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Blackpool Off the Beaten Path

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Most visitors to Blackpool (all 12 million of them at the last count) head straight for the seashore, and look no further than the city's brash, brassy landmarks, from the Pleasure Beach to the landmark Tower. But dig a little deeper into this seaside town – and the glorious surrounding countryside of Lancashire – and it’s easy to get away from the crowds. Here’s how!

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Thrill Seeker
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Nature Lover
  • Peace and Quiet Seeker
  • Beach Goer
  • Thrifty Traveller
  • Like a Local

8 Places

3 City Tips

Print
Map

8 Places

Illuminasia

Game & Entertainment Centres

Morecambe

Destinations

Lytham St Anne's

Destinations

Lytham Hall

Points of Interest & Landmarks

Ribble Valley

Valleys, Points of Interest & Landmarks

Lancashire Coastal Way

Hiking & Camping Tours

Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Forests

West Lancashire Light Railway

Scenic Railroads

Sasha H's City Tips

  • Tipping: Around 10% is sufficient in restaurants, but staff in bars and pubs do not expect a tip.
  • The Blackpool Resort Pass gives free entry into nine of the town’s biggest attractions, including the Pleasure Beach and Winter Gardens.
  • Most of the attractions in and around Blackpool are open daily.
  • Save
    Illuminasia
    Game & Entertainment Centres
    See more photos
    Sasha H Says:

    At long last, a truly innovative attraction in Blackpool that will enthral kids and adults alike. Not so much off the beaten track but new enough to be little known, Illuminasia is located at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens and is a hybrid of modern technology, which together creates an entrancing, innovative series of light shows. Cleverly designed to be both entertaining and educational, exhibitions are divided into six different worlds, from a big-bug show to the amazing 3D Planetarium and the World of Wonders, which features famous world landmarks crafted entirely out of light.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Trendsetter
    • Hidden Gems
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Illuminasia is open daily from 11am–5pm (last admission 4.15pm).
    • Illuminasia is the perfect distraction for fractious kids on a rainy day in Blackpool.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #8 of 49 Fun & Games in Blackpool
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Superb Event, Shame It's Closed 21/02/2018
    • Came along with a friend 17/12/2017
    • Illuminasia
    Address:
    Coronation Street
    Olympia Exhibtion Hall, Winter Gardens Blackpool
    Blackpool FY1 1HL
    England
    Phone:
    +44 1253 629801
    Other:
  • Save
    Morecambe
    Destinations
    See more photos
    Sasha H Says:

    Untamed Morecambe Bay stretches from Barrow-in-Furness to Fleetwood in the south, taking in the coastal towns of Morecambe and Grange over Sands, and backed by the stumpy hills of the Lake District. Five rivers drain into the 310 sq-km (120 sq-mile) estuary to form the largest swathe of sand and tidal mud in the UK; as the outdoor playground for the county of Lancashire, its vast horizons allow for high-energy sports ranging from windsurfing to paragliding, horse riding to cycling. The bay is just the spot for gentler pursuits too: family picnics, fishing, flying kites or simply admiring the shimmering sunsets. Furthermore, it is the springboard for several long-distance hiking routes and the gateway to the rolling beauty of the Forest of Bowland. It's also justly famous as a haven for wildlife; wading birds stalk the shoreline in their thousands, and seals bask on the rocks of Walney Island.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Beach Goer
    • Like a Local
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The Morecambe Bay Visitor Centre is at Old Station Buildings in Morecambe.
    • The promontory at Heysham Head is one of the best places in the UK to see butterflies and dragonflies in summer.
    • Morecambe Bay is known for its fast tides and shifting quicksands; always pay attention to the warning signs posted along the beach.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    • Morecambe
  • Save
    Lytham St Anne's
    Destinations
    See more photos
    Sasha H Says:

    Blackpool’s posh little neighbour lies just 5 km (three miles) south along the Irish Sea coastline, a lovely Victorian time warp as calm and restrained as Blackpool is big and bold. A cute little town of neat gardens, flower-filled streets and a traditional promenade with bandstand and formal gardens, St. Annes is blessed with a beach of golden sand with shallow waves and gentle tides, making it ideal for family days out. Its elegant, wrought-iron pier opened in 1885 and was revamped in 2012 – it now once more resounds with amusement arcades, souvenir shops and a panoramic restaurant.

    Good for
    • Beach Goer
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Regular buses run along the Fylde coastline between Blackpool and St. Annes.
    • The beach at St. Annes has been awarded the Quality Coast Award for its cleanliness and facilities.
    • A colourful kite festival takes place on the beach at St. Annes each July.
    • Stylish new beach huts can be hired in St. Annes; just bring food, family and friends!
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    • Lytham St Anne's
  • Save
    Lytham Hall
    Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Sasha H Says:

