Blackpool Introduction Walking Tour, Blackpool

Blackpool Introduction Walking Tour (Self Guided), Blackpool

Between the Ribble and Wyre rivers on the west coast of England was a strip of sandy beach seven miles long. It was a pleasant place, where streams would run through peat bogs before emptying into the sea, turning the water dark. People called the place "Black Pool." Since early days, folks sought the benefits of fresh sea air and water.

Blackpool became a tourist magnet in the 1840s. By the 1880s the town was booming. It had a long seaside promenade, piers, pubs, trams, donkey rides, fish and chips, and theaters. It hasn't stopped since. Blackpool is crammed. Blackpool Tower, inspired by the Eiffel Tower, houses Tower Ballroom and Tower Circus.

North, Central, and South Piers jut into the sea, carrying arcades, a Ferris wheel, bars, theatres, and adrenaline-pumping rides. Sealife Blackpool has a walk-through shark tank. Heritage Tramway connects all via the shoreside promenade.

Blackpool Pleasure Beach, a vast amusement park, has four wooden roller coasters, high speed steep steel inverted and mobius strip roller coasters, flying machines and thrill rides, a steeplechase coaster, theme water rides, carousels and family-oriented attractions.

Other entertainments and attractions include: Golf (12 holes); Ripley's Believe it or Not; Pasaje Del Terror, a horror hallway and maze at Pleasure Beach and; The Arena, a large ice rink open year round. There are two four-star hotels, the Big Blue Hotel and Boulevard Hotel.

There are reports of ghosts. The Ghost Train ride is haunted by "Cloggy", the spirit of a deceased conductor. There has been poltergeist activity in the Gift Shop by the Star Pub. There is an inexplicable manifestation in the Arena dressing rooms. The park is featured on TV's Most Haunted and Great British Ghosts.

Take a stroll at the start of the day along the seaside on the long promenade of Blackpool. See the arcades, the fairground rides. It's loud and fun. To start the day go to the Central Pier and ride the Big Wheel. What you see from the top is just the beginning.
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Blackpool Introduction Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Blackpool Introduction Walking Tour
Guide Location: England » Blackpool (See other walking tours in Blackpool)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 9
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 Km or 0.9 Miles
Author: leticia
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Blackpool North Pier
  • Town Hall
  • St. John's Parish Church
  • Winter Gardens
  • Grand Theater
  • Blackpool Tower and Ballroom
  • Blackpool Sea Life Center
  • Madame Tussaud's Blackpool
  • Central Pier Blackpool
Blackpool North Pier

1) Blackpool North Pier

In the early 19th century, the coming of the railway system in Britain made it easy for masses of people to flock to the beaches for a holiday. The charms of the seashore were not just for the Sacred Few anymore. People thronged the seaside piers.

Blackpool North Pier extends 550 yards into the Irish Sea. It was built in the 1860s at the shore end of Talbot Road. It is the most northerly of Blackpool's piers. It is near the midpoint of the Blackpool promenade, about 450 yards north of Blackpool Tower. The shoreline is almost straight here, and the dock is at right angles to the beach.

North Pier was built by the Glasgow firm of Richard Laidlaw & Son following the designs of architect and engineer Eugenius Birch. North Pier was the second of 14 piers that Birch designed. The dock has a promenade about nine yards wide, with a pier head at least 18 yards wide. It is cast iron using screw piles into bedrock for stability.

The attractions of the North Pier are varied. There is a Gypsy palm reader, an ice cream parlor, the North Pier Theatre, the Victorian Tea Room, the Carousel, and the Merrie England bar. The Amusement Arcade has about 11 million transactions a year. The Carousel Bar, with its wrought iron canopy, is the most extensive beer garden in town.

Come aboard, get your palm read, see a show, drink tea, ride a unicorn, take a chance, have a pint and enjoy the sea breezes. All in one place, at the North Pier.
Town Hall

2) Town Hall

The 18th-century Town Hall of Blackpool was replaced in 1900 by a new building located in Talbot Square. The new edifice was a Jacobean-style structure designed by the architectural firm of Potts, Son, and Hemmings. The front of the new Town Hall had seven bays facing the square. The bays at each end were curved up to the second floor.

In the center of the facade is a five-stage clock tower. The ground floor features a portico of Tuscan order pilasters. The floor above also has a portico with Ionic columns, a segmental pediment, and a balustrade. The current Hall, designed by J.C. Robinson in 1938, is rebuilt after a fire in the 1930s.

The interior of the Town Hall holds the bell from Lord Nelson's old flagship, the HMS Foudroyant. The Foudroyant was wrecked on Blackpool Sands in 1897. Murals in the Council Chamber, created by artist J.R. Brown in 1901, show the marriage of King Henry VI, the surrender of the Jacobite rebels, and King Richard III at Bosworth Field.

