Blackpool and the Lancashire Coast
It’s illumination time in Blackpool. Lancashire in October is not likely to be your choice for a sunshine break, but that is not why visitors in their thousands head to the county’s coast at this time of year. Blackpool is party town, our very own Las Vegas by the sea: unsubtle, smile-on-your-face, loud, kiss-me-quick, jumping. For those who have never been the illuminations are a revelation, a brilliant (sorry) way of extending the season for a town that lives on tourism. Kids love them, and a drive or stroll (though it’s quite a distance to walk) along the front in the evening is a strange mix of the contemporary (lasers, 3D displays) and the nostalgic as the heady aromas of fish and chips, the sea, and beer hit the nostrils. The town has accommodation ranging from very splendid hotels to simple bed and breakfast places. Likewise the attractions: underwear-moistening roller coaster rides, family shows, piers pubs and clubs.
But there is more to the area than just Blackpool. For a more genteel stay and some serious sand there is the Victorian splendour of Southport, beloved of Napoleon III and ladies who lunch - and shop for fabulous clothes; or Lytham St Annes, a few minutes and a world away from Blackpool.
Lancashire is and always was a largely a rural county, something of a surprise to those who imagine dark satanic mills dominate the landscape. Quiet spots like Glasson (great smokehouse) and Cockerham are only a short drive from junction 33 of the M6; beyond Lancaster in what is now officially Cumbria – still Lancashire to all right thinking people – the foothills of Lakeland begin around Arnside and Silverdale with great walking and (when the tide is in) fishing nearby.
For those whose breaks focus on food and drink, Lancashire is brilliant. Take a look at our Food Legends section for details, but consider for a start: Morecambe Bay potted shrimps; Goosnargh Duck; the best black pudding in the world (call it boudin noir and British foodies in France love it); and for the delight of kids and dentists Blackpool Rock. The area is dotted with fine restaurants and pubs using great local produce; and in those pubs by the way a pint will rarely cost more than £2.50. Whose round is it?
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Starry Starry Night, Look You – Dark Skies Tourism, South Wales | Mills and Hills in Central Lancashire, Lancashire | Get Fit on the North York Moors, North Yorkshire | A West Country Christmas – Dorset in December, Dorset | Nottinghamshire – Rural and Urban, Nottinghamshire | The Test Valley, Hampshire | Ashdown Forest, Sussex | The Rugged Northumberland Coast , Northumberland | The Resorts of North Devon, Devon | The Queen's London, London | Denbighshire , North Wales | York and Its Surrounds, North Yorkshire | The High Weald of Kent, Kent | Leisure, Luxury and Retail Heaven in Leeds , West Yorkshire | Rejuvenate Yourself in Rejuvenated Belfast , Belfast | Seasonal Fun in Brum, West Midlands | Autumn in the Southern Chilterns, Buckinghamshire | Cheshire Peaks and Plains, Cheshire | Essex’s Colne Valley, Essex | Cardigan Bay, West Wales | South Wales Valleys, South Wales | Highland Perthshire, Perthshire | South Downs National Park, Sussex | Royal Wedding London, London | Vale of Belvoir, Leicestershire | The Oxfordshire Cotswolds, Oxfordshire | Huntingdonshire, Cambridgeshire | Edinburgh at Christmas, Edinburgh and the Lothians | Marvellous Manchester, Greater Manchester | The National Forest, Derbyshire | East Lothian, Edinburgh and the Lothians | Regency Brighton and Hove, Sussex | Isle of Purbeck, Dorset | The Somerset Levels, Somerset | Llandudno, North Wales | Hereford, Herefordshire | Cheltenham, Gloucestershire | Bristol, the Great West City, Bristol | Weardale, County Durham | Festive London, London | Islay, Isle of Islay | Blackpool and the Lancashire Coast, Lancashire | The Vale of Evesham, Worcestershire | Land of the Prince Bishops, County Durham | The North Cornwall Coast, Cornwall | Torbay, Devon | Dumfries & Galloway, Dumfries and Galloway | West Highland Way, Argyll | Caithness and Sutherland, Highlands | Harrogate & its Surrounds, North Yorkshire | Sheffield, South Yorkshire