One of the reasons we decided to open our Blackpool restaurant was that, back in 1998, the town wasn’t exactly overflowing with fine-dining opportunities. Things have changed, but one thing that hasn’t is our commitment to offering our customers the best food courtesy of the best locally-sourced ingredients.
Sat on the fringes of the town centre we remain a haven for the local population seeking fine but unfussy food in a low-key way. We do what we do best, quietly and without undue ceremony. The town around us, meanwhile, does what it does best – albeit in a very different way.
Listing all the attractions Blackpool has to offer would fill up far more space then we have here. Each local has their favourite Blackpool attraction. Here are a few of ours – some blindingly obvious, others a little less so.
Blackpool and the surrounding area boasts an impressive variety of golf courses. Including municipal courses the Fylde coast has seven to offer, including the venue for the 1996, 2001 and 2012 British Open, Royal Lytham & St Annes.
If you fancy a links course but baulk at the idea of pitting yourself against the mighty Royal Lytham, may we suggest Fleetwood Golf Club, situated a few miles along the coast., indeed it is "probably" the first links course in England and a true test.
We’ve discovered that many travelling supporters want considerably more than a pie – or even a prawn sandwich, for that matter – when visiting away teams. Kwizeen is delighted to welcome discerning visiting fans seeking a Blackpool restaurant serving something a little more distinguished than the norm.
All year round
It’s not all end of the pier shows, you know? There are a number of venues at the Pleasure Beach devoted to ice shows, illusion or cirque du soleil-type performances, but in the town centre, only a matter of yards from Kwizeen, are Blackpool’s two key theatres.
The appropriately named Grand – a richly decorated Victorian masterpiece - features a wide variety of shows, from ballet to panto, to suit all tastes.
The Opera House has the largest stage in the country and as a result hosts the biggest acts. It has recently seen stand-up from the likes of Jimmy Carr and Ross Noble; music from an eclectic mix ranging from Michael Ball to Elbow, and big West-End touring shows like Cabaret, Cats, 42nd Street and Evita.
We’ll make sure you make the show! Call us in advance and we’ll arrange your booking so you can enjoy a great meal in relaxed surroundings, and be sat in your seats in good time for the show.
After 6.00pm there’s free parking in the streets around us. The Opera House is a two minute stroll from our doors; the Grand Theatre just two minutes beyond that.
The Great Promenade Show
Stretching between Squires Gate and the Sandcastle, the Great Promenade Show was born out of the need to improve the sea defences all along the Blackpool coast. This first stretch to see completion now hosts an array of modern art, much of it interactive, including the world’s largest mirror ball.
The multi level walkways also offer great views of the town and sea, and ample opportunity for exercise. South prom is now a great area for walking, jogging, cycling, rollerblading or skateboarding – and taking in some bracing sea air!
Considering it’s an enormous hulk of a building opposite the Pleasure Beach’s North entrance it’s still something of a wonder that the Sandcastle isn’t better known than it is.
Recently voted the best water park in Europe and the best tourist attraction in Lancashire the Sandcastle has undergone a huge refit in recent years. It has trebled its roster of water slides, added some white-knuckle attractions, and added whole new areas of lagoons, forts and creeks. It’s great for the kids and you can easily spend the whole day in there.
It’s La Cage aux Folles Blackpool-style! Get ready for a wild, raucous, hilarious evening of camp cabaret. What most astonishes any Funny Girls virgin, though, is that whilst the Funny Girls team never take themselves too seriously, they take the quality of their shows very seriously indeed. It’s terrific entertainment and as good as any cabaret you’ll see anywhere!
Blackpool’s festival of magic, circus and variety has been gathering momentum over the past few years. We can particularly recommend the ‘Heat the Streets’ finale, which tends to be held on the third Saturday of the month. It brings together street performers and artists from all over the world to blast Blackpool’s town centre with fire, light and mechanical wizardry. 2009 even saw one entry from La Machine, creators of Liverpool’s stunning spider. Check out www.showzam.co.uk for details of next year’s events.
April – November
Blackpool’s summer season starts well before summer kicks into gear and ends only when the Christmas decorations are in the shops. A good thing too as there’s just so much to cram in!
April – November is also the period throughout which the Tower Circus performs its summer programme and if you have kids, it’s a must. Also within the Tower are a brand new (and enormous) kids’ play area, an aquarium, the Tower top ride and the Tower ballroom.
Over 100 years old and still our favourite Blackpool attraction. The Big One remains the most exhilarating ride in the country but there’s so much for the whole family that you don’t have to be an adrenalin junkie to love the Pleasure Beach.
We risk being pilloried by our local customers for this as it is something of a well-kept secret. Here’s a tip: the best beach in Blackpool is south of Squires Gate, at the southern tip of the town, behind the sand dunes. Miles of clean beach, never overcrowded and, on a gusty day, a terrific place to walk and watch the kite-flyers.
September – November
They call it the greatest free show on earth – and we think they’re right.
Mile upon mile of brightly lit seafront, including the recent additions designed by Lawrence Llewellyn-Bowen, greet around 3.5 million visitors to the town each year.
It’s particularly worth visiting on switch-on night (usually the first Friday in September) when the crowds in Blackpool join Radio 2 listeners for the switch-on show. A host of star acts sing for the crowd until it’s time to push the button. Last year that duty was carried out by the Top Gear team, and in 2007 it was Dr Who, David Tennant. This year the Lights were turned on by Robbie Williams, currently on tour with the recently reformed Take That.
September – October
World Fireworks Championships
Now a firmly established favourite, the World Fireworks Championships have been making an entire promenade packed with visitors go ‘Oooh!’ and ‘Aaah!’ for the last few years.
Top firework teams from across the globe battle it out over the course of a month to decide who takes the award and we get to enjoy the best fireworks displays you’ll see anywhere. Head to the promenade opposite the Tower and look towards North Pier. Then, afterwards, when you’re chilled by the sea breeze, take a walk inland and enjoy a warming meal at Kwizeen!
© Michael A Brown 2009