Blackpool: A bit like Vegas, there’s a casino, a roller coaster or 2, loads of hotels, and a tower. Totally the same place.
Viva Las Blackpool.
I’m pretty vocal when it comes to the subject of holidays and kids. Our eldest is now 5, and toddlerMonster is smack in the middle of her twos. We have never, until this week, been away just as a family of 4. I’ll be honest: To me moving your family to a temporary alien location, kissing goodbye to normality, and undertaking this alone was a step too far. We have always gone on holiday with my parents and siblings – a bit like the Khardashians, but with Easyjet not the Learjet. In my book, this is by far the best way for everyone (except probably my parents and siblings…so just me then) to have a holiday.
Anyway, without banging on too much about the dear god merits of cross generational holidaying, I’ll get back on my Blackpool bandwagon:
We did it, we took the plunge, and scarpered to Blackpool as a family of 4, for 2 whole nights, and 3 whole days, amounting to a total of 12 hours of car time. I think I may have had a little too much Isla Negra the evening we booked.
Here’s a little summery of the trip, including our top tips, in case you fancy hot footing it up to January. Blackpool.
The Big Blue Hotel
It is literally big and blue. So it was pretty easy to spot. That and the fact that it backs onto the Pleasure Beach theme park, so has 3 sodding great rollercoasters for a back yard.
I couldn’t recommend this hotel enough, the location is great and has its own entrance to The Pleasure beach which is open between 10am-11.30am everyday. The hotel offers discounted tickets, AND more importantly 50% discount on speedy boarding. I’ll get onto this point later, but suffice to say it’s an essential add on if you value your marriage.
We opted for a family room (because we are mad) which consisted of bunk beds (aka climbing frame) which were tucked away by the door and buffered by the bathroom before reaching the main bedroom. Anyway, bla bla it had a bed, it had a bath. It was comfy… and clean. Big tick. Oh and room for our travel cot (which the 5 year old slept in. Don’t ask). The 2 year old slept in our bed and so actually it was a total waste of money paying for a family room after all. We may as well have opted for a sardine can.
The girls LOVED the hotel, although there taste is a little warped – they also loved being taken to PoundLand to spend their holiday money…
The Hotel’s Restaurant was a thumbs up – and another tinkle on the high chair. I fear this may be becoming somewhat of a signature move for ToddlerMonster, perhaps tablecloths make her nervous.The Kids were really well catered for, a really impressive full menu just for them. Most guests were staying with children, so I shrugged the Peepee incident off, as did I the red wine going all over the table and carpet; they just replenished my almost gone glass with a full one. FOR FREE. They totally get The Issue of Kid.
The Pleasure Beach
If you have really young children then this theme park is ideal. There are 19 rides which are considered ‘family friendly’ and as long as the Dinky is on board with an adult then there is no height restriction. We did have to purchase a speedy boarding pass pronto after waiting an hour for a truly shite racing car ride though. This was purely a move to save our marriage from the cursing pit of horrors into which it was falling after that queue.
As I said if you stay at the big blue then the speedy boarding, beat the queue, walk into the exits (feeling a bit of a tit for doing so) and ride with no wait, is half the price. Of course we only found the half price voucher AFTER we arrived back at the hotel. Law of the sod at work once more.
With an hours wait on most rides we would have only got a few in, with the passes we managed to ride everything. Every. Signle.one.
Yeh yeh I was getting my money’s worth and refused to leave before it closed, frog marching the fam from one Kiddie coaster to the next.
It’s raining its pouring, it’s actually January.
So what I thought to have been iffy weather the previous day was in actual fact the height of the Balckpool summer. Normality reigned for the rest of our stay in KissMeQuickLand, but actually that was ok because there is a tonne of stuff to do which is on the inside.
We bought a Blackpool Tower ticket which allows you access to all of the attractions which are inside the Tower building. I had no idea all of this was there – I assumed the tower was just that.
Anyway, this ticket got us access to the Blackpool Tower Experience which is a 4D film of Blackpool which strangely is all done to a background of sunshine and blue skies. Perhaps the makers were having an ironic moment. We also got to go and stand on the glass floor hundreds of feet up which totally freaked both girls out – and Dan. I don’t mind heights , just queues. It was alright, but let’s be honest, the view was just a grey town, with a sea.
Blackpool Tower Circus was also on this ticket and was one of the highlights of the trip – it was Darcie’s No.1. Set in a really ornate area at the base of the tower, it even had a sinking floor which flooded for the final act. I was impressed. ToddlerMonster slept through most of it. Bonus.
If you venture to Blackpool I really recommend this!
Blackpool Tower Ballroom was also included on our pass. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, I certainly hadn’t been expecting to step into THE BALLROOM, The Strictly final ballroom. It was stop-in-your-tracks stunning. You are allowed to just rock up and take to the floor, lots of oldies were being persuaded around the shit-you-might-slip shiny dance floor. It was a hard sight to process. I just stared on hoping there wasn’t about to be a hip op situation. Darcie did cartwheels, ToddlerMonster got YouTube out, Dan bought coffee.
Soft Play at the Tower who sanctioned this? I thought we would escape the foam rollers and contagious ball pits for a few days, but no. Some bright spark decided to put a fat soft play IN the Tower. Christ… it was included, so in we went. I cannot recommend a soft play, it’s against my beliefs. (kid’s loved it).
