Great accessible UK weekend breaks: Blackpool
24th September 2018
Blackpool has long been one of the UK’s most popular seaside resorts, as the town really has it all with world-class attractions and beautiful coastlines.
The year-round programme of events and shows make Blackpool a great place to visit no matter your age. The town prides itself on its accessibility and older people with mobility problems who need mobility aids like stairlifts can visit Blackpool without worrying about not being able to see all the major attractions.
Here we take you through the most accessible attractions, restaurants and tours.
Best accessible attractions to visit
Blackpool is home to several accessible attractions and here are three visitors can head to, whatever their requirements.
The Blackpool Tower
It might seem strange to include The Blackpool Tower, a 158-metre high tower, as an accessible attraction, but it is.
The iconic landmark was opened in 1894 and while its history is incredibly impressive, what makes the Blackpool Tower unique is the fact that there are five amazing attractions around the structure itself. These include the Blackpool Tower Eye, the Blackpool Tower Circus, the ballroom, the dungeon, and the Jungle Jims indoor play area.
VisitBlackpool explains how the tower is accessible, “The Blackpool Tower Eye and 4D Cinema can accommodate all guests with a disability. Wheelchair access is available from Bank Hey Street entrance and there is a lift to all floors within the Tower. If required, wheelchairs are also available for hire. Toilets with disabled access are available throughout the building including a Changing Places toilet.”
The Blackpool Piers are synonymous with the coastal town and are still hugely popular attractions for people to visit during their holiday. There are three piers in Blackpool: The South, Central and North Piers and below we list what people can do on each of them.
- The South Pier – There’s an arcade, the Laughing Donkey Family Bar, games stalls, cafés, kiosks and several rides. The rides include the crazy coaster, the log flume, waltzers and the X Factor to name just a few.
- The Central Pier – Home to the iconic Big Wheel and Blackpool’s number one tribute show – Kings and Queens. There’s also the Pirate’s Bay Family bar and arcade.
- North Pier – There are a plethora of exciting shows for everyone to enjoy at the North Pier Theatre as well as a sunset lounge and carousel bar, an arcade and lots of cafés.
Despite their age, the three piers are accessible to those with mobility problems and wheelchair users. The piers are flat with ramps and slopes allowing access to the attractions, there are accessible toilets available, and staff can help people on to some of the rides.
Blackpool Pleasure Beach
The Blackpool Pleasure Beach is home to the UK’s only Nickelodeon Land and is full of amazing things to do, from entertaining shows to thrilling rides.
Many people come to the pleasure beach to go on the rides and some of the most popular ones include the world-famous Big One, Sky Force, Valhalla and Infusion. Nickelodeon Land is one of the latest additions to Blackpool Pleasure Beach and it features 12 fun rides including Spongebob’s Splash Bash, Fairy World Taxi Spin and Dora’s World Voyage.
There are lots of popular shows taking place throughout the year and along with the rides, it should come as little surprise that it is the most visited amusement park over the last 20 years.
According to VisitBlackpool, the Blackpool Pleasure Beach has a wheelchair loan service, accessible toilets throughout the park, parking for blue badge holders and free access for visitors with disabilities.
Best restaurants in Blackpool
Eating in Blackpool isn’t just about fish and chips (although the town is famed for the English favourite), as there is a range of places to eat and drink, whatever cuisine you like.
Empress Grill Room
Those looking for fine cuisine need to head to the Empress Grill Room in Winter Gardens, which is one of Europe’s biggest entertainment complexes.
The restaurant is the perfect place to enjoy a lovely meal before or after a show at Winter Gardens as its menu is full of flavoursome dishes. Diners can enjoy starters like Greek salad and Empress prawn cocktail, mains such as slow-cooked feather blade of beef, pan-fried cod and pasta dishes, whilst desserts on offer include a cheeseboard and tiramisu.
Winter Gardens and the Empress Grill Room are accessible to visitors with mobility problems as a lift is available for public use and the inside of the venue is generally flat.
The Chinese Buffet
The Chinese Buffet is a popular chain of restaurants across the North-west and North-east of England offering all-you-can-eat meals which feature the very best authentic and innovative Chinese cuisine.
In Blackpool, the restaurant is located just around the corner from the famous Blackpool Tower at 61-63 Church Street and the large eatery accommodates for around 300 diners.
