The most popular seaside resort in the country, Blackpool is famed for its striking Blackpool Tower and delicious Blackpool Rock, and overlooks several miles of fantastic sandy beaches. Every autumn, millions of people visit the city to witness its spectacular illuminations, which involve more than a million light bulbs and have been switched on annually since 1879.
Like many other seaside towns in the country, Blackpool rose to prominence after the construction of the national railway network in the Victorian era, which enabled thousands of families to travel to the coast for their summer holidays. In fact, until the late Georgian period, this community was little more than an unknown coastal village, and earned its name from a stream that carried dark water from nearby peatlands.
One of the most luxurious is the Imperial Hotel, an outstanding 4-star venue that is akin to a royal palace or exclusive stately home. Other high-end establishments with pools include the majestic Cliffs Hotel, the comfortable Boston Hotel and the well-presented Hilton Blackpool Hotel, while the deluxe Doric Hotel has a wonderful outdoor pool.
If you love delicious Italian classics, head to the much-loved Ambrosini's restaurant, treat yourself to some terrific tapas at the Mi Casa Su Casa restaurant, or enjoy other hearty British dishes at the McHalls Bistro. The Sapori restaurant also provides other mouthwatering Italian recipes, while the Michael Wan's Mandarin Cantonese Restaurant is the place to be if you're a fan of vibrant Chinese cuisine.
For a fun-packed memorial day out, visit the Blackpool Pleasure Beach, which is one of Europe's leading amusement parks, and has been open for well over a century. The site has dozens of fantastic rides, ten roller coasters, and several water rides, and is acclaimed for its annual Hot Ice Show. For the best view of the city, head to the top of the Grade I listed Blackpool Tower, which is 158 metres tall and was completed in 1894, just five years after the completion of Paris' Eiffel Tower.
Blackpool is home to three historic piers – South Pier, Central Pier and North Pier – which welcome many thousands of visitors and contain plenty of amusement attractions and lively bars. Meanwhile, for world-class theatre performances, book a show at the enchanting Grand Theatre, which was also completed in 1894 and is known for its immaculate, meticulous interior décor. Another popular attraction is Blackpool Zoo, which protects more than 1,500 animals and celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2012.