One of my goals for the year is to explore more of England. Although I’ve lived here for some time now, I’ve found I’ve been quicker to buy a plane ticket out of its borders than a 2-hour train ticket to a neighbouring city or town. Yes, I have been to Coventry a couple of times when my sister studied there – probably more times than I cared to, really. Sheffield was one of the very first cities I visited on my very first trip to the U.K., but back then, the only way I documented my travel adventures was in hardcover diaries I’d store under my bed. There was also that one dreadful night in Birmingham, but that’s a story for another time… And, of course, I’ve been to London several times now; the novelty is gone – having my brother’s place to crash in Greenwich makes all the difference! Since I moved here, it’s crazy to think it took me almost seven years to plan a trip to Blackpool, but hey – I did it – and I’m about to tell you about my day trip there.
Although I had to put on boxing gloves and fight for it, I managed to get a day off work to make the getaway possible. The planning began once that was confirmed.
Initially, the trip was supposed to be one big family endeavour. When the idea was planted, it was going to be just me and my younger sister. Then we decided to spread out and invited my mum, but we didn’t stop there. The idea germinated further and by the end, we had my cousin set to come as well as my eldest sister and her husband. It was meant to be one big family adventure! But you know, plans never really work out as planned… So in the end, packing a bag for the big day ahead was only my mum, sister and I.
The first thing I packed in my bag was, of course, my camera. Sadly, the backup batteries I had purchased for it the night before turned out to be an epic fail as I discovered I had been sent the wrong size. All I could do then was pray my battery wouldn’t die on me too soon (spoiler alert – it did)! Luckily, my sister had the mini camera I got her for Christmas to save the day, and our phones of course!
Next, I made sure to pack an extra pair of clothes in case we ended up getting wet, and my Kindle for the train ride, amongst a few other things. Because we were going to be getting on and off rides, we wanted to go as light as possible. As always, though, I might have overpacked…
As you already know, I’m not an early bird, and I don’t think I’m my best self in the mornings either. But there’s just something about travel days that makes me want to jump out of bed with the energy levels of a hopeless romantic in a teen rom-com movie – the perfect hair, the big stretch, and straight out of bed. The only times I’m ever “that girl” are on days when I’m so excited to show my ticket!
It’s less than two hours away from Manchester Piccadilly station, but we wanted to get there as early as possible, so we arose at the same time as the sun. I think God was smiling down on us that day because it happened to be the one day with a golden glow amongst a pathetic number of wet and gloomy days prior. That April morning, it felt like spring had already seen its best days, and summer had come early.
We rushed to the train station as we ran a little behind schedule – maybe a lot actually. We arrived just in time to join the queue as people showed their tickets but were a little worried as we were yet to confirm the accessible ramp I had reserved on the Passenger Assistance app was ready for us. The good news? It was! We got on board the train and headed to Blackpool Pleasure Beach in no time.
On our outbound trip, we had just one stop to make. The journey went as follows: Manchester Piccadilly to Preston, where we stopped for a brief moment, and then from there, we jumped on another train about 15 minutes later, headed straight to Blackpool Pleasure Beach.
Upon arrival, it felt a bit like a compulsory evacuation as everyone exited the train. Turns out almost everyone who boarded was headed the same way with the same plan: to embark on a day filled with thrills and much fun.
Funny, we didn’t need a map to lead the way or a guide to direct our path, as the only thing we needed to do was follow the crowd.
The first thing we did when we arrived at the park was head to the office where the speedy passes were being sold. We were terribly hungry by that point, but we knew our stomachs had to wait because we wanted to get our speedy pass before the busy rush hour.
After purchasing the pass that would help avoid more queues, we then embarked on a mission to fill our starving bellies.
We settled for the first place that caught our eye. Not because it necessarily looked like the most appetizing, but because it was the first place we saw. We ordered fries and chicken wraps and drank 7up, which wouldn’t ordinarily be my first choice, but a very welcome cooling flavour under that sun that was now becoming warmer. The food was just okay – good enough to quench the hunger but not enough to be remembered three hours later. I might have regretted not researching where to eat beforehand…
We sat at the tables by the fountain and watched the dancing water fountain show as we were digesting the meal we had.
Now that we had our speedy passes and were fully fed, it was time for the best and most exciting part – the RIDES!
It had been so long since I had ridden any type of amusement ride, so I was in a bit more of a thrill-seeking mood than I’d normally be. We spent the afternoon going from one end of the amusement park to another, looking for which ride would give us the loudest out-of-your-lungs scream and didn’t even mind getting splashed with water on the rides in Nickelodeon Land. We grabbed a late snack there, but I’m not sure I’d recommend standing in line for almost an hour for hot dogs and fries – yes, more fries. Although the fries were tastier this time around, not much could make up for the hour-long queue time! Not worth it!
As we all know, fun days go by so freaking fast, and I guess I was feeling a little too giddy when I allowed my sister to convince me to do one last ride.
She chose the ‘ICE BLAST’ – a ride that catapults you 20 storeys up and drops you down in an instant.
Hmm, as I expected, that did not go all that well for me. Was it fun or a near-death experience? I’m still not convinced, but I do know it was the choice that ruined the rest of my evening.
I felt my brain melt into what turned into a sharp headache, and I fought with my insides begging to eject all the junk I had devoured so intently. The pictures I took from that moment on don’t look as happy. I mean, I still attempted to smile in each one, but it was so evident that my soul had flown out of me for some time on that ride! No, I don’t regret being brave, but I sure as hell didn’t love how I had to prove it!
So, there I was, on the last stop of what had been a much-needed break from the everyday mundane. I was meant to be enjoying a walk down the beach after we left the amusement park, but as the headache left me spinning around, my memory of how the evening went became rolled up into one big blur. I remember seeing the gorgeous blue skyline meet the gorgeous blue water and taking it all in as much as I could. Then the stroll back to the station and the agonizing feeling that the whole world was moving too slowly as we waited for the next train. At that point, I was hoping the next and last stop of the day would be my cosy bed…
Did I sleep through the whole train ride back? You bet; I sure did! But just like with everything that came before, I regretted absolutely nothing… nothing at all!
Your restless romantic roamer