Blackpool Illuminations

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Blackpool Illuminations

Every autumn when most other seaside resorts have closed down, the town of Blackpool remains lively and exciting. Named 'the Greatest Free Show on Earth' Blackpool's promenade is alight with miles of coloured lights from the start of September to the beginning of November. Blackpool lights run for nearly six miles, from Starr Gate all the way up to Bispham attracting more than 8 million visitors to Blackpool every year.


In 1912, a time when the town was suffering from an economic depression it was decided that a new attraction to pull in the crowds was required. The Promenade was decorated with festoons of garland lamps and the results were so impressive that thousands flooded to the town, leading to one of the best seasons businesses had experienced for years. The Council decided that a similar event should be held the following year and the tradition of the Blackpool Illuminations begun. In 1932 the illuminations were extended to their present length with the addition of the North Shore Tableaux and the New South Promenade lights. With the exception of the war years, including post war years where restrictions on fuel was still in place (1914-1925; 1939-1949) the illuminations have shone every autumn, becoming bigger and better year after year as the latest technology is incorporated into the spectacular displays.


The Blackpool illuminations are made up from hundreds of scenic designs and miles of festoon strip strung between promenade poles. There is a large variety of lights to see, running over the Promenade as well as larger displays on the walkways, known as tableaux, including some interactive displays. Preparations for the lights are an enormous undertaking creating a large number of jobs in the town. The work starts around Easter time to ensure the lights are all installed and operational for the September switch-on ceremony.
  • 45 staff and 65,000 man hours ensure that the lights are ready to be switched on in September.
  • The illuminations cost approximately 2.5 million to host and the equipment is worth 10 million.
  • The illuminations equipment is very heavy and at more than 711,000 kilograms weighs more than 350 Blackpool trams.
  • The illuminations are made up from one million lamps of various size and style. The cabling for the lights stretches over 200 miles.

Switch-On Ceremony

The first switch-on ceremony was in 1934 as the Summer Season's Grand Finale. Starting with Lord Derby there has been a host of celebrities who have honoured the town with their presence. These include celebrities like Shirley Bassey, Blue, Ronan Keating, Gerri Halliwell and even Kermit the Frog. The ceremony which takes place in Bonny Street Market and is fun for all the family including live music and fireworks.


An ideal way to enjoy the illuminations is on one of Blackpool's famous trams. During the illumination period there are up to sixty-five trams running so you can choose to ride on one of the new modern style trams or the older more traditional trams. There are also special illumination trams like the Space Rocket or the Fisherman's Friend Trawler, which illuminate themselves.

Alternatively opt for luxury with a limousine tour of the lights, details of which are available at Tourist Information [+44 (0)1253 378222] or can be arranged through some hotel receptions. However you choose to see the Blackpool Illuminations you can be assured of a great time - and it's free!


By Post:  Blackpool Tourism, 1 Clifton Street, Blackpool, Lancashire FY1 1LY.
By Tel:     +44 (0)1253 478222
Website: Blackpool Tourism

Please visit our other pages on Blackpool Tourist Information:
Tower  Zoo  Piers  Pleasure Beach  Grand Theatre  Winter Gardens  Stanley Park  Sandcastle

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