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.
Lovely photo's, I too have never seen the lights in Blackpool.ReplyDelete
I've been to Blackpool many times but it's a few years since I visited the illuminations. We used to go every year when the kids were little, staying in St.Annes along the coast, but we'd have an evening driving through the lights in Blackpool. Daniel and Eleanor loved it as we had a car with a sunroof back in those days and they'd stand up and poke their heads out to see the lights.Delete
Congratulations for crossing something else off your list :-)ReplyDelete
My gran used to go to Blackpool to see the illuminations with her sister every year, when I got old enough she used to take me. We took the kids a few times when they were small, the last time Stevie was about 8 or 9 and she wasn't interested in the lights at all, just the machines on the pier! I think the display was pretty awful for a good few years but by the look of your photos they are good this year. Blackpool does attract a lot hen & stag parties and can get a bit rowdy at the weekends, one year when I was small we witnessed a couple of rival Hells Angels gangs fighting on the front, dad whisked us away pretty quick!!
It's a shame that some people cause trouble and spoil it, I remember I used to get really excited about going to see 'The Lights'
It's a proper family event going to see the lights so it's a shame, as you say, that some people cause trouble and spoil it. There seemed to be a lot of sponsored lights this year, something I don't remember so much from years gone by, so perhaps the extra revenue has enabled a better display. I think the tableaux beyond the North Shore were stunning, there were some wonderful displays there.Delete
You've taken some great photographs of the lights Jo. It's years since I've been and have only ever walked a bit from Bispham, after having eaten fish and chips! I've never driven through them all. It sounds rather busy.ReplyDelete
I'm glad you enjoyed your (rather long) evening and have another crossed off your list. X
It's always been packed whenever I've been, but it's good fun. It's amazing how many lights there are, I don't photos can do them justice. It was a long evening but it was a change doing something a bit different.Delete
An enjoyable post and 'illuminating' pictures! I'm not surprised that it was that busy being a Friday night, and I would guess that Saturday is just as bad if not worse.ReplyDelete
I've been to Blackpool just once many years ago but don't remember much about it. xx
I think you're right, Friday and Saturday nights are probably the most busy, though I know many people take holidays in Blackpool especially for the lights so I'm sure it's busy midweek too. My dad tells me that his first holiday without his parents as a teenager was in Blackpool.Delete
The lights are cute, the emergency services and sirens not so cute! I'm glad you enjoyed the display, despite the delays. I haven't been for years now, I must make the effort to get there.xxxReplyDelete
I couldn't believe how many police vehicles and ambulances were about. I think we have to make a bit of an effort to do things sometimes, that's why I added this to my 50 Before 50 list, it's encouraging me to do things which I would otherwise put off.Delete
Well done on crossing it off your list. We have been many times but not in recent years, we used to get the tram down and then get fish and chips. What a wonderful bonus to see the fireworks.ReplyDelete
The fireworks certainly passed the time whilst we were sitting in the queue of traffic. This is the first time we've seen the lights for a number of years so it was definitely worth putting on the list.Delete
We used to go to Blackpool when I was a child and lived in Liverpool. I really feel I should go again and visit Southport on the way!ReplyDelete
I've only ever been to Southport once and that was in 2014. http://jo-throughthekeyhole.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/southport.htmlDelete
It's somewhere I'd like to visit again though, especially as we were in the area visiting North Meols which is where Mick's ancestors were from. I'd been researching our family trees and found lots of information about this branch of Mick's family. It was really interesting visiting the place where they'd lived.
I've never had any notion to go to Blackpool, but now, thanks to your excellent photos, I don't have to! We occasionally here a siren when we are in Berwick, but having never lived in a city (except for when we were in Indonesia), I'm just not used to hearing them.ReplyDelete
There's plenty more to see in Blackpool than my photos show, these are just a small selection of the illuminations. I couldn't believe how many emergency vehicles were around, I live in a city much bigger than Blackpool and I've never seen anything like it. It did shake me up a bit when I saw all the officers jump out of the car and vans right in front of our car.Delete
You've provided us with some amazing photographs, just looks so good.ReplyDelete
You are doing well on your 50 before 50.
