On a Spot for the Bucket

Blackpool may not mean anything to most – but it holds significance to some. Eight years ago, it was unknown to me – very insignificant. Today, it’s on my Bucket List.

Blackpool is on England’s western coast – in Lancashire county – north of Liverpool and northwest of Manchester – and one of England’s most popular seaside resorts.

Today, Blackpool offers its infamous tower, a giant ferris wheel, an amusement park, a seaside promenade, gardens, a water park, Madame Tussauds,, and other attractions. Actually, this doesn’t seem like a place for me, let alone my Bucket List.

Embed from Getty Images

For me, Blackpool is about it’s famed dancehall. The original Blackpool Tower Ballroom dates back to 1894. During the dance craze of the 1920s-1930s, dancers filled Blackpool’s ballroom floor.

The ballroom still hosts one of the world’s most famous and long-running ballroom dance competitions (Blackpool Dance Festival) with dancers from across the globe coming to compete. The ballroom has also hosted other dance competitions and BBC shows Come Dancing and Strictly Come Dancing.

I’ve stated (several times) that my wife and I don’t compete – we dance for fun and being with friends … and to be honest, attending the famed festival isn’t the reason for its Bucket List status. Unless reserved as a rental space for an event, the ballroom has regular hours for open dancing.

Given the floor, the historic significance, and the ornate surrounding – absolutely Bucket List for us. Better yet, the ballroom also hosts an afternoon tea with dance to the sounds from the mighty Wurlitzer organ – which sounds quite delightful.

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99 thoughts on “On a Spot for the Bucket

  1. I remember Blackpool very well. It was in the parlour of a boarding house there, that I saw my first piano, and played ‘God Save the Queen’ with one finger. 🙂 I hope you and your wife get to see the wonderful ballroom. 🙂

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  2. Blackpool’s wonderful. I grew up in England, I mostly was down at Brighton – which has its own wonderments (but no dance hall of any repute that I know of – but the English seaside is always a treat. I do really hope you get there, it’s well worth it Frank.

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  3. Blackpool! Postpone your planned Tahiti to Bora Bora to Moorea cruise on the 10,000 passenger “Colossus of the Sea,” and go do it!!!

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    • Tim,
      Cruise ships are getting bigger and bigger and bigger – so the 10K cruise ship is probably in the planning stage … but I imagine we will visit Blackpool before the islands of the South Pacific.

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  4. My grandfather was from near there on the west coast . I never made it that far when we visited the UK…maybe next time.
    Come Dancing…wasn’t that also a hit song by the Kinks in the 70’s?

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  5. Oh, quick, then. WP is letting me not only view, but comment…maybe…this is my 3rd try – the coders must be busy today….
    Appreciate the info on Blackpool. I’ve seen the name in books and novels, but had no prior knowledge to make it real. Looks like a great place to visit – Yep, you must go!
    (And now to see if this comment will go…)

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  6. Hi Frank, I’ve been away (again) for what seems like forever, and when I return you’re writing about Blackpool. I live in the next county along to Lancashire, in Cheshire, so have visited Blackpool numerous times, and I have been, on occasion, to the Tower and the Ballroom (although not to dance, I hasten to add!). The town has gone through quite a few changes over the past few years, but it still has its quaint English seaside ‘traditions’. It is something to be experienced, so I would say try to get there if you can. If you go between September and November they illuminate the promenade and trams (and buses if I remember rightly) in the evenings, which is a big tourist attraction here as they usually have a theme. It’s a fun place, and if you feel you need a change of pace from the dancing you have the Pleasure Beach with all its roller coasters and white knuckle rides! Not that I’ve been there for a while myself… but, you know, the option’s there!

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    • Tom,
      I was hoping someone in my UK audience would be familiar enough with Blackpool to give me an authentic report. Many thanks … Besides, Besides, afternoon tea alone in the UK in these surroundings would be a thrill for many visitors from foreign lands. Nonetheless, maybe time will allow you to join us!

      What kind of changes has the town gone through in recent years?

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  7. I do believe this is a place for you! However, if you can’t get all the way there come to Toronto & dance with your wife at the “Palais Royale”
    “Located at Sunnyside Beach, Palais Royale is a classic ballroom which first opened in 1922, to coincide with the opening of Sunnyside Amusement Park. However, the dancehall didn’t reach its peak in popularity until the 1930′s when many of the big band and swing greats rocked the house, including Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Benny Goodman and others.”
    It’s renovated now, but you will still be dancing on a floor & in a hall of history!

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    • Resa,
      An excellent recommendation. I wonder how many amusement parks (back in the day) had nice dance venues. There is one in Cincinnati that was (and still is) an outdoor venue … and the traditions continues. (Search Google Images for Moonlight Gardens Cincinnati).

      Liked by 1 person

        • Moonlight Gardens is a classic venue … and is still well kept and successful. It was in the midst of the local amusement park, which is now gone … but the grounds have transformed well. I saw the pics, thus gotta love the setting in Toronto!

          Liked by 1 person

        • Moonlight Gardens sounds a lot like the Palais…. esp combined w/ the amusement park. What a glorious time. and I wish I could time travel. I’ve a huge bucket list for time travel …. massive!

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  8. A worthy entry for the bucket list.

    I can’t say when I first heard of Blackpool. In the early fifties, my mother spent a summer there working as hotel help while perfecting her English. She’d mention it almost every time England came up in conversation.

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    • Debra,
      I can see this happening … we plan a cruise that includes an overnight in Liverpool … we take the train to Blackpool to discover the ballroom is closed for a private party. Ouch! …Then again, we can buy tickets online – plus private parties are probably booked well in advance. If we involve cruising, we will need proper alignment of the stars.

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  9. What a beautiful place. I remember going there as a child, but it is a faint memory. My mother loved organs, but there was something else in the city too. I will have to ask my brother and my aunt. I am sure there are pictures somewhere.

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    • Val,
      First of all, love the serendipitous moments when I’ve visiting the blogger who happens to be visiting me at the same time.

      And wow … an American who has been there. Faint memories are better than none. If pictures exist and you get them, you may turn it into a post.

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  10. I’m baffled at the new expressions used for: Wish List.
    ‘bucket list’, is an invention for people to put thier wish list on the internet so that big business and big brother can find out more about a person’s desires, handy, if one is selling products.

    Apart from the expression ‘bucket list’, I agree, it looks like a fun place to go and visit.

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  11. Oh Frank, what a gloriously beautiful film clip, I can fully understand why the Blackpool Tower Ballroom is on your bucket list! I have an old brooch, a souvenir of my mothers, showing the Blackpool Tower, which I treasure. My parents loved to visit Blackpool in bygone years, and seeing this post has brought back happy memories that they shared with me of their lives in England, many years before they emigrated to Australia, and I was born. I don’t actually have a “bucket list”, but if ever I traveled overseas, England is at the top of my list of places to see. With both of my parents long gone, it would be wonderful to visit the locations of their shared memories. I do hope you make it to Blackpool yourself.

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