The Hall was visited by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (Queen Mother) in 1938. The building was the headquarters of the Lancashire borough of Blackpool in 1974 before becoming the headquarters of Blackpool Council in 1998. The Council is the main governing body for the wider Borough of Blackpool.
St. John's Parish Church

3) St. John's Parish Church

Saint John the Evangelist Church was built in Blackpool in 1821. A few years later, a chancel was added, and other changes were made, but to no avail. The parish was growing faster than the church. Besides, it must have had a depressing appearance. Porter's Guide to Blackpool in 1871 described it as "...destitute of any architectural beauty."

The current Saint John's was built in 1878 and replaced the old church. It was designed by the architectural firm of Garlick, Park, and Sykes. The style of construction is Early English. It has strongly constructed walls and a stone-vaulted roof supported by arched ribs. It has angled buttresses with pinnacles and finials. The tower is a square with tall belfry louvers at each corner.

Saint John's Church has a nave with low aisles and tall transepts. Cylindrical columns in the nave have circular caps. The chancel, formed by an apse has a Gothic-style screen and wooden paneling.

After 100 years of use, the church needed repair, and restoration work started in 1986. Extensive renovations were made between 2000 and 2006. The interior now features a modern, comfortable worship space with several other rooms. There are services on Sunday starting at 11 am. Hot drinks and pastries at 10:30 am.
Winter Gardens

4) Winter Gardens

The Winter Gardens is an enormous entertainment compound that opened in Blackpool in 1878. It is operated by the Blackpool Entertainment Company on behalf of the Blackpool Council, which has owned the complex since 2010. The Gardens was built on the six-acre Bank Hey Estate. The intent was to "convert the estate into a pleasant lounge."

Early features of the Winter Gardens include the Vestibule, Floral Hall, Ambulatory, and Pavilion Theatre, all built in the 1870s. Later additions are the Opera House Theatre, the Empress Ballroom, and the Arena, formerly the Indian Lounge. The Olympia, the Galleon Bar, the Spanish Hall, and the Baronial Hall were built in the 1930s.

The Gardens is located in the center of Blackpool, a little more than 800 feet from the water's edge. The complex covers a squarish area block with sides about 650 feet long. The Opera House and Pavilion Theatre, together with the Empress Ballroom, the Olympia Exhibition Hall, and the Arena share the ground floor.

All rooms are connected within an Art Deco compound. There are two main entrances, joined by a large arcade. The Spanish Hall, Baronial Hall, and Renaissance Hall are on the first floor. The Gardens has been the venue for political and trade union conventions, dance festivals, and addresses of all Prime Ministers since World War II.
Grand Theater

5) Grand Theater

The Grand Theatre of Blackpool was designed in the Victorian style in 1893 by architect Frank Matcham. The theatre is located at 33 Church Street, at the corner of Church Street and Corporation Street, on the former site of Thomas Sergenson's Circus. The project was conceived and financed by local theatre manager Thomas Sergenson, who hired Matcham to build the "prettiest theatre in the land."

The theatre had cantilevers to support the seating tiers. This eliminated the need for pillars or columns inside, giving a clear view of the stage from all directions. The Grand Theatre was a great success through World War I and into the 1930s. It operated as a motion picture house outside the summer seasons until the Opera House was built nearby.

The popularity of television after World War II cut a swath through the theatre business of the Grand. The Grand narrowly escaped demolition in 1972. The theatre was a Bingo venue for three years. In 1981, the group of friends of the Grand, with the backing of the Council, reopened the Grand Theatre. The new stage of the Grand started with a performance of Willian Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice.

In 2006 the Grand Theatre was named England's National Theatre of Variety. It produces a wide range of events as family entertainment, comedies, musicals, and dramas. The auditorium has grand chandeliers, ceiling frescoes, and ornate surroundings. Food and drinks are available on each level and in the Matcham Court Bar.
Blackpool Tower and Ballroom

6) Blackpool Tower and Ballroom (must see)

Inspired by the Eiffel Tower of Paris, the Blackpool Tower opened in Blackpool, England, in 1894. At its opening, it was the tallest structure in the British Empire. It is 518 feet above street level and is among the tallest non-free-standing towers in the world.

The Blackpool Tower stands over the Tower Buildings, an entertainment complex housing the Tower, Tower Circus, Tower Ballroom, and Roof Gardens. Lancashire architects James Maxwell and Charles Tuke designed the tower and supervised the laying of the cornerstone in 1891. A time capsule was buried underneath the stone.

The tower ironwork was renovated in 1924. Hydraulic lifts to the top were electrified in 1992. A "Walk of Faith" glass floor panel was installed in 1998. So far, no cracks. The top of the tower is called the Blackpool Tower Eye. It is the highest observation deck in Northwest England. A giant model of King Kong graced the Tower in 1984.

The Tower Ballroom replaced the original ballroom, called the Tower Pavilion, in 1899. It was designed by Frank Matcham, who also created the Blackpool Grand Theatre. In competition with the Empress Ballroom of the Winter Gardens, the ballroom floor is 120 feet by 102 feet of mahogany, oak, and walnut blocks.

