What’s Blackpool like for families? Review including Hotel Sheraton, Blackpool Tower, Sandcastle and Madame Tussauds
He cried buckets as the 4D cinema experience took us on a virtual tour of the Tower but for our six-year-old son, the glass SkyWalk at the top of Blackpool’s iconic landmark held no fear.
As his dad and I gingerly tiptoed on to the 5cm thick viewing platform for a few quick photos, Kasper stood happily, taking in the view of the beach, the Irish Sea and the promenade below.
He obviously preferred the real thing to the immersive film shown to visitors as part of the Tower tour and although us parents weren’t as brave when 380ft in the air, we all agreed it was a thrilling start to our weekend in the resort.
Our base for two nights was The Hotel Sheraton, ideally located to the quieter northern edge of the main drag, directly opposite the Cabin tram stop.
It was taken over by the owners of the nearby Elgin Hotel last year and they have wasted no time in making improvements.
FactfileContact: The Hotel Sheraton, 54/62 Queens Promenade, Blackpool, FY2 9RP.Two night half-board breaks including entertainment from £99.Call: 0800 317295.
We were lucky enough to be staying in one of the newly-refurbished rooms, which had a smart seaside theme and plenty of room for a family.
Exploring with Blackpool Resort Passes
After a restful night, we decided to walk along the beach for a busy day visiting different attractions using our Blackpool Resort Passes.
There are various money-saving packages available allowing entry to some of Blackpool’s most popular places, as well as bolt-on extras such as food, shows and events which you can personalise to suit your needs.
We weren’t sure what to expect from Madame Tussauds but had a really fun time, coming face to face with some of our best-known and loved celebrities.
There are different really well-thought out areas for stars of different genres and we got plenty of snaps with them, too.
It’s a great place to grab a selfie to share with #BlackpoolHasItAll – a campaign to show-off the resort’s family friendly credentials with spot prizes for the best pictures.
The Sea Life aquarium was also good value, with a rock pool we could place our hands in to gently touch underwater creatures, a Finding Dory film trail and ray tank, which you could poke your head into.
Memorable lunch at Harry Ramsden’s, Blackpool
After a packed morning, it was time for some refreshment and we were delighted to be among the first to visit world-famous Harry Ramsden’s new £2.4m restaurant at the bottom of Blackpool Tower.
From specially created cocktails to a social media wall, interactive playlist and funky decor, it’s the flagship of a different style of dining for the well-loved brand and we, well, loved it.
There’s more to the menu here than fish and chips but we couldn’t resist ordering the dish on which Harry Ramsden’s made its name, including a child’s portion served on a tug boat for our youngest diner.
We washed these down with a cachaca cocktail served in a plastic goldfish bag and a deliciously salty margarita with miniature portion of chips on the side for us grown-ups and an indulgent strawberry milkshake for Kasper.
Even with full bellies, we couldn’t resist ordering a sharing dessert, served on a sparkling silver “big wheel”, which included seaside favourites such as ice cream, candy floss and sugary doughnuts.
Show time at Blackpool Winter Gardens
Fortunately, our afternoon activity was a sedate one and only a short waddle away at the Winter Gardens.
We had tickets to see a charming production of Roald Dahl’s James And The Giant Peach which had us all enthralled and entertained throughout.
By the time we left the calm of the theatre, Blackpool was getting very busy with revellers, so we were pleased to return to the haven of The Hotel Sheraton for our evening meal.
Like our breakfast at the start of the day, the food was excellent and we stayed downstairs after eating for the children’s entertainment and a game of bingo.
We also enjoyed entertainment from West End singer and TV star Ben Heathcote but didn’t get chance to take a dip in the hotel’s heated pool.
Sunday thrills at the Sandcastle
It didn’t matter, as our first destination on our second day was the Sandcastle Waterpark.
The UK’s largest indoor waterpark with pools, slides and a spa, there’s no chance of staying dry here and with a tropical-feeling 84-degree climate, why would you want to?
We were impressed by the high standards, especially the number of staff on hand to keep facilities spotlessly clean and guide guests.
There was even a lifeguard working in the water among swimmers, whom I thought I might have to call upon when I saw my husband’s shocked face as he took on the near-vertical Sidewinder slide.
He quickly recovered as he came to a gentle stop at the end, however, and we were soon tucking into hotdogs and burgers at the Sandcastle’s waterside café.
Time for lift-off at Ascent trampoline park
More adrenaline-fuelled activity was to come later at our final stop before home. We headed about ten minutes away from the centre to the Ascent indoor trampoline park.
We had great fun bouncing around various areas and having a go at slam-dunking a basketball, playing dodgeball and working our way across an assault course.
We’d packed a lot into our short visit and yet the resort has even more to offer families that we didn’t get chance to sample, such as the pleasure beach, piers and zoo, which goes to show that this traditional seaside spot is still reaching new heights.