Blackpool Travel Blog› entry 48 of 129 › view all entries
Today we had to be in Blackpool for a Florence and the Machine gig, and we arrived thinking we might be early enough to do some sight seeing. In contrast to the weather a month ago, when we got sunburned, it was a miserable, cold, overcast day. This was a shame, because Blackpool is genuinely bleak if the sun isn’t shining.
One hundred years ago, Blackpool was a gem of a resort, attracting people from all over the North of England and South of Scotland to have a weekend on the coast. If you look behind the modern facades of the bed and breakfasts, you can still see some gorgeous Victorian houses and tile work. The Winter Gardens represent a sort of high point of British Entertainment complex design, with spectacularly beautiful tiling work and indoor bars, ballrooms and promenade space, and the Blackpool Tower must have been extremely impressive in its day.
The winter gardens were stunning when we went there first, although crowded with small girls who seemed to be there for a dance competition. the tower, on the other hand, had already shut – I can’t tell you about the impressive ballroom or the views, so I will have to carry on imagining it must be impressive.
We decided not to pay into the pleasure beach, as it was almost shutting too, but it does look impressive and we might go back in summer. We decided to get some fish and chips, which was really good, in Pablo’s café. The batter was nice and crispy, and I got some feeling back into my hands.
Then we went to play air hockey on the central pier. I wouldn’t recommend going there in off season, as you have to run a gauntlet of bored fairground workers wheedling you to throw darts at targets or shoot ducks – “scuse me miss, love, love, where you from love? I can’t shout love.
Thankfully, by this point, it was time to go to the gig. Florence and the Machine were utterly amazing, and the Drums were OK but not really worth the hype. Florence chatted with the crowd and is one of the most amazing live performers I’ve ever seen, so it was good to see her in such an amazing venue. The Empress Ballroom is genuinely impressive by any standards, and the sprung floor made jumping up and down much easier on my poor old legs. It’s worth travelling through to see bands in such a great space, although in fairness she wasn’t playing Manchester and I don’t think anyone else could have filled the room the way she did. I’m still slightly awe struck.
We drove home – there was no point trying for a train when all British public transport seems to grind to a halt half an hour before every gig in the country stops. But it was relatively trouble free and a great night.