Go to Blackpool to see the illuminations is on my 50 Before 50 list.
We decided to go a fortnight ago, Mick had planned to finish work early, however, he had to go and visit a customer and got stuck there so we didn't actually set off until 4.30pm. The traffic on the motorway, being a Friday evening, was horrendous and we didn't arrive in Blackpool until 8pm, by which time it was already dark and the illuminations were already lit. We got in the queue of cars at the North Shore to make our way through the display of lights which run the whole length of the promenade, and beyond. The imposing Tower can be seen from most points.
Most visitors drive through the six miles of illuminations, and therefore, it takes quite a while in the queuing traffic. There are also open top trams, and other trams which are illuminated to look like ships, which run along the tramway, as well as horse drawn landau.
There have been illuminations at Blackpool since 1879, though they consisted of just eight carbon arc lamps. The first display similar to what we see today was held in May 1912 when Princess Louise, Queen Victoria's Granddaughter, visited Blackpool to open a new section of the promenade, Princess Parade.
Not only did we get to see the illuminations but the World Fireworks Championship was also being held in Blackpool and they were putting on a display for four consecutive Fridays in September so we got to see the Celebrations Display by the UK. It made the time spent waiting around for the cars to actually move more bearable.
Many of the illuminations are sponsored by businesses. These 'I'm lovin' it' lights were outside McDonalds.
Forty large tableaux are displayed from North Shore to Bispham, these are set back beyond the tramway and a pedestrian walkway runs the length of these.
I liked this Hickory Dickory Dock tableau. Here you can see the mouse at the top of the clock after it's run up, but as the lights change and the clock strikes one, you get to see the mouse run down the clock again.
Here are a small selection of the 2017 illuminations.
Blackpool itself was extremely busy with families out to see the lights as well as party goers spilling out of the bars and clubs onto the pavements. I have to say that even though I live in a large city, I've never seen so many police vehicles speeding around at any one time. At one point, we were in the queue of traffic when a police car, sirens blaring, sped towards us on the other side of the road, finally coming to a halt right in front of our car. Five police vans followed suit and all the officers jumped out, running down a side street, to what I do not know. It totally unnerved me though. Sirens could be heard more or less continually during our time there and we saw so many police cars and ambulances, some of which were speeding along the tram lines as the roads were chock o block full of queuing cars. The emergency services were very busy and I wonder if this is normal for a Friday night in Blackpool.
It took us a good two hours to drive right the way through the illuminations and though we thought we'd have an easy drive back home, we discovered that part of the motorway was down to one lane due to night time roadworks and another part of the motorway was closed, so it was actually 1.30am by the time we arrived home. I usually go to bed pretty early so it was a bit of an adventure to be doing something out of the ordinary like this so late at night.
That's something else crossed off my 50 Before 50 list.