By Christopher Auriol
The 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
The Big Switch On!
Since 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
May 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.
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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