Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Visiting the Blackpool Illuminations with a toddler

Ah, the Blackpool Illuminations.... there really is nothing quite like them! When tourists depart from seaside towns over the colder months, Blackpool comes alive and truly sparkles. The illuminations remain the biggest free light show on earth and are such an iconic part of British culture. They are wonderfully indulgent and equally as beautiful as they are bonkers. They are creative and are constantly reinvented with the latest technology to keep visitors coming back for more. I blummin' love them!   

Visiting the Blackpool Illuminations each autumn is a tradition that we have had in our family for as long as I can remember. Some of my absolute fondest memories of childhood include many a trip to see those spectacular twinkling lights. It's probably no surprise then that when I became a mummy, seeing the illuminations each year was something I wanted to pass on to and enjoy with my little girl!
We've visited with her every year since she was born. Like her mama, she absolutely loves seeing them and we have created some wonderful memories during our time there! 

Like with any trip out with a small child though, planning and knowledge is the key to everybody having a good time! The illuminations are huge (10km long, in fact!) and getting around them with a baby or a toddler can seem quite daunting, especially when it is autumn and the days are both shorter and colder.

I thought that it might be fun to share some of my top tips for visiting the illuminations with a young child today. Seeing those twinkling lights and incredible electrical  displays can be such a fantastic experience, even for the littlest of people. A trip around them will be sure to create some magical memories that will last for years to come!  

Visit on a weekday

The benefit of having a young child that isn't yet bound to school holidays and weekend breaks is that you can go away when it is quieter. So if you can, try and visit the illuminations on a weekday! Weekends can get crazy busy with traffic along the promenade sometimes coming to a standstill. Not good with a toddler or a baby who wants to keep moving! Seeing the illuminations on a weekday is a wonderful experience, much more peaceful too!

Also, a good tip is to check what times the lights are switched on each night. If you aim to set off around that time, you'll get around them all with minimal fuss and be back at your accommodation for your little one's bedtime!

Wrap up warm!

I know this is a no brainer but I just wanted to mention it anyway! Take lots of layers and warm accessories such as a hat and gloves. The wind on the coast at this time of year can feel so cold and you certainly don't want it to spoil your fun!
We also like to make up a little bag with some sweet treats and entertainment (glow sticks are good!) in case we get stuck in traffic along the way. It keeps kiddo happy as we're travelling along looking at the lights, even if we're moving slowly! You could even take a flask with some warm milk or hot chocolate in too! 

Ride an illuminated tram

The illuminated trams are honestly the best way to see the lights and my goodness, what a fun experience it is for a child too! These trams run nightly throughout the illuminations period and you won't have to wait long at all for one to arrive as they run at frequent intervals between switch on/off times! 
To get on one of these trams, you need to board at the heritage tram stop opposite the Pleasure Beach entrance. There are limited stops and the tour runs the entire length of the illuminations and back in less than an hour. You won't have to worry about traffic or distractions either.... these tours allow the whole family to enjoy the illuminations in all their glory! You can read about our experience on an illuminated tram and find out more information here. It really is a 'must do', we absolutely loved it! 

Walk the tableaux

At the end of the illuminations along the cliffs that link the North Shore to Bispham you'll find a block of illuminated and animated tableaux. These giant displays are incredible to see and are really worth taking time to see properly in person. The displays are set back from the promenade, away from tramlines and the road and there is a buggy friendly pathway that runs alongside the tableaux.
Children will love spotting television favourites such as Noddy and Sooty, Sweep and Soo. They will also be enchanted by the oversized displays that include Alice in Wonderland, pirates and the seasons!   

Buy a light up accessory!

Absolutely not essential for enjoying a trip around the illuminations but certainly a fun one! We always like to let kiddo buy a light up wand or accessory when we visit, it's such a fun way for children to be immersed in the experience and will give them something to take home to remember all those amazing lights by! You can pick up light up accessories pretty much anywhere in Blackpool but I must mention that the official kiosk in the Lightpool Village has some really lovely ones! 

Other experiences

Finally, if your children can't get enough of the lights then don't forget that there are other amazing illuminated experiences around Blackpool that run alongside the illuminations. Make sure you visit the Lightpool Village where you'll find incredible projection shows, refreshments and official merchandise. There's even a chance here to get your photo projected onto the front of the tower.

Why not take a trip up the Blackpool Tower in the evening and see the illuminations from a whole new perspective? Or visit Illuminasia in the Winter Gardens where you'll find the worlds largest indoor illuminations display (read my review here). All of these experiences are super family friendly and will create memories that will last for years to come! 

Have you visited the Blackpool Illuminations with a baby or toddler before? If you're thinking of planning a trip and would like to know more then pop over to the Visit Blackpool website where you'll find all the information you need!


  1. I have not been to Blackpool for a long time! This looks so fun though and great tips. Illuminated toys are a must!

  2. I've not been to blackpool for about 5 years or so. Last time I went was to the illuminations I definitely want to take Blake there.

  3. Oh wow, this looks so cool. Hayden would love this but it takes us about 4 hours to get to Blackpool, we went for his Birthday in April.
    Maybe something we can plan for next year.
    Thanks hun, looks like you guys had a blast.
    Charlotte x

  4. This is something I have never done but always wanted to! I think Bella would love it though so it's something I will deffo have to look into xo

  5. we love it when at the wkend we found sunday was the best day to ride the train cant wait to go next month i love them just as much at my toddler. we taking our owen light up from our last vist to save bit off money. i only wish i packed warm cloths ans waterproofs as it raines so much

  6. Great blog as a Blackpool local, I love reading about people enjoying Blackpool :-)