    Virtually twinned with St. Annes these days, Lytham is a stylish little resort on the Irish Sea coast (20 minutes south of Blackpool) with miles of sandy beach for kids to run around, and a dumpy windmill along the promenade. With a reputation for its sophisticated shopping, this enticing, laid-back town also offers one of the finest Georgian homes in the north of England: Lytham Hall was built in 1752, is surrounded by peaceful gardens, and puts on a series of open-air plays throughout the summer months.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Beach Goer
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Regular buses run along the Fylde coastline between Blackpool and Lytham.
    • Lytham holds a buzzy arts festival in the first week of August; expect a Comedy Tent and big-name, open-air concerts (from the likes of Faithless) on the prom.
    • The Fylde Farmer's Market takes place on the first Thursday of every month in Lytham town centre.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #5 of 34 things to do in Lytham St Anne's
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Historic Hall and parkland 14/09/2018
    • Excellent grounds 12/09/2018
    • Lytham Hall
    Address:
    Lytham Hall Lytham Hall Park
    The Tea Room is within the grounds.
    Lytham St Anne's FY8 4JX
    England
    Phone:
    +44 1253 736652
    Hours:
    Sun - Fri
    10:00 - 16:30
    Sat
    10:30 - 16:30
    Other:
  • Save
    Ribble Valley
    Valleys, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Sasha H Says:

    Stretching from Southport to Lytham, the tidal waters of the Ribble Estuary flow into the Irish Sea, and provide an important sanctuary for porpoises, grey seals and even turtles. Inland, a peaceful patchwork of sand dunes, flat marshlands, reed beds and heath are home to thousands of wading birds, ducks and geese. The River Ribble is seasonally popular with salmon and sea trout anglers, and the ancient practice of cockling is still a way of life on the sand flats of Horse Bank. A floating visitor center at Brockholes Nature Reserve is the area’s base for year-round outdoor activities, such as den building and guided wildlife walks, for all the family.

    Good for
    • Beach Goer
    • Hidden Gems
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Showcasing the wildlife of the estuary, the RSPB Ribble Discovery Centre can be found by Fairhaven Lake on the Inner Promenade in Lytham.
    • Canoe safaris, run by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, are available at the Martin Mere Wetland Centre in Burscough.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #216 of 434 things to do in Lancashire
    • Spring Wood, River Calder and Whalley 26/08/2018
    • Special Spa 06/08/2018
    • Ribble Valley
    Phone:
    +44 1200 425111
    Other:
  • Save
    Lancashire Coastal Way
    Hiking & Camping Tours
    Sasha H Says:

    The Lancashire Coastal Way runs 220 km (137 miles) from Silverdale south to Freckelton, flanking Morecambe Bay and the Ribble Estuary. On its way along the Irish Sea shoreline, the route incorporates the Fylde coastal plain, a peninsula that swallows up the noise and ebullience of its major town, Blackpool. The 21 km (13 mile) Fylde attracts outdoors enthusiasts for sand yachting and windsurfing on its endless beaches; golfers to its cluster of 18-hole courses; and families to its adventure playgrounds. Thanks to its flat landscapes, Fylde is also a mecca for walkers and cyclists, making this section of the Lancashire Coastal Way one of the easiest and most popular.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Beach Goer
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • There are a few rules for walking the Lancashire Coastal Way: Take your litter home, keep dogs on leads, and always shut gates behind you.
    • The Lancashire Coastal Way passes through the Lytham St. Annes Nature Reserve, designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest for its undulating system of sand dunes.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #40 of 58 Tours in Lancashire
    • Some points for anyone considering doing the whole thing 04/09/2016
    • Stunning views, historic sites, and plenty of places to stop along the way. 07/01/2016
    Other:
  • Save
    Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
    Forests
    See more photos
    Sasha H Says:

    Lying east of Blackpool, the Forest of Bowland is not really a forest at all, but a wild expanse of untamed fells and moorland covering 808 sq km (312 sq miles) of Lancashire, and butting into neighbouring Yorkshire. A serene antidote to the full-on chaos of Blackpool, the landscape is one of valleys and fields encased in dry stone walls and scattered with ancient villages and farms, many with their roots in prehistory and all surrounded by a rich animal and birdlife. The area is renowned for its star-gazing opportunities (thanks to the blackness of its night sky) as well as the remote hiking and biking routes that traverse the countryside.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • It is just over an hour’s drive from Blackpool to Dunsop Bridge in the heart of the Forest of Bowland.
    • There are plenty of accommodation options in the Forest of Bowland, from campsites to boutique hotels.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #189 of 434 things to do in Lancashire
    • This is a Forest Hub review for walkers 23/08/2018
    • Family walk 21/08/2018
    • Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
    Phone:
    +44 1200 448000
    Other:
  • Save
    West Lancashire Light Railway
    Scenic Railroads
    Sasha H Says:

    The only Lancashire steam railway still functioning runs on a narrow gauge railway at Hesketh Bank, south of the River Ribble from Blackpool. With a complement of original rolling stock consisting of four locomotives and three more under restoration, the railway service is run entirely by enthusiastic volunteers who are pleased to show fans around the engines and work shops. The short train ride circumnavigates the edge of a flooded clay pit, and the engines themselves are the redundant legacy of Europe’s industrial heritage, sourced from slate quarries in Wales and mines in Spain.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Hidden Gems
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • West Lancashire Light Railway is only open on Sundays, April through October, between 11.30am–4.30pm.
    • There are special train trips to see Santa during December!
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #23 of 72 things to do in Preston
    • Hidden Gem 11/08/2018
    • What a little treasure 25/06/2018
    • West Lancashire Light Railway
    Address:
    Station Road
    Hesketh Bank
    Preston PR4 6SP
    England
    Phone:
    +44 1772 815881
    Hours:
    Sun
    10:30 - 16:30
    Other:
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