World famous for the Illuminations, Blackpool Tower and the Pleasure Beach, Blackpool is one of the country’s most iconic seaside resorts. The town became synonymous with fun during the late 19th Century thanks to its concentration of amusements, fortune tellers and oyster bars along the seafront Promenade’s ‘Golden Mile’. This reputation continued into the 20th century as holidaymakers, stars and even royalty flocked to Blackpool, attracted by the glitz and glamour provided by venues such as the Winter Gardens, the Grand Theatre and the Blackpool Tower Ballroom. Today’s visitors can enjoy shows in these same spaces, walk the prom and play the arcades on one of the town’s three hundred-plus year old piers, all while enjoying ice-cream or seaside fish and chips from family-run vendors in operation for generations.
There’s much more to Blackpool than heritage though. Contemporary art fans should make their way to the Grundy Art Gallery for new work curated with an eye on Blackpool’s place in popular culture, while Abingdon Studios provides working artists with space to experiment and exhibit. Organisations such as LeftCoast and Aunty Social focus on community, art and cultural projects, working to produce festivals, artwork and hubs of activity for residents and tourists. There’s also the beginnings of a new coffee culture spearheaded by the likes of celebrated café-cum-gallery HIVE and plant-based specialists Upside Down, while Waterloo Music Bar is a proper grassroots gig venue where you can find musicians, new and established, honing their craft.
Grundy Art Gallery reopens with two exhibitions wrapped inside one – REMOTE WORK and Lubaina Himid: The Mourning Kangas.