coastal resort

north of the south, continued: Blackpool

Mind you, traveling to Blackpool happened on the same day as my trip to Newcastle, so it was a long day. I describe the journey there in detail in my next post, but suffice to say- the transport system failed me for the first time since arriving in England and I arrived in Blackpool 2 hours later than planned, and I wasn’t very happy.

However, the following day’s marathon and a bit of sight-seeing made up for it.

By coming to Blackpool, I manage to become a bit acquainted with the Flyde Peninsula.

The Flyde is a coastal plain in western Lancashire and considered a peninsula, though it doesn’t completely look like one to me. However, the fact that it was on the Irish Sea was unmistakeable and I felt right at home with the seagulls and and beachside vibe, which included more B&Bs than hotels, which I quite enjoyed.

Blackpool is an interesting city. At its height during the 19th and first half of the 20th Century, it was a fashionable sea-resort to which wealthy Englishmen would travel to “take the cure.” Now it’s a popular tourist destination for its major attractions and promises of fun.

However, I have to say, being there in late April when the weather wasn’t that great was a little demoralizing. It was very empty and perhaps, dare I say it, a bit depressing. I wasn’t that surprised to learn in preparing for this post that Blackpool had the fourth highest rate of antidepressant prescription in England in the 2017 national health survey.

Still, I saw how people were having a lot of fun on the promenade as I was running along it during the marathon and saw Blackpool Tower, Madame Tussaud’s, the old-fashioned roller coaster in Pleasure Beach (no, not what you think- it’s an amusement park and actually the most popular in England) and post-marathon meal scrounging meant I got to see a little more of the area I was in, though it was admittedly far away from all the main sites. Perhaps quite alright though.

Immediately after the race I still managed to walk up and down the North Pier. According to all the information plaques along the walkway, the North Pier is one of three piers in Blackpool, but it was the first one and it’s also the longest. It credits theaters and bars to its attractions and while there wasn’t a lot going on at 14:00 on a Sunday, I could see how it would be busy and fun at another time of day and year.

Later, after a shower and a nap, I hung out in a popular local bar, Churchill’s and also did some karaoke, which is only the second time I’ve done it in public and first time without a support group, which tells you a little about my “idgaf” attitude post-marathon. It was a bar full of locales, though, and it was kind of nice to be part of a group enjoying a regular Sunday afternoon.

Then, in search of a proper meal (the fish and chips post-race having long been exhausted), I found this plaza and this beautiful church- St. John’s. The street leading out from the plaza looked pretty interesting as well, but I was done exploring.

The next morning, I did make it to the coast again for my streak mile, and while the first run the day after a marathon is never really any fun, the view was worth it now that the tide had come in.

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I was also rewarded with a full English breakfast after getting back to the B&B. But then I was off, headed back south again to London, and then Cambridge.

I obviously did not really get more than a bare impression of Blackpool and if I went again, I’d find a place to stay closer to Blackpool central station, which is closer to all the attractions like Pleasure Beach, Blackpool Tower, and the Zoo. The only reason I was near Blackpool North was to be close to the race venue (though, I was clearly in a strongly LGBTQ+ friendly sector, so that’s be an argument to return there). I’d also likely come in July or August.

Given that I was limited on time and energy, and it’s my own fault I came at the wrong time of year, I’m not disappointed at all.

Question: Have you ever visited somewhere in that place’s off-season and enjoyed it anyway? Or regretted it?