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Blackpool

England's most celebrated resort, Blackpool launched its first foray into tourism in the 1800s when it catered to locals from surrounding mill villages. Today the appeal is more far-reaching, making Blackpool second only to London in terms of annual tourist numbers. It's fun and refreshing to spend a day or two here before continuing on a tour of the UK.

Standing proudly over the Blackpool coastline is the Tower. It was erected here above the Central Promenade at the end of the 19th century as part of a wildly successful publicity stunt. It's strung with thousands of light bulbs and presides over one of the finest Victorian ballrooms in the UK. Practically all hotels near Blackpool have a view of the tower.

Another mainstay of Blackpool city center is Illuminations, a six-mile lights display using more than a million bulbs. Displays are playfully kitsch and include everything from regular colored bulbs to advanced fiber-optics technology.

There are so many activities on the Blackpool agenda. The resort is particularly famous for the carnival-like rides at Pleasure Beach; the elaborate shows staged across town; and its three piers. The North Pier is oldest and stately. Heading south, the atmosphere is increasingly raucous. Reception staff at hotels in Blackpool can advise visitors on the latest shows and events. North of the three piers is the North Shore, where some of the Blackpool's most traditional pubs and hotels are found.

Getting to Blackpool is easier than ever, due to the increasing number of charter flights serving Blackpool Airport. It's immediately south of the southernmost pier, close to several hotels. Arriving in Blackpool by train from London is also easy.

For more information on hotels and landmarks in the different areas of Blackpool, click on the interactive Blackpool map on the left-hand side of the page.