Apologies in advance, this is gonna be a long one! The good news is, it’s that way because there was so much to see and do in and around Blackpool and St Anne’s.
It takes roughly about 3 hours to drive from where we are in Glasgow to Blackpool , of course that is traffic permitting and if your little ones/bladder allow for a straight run at it. We decided to stop at Tebay Services near Penrith which is roughly 2 hours into the journey. Obviously there is plenty of stops prior to that if you need them, but Tebay is really lovely. It has proper food, nice (and clean!) facilities, a farm shop and a nice outdoor area that isn’t a car park – all of which make it worth the wait to stop.
We were holidaying with Colin’s parents and they had arrived a few days earlier, enjoying some peace before our whirlwinds descended upon them! They had booked a lovely 4 bedroom house along in St Anne’s, a quiet seaside town about 10 minutes from Blackpool. For us it was ideal to be out of the neon, raucousness of Blackpool itself while still being nearby to visit. Our trip was in the fourth week of the Scottish school holidays and the English schools were only just breaking up so it was still pretty quiet all round.
This little seaside town is gorgeous. It has a man made boating lake, plenty of play parks, quirky cafes, beach huts (I will come back to these in more detail!) and the obligatory pier with amusements. It’s ideal for families, those travelling with dogs, slightly older folk or just those who like a slower pace of holiday. We would highly recommend visiting Vanilla Artisan Bakery for lunch or even just a cake and a cuppa, it’s a cute vintage style tearoom and their Brownies are to die for!
The house we had was spacious and had a garden too. I felt having our own kitchen etc was really useful with the kids as we could eat at home dependant on how they felt and wash/dry things as we went too.
These wee beauties deserve a section of their own as I loved them so much. If you know you are going to get the weather then I’d highly recommend booking one for the day. They are available to hire from St Anne’s Beach Huts and ours was £65 for the day (10am-Midnight). Each one is decorated slightly differently but all in a vintage/coastal style.
They come fully equipped with tea and coffee making facilities, a fridge and microwave and access to toilets in the main office a few minutes walk away. They offer lots of suggestions about food and drink to order if you are there for a special celebration, we spotted some 50th and 18th birthday parties while there. M&S food is a short walk away on the high street and has masses of picnic food in stock which is what we filled our fridge with, as well as some necessary, perfectly chilled rosé.
For families this is a great day out, there is loads to see and do. The zoo is pretty flat (anyone who has attempted Edinburgh Zoo with a pram will be relieved!) and easy to navigate. My biggest tip for here is book as much in advance as you can, the prices are way better by doing so. We didn’t plan properly and booked online on the day, missing out on a better deal.
They have a really wide variety of animals to see here and do regular talks and feeding sessions throughout the day (all detailed in a sheet given on entry so you can plan your day around them if you wish). The zoo is part of a worldwide conservation project so there is lots of brilliant information on their collective efforts to save species of animals that may not survive otherwise. They also have a dinosaur display and walk which was fun for my two boys, although I’m not 100% if it is a permanent feature.
Blackpool – The Main Attraction
There is honestly so much to do here, literally something for everyone. Merlin attractions pretty much have the monopoly on ticketed activities and if you check out their website they do a brilliant ticket that allows entry to multiple attractions for a discounted rate. As we were only spending one full day here, we opted for the double attraction ticket and visited the Blackpool Tower and Madame Tussaud’s.
Being a fan of Strictly, old fashioned decor and lovely views the Tower was brilliant for me. They do a cute little 3D cinema experience, then take you up to the top in a pretty fast lift and then there is a glass floor/viewing area. You can even see the Isle of Mann on a clear day. Within the Tower there is also the Circus, the Dungeons, the Ballroom and a soft play centre – all of which require additional tickets or fees to be paid but at least if the weather was lousy you could spend a full day there and not be bored.
Madame Tussaud’s was a new experience for all four of us, and we were a little unsure of how good it would be. There was a special Marvel superheroes exhibit while we were there so we went as R really wanted to visit that.
It was actually really fun. It’s weird to say that walking through displays of wax celebrities is fun, but we had such a giggle posing with them and getting involved in the interactive displays. It doesn’t look huge from the outside but there is more to it than it seems. Plus I got to ‘meet’ my tv grandad and all round hero Sir David Attenborough (check out my absolute cheesy grin!).
We hit up the amusements – it simply had to be done! The best one is definitely Coral Island in Blackpool itself but there are lots to choose from here and in St Anne’s. As expected, prepare to lose all your 2ps to the machines but to have a ball pretending to be on Tipping Point…What? Just me?
Fish and chips – the best one is said to be Yorkshire Fisheries behind the Tower. We enjoyed our tea from here but if I’m totally honest it didn’t rock my world anymore than your average chippy.
Splashing in the sea…um…the sea is actually mega far out on this part of the coast and didn’t come close to the beach until around 4.30pm while we were there! The beaches are gorgeous along towards St Anne’s however and they have a wee outdoor splash pool on the promenade too.
We had an absolute ball on this holiday and are looking at booking again next year. If we return then we will spend more time exploring Lytham, which is further along beyond St Anne’s and seemed quite well to do with lovely shops and some posh eateries.
On our way home we stopped off at Gretna Green, not to get hitched (no ring on this finger just yet), but to bag some bargains at the outlet village. A quick bathroom break, car picnic and school shoes and jackets purchased and we were back on the road. Having left the flat clean and changed all the sheets before leaving, it was a joy to get home to our own wee space despite how nice our home from home had been!