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England Travel Tips 
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  By Mike Valeriani
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Blackpool Illuminations

 By Christopher Auriol


City view of Blackpool Illuminations at nightThe Blackpool Illuminations have been wowing visitors young and old for well over a century and continue to do so in the autumn, every year in Blackpool. Most of Britain's seaside resorts would be winding down and preparing for a quiet winter by the end of August. Not Blackpool! For an additional 66 nights the Blackpool Illuminations draw the crowds to this seaside town in North West England, attracting a total of 3.5 million visitors. So what's all the fuss about?!

What is the Blackpool Illuminations?

Stretching for 6 miles along the Blackpool Promenade 'The Lights', as they're fondly called, consist of spectacular displays using over one million light bulbs. A vast collection of characters and themes are displayed, along with lasers, searchlights and more. All of the buildings and famous landmarks along this stretch are also adorned with lights - the Blackpool Tower and the Pleasure Beach are just two of the attractions which are lit up.

The Big Switch On!

Illuminated trawler tram at BlackpoolSince the 1934 celebrities have been switching on the lights of Blackpool. Many big names from sports and showbiz have had the honour of flicking the switch that lights up the whole 6 miles of lights.

Past celebrities have included Stanley Matthews, Danny La Rue, Kermit the Frog, the BeeGees, and Chris de Burgh. Since 1993 the event has been broadcast live on national radio and has included live performances in a big pre-switch on event called The Big Switch On!

A Brief History of the Blackpool Illuminations

Visitors come from all over the UK and the rest of the world to see the Blackpool Illuminations, and have been doing so since the first ever light festival back in 1879. Back then, the Illuminations were essentially electric street lamps, but this was amazing because anything other than gas powered street lamps was unheard of. These were in fact thought to have been the first, or one of the first ever, electric street lamps in the world!

View of ferry wheel at Blackpool IlluminationsMay 1912 was the first time the Illuminations began to look anything like they do today.

The Royal Family were visiting Blackpool to open a new section of the Promenade so a beautiful light show was erected to mark the occasion.

This was so popular that it was suggested a similar event was held in September, and then again the following year.

The year after, World War 1 forced the cancellation of the Blackpool Illuminations for several years, and apart from another break for World War 2 the Illuminations have happened every year since 1912.

Nearby Accommodation

Blackpool has a wide variety of accommodation ranging from inexpensive B&Bs to luxury hotels. You could try one of the many Blackpool Pleasure Beach hotels.

Visiting the Blackpool Illuminations

One of the best things about the Blackpool Illuminations is that it has always been free. Visitors can drive up and down the Promenade admiring the lights for no charge whatsoever, or for a fee you can take a Tram or a horse-drawn carriage.




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