Two stories of ornately decorated logs line both sides of the Ballroom. Garlanded classic figures dance over the top of the stage, and an inscription from Shakespeare's poem, Venus and Adonis, reads: "Bid me discourse, I will enchant thine ear." The vaulted ceiling is lavishly frescoed. Crystal chandeliers line the hall.

The Ballroom has always been a popular venue for big bands. The Empress Orchestra has been resident there since 2005. The Ballroom, along with the Tower, the Circus, and the Roof Garden, was designated a Grade I listed building in 1973.
Blackpool Sea Life Center

7) Blackpool Sea Life Center

The Sea Life Blackpool Aquarium is located north of the Blackpool Central Pier on the Blackpool Promenade. The aquarium is a showcase for more than 2,500 exotic sea creatures in 50 special displays, enabling close examination of the different species.

The exhibit, Four Corners of the World, presents four scenarios of marine wrecks taken over by sea creatures. The corners are Asia, Africa, Europe, and America. Information on local wrecks is also available, notably the wreck of Nelson's flagship HMS Foudroyant, which was grounded in a storm in 1897.

Visitors will discover Leopard eels, Dwarf Lionfish, Brittle Stars, Spider Crabs, Flashlight Fish, and beautiful Mandarin Fish. In the large ocean tank, the tunnels afford unique up-close views of denizens of the Deep, including sharks. Don't miss the Guitar Sharks or 100-year-old Giant Lobster and the Resident Octopus.

The highlights include Clownfish, Phoenix, the notorious Sea Turtle, Gary the Grouper, Sting Rays, Seahorses, Jellyfish, and Eels. The visitors can experience a night of oceanic slumber with sharks and tropical fish at Oceanic sleepovers organized by the Aquarium events team. If this is not enough, try snorkeling with sharks! Blackpool Ses Life is open seven days a week, every day from 10 AM.
Madame Tussaud's Blackpool

8) Madame Tussaud's Blackpool (must see)

In March 2010, Blackpool Council and Leisure Parcs began buying some of Blackpool's more prominent attractions. The 39 million pound deal included Blackpool Tower, Winter Gardens, the Sea Life Center, and Louis Tussaud's Waxworks. The attractions would be run as before, but the Waxworks would now be Madame Tussaud's Blackpool.

Madame Tussaud's opened in 2011. It has more than 80 wax figures of the famous among us, including film and TV stars, athletes and musicians, and celebrities. Making a wax figure requires extensive research, including photos and measurements. Wax and oil-based paint are used along with clay and metal armatures to strengthen the figures.

A host of famous people await the visitor. The Beatles, Lady Gaga, Britney, and Freddie Mercury stand with sports stars and comedians. One may enter the world of Marvel Comics. The god Thor guards the Jottenheim ice cave, brandishing his jammer. The Hulk and Spiderman hang out on Broadway. Travel in the Guardians of the Galaxy corridor.

Madame Tussaud's is located at 87-89 Promenade, Blackpool. The museum is open every day from 10 am, year-round.
Central Pier Blackpool

9) Central Pier Blackpool

The Central Pier of Blackpool is on the promenade between the North and South Piers, about 550 yards south of Blackpool Tower. It is easily located by a 33-meter-high Ferris wheel, carrying daring riders high over the Irish Sea. The coastline here is almost straight, so the pier is at right angles to the beach, reaching far into the surf.

The North Pier had been so successful it inspired the construction of the Central Pier in 1868 and the South Pier in 1893. The Central Pier was built by Glasgow's Laidlaw and Son, the firm that built the North Pier. The project was designed by architect John Isaac Mawson.

If the North Pier's emphasis was relaxing entertainment for the elite, the Central Pier focused on more rambunctious fun. Dance halls were the main facility at the time of its opening. In the 20th century, roller skating, fairground rides, and amusement machines were introduced. Steamboats used the landing jetty at the end of the pier. Dance halls became less popular after 1945. A theatre, bars, and arcades took their place on the pier.

The Central Pier is made of cast iron and wooden decking. Screw pilings are used for stability as with the North Pier. The great Ferris wheel was constructed in 1990. Current attractions include Pirate's Bay Family Bar, Blackpool Big Wheel, Peter Segewick's Funfair, Central Pier Family Entertainment Centre, and the Old Time Portrait Studio.

Walking Tours in Blackpool, England

Create Your Own Walk in Blackpool

Create Your Own Walk in Blackpool

Creating your own self-guided walk in Blackpool is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Blackpool's Great Promenade

Blackpool's Great Promenade

Blackpool's Great Promenade, a vibrant stretch of coastal pathway, is an interesting area to explore. Here you will find a plethora of attractions and sights to behold complete with several amusement parks.

One of the iconic landmarks along this promenade is the Blackpool South Pier, emphasizing adrenaline-producing entertainment, a tradition maintained since 1893. Nearby, Pleasure Beach...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles