Facelifted Blackpool Tower a soaring success says HILARY KIRBY
IT was THE moment of the holiday.
Standing on a glass sky walkway, 158 metres in the air, waves crashing far below on miles of sandy beach, three twinkling piers in the distance – my two young sons were practically bursting with excitement.
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We were at the top of the newly-refurbished Blackpool Tower Eye, which was re-opened last month after a year of work and my kids couldn’t get over how fabulous it was.
This was just the beginning of our weekend of thrills and spills.
Before ascending, we’d watched a 4D film about the magical and iconic attractions of Blackpool – the Illuminations, the Circus, Madame Tussauds and the Dungeon.
The welcome in Blackpool is like a big bear hug and we couldn’t wait to get stuck into everything.
We stayed at Number One, a fantastic five-star boutique hotel.
My children couldn’t get over the TV in the whirlpool bath so we were off to a good start before we had even left the hotel.
We did the Illuminations tour on a tram – not just any tram but one lit with hundreds of flashing lights to make it a steam train.
There are moving lights, lights in tableaux, a Doctor Who section, the Tower lit up with a flash- ing coloured light show and a huge outdoor mirror ball spinning lights out into the dark of the sea.
Up early next morning for the Pleasure Beach and the excitement was high. We started with Valhalla, a Viking-themed water ride sponsored by the Daily Star. Water, fire, mist, ice and hurtling rollercoasters make it a fantastic, terrifying, exhilarating experience and we all got soaked.
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The more daring go for The Big One, one of the tallest rollercoasters in Europe, and Bling, a hammer-shaped ride that hurtles through the air at speeds of 60mph. But there is something for everyone.
Then it was back to the Tower for the Circus. This beautiful gold and tiled circus hall has been hosting shows since 1894 and it is stunning. The clown Mooky, who is the star of the show, had the children howling with laughter, and the trapeze shows and acrobatics were amazing.
The grand finale was the circus ring filling with water and a beautiful girl riding a glittery swan. It was magical and completely charming.
On a rainy day, we ate delicious mezes and a succulent steak sandwich in Revolution on the front at lunchtime. It’s the kind of place which is heaving at night but in the day it is relaxed and stylish.
Still raining, we visited the brilliantly interactive Madame Tussauds. Here we got to pull a pint in the Rovers Return on the set of Corrie, sit on The X Factor panel with Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh, hang out with David Beckham and press those red buttons on a Britain’s Got Talent set.
Then in Sealife we saw sharks swim overhead in the viewing tunnel and knowledgeable staff showed the children the glow in the dark fish.
When the sun shone, we headed for the beach – miles of flat sand, perfect for buckets and spades.
Blackpool combines an old-fashioned warm welcome and charm with world-class attractions and a determined vision for the future. We intend to make it a family tradition to go every year.
ROOMS cost from £140 per night at Number One Hotel Blackpool, below, including breakfast. Call 01253 343900 or visit numberonesouthbeach.com
Blackpool attractions: To book for Madame Tussauds, Sealife and the Blackpool Tower Eye, Dungeon, Ballroom and Circus, visit theblackpooltower.com or call 01253 612258.
Tickets for one visit to each attraction over a 90-day period cost £40 online.
Blackpool Pleasure Beach: Adult £32, child £27. Visit blackpoolpleasurebeach.com or call 0871 222 1234.