Blackpool | The best UK staycations for families

*This post was shot during an AD campaign with TU clothing.  There was no requirement for a blog post but I wanted to share these images with you so badly.  So marking with AD for transparency*

When a brand gets in touch for a collaboration, my mind instantly goes to locations and I can see in my head exactly what I want to shoot, how it will look and what I want to deliver.  When I seen the collection for the TU holiday shop I KNEW it had to be old school sea side.  I wanted a carousel, a big wheel, sand and all the traditional seaside shops.

It still feels wild that this is my job.  I am beyond grateful every time a brand asks me to collaborate with them, that they love my work enough to reach out and sometimes it fills me with excitement and a little bit of fear that I’ll screw it up.  That anything I take won’t be good enough and I’ll have nothing to present.  Imposter syndrome at its best.  But you’ve just got to believe that you are enough and that you CAN do it.  And it turns out, these are some of my favourite photos I’ve ever taken.  Funny how it works, isn’t it?

We had originally looked at booking Brighton, but in the July heat, with 4 kids in the car or worse all of them on a train with the bags… we decided to go somewhere a little closer to home.
Blackpool is roughly a 3 hour drive from Edinburgh, we always plan and leave a little early, so we can stop halfway and grab some lunch.  They get out for a stretch, we get out for a coffee and everyone gets a break from listening to ‘Space Unicorn’ and ‘It’s Raining Taco’s’ on repeat for the whole journey.

I’ve never been to Blackpool, not even as a kid.  A few of my classmates went and always came back with their names on a variety of stuff, like pencils and those cool puffy velvet hairbands and I was always a little jealous.  I couldn’t get my name on anything in the 90s.

We stayed in a little B&B just off the main street, it was just a basic room with a double bed and 2 sets of bunk beds, so the kids were beyond delighted.  It only took a few minutes to walk around to the promenade and the arcades.  It was so much busier than I thought it was going to be, so we just wandered on our first day.  We ate ice cream and walked along the prom and took in all the sights it had to offer.

The carousel is always one of the first things we do when we go somewhere.  Its a family favourite and everyone loves to run around and pick a horse.  They search for one with the same name, or with a mane the same colour as theirs.  The glow on their faces everytime they do a full circle back to us and stretch out for a high five as they pass.  It’s just pure magic.

I swear Emily was having fun.

The sun was shining, the streets were busy and the little seaside town was bustling with tourists picking their sticky rock to take home to their friends and families.  We walked along the sandy beach, stopping for a donkey ride, which is £3 for 3 minutes and worth every penny for the delighted looks on their faces as they trotted off along the sand.

We spent about 90% of our weekend on the beach, with little squeals as everyone ran in and out the water and saving our things from the incoming tide.  The air smelt like candy floss and air was warm and the kids were happy.  We couldn’t have asked for better weather.

But there is a LOT to do in Blackpool.  We’ll hopefully get back another time to visit and do more sometime.  But I can almost guarantee that we will never get far from the beach.  It’s our happy place for sure.

A couple of things you can do when you visit:

Depending on the length of your stay you can purchase the Big Blackpool Ticket, which gets you into all 6 attractions.  You can do various combinations of family/single tickets on the website.  We were only staying 2 nights so didn’t have time to see everything so it didn’t really work for us this time.  Ruby really wants to see the Blackpool Tower Ballroom next time, so it might be the best option for us as a larger family.

Included are in the big ticket combination:

Sealife Centre
It was rainy on our last day, we thought a quick trip to sealife centre was a great idea.  Until we arrived and it was mobbed. I’ve never seen somewhere so busy, I think the entire population of Blackpool took shelter indoors.  At the same time the local nursery/mums group arrived with 40 buggies.  We tried to manoeuvre around people but it was just too busy.  There are quieter days and might be worth checking those out before you book.  The kids were thrilled to see sharks and stingray swimming around, but it was a bit of a squeeze.
Opening approx 10am-5pm daily, with last entry at 4pm.

Madame Tussauds 
The boast the best wax works of Marvel super hero’s, soap stars and of course the BBC strictly come dancing team. It’s open 10am-5pm all week.

The Blackpool Tower Dungeon
Much like the Dungeons in each local town, it’s filled with theatrical actors, special effects and the odd little fright.  You go back in time and learn the gruesome history of the local town.
Opening times vary through out the month, so worth checking in advance. Possibly check age restrictions too.

The Blackpool Tower Circus 
Slapstick comedy and some jaw dropping stunts, we had so many tell us the circus was a must see, the times didn’t fit with our schedule but it had raving reviews!
Opening times vary, shows start approx 2:30pm and tickets vary dependant on seating.

The Blackpool Tower Ballroom
This is the top of our list when we return. The stunning ballroom dates back to 1894, you can enjoy afternoon tea and waltz on the floor along to the Wurlitzer organ or watch from the balcony.  We’ll be putting on our best dresses and giving them a whirl next time we visit!
Opening times vary.  Check times before your visit as to which music you would like as this changes throughout the day.

Blackpool Tower Eye
We didn’t go up the tower, but plan on it for our next visit.  It has a panoramic view of Blackpool, 380ft up and a glass floor for those brave enough to give the Skywalk a go.  Theres a cocktail bar and you can book to go for a sunset session too.

Pleasure Beach & Nickelodeon Land
My little ones aren’t quite thrill seekers yet, Lucy will try and convince you she is big enough for a rollercoaster, but isn’t quite.

Horse & carriage rides
Cinderella style carriages line up and down the main road next to the beach.  You can pay £20 (check before you board) for 2 miles, which can be a tad extravagant, but every kid we seen getting off had the biggest smiles on their faces.
Not included in Big Ticket prices.

Coral Island Amusement Arcade
My kids LOVE a 2p machine, they squeal every time a ticket comes out and they take an age to pick a treat from the 782 tickets we win.  It’s one of their favourite parts of going to the beach, so Coral Island was an instant hit with them.  Not only that, kids eat free, all day, everyday with any adult meal in their restaurants (check website) so we could treat them to dinner after too.
Not included in Big Ticket prices.

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