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Travel & Holidays in later life


An image Revolution is taking place on the Lancashire coast.The Lancashire coast resorts are fully aware that they can't run a holiday industry by living off the past. But - like a slow-moving tanker - it takes time to change course. 

The biggest holiday tanker is Blackpool, which had hoped to re-invent itself as the Las Vegas of the North. 

Failure to be chosen as the site of England's first super-casino has rather knocked that ambition but there is still hope of polishing up the tacky Golden Mile perhaps with some casino hotels or smaller gambling halls. Time will tell. Meanwhile tourists continue to visit for the time honoured attractions that Blackpool is famous for.

Back in Victorian times and in early 20th century, the entire Lancashire coast was a family paradise of non-stop sandy beaches from Morecambe in the north to Lytham St Anne's, the Ribble and beyond

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Blackpool -

May Dance Festival

3 Sep to 7 November - Illuminations

Blackpool Sequence Dance Festival

17th - 19th October 2010

:22nd - 25th October 2011

British National Dance Championships

18th - 20th November 2010
17th - 19th November 2011

Morecambe & Lancaster -
Visit the charming village of Heysham with its beautiful main street, an Anglo-Saxon chapel and a non-alcoholic beer made from nettles at a price which won't sting you.

Easter weekend - Glasson Easter Maritime Festival with sea shanties, press gangs and  Sedan Chair Carrying Championships

May day Bank Holiday. Wray Village Scarecrow Festival Fair 

Tourist Information Centres:
Morecambe - Old Station Buildings, Marine Road, Morecambe LA4 4DB. Tel: 01524-582808. 

Blackpool - 1 Clifton Street, Blackpool FY1 1LY. Tel: 01253- 478222. 

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Millions flocked there, eager for the time-honoured roller-coasters, bars, guest-houses and eating-places. But then Costa Brava and Benidorm were discovered, where sandy beaches had more sunshine, bars had cheaper beer and discos kept going till dawn, only 2 or 3 hours' flight away.

Hence the Masterplan Project which aims to re-launch 19th-century Blackpool into an international year-round tourist attraction, with casino hotels as the magnet.

Peter Moore - a leading figure in Britain's leisure industry - is the tourism adviser of the Masterplan team. He said the plans were complex but achievable because Blackpool has the "history, the heritage and the infrastructure."

He promises exciting new attractions, more entertainments and a spectacular new convention centre to recapture the fading Conference trade.

Of course it all takes time - maybe 10 or 15 years to completion. Meanwhile fresh life is already breathing into key landmarks like the Illuminations, the Promenade and Blackpool Tower. A typical step along the way was opening of the 116-room Big Blue Hotel - the only hotel on-site at Blackpool Pleasure Beach - with great views of the white-knuckle Big One roller-coaster.

The Royal Hotel, dating from 1502, on main street of Heysham VillageFurther north, Morecambe's former nickname was Bradford-on-Sea, thanks to a rail connection from Leeds and Bradford that still takes only two hours. Holidaymakers from Yorkshire streamed in every year, with some mill-owners even commuting. 

Today it's hard to imagine that in the 1930s Morecambe could rival Blackpool, with several music halls, a funfair, a revolving tower, a boating garden, an aquarium, a Summer Pavilion, a Winter Gardens, two piers and a sparkling-white Midland Grand Hotel built 1933 in Art Deco style.

Most of those features have disappeared. But the Midland Grand , for many years a derelect eyesore has now been fully restored and is open once again for business.

Meanwhile, the tide has began to turn for the resort since start-up of a TERN public art project, which is already changing the face of Morecambe. "Bring me Sunshine"The project highlights the teeming birdlife of Morecambe Bay, which fascinated Eric Morecambe, the comic who doubled as a keen ornithologist and became President elect of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. 

Eric's bronze statue - unveiled by the Queen in 1999 on Central Promenade - shows him with binoculars draped around his neck. The statue is a focal point of the new night-time lighting effects, which are part of the upgrading of the five-mile Promenade. 

Today's visitors enjoy a stroll to view the Bay's famous sunsets or to inspect the public TERN art on display, including cast iron cormorants that perch on railings and bollards, drying their wings. Each roundabout along Central Drive offers perches for metal razorbills and gannets, with dunlins and puffins elsewhere in town.

Take binoculars yourself, to see the 200,000 waders and wildfowl who flock to the sandflats and salt marshes, listed as a Special Protection Area for birds. 

In a nature reserve run by the RSPB at Leighton Moss, bitterns and reed warblers thrive in their ideal wetland of pools and marshes. 

Some years ago, Morecambe's railway station was moved back a few hundred yards. The former arrival point facing the Midland Grand was transformed into The Platform, which now hosts concerts, shows and festivals.

Between the modern rail and bus station and The Platform is a pathway about 9 feet wide and 350 yards long, with poems and proverbs carved the entire distance, all relating to birds. 
Metal cormorants perch along the waterfront
Among this flock of words is the Chinese proverb: "A man must stand a long time on a hillside with his mouth open, before a roast duck flies in."

That motto explains why Blackpool and Morecambe are taking active steps to guarantee their future living from holidaymakers, rather than just waiting for something to turn up.

Consider these other destinations in the North West

CHESTER - going for Romans, shopping & bats

LIVERPOOL- Beyond the Fab Four 

MANCHESTER - is more than United

SHIP CANAL - Cruising on the Manchester Ship Canal

"Books to read - click on cover pictures" or click on the links below

Eric Morecambe: Life's Not Hollywood - It's Cricklewood - An entertaining account by Eric's son, Gary, of life with one of Britain's favourite comedians. Worth reading while you're relaxing on the beach.

Lancaster Morecambe and Heysham: Britain in Old Photographs  - Looking back to the 19th-century scene.

Images of Blackpool - a fascinating collection of photographs from the archives of the Evening Gazette - Blackpool's local newspaper.

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