residents as well. First open to the public in 1894, it has been an integral part of the town’s appeal ever since, and continues to experience a large number of visitors all year round.
Built to resemble a smaller-scale replica of the Eiffel Tower, the Blackpool Tower is nowadays listed as a Grade 1 building, that is, a building which is of particular interest from an architectural and historic standpoint. In spite of this, it continues to operate as normal, with hundreds of visitors taking the elevator ride to the topmost level every single day.
It is in that topmost level that one of Blackpool Tower’s main sources of interest, the Blackpool Eye, is located. Offering a bird’s eye view over the town, this observation deck is one of the main reasons visitors and locals alike choose to visit the Tower, and undoubtedly constitutes one of the building’s main selling points from a tourist standpoint.
It is not, however, the building’s only selling point. In addition to the observation deck, the Blackpool Tower also boasts an impressively-sized ballroom – from where Strictly Come Dancing was, for many years, broadcast – a full-blown circus, which has put on a show every year since its creation in 1894, and an aquarium, which actually pre-dates the construction of the Tower. Any and all of these attractions-within-an-attraction provide more than enough reason to visit the Tower, and have certainly contributed to make it Blackpool’s foremost landmark!
The Comedy Carpet
(Photo by Immanuel Giel, used under a Creative Commons license.)
Located at the foot of the Blackpool Tower, the Comedy Carpet is an attraction in its own right, and yet another reason to visit this Blackpool landmark. Inscribed with sentence fragments and quips from over a thousand comedians, the Carpet serves as a condensed journey through the history of comedy, from the early days of variety shows to its present-day incarnation. Painstakingly embedded onto concrete, the Carpet is made up of over 160.000 individual letters, thus standing as a ground-breaking achievement in both public art and typography! This reason alone makes it well worth appraising, and visitors to the Tower should be careful not to get lost in the quagmire of jokes and one-liners!
The Ferris Wheel
Visible from some way off, and dominating the skyline no matter where one is located in the promenades, the Blackpool Ferris wheel has vied with the Blackpool Tower for the title of most eye-catching landmark in the piers for close to three decades. Offering a bird’s eye view over the Atlantic Ocean on one side, and Blackpool on the other, the Big Wheel – as it is also called – can definitely be considered the king of the Central Pier amusement rides, and its popularity is not at all hard to explain!
Built in 1990, the present-day Blackpool Big Wheel is the direct successor of the original one, built in 1896 and located in the Winter Gardens, about 250 metres from the seafront. When the decision was made to change the location of the wheel, the old one was taken down, and a new one was built from scratch. It is that wheel that now asserts itself as one of Blackpool’s most striking landmarks, both during the summer and in winter, when it embraces the holiday spirit and lights up the sky with a multi-colour light show!
The Mirror Ball
The World’s Largest Mirror Ball is exactly what its name indicates – the world’s largest mirror ball. Balanced on a pole above the South Pier, this eye-catching landmark can be seen from a considerable distance, both during the day and at night, when it becomes illuminated with a custom light show.
The Mirror Ball saw 46.000 of its mirrors get replaced in a big refurbishment effort in 2010, which resulted in this landmark being taken down for a period of time; however, guests staying in one of our Blackpool promenade hotels and taking a stroll down the south area of the walkway can now once again witness the South Shore's impressive mirrored globe in all its glittering glory!
The High Tide Organ
(Photo by MattKitty, used under a Creative Commons license.)
Last but not least on the list of Blackpool’s seafront landmarks is the High Tide Organ. Located, like the Mirror Ball, in the South Shore area of the Blackpool promenade, this unusual instrument is well worth a visit by guests staying in one of the many nearby hotels.
Built in 2002 as part of the ‘Great Promenade Show’ – a series of sculptures located along the seaside area – the High Tide Organ stands approximately 15 metres (50ft) tall, and is made out of concrete and combined metals. Its design, functionality and purpose are said to reflect Blackpool’s unique combination of natural and man-made resources and environments.
As its name indicates, the High Tide Organ is ‘played’ by the sea itself, through the motion of the waves at high tide. The instrument is connected to the water by a series of eight pipes attached to the sea wall. Each of these pipes is pitched according to the harmonic series in B-flat, allowing for harmonious and melodic progressions when the vibration caused by the inbound waves is transmitted to the 18 pipe organs inside the sculpture. Visitors strolling along that part of the pier at certain times of day can therefore feast their ears on the music of the organ, one of a series of instruments worldwide which play without human intervention.
Even when silent, however, the organ’s unique design and towering height command attention, making this yet another of the many noteworthy landmarks in the Blackpool seafront!
As this article has hopefully demonstrated, visitors staying in one of our Blackpool promenade hotels will be spoilt for choice when it comes to attractions to visit within the area. Whether they be looking for out-and-out amusement rides or something a little more substantial, the Blackpool seafront is likely to offer something to suit their taste, making a trip down the shore well worth their time!