Hello and welcome back to the next in my long list of catch-up blogs. This time our destination takes us in the opposite direction, up north, to the one and only:
For our 2019 summer holiday we returned to the Lake District, and while there were definitely some places we wanted to revisit, I also wanted to make sure we tried something a little different as well.
We always try and make sure that we pop to a nearby beach when we’re on holiday, as I’m not sure you can have a summer holiday without a trip to the seaside. On this occasion, I suggested have a day out in Blackpool as it wasn’t that far away from our holiday cottage and I thought we could probably find some fun ways to spend our time.
The drive to Blackpool from our holiday cottage was remarkably simple and it only took about 20-30 mins to arrive in the city centre. I had been a little worried that parking might be tricky or expensive. I’d done a bit of research into possible parking options and had decided to aim for the Houndshill Car Park, which was attached to a shopping centre. I was very pleased with how easy it was to find, there were plenty of spaces and I thought the prices (£7 for up to 6 hours) were really reasonable when compared with city centre parking near where I live.
When planning our trip to Blackpool, I’d had a few ideas of things we might like to do while we were there and had already booked two attractions online before we set off. First up was Madame Tussauds, which Miss Mess has been desperate to visit for ages. A ticket for a family of four cost me about £46.
I’d done a bit of reading online before our visit and one of the displays I’d been most looking forward to was the “Strictly Come Dancing” section. Luckily for me, it was the first part of the tour!
It was a really fun, interactive exhibit, with wax works of Tess and Claudia, as well as Craig Revel Horwood. There was a judge’s desk, where you could reveal your marks, a staircase to make your grand entrance and there was even an opportunity to have a photo with the famous glitterball!
After the “Strictly” section, there was still plenty more to see. I was surprised at just how many different exhibits there were, each with a different theme. Ranging from TV shows, to famous movie stars, to musicians, to comedians, to the Royal family, there really was something for everyone (except Mini Mess who was perhaps a little young to recognise most of the waxworks!)
Even Mr M seemed to have a great time and threw himself into the spirit of things by posing with some of his favourite waxworks, including the Doctor and David Attenborough.
The exhibits had all clearly been well planned out, with lots of great theming and scenery and plenty of opportunities for audience participation. I was particularly impressed with the Marvel Superhero exhibit where you could pose with Captain Marvel and the Guardians of the Galaxy, help the Hulk lift a car and even try to lift Thor’s hammer. (And let’s face it, that’s the closest I’m ever getting to Chris Hemsworth!)
Miss Mess had been most looking forward to seeing her idol, Ariana Grande, in the flesh (well, you know what I mean.) She had to be really patient as she was in one of the very last exhibits, a kind of festival ground filled with contemporary musicians. I think her smile in the photo below shows it was well worth the wait.
It didn’t take us quite as long as I expected to walk around Madame Tussauds, but I think that was due in part to it not being too busy and not having to wait too long to see each exhibit.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and it was great fun posing with all of the waxworks. It was a great opportunity to be silly together and I’d definitely look into visiting one of the other Madame Tussaud’s around the county to see what they have on offer.
After we left Tussauds, we had a stroll down the pier, played in the amusements and had a walk down the promenade to soak in the atmosphere. I was a bit gutted that we didn’t get the chance to use any of the transport, like the trams or horse-drawn carriages, but there wasn’t really time and we were trying to be cautious with our holiday spending.
When planning our trip to Blackpool, I knew that couldn’t leave without visiting the famous Blackpool Tower, but I had no idea of sheer number of attractions it was home to. There’s the Tower itself, a circus and even the Blackpool Dungeon but the only thing I really wanted to do was have afternoon tea in the stunning Tower Ballroom
The Tower Ballroom is situated Level 2 of the Tower. Once there we were greeted by our server and shown to our table, which was right next to the dance floor giving a perfect view of the dancers throughout the afternoon.
When booking, I’d been thrilled to discover they offered a “Family Afternoon Tea” for £69.95, which included sandwiches and treats for children as well as the usual grown-up fare. I wish more places would offer this option, as most children don’t eat as much as adults and have simpler tastes, so it can be annoying when you have to pay full price for them to eat with you.
Our server (I think her name was Julie) was an absolutely gem and couldn’t do enough for us. When she asked about dietary requirements, I mentioned that Mini Mess doesn’t really like sandwiches, but prefers just bread and butter. In no time at all Julie returned with a little plate of bread and butter sandwiches which she’d had made up specially.
The afternoon tea was amazing. The sandwiches were all fresh and nicely prepared, the scones were delicious and there was more cake than we could possibly get through in one sitting. Luckily they packed up any leftovers for us to take home, so we had sweet treats for days afterward.
While we were eating, we were entertained by a continuous stream of dancing. Some dancers were clearly professionals who were practicing for an upcoming competition, others were simply there to enjoy taking a spin around this beautiful venue.
Miss Mess made a few friends with children on nearby tables, and for a while they enjoyed getting up and attempting to join in with the dancers. Unfortunately, after a while an announcement was made that children were only allowed to dance with an adult. While I understand that they need to ensure the area is clear for dancers, it was a bit of a shame that the children weren’t allowed to enjoy themselves. Maybe they could look into sectioning off a little area for children who just want to experience this amazing venue without their grown-up joining in?
All too soon it was time to head home, leftover boxes in hand. I really enjoyed our day in Blackpool, although I’m not sure we’ll be rushing back for another visit. It’s a little rough around the edges and to be honest I think we covered everything we’d want to do there. It wasn’t really the best day for Mini Mess, but we did have lots more activities planned for her later in the holiday so I didn’t feel too bad.
Next up in the 2019 catch-up blogs, we’re heading over to Alton Towers for another fun, if very soggy, family day out.