Our week away in Center Parcs had been planned for a while but after a quick glance at Google maps I decided to convince Simon to extend our holiday a little and have a night in Blackpool. So after showing him the short 84 mile distance between Blackpool and Whinfell Forest (as well as telling him he's the best boyfriend ever) I managed to get him to agree and we were off for a 22 hour stay in Blackpool.
I've been wanting to go to Blackpool for years but trains from where I used to live in London and from where we are now in Newcastle aren't easy or cheap. So finally getting there was a great feeling.
Blackpool has always seemed like such a great place to be a cheesy staycation tourist. I was looking forward to finally seeing the famous Tower, tucking into some traditional British seaside food and of course enjoying the Illuminations.
Luckily our close friends go to Blackpool quite a bit and recommended a hotel to us. We stayed at the Big Blue which is a fantastic 4 star hotel right next to the Pleasure Beach. If you're looking for somewhere to stay in a great location I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the Big Blue. The staff were so attentive and helpful, the hotel was beautifully decorated with lots of space and the hotel even has its own private access to the Pleasure Beach. We paid £70.00 for our double room which had the most interesting view overlooking the theme park. We really loved looking out of our bedroom window to see the tangle of rollercoaster tracks.
We began our adventure with a stroll along the seafront to watch the sunset. We found a lovely spot overlooking the sea close to the Tower. Watching a sunset is one of my favourite things to do so it was great to take advantage of being on the west coast and in a prime location to enjoy it.
We marvelled at the most beautiful views as the sun turned orange and disappeared into the sea.
Our hotel had recommended catching a tram the 3.5 miles to Cabin where the Illumination Boards started but we were feeling pretty energetic and decided to walk. It was a lovely stroll along the seafront enjoying the lights strung across the promenade until we got to the main Illuminations.
I wasn't sure what to expect from the Illuminations but I really enjoyed them, there was a definite nod to things from our childhood and Simon and I loved seeing some of our old favourites like Postman Pat, Sooty and Basil Brush making an appearance.
Some of the lights were so well thought out with moving images and added sound and water features.
It was a pretty late night by the time we got back to the hotel but we slept like babies after all the sea air and walking.
The next day after tucking into a hearty buffet breakfast at our hotel we had a few hours to enjoy the seaside before we needed to leave for Center Parcs.
Our first stop of the day was the Blackpool Tower. We used our Tesco Clubcard vouchers to buy tickets to the Blackpool Tower Eye.
The experience started with a short 4D film about Blackpool. I'm not great with 4D and jumped out of my skin as puffs of air hit the back of my legs and water sprayed at my face - it was good fun though. After that it was time to get into the lift and climb the 518 feet to the top of the tower.
The first level was sensational with floor to ceiling glass windows showing off aerial views of Blackpool.
The highlight is the Sky Walk, a 5cm thick sheet of glass on the floor which isn't for the faint hearted.
I have always loved climbing high for great views but we both felt a little giddy looking down and seeing a sheer drop under our feet.
It took a little getting used to but once we'd taken a deep breath and dared to look down we were rewarded with a great feeling of walking on air over Blackpool.
The Tower has two more outside levels taking you higher up the tower but unfortunately by the time we got up the stairs the rain had started. This was actually the only time during our entire holiday we saw rain so it was pretty unfortunate it was when we were wanting a nice clear sky to admire the views.
We finished our short stay in Blackpool with a quick look round the Pleasure Beach. I'm not the biggest fan of theme parks because I am a massive wuss. My favourite rides are always the ones designed for 5 year olds and a terrifying experience on Nemeses at Alton Towers many years ago has left me with a fear of going on anything that goes too fast, drops from a great height or flips me upside down.
I would love to be able to tell you that I went on the famous "Big One". When it opened in the 90s its impressive 235 foot drop at 74mph made it the highest and fastest roller coaster in the world so as you can imagine it's not on my "must do" list. Just looking at the almost vertical drop was enough to convince me that my feet were staying firmly on the ground.
So we enjoyed our time strolling round people watching. Before going into the Pleasure Beach I thought it would just be a bit of a mediocre fun fair. I was so wrong! I was really impressed with the way the rides were landscaped. The roller coaster tracks run all over the Park and I loved being able to walk under the tracks and get amazing views of all the coasters. I may not enjoy going on them but I became addicted to watching them. I could happily have spent hours watching everyone go round on the rides.
Before we knew it our time was up and we had to go and collect our car from the hotel and begin our journey to the Lakes. We were very sad that our trip was over so fast but I am so glad that I finally got a chance to enjoy Blackpool and we've decided that we'd love to make the Blackpool Illuminations an annual trip.