So remarkably I am home from my hols. And already the time that has passed is longer than the time I was in Fleetwood. That's in the North West of Lancashire approx 2-3 miles from Blackpool. I don't know either that well. Like all places there are nice areas and some that are a little run down. I get the impression they are trying to invest in the area and return it to its former glory and there are some very expensive properties there.
There is evidence of investment in Blackpool itself and the seafront has changed since my last visit perhaps five or six years ago.
Equally, a short walk in the area I stayed in saw quite a few hotels/guest houses that have closed and those still open having to try to keep prices down but offer as much as possible to attract people. Some research since coming home probably shows I could have stayed nearer to the centre, had a trip to and from a hotel, meals included and a stay for longer for the same price or even less by going by coach.
There are more positives than negatives. I did enjoy it and I am fortunate to have been included/asked to go. I do feel a bit flat now I am home. But with mobility issues getting around was a bit of an issue and keeping up with others too. When you are with others it is a little more difficult to break away or do something perhaps would not.
All three days seemed to revolve around looking for cheap clothes to bring home. I didn't need any. As the weather was quite mild and sunny for most of the week, I probably would've been quite happy to do simple things like look at the sea, from one of the piers, a cliff top or promenade. Do some people watching.
A new place with a sea view in nearby Cleveleys
. I came close to some of the views on the link but did not see any of them as we were in the shops and on the wrong side of the new promenade/seafront. I liked the shops, yes there were some national retailers but lots of local independent shops and it had the feel of the old traditional high street.
I did break away for a couple of hours one night near to the hotel and sat for a couple of hours on a bench looking out to sea and there was no sounds other than some birds, perhaps a little wind and the sea. It was so tranquil.
We had access to a main tram and bus route across the road but my companions tended to use taxis. Not as expensive as it might've been because fares were split four ways. Evenings were quite pleasant but after evening meals everyone(perhaps because guests were quite elderly)and they visit regularly and meet up all headed for the hotel bar and entertainment.
Some(in fact many of them)in reality use the hotel as a care home in all but name. Which is fine. They basically daily had breakfast, a late mid morning break, sandwiches at lunch or an afternoon tea, evening meal then into the bar and that was the pattern for the week. They were happy and doing what pleases them. What else matters?
It was tinged with sadness as a couple of people in their group had passed on or taken ill so they were missing.
The entertainment was ok because I like easy listening music and two of the three vocalists were friendly, could carry a tune and had a large repertoire of songs at their disposal. But one performer really struggled and probably would have have been paid off if appearing in a local club...his guitar playing was reasonable but his patter between songs was bad and often wrong if he mentioned some story about a performer/song and he kept adding little things to songs like "Alright" "Yeah" etc...He actually seemed nervous.
Even ourselves we were only out of the hotel perhaps 5-6 hours per day. When I used to go on our family holidays we'd usually be out seven hours during the day and perhaps four hours in the evening. But if you were tired you changed plans as and when. Besides I was much younger then, as were my parents.
And the hotels we stayed at from memory did not have TV's in the rooms, some did not have bars. I probably would/will as I get older spend more time in a hotel myself, its still a change and nice to have company/meals cooked for you. Like many hotels these days, all rooms had access to a TV, en suite and tea/coffee making facilities.
We did go into two attractions in the town and they were pretty expensive if I am honest but because they were very busy it was not as easy to appreciate how good they really were. Sea Land was heaving with people and the space inside was quite restrictive. I can at least say that I have seen these two attractions, I would not want to go back again. The other was an indoor display of themed illuminations.
Having talked to a few people anecdotally since coming home others have commented on both the cost of attractions and some disappointment with them. I think I probably prefer investigating the area of where I stay or find excursions to places of interest nearby. Sea Land cost approx £17, there were ways that could have been brought down perhaps if we were a in a group of four or purchased online/arranged to go to other attractions.
I would think of going again. Perhaps I will if income allows. I may try and have another break either in the autumn or as spring approaches.
The review of my break isn't meant to be negative but it really was down to approx seventeen hours trailing around shops daily unless you take off five hours in the two attractions, maybe a couple of hours in cafés and the taxis to and from the hotel.
The hotel was clean, the food was ok, portions adequate and the owners were friendly enough but rightly because they depend on the elderly they know how to press all the buttons that please them.
I've never been up the famous Tower...one day? Its always in a state of repair/maintenance.
The trams have all been modernised and are what appear to be a new fleet...here are some images in Fleetwood near the hotel. I wanted to travel at least once on one...perhaps in the future. It does mean alot of track, concrete fences along the route and obviously the wires carrying the electric to power them.
And the view from the bench I sat on when I was having a peaceful couple of hours alone.
And finally the only images I managed to get at Blackpool seafront this time...they still have donkey rides...not sure why I left the railing in one of the shots(must pay more attention when I take a photo)If I had been alone I think I would have taken more and sussed out more than those tourists tend to take.
I do hope that I am being fair to Blackpool, my knowledge is limited but I do like it. And I feel it has turned the corner again. It deserves to.