Hidden Blackpool – A Must Catch
Did you know there’s another, hidden Blackpool just around the corner from the piers and Pleasure Beach? When most people think of Blackpool, several iconic images come to mind. The tower all lit up at night, for one. Maybe sticks of rock and kiss-me-quick hats? Definitely a rollercoaster or two!
But as every long-time resident knows, that’s only the beginning. Read on for our roundup of fun things to do in Blackpool that you might not have heard about yet.
Hidden Blackpool… Movie Night at The Regent
For a fun and quirky movie night like no other, choose The Regent Cinema. Built in 1921, the venerable old theatre went through a period of disrepair before it was heroically revived in 2016. Nowadays, this corner of hidden Blackpool hosts a special selection of films that’s quite unlike your typical mega-multiplex. Each month, beloved classics, overlooked gems and recent hits are screened following a theme, like Family Favourites or Sci-Fi September. When films aren’t showing, drop in for a fabulous night of bingo hosted by the one and only Vicky La Plume. Did we mention there’s a deliciously retro diner on site, serving up bargainous snacks and drinks?
Hidden Blackpool… The UK’s Best Chippy?
Yes, it’s a tough competition, but anyone who knows hidden Blackpool would have to give the crown to The Cottage. This charming little chip shop serves up a slice of history with its beautifully battered, sustainably sourced cod and haddock. In the 1960s, it was the place to be for the stars who performed at end of pier shows. The Cottage would stay open until the early hours to give the celebs a place to unwind. Famous faces spotted there include Oliver Reed, John Major and many others. Take a look at the photos on the walls to find out who, and be sure to ask the long-serving staff for a good story. As for the food, it comes heartily recommended by no less than Rick Stein himself!
Hidden Blackpool… Violins in the Family
Some of the best spots in hidden Blackpool are truly tucked away, out of sight. You might never know The Violin Shop was there, on the first floor of an old Edwardian bank building. It was first opened in 1975 by violinist Harry George, who at one time played with Manchester’s Hallé Orchestra. Harry not only played violins, he also made his own. He used his considerable expertise to create a space where violins are built, repaired and restored. For music lovers, The Violin Shop is a trove of gorgeous instruments, some as old as Shakespeare, which can all be tried out on-site. The shop is now run by Harry’s son Kevin and his wife Kathy. Even Kevin’s sister Karen is on board! She designs the shop’s annual Christmas card, which by now has become a collector’s item.
Hidden Blackpool… The Music of the Sea
Violins aren’t the only instruments playing in Blackpool. The sea itself is coming up with some great tunes, lately. No, we don’t mean the cry of seagulls. For a taste of music made by wind and waves, visit The High Tide Organ. It’s a thing of beauty just to look at, and certainly one of the most unique structures in hidden Blackpool. The towering artwork was ingeniously designed by sculptors John Gooding and Liam Curtin. It houses 18 organ pipes, which are played by wind that is naturally pushed up into the instrument by the movement of waves at high tide. This makes The High Tide Organ one of the few instruments in the world which can actually play itself. No need to lift a human finger when the sea does all the hard work. Simply stand back and enjoy the strange and beautiful music that nature makes when left to its own devices.
Hidden Blackpool… The Other Side of the Illuminations
Many of us have fond memories of The Blackpool Illuminations, which have brightened up the town every autumn since time began (or 1879, to be more precise). The 6-mile-long, 66-day light show is an extravaganza that takes a heap of manpower and ingenuity to get it going every year. Have you ever wondered how they actually get there? Find out on a Lightworks Heritage Tour. These fascinating guided tours take you behind the scenes at the Blackpool Illuminations depot. You’ll find out exactly how each light piece is designed and see where they are all created. You can also explore the archives of The Illuminations Collection, which features over 20,000 items gathered since the 1920s.
Hidden Blackpool… Discover New Talent at The Grand Theatre
The Blackpool Grand Theatre is one of Blackpool’s best-known and most popular attractions, but it still has much to offer that’s off the beaten path. The Grand hosts the nation’s most popular shows, but it also stages productions by lesser-known theatre and dance companies and gives a spotlight to up-and-coming comedians.
Visit The Blackpool Grand Theatre to see hidden Blackpool’s rising stars come out of hiding.