Our Motorhome weekend away in Blackpool
Following from the success of our first motorhome trip away we decided to book a weekend away in Blackpool for Mini’s birthday.
Blackpool is a place that invokes fond childhood memories for me and I was looking forward to creating more memories with my own family.
We booked up to stay at the Marton Mere Haven site which was bargain at just £32 for the both nights including access to their pool and other facilities.
We were aware that the journey up the M6 might be busy so decided to have the motorhome packed and ready to go for as soon as Mini finished school. Unfortunately, our planning didn’t help much and the journey still took us 4.5 hours instead of the projected 2.5 hours. We checked in at Haven quickly and smoothly and had Mini fast asleep within 10 minutes of arriving.
What I hadn’t accounted for when staying in a motorhome was how loud it can be during a torrential rain storm which managed to wake us all up in the middle of the night. At that point I was certainly beginning to regret not booking into a hotel.
On Saturday we headed to Blackpool Tower, which is included on our Merlin Annual Passes. The Haven site is about 3.5 miles outside of Blackpool. One downside to the motorhome is having to research car parks that allow you to park. We had decided to use the bus today, which was an adventure in itself as we normally always drive everywhere. The bus comes directly into the Haven site and cost us £10 for an all-day travel ticket for the 3 of us on all buses and trams in Blackpool which I thought was pretty good value.
The Blackpool Tower
We had a great time exploring the tower, although unfortunately we weren’t able to visit the ballroom as there was a private function taking place. Firstly, we headed to the lift to take us to the top, passing through the 4D cinema experience on the way. At the top, Mini enjoyed testing my nerves jumping up and down on the “walk of faith” a see-through walkway looking all the way down to the ground below. We were able to climb a few more flights of steps further up the tower, it was pretty windy up there and sadly as it was a foggy day we weren’t able to see much.
Mini loved playing in Jungle Jims, soft play area, although at busy times you do need to pre-book a session so worth doing that as soon as you arrive. It’s a pretty impressive soft play with some parts big enough for adults to join in.
After enjoy lunch in Harry Ramsdens we headed to the circus, which was again included with our Merlin passes but you need to book a time slot on arrival to the tower. Seating is on a first come first served for the performance but due to the shape of the auditorium I’m pretty sure you’d get a great view where ever you sat.
The performance was fantastic, with a variety of death defying acrobatic tricks and the funny interjections of Mooki, the resident clown. The show lasted around 2 hours, with a short interval, and definitely kept us all enthralled. Definitely one of the best circus shows I’ve ever seen.
After the circus we got the bus back to Haven for a light picnic dinner, still feeling pretty full from the fish and chips from earlier. One of the draws of coming to Blackpool was to see the Illuminations, I remember loving the lights as a child and knew that Mini would enjoy them too.
The Blackpool Illuminations
We looked at different options to see them, including getting a tram along the front, however, we decided we’d like to drive down hoping for some good views from the motorhome. The lights were due to be switched on at 7.15pm and we’d travelled to the start to await for them to turn on. Almost instantly within seconds, traffic seemed to come out of nowhere to join the procession along the promenade to see the lights.
We did get a great view from the motorhome, but it was a very slow journey. After 90 mins and travelling less than a mile, Mini was getting tired and bored so we decided to turn off and head back to the campsite for the night. It was shame that we didn’t get to see all of the lights but we did enjoy what we saw. We particularly enjoyed seeing the Tower lit up and go through different phases of coloured lights and Mini liked spotting the Nickelodeon characters lit up en route.
As we hadn’t really managed to use many of the Haven facilities so far, we decided to go for a Sunday morning swim. For once, the water was lovely and warm although we were a little disappointed that the slide was closed so it was just the pool area to play in, we did have small blow up ball to play round of piggy in the middle with though.
After our swim the plan was to drive into Blackpool to explore some more, then head home from there. However, as we were strapping mini into the car seat she started to fiddle with some buttons on the keys. She had managed to turn the immobiliser on and the engine wouldn’t start, and we had no clue how to turn it off. A quick call to Grandad revealed he didn’t even know there was an immobiliser, let alone how to turn it off. Thankfully Momma Mack to the rescue, I did some fiddling about with the buttons, totally making it look like I knew what I was doing, as we were back in action!
By the time we’d arrived into Blackpool and parked up at the motorhome suitable car park, we were pretty hungry. We decided we needed some vegetables so headed for the Carvery in the Coral Reef amusements, it was pretty yummy and even better kids eat free. We also manged to convince Mini that the waiter was a real life pirate.
We were initially not going to visit Madame Tussaud’s as we thought it might be a little old for Mini as she wasn’t likely to recognise the famous people. However, as it was included in the Merlin Annual Pass, as there were no queues at all, we decided to give it a go. We were pleased that we did as Mini had a great time. It was much more interactive than the London attraction and seemed more aimed at a younger audience. She posed on rocks next to Bear Grylls, pretending to take part in a bush tucker challenge, played the drums next to Johnny Rotten and posed next to Ariana Grande. We also saw Spiderman, and sang along to Disney’s Frozen on the karaoke machine.
As with a few of the Merlin attractions, we have found that on an individual basis the prices would be a little high however they are included in our annual pass, we have managed to get great value for money using them all year round.
Sealife Centre Blackpool
After a quick ice cream stop, blue bubblegum for Mini, of course, we decided to visit the Sealife Centre before heading home, this was also including in the Merlin Annual Passes.
We’ve been to quite a few Sea life centres this year but it’s great to see that they all offer something a little different.
The tanks here were at a good height for little ones, as sometimes they can be quite tall. As always Mini loved the rockpool and getting to touch the starfish. I loved the huge tank that is just before you enter the glass tunnel, it had some pretty large sharks in there and was lovey to sit and watch for a few minutes.
Mini completed the activity passport and the Octonauts trail on the way around and exchanged her work for two more pop badges to add to her collection.
By this time it was just after 4pm so decided it was best to start the journey home. It’s Mini’s birthday tomorrow, she turns 5. Spending some time on the journey home thinking about the last 5 years, the ups and downs and how quickly it’s gone. It makes me a little sad that tomorrow she will be at school and it will be the first birthday we haven’t been able to spend the whole day together. We are having a small tea party at Nanny’s house tomorrow after school which I know she will enjoy and I’ve got the task tomorrow of making a My Little Pony Cake, wish me luck…..