Blackpool was originally a seaside destination that only the rich could afford to visit, but these days it’s better known as the unofficial capital for stag weekends, with its famous Pleasure Beach, beachfront prom, pier and plethora of drinking holes attracting crowds from far and wide.
First-time visitors to Blackpool might get a shock when they see a tram rattling by. As one of only a handful of UK cities with trams still operating, it’s a novel way to get around. It is just one of Blackpool’s nods to its history as a traditional seaside town, with donkey rides, candy floss, bawdy entertainers and the distinctive Victorian beachfront buildings all harking back to a bygone era. But Blackpool’s heyday is far from over, with plenty of more modern pursuits on offer too, while the array of nightspots will ensure a wild weekend that is bang up to date.
Blackpool at a glance:
- Home to the iconic Blackpool Tower and known for its traditional seaside entertainment
- One of the UK’s top destinations for stag getaways, with a wide array of clubs, bars and gentlemen's entertainment
- Blackpool Pleasure Beach promises thrills and spills for visitors of all ages
- Bustling with popular tourist attractions, including Blackpool Zoo, Madame Tussauds and the retro pier
Blackpool Pleasure Beach – high octane thrills and spills beside the seaside
The first thing people think of when they think of Blackpool is the tower. The second is the Pleasure Beach. Located in South Shore, Blackpool’s Pleasure Beach is a one-stop shop for thrill seekers. Hundreds of rides, shows, shops and restaurants are packed into this huge space right on the seafront.
Blackpool Promenade – enjoy a stroll along Blackpool’s famous coastline
Split into three distinct areas, South Shore, Central and North Shore, Blackpool Promenade is the city’s main tourist hub. North Shore is the most historic part, with many of its structures virtually unchanged since Victorian times, and is where the main shops and restaurants can be found. South Shore contains most of the nightlife, and is home to the theme park.
Best bars and pubs in Blackpool:
Roxy’s, Queen Street
Roxy’s has a fantastic atmosphere thanks to larger-than-life drag queen DJ Roxy and her equally enthusiastic pals. Although drinks can be a little pricey, it’s definitely the best place to be for a memorable night out.
Beach House, The Promenade
A bistro and bar with outside seating for you can to take in the sweeping sea views. It’s a little expensive but worth it for the cocktails and wine menu alone. A trendy bar that would suit stags looking to party in style.
Central Pier Showbar, Central Pier
As the name suggests, Central Pier Showbar puts on regular shows so there’s an entry fee on the door. Expect live celebrity impersonators entertaining the masses as well as very cheap drinks to help you get in the party mood.
Merrie England Bar, North Pier
The Merrie England bar is home to resident comedian Joey Blower and he’s reputedly not for the faint of heart. It’s loud and boisterous, with cheap drinks and resident DJs on either side of the comedy set. It’s old school entertainment but well loved by tourists and locals alike.
Revolution, Market Street
Part of the popular Revolution chain of bars across the UK and always a hit with those looking to add a touch of style to their night out. Offers some great deals on cocktails and shots, making it ideal for getting the party started.
Kaos Bar, Queen Street
Kaos is often touted as the perfect ‘halfway’ place – somewhere you go right in the middle of your night out as it’s near a lot of other bars. Resident DJs keep the atmosphere pumping long into the night.
The Mitre Pub, West Street
Landlady and Blackpool-born Kerry has been drinking at The Mitre ever since she was legally allowed to. When she took over some years later, The Mitre was still as popular as ever with a wide selection of ales and a friendly, homely air. All pub crawls should stop here.
The Albert & The Lion, Bank Hey Street
Another pub belonging to the Wetherspoon’s pub chain, this has made our list because of its incredibly cheap food and drink, making it an excellent starting point. It’s more of a family friendly venue in the daytime though, so best to wait until the evening if you’re feeling boisterous.
Scruffy Murphy’s, Corporation Street
Scruffy Murphy’s is quite popular with families but don’t let that put you off. It’s a great place to start your party as it’s in a superb location, the drinks are good and staff welcome you with open arms.
Best clubs in Blackpool:
Club Domain, The Promenade
There are several rooms in Club Domain each with their own DJ so it’s a great option for groups with varied music tastes. It’s very popular, especially with the younger crowd.
Home & HQ, Talbot Road
Two clubs under one roof. Rumours plays mainly chart music, whilst below in the basement, Hush is devoted to R’n’B. A generous helping of offers on drinks also mean that these two are often packed out with revellers.
The Tache, Corporation Street
The Tache is a hugely popular rock club near the North Pier. Live bands get the audience going with floor-shaking rock songs. You have to pay on the door to get in, but drinks are relatively cheap with even cheaper drinks deals every Thursday.
Walkabout, Queen Street
This Aussie-themed party has kept crowds entertained in Blackpool for many a year. Great for booze, food and live sport by day while it transforms into a fun-filled nightclub with shameless party tunes by night.
Food: eat like a local:
Terra Nostra on Red Bank Road is an up-market restaurant serving Italian and Sardinian cuisine.
Over on Squires Gate Ambrosini's is another Italian restaurant popular with tourists and locals, not to mention family friendly too. Book a table in advance as it does get busy, or alternatively order food to takeaway if you need to eat on the move or are in self-catering accommodation.
Starving tourists longing for home cooked British food should check out McHalls Bistro, a small restaurant that has one of the best chocolate brownie desserts around.
No visit to a seaside resort would be complete without an obligatory stop at the local chippie, and Bentley’s Fish and Chip Shop on Bond Street is a Blackpool favourite. Large portions are compulsory here.
Michael Wan's Mandarin Cantonese Restaurant on Clifton Street is close to Blackpool Tower and popular with big groups.
Cedars, conveniently located on Cedar Square, offers a great menu for a reasonable price. The owners are friendly and their full breakfast or posh cheese on toast comes highly recommended for the morning after the night before.
The Litten Tree over on Queen Street is a smart looking pub by night, but their all-day breakfast and pub grub menu is an essential hangover remedy for the morning after.
The best view of the city:
For the best photos of Blackpool you should be heading up to the top of Blackpool Tower. On a clear day it’s possible to see a huge part of North West England.
Blackpool’s tram system stops frequently on the seafront with easy access to most areas in the town. It’s good value for money as travelling a few stops can cost as little as £1. Designated drivers will find plenty of car parking in and around the city but take care and plan ahead if you’re driving as some car parks can charge a lot if you’re staying overnight.