About Sasha H
Lives in Healey, United Kingdom
Since Jan 2015
I’ve swum with wild dolphins in the Maldives, fed baby kangaroos in Australia, spent hours in the shopping malls of Dubai and crash-landed a hot-air balloon in Poland – having spent the last decade travelling and freelancing, I am a joyful, nosy traveller, always meeting new experiences head on. I enjoy digging into the culture, listening to what’s happening around me and taking thousands of photos on the way. Thanks to two decades of travelling extensively through Europe, the Middle and Far East and the Caribbean, I know the cities and countries I write about inside out. And even though I live in the Yorkshire Dales – surely the most beautiful place on earth – I never lose my enthusiasm for skiing in Zermatt, visiting my favourite cities in Italy and Poland or discovering new places to shop in Dubai.
Points of Interest & Landmarks
Scenic Walking Areas
Nature & Wildlife Areas
Points of Interest & Landmarks
The sands in Blackpool stretch for seven golden miles - large enough to swallow up the millions of visitors who flock in annually. But the most popular area is bookended in the north by the landmark Tower, and the south, by the adrenaline-spilling rides of the neon-infested Pleasure Beach - interspersed with three great piers, pushing out into the Irish Sea. Backed by a newly spruced up promenade, there are donkey rides for toddlers, deck chairs for hire, and bouncy castles to romp on. With gentle waves and shallow water, it is perfect for families with kids of all ages to enjoy traditional, bucket-and-spade vacations.
The UK’s favorite day out - as voted by Tripadvisor 2014 - is crammed with 125 wildly popular rides, from adrenaline-pumping hair raisers such as the notorious Big One mega coaster, to family fun at the UK’s only Nickelodeon Land or the Hot Ice skating spectacular at the Arena. The hottest new daredevil experience for 2015 is the Red Arrows Skyforce simulator ride, designed in collaboration with the world-renowned Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team. Visitors need never leave the park, as it has every possible amenity: from scores of eating options to souvenir stores and even luxury accommodation at the sleek Big Blue Hotel.
Cleverly extending Blackpool’s holiday season into autumn, the world-famous illuminations take over a six-mile (10km) stretch of promenade, staging a 66-day spectacular light show that utilises more than one million laser lights, neon and fiber optics. The illuminations vary each year in dazzling themed display, and are currently curated by British interior designer and TV personality, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen. The Switch On Festival Weekend is one of Blackpool’s biggest parties, with celebs pouring in to partake in the festivities; a free food and drink festival, and firework competitions every Friday night throughout September. Special sightseeing trams trundle up and down the prom and kids fall in love with the magical displays — even adults are prey to their neon charm.
Strung along 1.25 miles (2km) of Blackpool’s South Shore, the Great Promenade Show was conceived in 1999, and is the town’s coolest open-air art exhibition, featuring wacky light shows and sculptures by ten of the UK’s leading artists. Outstanding among these are Peter Blake’s bronze ‘Life As A Circus’ and - as Blackpool will never be knowingly understated - the world’s largest, sparkliest, mirror ball by Michael Trainor, entitled ‘They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?’, with glass mosaics that shimmer and dazzle in the sun.
In summer months, Blackpool’s best-loved green lung is abuzz with activity for families. Teens can let off steam playing tennis, football, and basketball, or try out the BMX tracks, skateboard park, and trampolines; while younger kids love the animal-themed adventure playground and Blackpool Model Village, leaving parents to chill out over picnics among the formal flowers beds. At the heart of the park is an Art Deco café and a bandstand where summer concerts are held; a little train chugs gamely around the grounds, and boats can be hired to spot herons on the lake.
Blackpool Zoo opened in the 1970s, and many of the facilities for the animals have recently been extensively updated. The 32-acres of parkland are home - among other things - to lions, tigers, apes, antelopes and elephants, who all reside in spacious enclosures designed to replicate their natural habitats. Activities include regular keeper talks and entertaining sea lion and penguin shows throughout the day, with other highlights of a visit being the petting farm for toddlers, and the chance to feed giraffes or to help scrub down an elephant. They have a strong reputation for conservation and work with endangered species, from orangutans to monk seals, and two Siberian tiger cubs were successfully bred at the zoo in 2014.
Up-cycled from a former quarry, Brockholes is a 250-acre nature reserve liberally covered with lakes, marshland, and one of the UK’s oldest woodlands, standing along the River Ribble. It is rich in wildlife, from rare dragonflies to plovers, lapwings to oystercatchers; with birds of prey often spotted circling high overhead. Along with an adventure playgrounds for the kids, there are hiking trails, and, the UK’s first spectacular, wooden floating visitor centre, which is the base for a year-round selection of outdoor activities - such as den building and guided wildlife walks - suitable for the whole family.
Surely one of the strangest sights on the UK coastline is to be found on Crosby Beach, an hour south of Blackpool. This deserted stretch of sand is now permanent home to a 100-strong series of life-size figures called ‘Another Place’ by Antony Gormley, who created the fabled ‘Angel of the North’ in 1998. His entrancing cast-iron installations stand bleak against the sea and sky, scattered over two miles (3.2 km), morphing in colour and mood as the weather and tides ebb and flow.