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Blackpool illuminations

Founded in 1879, the annual lights festival that is Blackpool Illuminations is a spectacular show of lights on the Lancashire coast, that can be viewed for free. ‘The Lights’ are about 6 miles long and use one million bulbs, they run from August through to November, marking the end of the holiday season, and are illuminated for 66 days. ‘The Lights’ or ‘The Illuminations’ attract thousands of tourists long after the summer trade has gone.

Described initially as ‘artificial sunshine’, the Blackpool Illuminations in 1879 consisted of just eight arc lamps. It was in 1912 that the display became similar to the modern day light displays we are familiar with, when they marked the first British Royal family visit to Blackpool. This was when Princess Louise opened a section of the Promenade, named Princess Parade. For this special display The Promenade had been decked out with 10,000 light bulbs in garland style shapes. The following year in 1913, it was requested to Blackpool Council that the event on Princess Parade be recreated, however then with the the outbreak of first World War there were no further displays until 1925. There was also an interruption to the annual lights due to the second World War, before it became a permanent annual fixture.

Since the princess, a different celebrity has long been known to open the lights each year, and most tourists enjoy this stretch of wonder either by car or coach, or by taking a ride on one of Blackpool’s open-top trams. Separate to the illuminations, there are the spectacular Blackpool Christmas Lights, and the Blackpool Illuminations are switched on during this time to accompany these Christmas lights.

If you are taking in the lights this year in Blackpool. Review the Blackpool car hire page for transport links to our nearest branch in Preston.