It was such a treat waking up in our stylish room at the beautiful Boulevard Hotel and drawing back the curtains to uninterrupted views of the Irish Sea. Heading downstairs we were shown to a window table in the restaurant from where we could watch the waves lapping the beach whilst tucking into our delicious breakfasts.
Back in our room, we relaxed on our comfortable sofa until check out time at 11.00 a.m. Everything about the hotel had been so good, we just wanted to enjoy the experience for as long as possible! The early morning mist was beginning to clear as we were leaving the hotel and a tram soon came along the promenade taking us as far as Bispham in the north of the town. The previous afternoon we had purchased 24 hour transport tickets by mobile phone and as these were still valid, we made good use of them during the day.
Alighting from our tram at Bispham we blew away the cobwebs with a leisurely stroll along the cliffs as far as the Cabin. Few people were about and we enjoyed a peaceful walk on a cold but sunny morning.
The heritage tram weekend was continuing and we took great delight keeping a look out out for the beautiful old trams to pass by, trying to spot as many different ones as we could.
From the Cabin tram stop (so called as the pub opposite was originally named Uncle Tom’s Cabin) we returned to the town centre for a wander around the shops. There’s plenty of variety from the modern Hounds Hill shopping centre to traditional stalls inside the indoor Abingdon Street market hall.
Just around the corner from the market stands the famous Opera House/ Winter Gardens which are free to visit and usually open each day. We had hoped to walk through, visit the Floral Hall and admire the stunning architecture but unfortunately we were unlucky as on the weekend of our visit it was closed for a private event.
We did manage though to step inside the spectacular domed entrance hall to view the wonderful sculpture of the iconic comedy duo, Morecambe and Wise who performed in the resort more than 1,000 times, first appearing on stage in 1941. The statue was unveiled in 2016 to celebrate Eric and Ernie’s double act 75th anniversary. The Opera House is one of the country’s largest theatres and has a capacity of almost 3,000 and I can remember the thrill of being taken there by my parents as a child to see variety shows.
Our plan for the afternoon was to visit Stanley Park so we checked our Blackpool transport App for bus services. As it was a winter Sunday with reduced services in operation, we would have had to wait quite awhile so rather than stand freezing at a bus stop we decided to walk as it was only about a mile from our starting point near the Tower.
It was actually quite a pleasant stroll along Hornby Drive, leading on to Mere Drive which then took us to the main park entrance on West Park Drive, adjacent to the Blackpool Cricket Club. For those visitors arriving by car, there is free parking along the entrance drive and behind the cafe further into the park.
It’s obviously a popular place for a Sunday afternoon stroll as it was good to see so many people about. The park, Blackpool’s largest, has been open since 1926 and in 2019 was voted best park in the U.K. No gardens look their best in mid-winter, but we enjoyed a saunter through the Italian Gardens which take pride of place in the centre of the park. In the summertime they are adorned with colourful flowerbeds but under moody skies we wandered around the ornamental pond which was partly covered by a thin layer of ice.
The art-deco cafe was doing a brisk trade and after pausing for a hot drink we continued through the park leaving through its other gate near the hospital. It was then from outside Victoria Hospital that we took a bus back into the town centre, leaving us with plenty of time to enjoy a meal along the seafront before returning home.
As we were just sipping our coffees, we were treated to the most beautiful of sunsets from the large windows, so I popped outside with my camera, crossing the promenade to take some photos of the glorious skies.
What a splendid way to end our winter break in Blackpool. We’d had so much fun and not been bored for one minute. Blackpool used to have a reputation for its Golden Mile, candy floss and kiss-me-quick hats but it’s all changing and really upping its game with the newly opened luxurious Boulevard Hotel, stylish beachfront restaurants and theatres offering a diverse cultural programme throughout the year.
Although the resort undoubtedly comes to life in the summer season, during the winter it takes on a charm all of its own with peaceful walks along the promenade and no queuing to visit the top attractions or to have your photo taken with your favourite waxwork in Madame Tussauds. With our Big 6 Ticket valid for 90 days we’re planning on returning again soon and can’t wait to take a ride up the famous Blackpool Tower and have a whirl in its ballroom. I’d better start practising!
During our stay we were guests of Visit Blackpool and as always, all views and opinions are entirely my own.
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