Cliffs at Bispham on Blackpool seafront north shore
Shelters along Blackpool north shore seafront
Blackpool promenade at North Cliff - you can just see the open air baths sticking out into the sea
North pier seen from north shore at Blackpool
Bispham is quite identifiable even if you don’t know the area – it’s where the tableaus start on the cliff and where the huge arch across the road welcomes visitors to Blackpool. In a car you can’t see much of the beach from the main road which hugs the coast, but on foot the views are spectacular!
The footpath along the grassy banking adjacent to Queens Promenade, the main road, is one of only a few high spots on the Fylde Coast and from here you can see across the water to the Lake District to your right, North Wales to your left and the Isle of Man on a really clear night, beyond the windfarms. Plus, of course, more close to home you’ll see the coastline sweeping through Cleveleys – the next seaside town to your right.
With the sea on your right you’re heading south towards the bright lights of Blackpool. You’ve got a choice of three levels on your walk, as you pick from the very top of the banking where the tram tracks make their way through a grassed stretch, the middle walkway, or the bottom promenade from where the next stop is the beach. All along this stretch you’ll see wild flowers growing among the steep grass bank, with the pink flowers of thrift nodding in the breeze, along with the white bells of sea campion.
You’ll find the tableaus along the footpath here too. Every summer work starts once again to erect the huge grey poles which support the illuminated scenes of all types – children’s nursery rhymes, figures from TV and dinosaurs from the past are all brought to life each year with millions of light bulbs. If you haven’t walked the route with your family you really must come along – safe from traffic and packed with hundreds of people it’s a great atmosphere and a great evening out.
Carry on walking south and you come to what was once an open air swimming baths and is now laid out as a great site for karting. There’s a cliff lift here that marks the spot, but is no longer in use.
If you’re into wave watching then the top footpath is your spot on a windy day at high tide. All through the year you can see spectacular displays of the weather along the Fylde Coast and at Blackpool, with the best views of waves and spray lifting high into the air from this point. You aren’t advised to go down to the middle and lower footpaths during high storms and always to follow beach safety guidelines.
Our journey continues southwards, and on the lower walkway you’ll find the Colonnades. This is quite a grand affair which dates from 1925. Five curved bays cover nearly a kilometre, and carry the footpath above. They replaced the earlier coastal defences which had been built as grassed slopes in 1895-99. They’re an attractive and original feature which hark back to the long history of Blackpool as one of the original British seaside resorts. Going back to wave watching, from here you get a fabulous view of the tide as it bashes against the outward curving wall of the swimming baths/karting track at your right.
At the end of the Colonnades you arrive at Gynn Square. There are public toilets at this point, and a large car park across the road. A large roundabout joins the main promenade routes with roads that head inland to Bispham past the Rock Gardens, and here on the roundabout you’ll see a varying assortment of displays which are part of the illuminations.
Emerge from the lower walkways at Gynn Square with the sea behind you and look to your left and you’ll see the seafront Jubilee Gardens.
Our journey southwards continues, and now you start to feel like you are arriving in Blackpool! The promenade is narrower, the grassy areas on either side of the tramtracks have given way to an open promenade, and the original Victorian balustrading of the sea defences protects you from a nasty fall to the lower levels!
With benches and bins and a spectacular view, the Promenade at Blackpool is one of the greatest spots to enjoy the evening sunshine as it sets on the west coast, and on a sunny evening there’s nowhere better to be. You can pick up a tram anywhere along the way and head to Cleveleys and Fleetwood, or into Blackpool. The promenade continues here at split level with the lower walks taking you past the Princess Parade Colonnade of 1912.
Eventually you arrive at a point near Cocker Street, by the tram stop of the same name, where the lower promenade rises and the upper promenade drops and you arrive at the Metropole Hotel, where the tramline veers left past the back of the hotel, and the promenade footpath carries on right around the front of it. There are attractive gardens here too, and the Cenotaph, and finally you have arrived at North Pier.
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