Brighten up the weekend with a break to the Blackpool lights

The Blackpool lights, strung out along the resort's promenade, have been one of Britain's traditional tourist must-sees for decades. With over 10 kilometres of illuminations using over a million bulbs, they may not be the most eco-friendly attraction in the UK, but they attract visitors from all over the country to admire the light show.

A century of illuminations

The Blackpool lights are switched on at the end of August and the show goes on until the middle of November.Coach companies from around the UK offer weekend packages with hotel or bed-and-breakfast accommodation and it is also possible to arrange day trips using coach and train connections.

2012 marked the centenary of the Blackpool illuminations. In 1912 10,000 lights were hung to mark the opening of a new stretch of promenade. The illuminations were such a success that the light-show became an annual event and a way of attracting visitors to the seaside town after the main summer season had ended.

The illuminations go way beyond a display of coloured bulbs. There are elaborate set-pieces, moving characters and scenes created with winking lights, as well as 3D light displays. Each year brings new creations and innovations.

Blackpool retains its appeal as a brash and unashamedly British resort. The promenade has numerous amusement arcades, cabaret shows and no shortage of places to eat fish and chips The best way to see the lights is by taking a ride on a traditional Blackpool tram, which have their own themes for the season, including a Wild West tram and a Space Rocket.

The Tower is the obvious focus for entertainment, hosting comedy shows, live music concerts and dance evenings.

Take the train

The local rail service, Northern Rail (northernrail.org) offers some special deals on trips to see the Blackpool lights. In addition to family rail tickets to the town, they also have packages that can include hotel accommodation and free passes to the zoo, Pleasure Beach and Water Park. This can amount to a considerable saving for a family.

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