The Blackpool Dungeons – obviously we didn’t take our girls into the attraction which has a severed head on the poster. That would be asking for trouble. So I can’t comment – I’m just letting you know that if you want to take your kids into a living nightmare, then you can. It’s included!
We did this on the morning before we came home – the beach plan flopped due to January invading. That’s ok, we thought. We’ll go to that waterpark, the largest indoor waterpark in the UK.
So did EVERYBODY else in Blackpool. The queue was out of the door to go in. If you venture here then arrive for when it opens at 9am, and book on line, 24 hrs ahead. You’ll also get a 10% discount. Obviously we didn’t do any of those sensible for-sights.
Again, the kids loved it. I felt like I was taking part in a capsized boat epic and we were all the extras. Hundreds of bodies, all bobbing about, water cannons going off, buckets filled with the wet stuff coming down on you, a lazy river which was actually quite the opposite, squatting whist a 5 yr old tags on for dear life (even though they can touch the bottom).
It’s worth a visit – just be prepared for The Masses.
Blackpool was brilliant, I honestly do mean that, equally it was great to hang out as a 4. It’s totally geared for kids which is half of the battle when taking the fam away for a few days. I don’t want to see another chip for a while, but then, that’s not exactly a bad thing. If you are wondering about a few days away somewhere then there is plenty to keep a family occupied in Blackpool, come rain or rain.
Viva Las Blackpool!
Some things about summer will never change whether you are a Muma or a fancy free fabulous Chica: The sun will shine, flowers will grow, we will all still have to shave our legs come April. However, that is where the similarities cease for me. Since having our sweet little hells angels, summer is no longer quite the carnival. Here is my new take on this lush season in all of its parenting glory:
- Sun cream: This is a pretty big deal. If the sun is shining from April onwards, for fear of owning pink children, you must not leave the house without the obligatory sun cream ritual. This is messy. We use some crazy high factor somewhere up in the 50’s. It’s water proof, it stays on all day and it costs a fortune. Actually getting it on your Redbull sponsored toddler should be an Olympic sport. Trying to get it on your Redbull sponsored toddler and NOT on yourself is impossible: they always want a reassuring hug once the deed has been done. It must be the stress of being waited on. Cue interesting patterns of white splodges on your body by the end of the day. A whole new meaning to checking out your white bits.
- Ice Cream: I have been known to tell my eldest that the merry little ice cream van tune means that they have run out. But my conscious is beginning to catch up with me on that one so this summer we are embracing Ice Cream In Public. I now have a strategy with my toddler, and I’m happy to share: strip her down to her nappy. Ice cream comes off of skin much easier than clothes. I probably do look slightly alarming as I begin to strip her down on our approach to the ice cream stand, but I’ll be thankful for this later. Ice cream before kids meant you actually got to eat one! You need both hands free when ‘enjoying’ an ice cream moment with your children, so Ice cream is now supermarket bought and devoured after bedtimes these days.
- What to wear: This point applies to us Mumas. I have a little check list that hot weather clothing have to pass prior to purchase nowadays (I cannot begin to explain the sadness this brings me as a girl who used to have her skirts mistaken for belts!) The length has to pass the ‘can I lean in to the car to strap the girls into their seats without flashing? This is actually not just a length issue but the flimsiness of the fabric: Big factor! Yes, speaking from bitter experience: Apologies fellow Lidl shoppers.
- Sand: I just hate it. I mean I used to love it when it was safely on a foreign shore, beautifully white- slightly burning my bare feet as I strolled along to order another cocktail… ah bliss. Sorry, where was I. Sand now keeps on popping up everywhere, it seems to have been added to all of the local parks where we live. Sadly cats also like this new council initiative. I know this as my children like to dig for buried treasure in these sand pits. Say no more. Once you have had the hot weather fun at the park with your bucket and spade (or cooking utensils as my children use!) you can carry on enjoying it for the next few days too. It has a habit of sticking to clothes, shoes, bags, leaving little pools of it in the kids car seats and buggy for them to chuck around at a later time of their choosing. Super.
- Long summer nights: The days are getting longer, I remember skipping out of work in daylight at 7pm pre-children. Maybe stopping off for an alfresco vino. How civilised. However, now the long summer nights seem to be the bane of my life. Not only have I had to brush up on my science to try and answer the cries of “If the sun hasn’t gone to bed then I’m not going to bed!” to a very irritated and confused 4 year old, we have had to install the darkest most blackout of black out blinds with thick curtains in ToddlerMonsters room. It’s like walking into hibernation in there come 7pm in my desperate attempts to hide those pesky rays. I do silently fantasise over a huge black out cloth being thrown over our entire house on occasion. How sad is that.
Lastly, we are going on a holiday this summer, with the ToddlerMonster, on a plane. I’m happy to do a public service and publicise the flight details so that you can all avoid my wilful youngest. Didn’t I see something about easy jet changing their rules so you will have to pay to sit with your children… They have sooooo got that round the wrong way.
I’m appealing to fellow Mumas out there- are you just as on the edge as I am when it comes to the summer? Let me know..