The restaurant offers a variety of succulent dishes in its eye-catching Teppanyaki-style open kitchen as well as its Dim Sum bar and Sushi bar. The restaurants’ menu caters for every taste and serves up traditional, creative Chinese food such as tasty ribs and noodles and sweet and sour chicken.
The restaurant in Blackpool is wheelchair accessible and there is waitstaff that can aid diners with mobility problems.
Revolution Blackpool is ideally located in the centre of Blackpool and is just a short distance from the town’s sandy shores and North Pier.
The eatery is a great place to visit for lunch or dinner and diners can enjoy a sea view in style and comfort. The kitchen menu is seasonal and is regularly updated, but popular picks are the smoke king burger and a warm duck salad.
The restaurant offers visitors disabled access and facilities at its Market Street entrance and inside the restaurant, there is plenty of space for wheelchair users or those with mobility aids to manoeuvre around.
Best accessible tours
There are several accessible tours on offer to visitors with mobility problems and here are some of the best.
Blackpool Tram Tours
Visitors with mobility problems should look to hop on one of the unique trams from Blackpool Transport. These fabulous trams allow visitors to sample the picturesque promenade and relive the art deco era of the thirties.
The trams operate every weekend and you can board at the circular green stops at Pleasure Beach Loop, North Pier/Tower and Cabin.
A spokesperson for Blackpool Transport recommends visitors with mobility problems go on the illumination tours.
"The Illuminated Western Train Feature Tram which operates illumination tours does have a wheelchair lift cunningly installed in the locomotive. There is space for one wheelchair subject to the trams availability on the particular day in question.
"Illumination tours operate only from the Pleasure Beach tram turning circle adjacent to the light rail platforms and a tour will take approximately 60 to 75 minutes."
The Western Train is wheelchair accessible, but the other Vintage trams are not. The light rail service in Blackpool, however, is fully accessible.
Tours of the promenade run from 10am-5pm.
Cinema heritage tour
Blackpool is famed for its cinema heritage and at one stage there were more than 18 cinemas open in the town.
Blackpool Heritage Tours offer visitors an accessible tour around these cinemas and allow you to uncover the history of Blackpool’s cinema history. During the tour, you’ll visit the sites of the iconic cinemas and enjoy afternoon tea at the recently refurbished Regent Cinema.
Although this tour is a walking one, it is accessibility-friendly. Wheelchair users can visit the different cinemas during the route and can admire the variety of buildings the old cinemas were located in.
Accessible taxi tours
If you would prefer to be driven around the attractions of the town, then Kirkham Macs Private Hire Taxi Service is a great option.
The wheelchair accessible vehicles can fit one wheelchair and six other passengers in them and they have the latest side loading access and safety features on offer. The drivers will have undergone in-house training on assisting disabled passengers as well.
These taxi tours are bespoke, so you can pick and choose which attractions in Blackpool you would like to visit.
Watch a show at The Grand Theatre
'For what this truly extraordinary show did was create in that audience a commonality of admiration, awe and emotion that exploded in a spontaneous standing ovation.' - https://t.co/Z8lq3xoHvP— Grand Theatre (@Grand_Theatre) September 19, 2018
Tickets for @BoyBlueEnt Blak Whyte Gray here: https://t.co/vl8FuCPYue (20 Sept) pic.twitter.com/Sy4sVf5gQJ
As Blackpool is the home of entertainment you must visit The Grand Theatre in Blackpool. Whether it’s drama, comedy, thrillers, dance or family-friendly entertainment you are after, there will be the perfect show for you.
In 2018 audiences can enjoy shows such as Beauty and the Beast Pantomime, Beauty and the Beast Ballet or Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
The theatre is accessible with level access to the stall seats and nine spaces for wheelchair users available at every performance. There are also wheelchair accessible toilets and The Studio is fully accessible to wheelchair users and other visitors with mobility problems.
Check out Blackpool Zoo
Blackpool Zoo is a great place to visit, especially if you’re spending your weekend away with your grandchildren as it will certainly keep them entertained.
There are animals from all over the world housed at the zoo; from Asian Elephants and Amur Tigers to Western Lowland Gorillas and Magellanic Penguins.
VisitBlackpool say that the zoo is an accessible attraction in Blackpool. “Blackpool Zoo has fully accessible disabled facilities and designated parking spaces. It has level access throughout with ramps to the restaurant. Toilets suitable for visitors with mobility needs are available.”
Wheelchairs can also be hired for free from the reception, but a refundable £10 deposit will need to be paid.
Image credits: VisitBlackpool
This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.