All the best Jan
These photos are just a small selection showing some of the lights, I don't think photos can do them justice, there's just so many of them and over such a long distance. They're definitely worth going to see if you haven't been before.Delete
A night to remember Jo. We went in 2014 with my niece, her hubby & my sister/brother-in-law & 2 little ones, so glad it wasn't as hectic as that. I was thrilled to see it & definitely special to Blackpool. Lovely photos & thanks for sharing. Have a great weekend & take care.ReplyDelete
I wonder if you went midweek as we've always had to queue whenever we've been, though it's always been on a weekend. I don't know anywhere other than Blackpool which has such fantastic illuminations so definitely worth going to see.Delete
I've seen the illuminations ... from an aeroplane when Joanna and I flew back from Bath a few years ago. Not a bad way to see them, really! :o)ReplyDelete
What a wonderful way to see them, it certainly cuts out the need to queue.Delete
Lights already, just proving lights are not only for Christmas! Dazzling, I'm sure but what a palaver being in a queue for so long. An adventure indeed.ReplyDelete
These aren't Christmas lights, they're lit around the beginning of September and they're switched off again at the beginning of November. Blackpool do have Christmas lights but these are separate from the illuminations. Seeing the lights is such a popular event that people come from miles around and so queues are inevitable, we're always prepared for them whenever we go.Delete
It’s ages since I visited Blackpool illuminations. The last visit I made was to a conference and it was blowing a gale. Even so my boss wanted to go up the tower. Fortunately it was closed! Motorway closures are a real,pain nowadays - they seem to be able to close the, at the drop of a hat much to Martyn’s disgust as when he was a civil engineer he said they had to jump through hoops to have a road closures approved and the police kept a check on how much it was affecting traffic and whether everything had been set out as it should be,ReplyDelete
I don't think I've ever been to Blackpool when it hasn't been windy, the wind's so strong there that it literally blows you round corners. We did the whole Tower experience when the kids were young, though I don't have a head for heights. I wouldn't mind roads being closed if you could actually see them being worked on but most of the time all you actually see are the cones they set out and there isn't a workman in sight. It's so annoying.Delete
Oh well done for another tick off your list. Sounds as though it was a lovely evening, all be it hairy at times, I personally do not do crowds very well so like you would have felt a little jaded. So annoying when they close roads for the sake of it. Hope you got a nice lie in!? xcxReplyDelete
I had a bit of a lie in the following morning but I'm terrible for waking early, even when I know I don't have to be up for anything. It made a real change going to see the lights, it was nice to do something different for a change.Delete
It did sound like quite an adventure, glad you were safe in your car. I’ve seen the lights a couple of times and love them, makes me feel like a child noticing all the different themes and lights xxReplyDelete
I remember my parents taking me to see the lights when I was a child and I loved it, it's something I made sure I did with my own children. I think it's something for all ages to enjoy.Delete
We stayed in Morecombe for a few days a couple of years ago and spent a day in Blackpool - got to look inside the tower ballroom and in the evening drove along the illuminations. It was my first visit after saying for many years I would like to go. DH set his camera to video and put it on the dashboard of the car. It didn't disappoint. This years showing looks lovely, thanks for the tour.ReplyDelete
It's such a fun thing to do, isn't it? I've only visited Morecambe once and that was when I was a child but I've been to Blackpool many times. I don't know of anywhere else which has a light display such as this.Delete
I've never been to see the Illuminations, although I would love to go. For some reason, I didn't realise they were turned on already. Good to know though! :)ReplyDelete
I think that many people believe they're Christmas lights and are switched on nearer the festive season, whereas they actually extend the holiday season for this seaside resort. They're definitely worth going to see if you ever get the chance.Delete
I didn't realise that the illuminations went on for 6 miles!ReplyDelete
Don't like the sound of all that traffic but then it's so popular it can't really be avoided if you want to see them I suppose.
Love the hula girls and the buses.
Another one ticked off your list.
There's a lot of lights in those six miles of illuminations. I think it would be good to see them by tram, they're not held up like cars are.Delete
An interesting read Jo. Although I've lived in the north west most of my adult life I've never been to Blackpool let alone seen the illuminations. Maybe the fact that I don't like the M6 might have something to do with it :) I have a friend whose son runs a small hotel in Blackpool - according to him it can get rather lively at weekends to say the least. Glad to read that you've ticked another off the list.ReplyDelete
Blackpool is a very lively resort, we tend to stay in nearby St.Annes when we visit the west coast as it's not as rowdy and then we can just pop along the coast to Blackpool if the mood takes us. The illuminations are worth seeing though, even if you just drive through them as we did.Delete
Well, that was certainly an adventure! A happy coincidence that you decided to go when the fireworks were on - I'm not sure how patient I would have been in that length of a queue.ReplyDelete
I had to look up the reason for the fireworks afterwards, we didn't know what they were for whilst we were watching them, so we just struck lucky. We know from experience what the queues are like for the illuminations so we were prepared to be at a standstill for a long time.Delete
Oh, what a wonderful walk down memory lane, Jo. My parents took me to Blackpool illuminations on a coach trip every year until I was a teenager (my birthday is October 2 so it coincided.) No service vehicle noise, queues, nor extreme traffic to deal with back then. I remember we sang on the coach on the way home. Thanks for the memory! and congrats. on crossing one more thing off your list. P. xReplyDelete
Happy memories. My dad's memories of Blackpool go back to his teens when he had holidays with his friends there and I remember being taken as a child to see the illuminations, something I continued with my own children.Delete