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Acclaimed as the premiere tourist attraction in Europe, Blackpool and tourism go hand in hand, like the many happy couples seen strolling along its seafront. Those visiting Blackpool for the first time will find themselves being drawn to the seafront like a bee to a jar of honey. With its three piers providing all manner of entertainment, the long stretches of golden sands, the white-knuckle rides at the ironically named “Pleasure Beach”, and the Golden Mile with its neon lights and saucy humour, you could be forgiven for thinking that there is nothing beyond the bright lights. However, for those who dare to venture away there is the calm of Stanley Park, the quaint seaside resorts of Fleetwood and Lytham St Annes and the breathtaking scenery of the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District.
Known as the unofficial entertainment capital of the North, Blackpool certainly delivers on its promises. The town is essentially a collection of theme parks, show venues, shopping spots and active pursuits. From the iconic Blackpool Tower entertainment complex to the funfair piers (with rides and roller-coasters) and cabaret shows to opera at the Winter Gardens, the city will keep visitors of all ages and interests happily occupied for days on end.
The cuisine in the North of England has long been a source of amusement for outsiders - perhaps, partially due to the quirky dish names like "Rumbledethumps", "Tatty Ash" or "Singin’ Hinnies". And yet one of the finest English dishes is undoubtedly the Lancashire hotpot, a slow-cooked lamb stew that literally melts in your mouth. Another quintessentially English dish with strong associations with Blackpool is the classic fish and chips - pick it up at one of the corner shops or savour an elevated version at one of Blackpool's fancier dining establishments.
Locating a cosy neighbourhood café will hardly be an issue in Blackpool - small eateries and coffee shops are scattered around the city center and all along the Promenade, inviting passers-by to a full English breakfast in the morning and an elegant tea time in the afternoon.
Upholding its reputation as the nightlife capital of the North, Blackpool is home to some of the liveliest bars and hottest clubs in the country, and the omnipresent hen and stag groups add to the party atmosphere of the town. Those with refined tastes will most likely enjoy ballroom dancing at the Blackpool Tower or attending one of the evening shows put on at the Winter Gardens (and other city venues).
Whether it’s the bustle of the markets, the air-conditioned calm of the mall or the exclusivity of boutique shopping that is more your bag, Blackpool has it all. There is a myriad shopping opportunities around the main pedestrianised areas of Victoria Street and Church Street, where most High Street fashion stores are concentrated; Queen Street is the place to go for small, independent boutiques. Located nearby is the Houndshill Shopping Centre which has another 40 retail outlets and a choice of cafés and restaurants in which to recharge your batteries.
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