“Home to around 142,000 people and with an annual tourist visit of around 13 million, the town is among the UK’s most popular visitor spots”
Moving to Blackpool
Clinging onto the Lancashire coast in North West England, the resort town of Blackpool has long been associated with entertainment, bright lights, and old-school holidays. Home to around 142,000 people and with an annual tourist visit of around 13 million, the town is among the UK’s most popular visitor spots, despite a difficult few decades following the advent of cheap foreign holidays.
Blackpool initially became a fashionable resort town in the 1700s, and by the time the railway arrived in the 1840s the town was booming. At its peak, it saw around 17 millions visitors per year during the 1950s, largely residents from neighbouring areas looking for a day-trip or a low-cost holiday. The arrival of cheap flights to overseas destinations hit Blackpool hard, and it’s only recently that tourist numbers have begun to rise again as more and more Britons opt for a staycation over a foreign holiday. Much of the town is now undergoing regeneration, with projects such as the Talbot Gateway looking to bring new offices, restaurants and retail opportunities to this once-great coastal town, and famous fans include American director Tim Burton. However, there is still some way to go, and Blackpool suffers from high levels of deprivation in certain communities as well as health issues that led to it having the lowest life expectancy in England in 2013.
House prices in Blackpool
With an average house price of £118,000 as of 2017 and continued low renting rates, Blackpool is extremely affordable, with significantly lower house prices than nearby Liverpool. North Shore tends to be quieter than South Shore, and popular suburbs and nearby areas include the village of Bispham, Stanley Park, the detached Victorian and Edwardian properties of Lytham St Anne’s, and Poulton-le-Fydle.
“With an average house price of £118,000 as of 2017 and continued low renting rates, Blackpool is extremely affordable, with significantly lower house prices than nearby Liverpool”
Blackpool North Station is the main train station in the town, with connections to cities across the UK and London in under three hours. Within the town, there are various bus services and the historic tram still runs from Starr Gate to Fleetwood – an impressive feat considering it dates back to 1885! Road connections are good, with the M55 nearby linking to the M6 close to Preston.
For international travel, Blackpool International Airport no longer hosts commercial flights so the nearest airports are Liverpool John Lennon Airport or Manchester Airport, both of which offer flights to destinations across Europe and beyond.
Aside from shops selling the usual tourist souvenirs (and plenty of Blackpool Rock) shopping in Blackpool is mostly limited to high-street chains. Houndshill Shopping Centre is the town’s main retail shopping centre, with over 60 shops including H&M, Debenhams and River Island, while Freeport Fleetwood north of Blackpool is home to an array of outlet stores for big brands such as Gap, Next and M&S. Meanwhile for the resort town’s small selection of independent boutiques, antique stalls and vintage shops, give the Grade II-listed Regent Emporium on Church Street a try.
The town’s dining scene is also rather restricted, although you’re never short of great fish and chips – local favourites include Yorkshire Fisheries, Bentley’s Fish and Chips, and The Sea Fish and Chips Restaurant. For something a little more international, family-run Italian restaurant La Fontana, Sunam Indian Restaurant and Othellos Greek are all well-respected indepdentent spots, and a number of chain restaurants including Bella Italia and Nando’s can also be found. Don’t forget to give famed ice cream shop Notarianni a visit too!
Blackpool has a good selection of supermarkets, including a large Asda Superstore, various branches of Tesco and Sainsbury’s, and a branch of Morrisons. There are also a number of discount supermarkets such as Aldi and Iceland.
Health & Sport
If you prefer to take your exercise indoors rather than going for a run on the beach (or a very bracing swim in the sea!), Blackpool offers a number of fitness facilities, with branches of national chains such as The Gym and Bannatyne Health Club, as well as several council-run services including Blackpool Sports Centre and Palatine Leisure Centre.
As a resort town, there’s more than enough attractions in Blackpool to keep locals entertained – from the famous Blackpool Tower, which was inspired by the Eiffel Tower and opened in 1894, to the Sandcastle Water Park. Highlights include the Pleasure Beach amusement park, the shops and stalls of the historic North Pier, the Grand Theatre, the Winter Gardens, and the lesser-known Blackpool Zoo, which is home to over 1500 exotic animals.
“…you’re never short of great fish and chips – local favourites include Yorkshire Fisheries, Bentley’s Fish and Chips, and The Sea Fish and Chips Restaurant”
Schools and Education
Schools in Blackpool previously suffered from a poor reputation, but have seen significant improvements over the last decade and look set to continue moving up in national rankings. St Nicholas CofE Primary School is the best in the area, having recieved an ‘outstanding’ Ofsted rating in 2016, while Blackpool St John’s CofE Primary School and Roseacre Primary School are also highly rated. The choice among secondary schools is a little more limited, with Aks Blackpool the leading independent option, and St Mary’s Catholic College and Highfield Humanities College among the best state schools.
The town has no accredited university, with the main higher education institution being the Blackpool and the Fylde College, which offers a variety of vocational courses across four campuses.
With an average crime rate of around 127 crimes per 1000 people, crime in Blackpool is relatively high, and significantly higher than nearby Liverpool. However, like all large urban centres it is mostly concentrated around specific areas, such as central Blackpool.
As well as 7 miles of sandy beaches, Blackpool offers a number of charming green spaces and parks for residents looking to relax in a natural environment. Stanley Park is one of the resort town’s leading parks, with 104 hectares of space including formal gardens, tennis and a boating lake, while Watson Road Park and the Marton Mere Local Nature Reserve are other popular local options.