Zopa days out: A local’s guide to Blackpool

3 min • 9 Aug 2021
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This summer we’ve asked locals at some of the UK’s favourite holiday spots to share their tips for an on-budget day out that’ll inspire you to see their home a bit differently. Last but certainly not least, Blackpool resident Mat Spade gives us a local’s guide to this world-famous town

Upside Down Cafe 9am - £16.90

Starting off with a relatively new addition to the town — Upside Down Cafe opened just a few weeks before lockdown March 2020, but after a few stop-starts they’re currently on top form. The team brings a fresh concept to Blackpool; combining specialty coffee, a unique ever-changing all-day food menu, in-house baked goods, and an extensive house plant selection. Combo!

If you check the directions you may think you'll be heading the wrong way, as these guys opened up on an unlikely, very quiet street, but the area has shed-loads of potential — a sign of things to come. Find me here in the window seat.

Pleasure Beach - £35 (online advanced ticket)

Did you know that The Big One at the Pleasure Beach was once the tallest and the steepest rollercoaster in the world? That record has been taken over now, but the smiles from visitors and the excitement it brings is still unrivalled in the town. Iconic, but then when you have two icons in the town (Blackpool Tower is just down the promenade), you quickly realise this isn’t any regular town.

If photography is your thing then this place (along with the whole Golden Mile) looks brilliant on a sunny day, especially on film. Top tip, walk around the back of the Pleasure Beach for a view that many people will overlook.

Notarianni’s Ice Cream - £3.00

There is no way, no how, that I could have a day out in Blackpool without including Notarianni’s. One signature flavour - a distinct traditional Italian vanilla - with hundreds of topping combos; mine’s a classic hundreds ‘n’ thousands with a flake and wafer. There’s also an extensive menu of sundaes, milkshakes and classic desserts. You’ll find this just off the Golden Mile, just look for the queue!

Notarinni’s makes little fuss; the family have been making their humble, but totally unforgettable ice cream in Blackpool since 1928, with pretty much zero marketing. Word of mouth takes this one way beyond the North West Coast.

Stanley Park - Free

I’d be more than confident to say that Stanley Park is my favourite things about Blackpool. It’s not your stereotypical tourist spot, but if you do fancy a detour from the usual then it’s so worth spending an afternoon here. First opened in 1926, designed by famed landscape architect Thomas Manson, the Art Deco park is set across multi-level gardens, joined together by winding paths which lead to the lake in the middle.

The historical cafe, Italian Gardens, Rose Garden, Cocker Tower, bowling green, athletics track and uncountable green areas make it the perfect place for all ages. Look out for the original golf, tennis and ice cream huts.

Grundy Art Gallery - Free

If I was to say that you can see major international exhibitions from Martin Parr to Tracey Emin right in the centre of Blackpool, I reckon that would turn a few heads. The Grundy’s rotating collections focus on up-and-coming designers too, with something new to seeing each visit. And it’s all free.

Wok inn - £24.90

For dinner, there is only one choice for me; Wok Inn just opposite North Pier. When entering, you’ll be forgiven if you weren’t expecting a place like this in Blackpool; with the concept being born from Penang hawker markets and Budapest ruin bars. The team backs up the carefully decorated interior with an extensive selection of starters, small plates, mains, sides and sharing dishes, inspired by the team’s most memorable food experiences.

On the menu; pan fried pork + vegetable gyoza, edamame beans with chilli oil, and chicken right ramen soup with udon noodles

Nook 7:30 - £12

Nook gets three awards straight off the blocks; newest, smallest and the only place you’ll find an extensive selection of natural wines in the town. The team behind this wine + charcuterie concept have gone and turned a once backstreet sandwich bar into a true hidden beauty. The chances of tourists stumbling across Nook is slim due to its unique location; all topped off with a small terrace garden up top. Now that’s how to end the day.

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