For the purposes of this article we’ll say that North Shore covers the section between Bispham and North Pier – although there may be a different official description!
Apologies in advance that photos are taken facing both north and south. Because of the direction of travel of the sun it is often better to take photos facing northwards so that the sun is on the subject.
In these two videos we drive north from North Pier to Bispham with the sea on our left. In the first clip travel along the promenade from North Pier to Gynn roundabout – that’s the one which always has an Illuminations feature. Then in the second clip travel along the prom from Gynn roundabout to Red Bank Road, which is where the Illuminations end at Bispham.
Start this Journey at Bispham
Bispham is where we begin this page.
It’s quite identifiable even if you don’t know the area – it’s where the tableaus start/end on the cliff and where the illuminations begin to welcome visitors to Blackpool.
In a car you can’t see much of the beach from the main road which hugs the coast, but on foot the views are spectacular from the edge!
The footpath along the grassy banking adjacent to Queens Promenade, the main road, is one of only a few high spots on the Fylde Coast and from here you can see across the Irish Sea to neighbouring Cleveleys on your right (above) and the Lake District beyond.
On a clear day looking to your left you can see North Wales and the Isle of Man is visible straight out to sea, beyond the windfarms on a clear evening.
Cliff Top Walk
With the sea on your right you’re heading south towards the bright lights of Blackpool.
On foot, you’ve got a choice of three levels. Choose from the very top of the banking against the highway and where the tram tracks make their way along the seafront. Next is the middle walkway, or the lower bottom promenade from where the next stop is the beach.
All along this stretch you’ll see wild flowers growing among the steep grass bank, with the pink flowers of thrift nodding in the breeze, and the white bells of sea campion.
This top footpath from Bispham is where you’ll find the tableaus in the Illuminations season. Every summer the huge grey poles are erected which support the illuminated scenes of all types – children’s nursery rhymes, figures from TV and dinosaurs from the past are all brought to life each year with millions of light bulbs. If you haven’t walked the route with your family you really must come along – safe from traffic and packed with people it’s a great atmosphere and a great evening out.
Check out our Blackpool Illuminations website here, for lots of photos and information about the Lights.
Boating Pool and Cliff Lift
Carry on walking south and you come to what was once a boating pool and is now laid out as a site for karting (below).
The Cliff Lift is no longer in use, but it makes a good landmark.
If you’re into wave watching then the top footpath is your spot on a windy day at high tide. All through the year you can see spectacular displays of the weather along the Fylde Coast and at Blackpool, with the best views of waves and spray lifting high into the air from this point.
You shouldn’t go down to the middle and lower walkways during high storms and always follow beach safety guidelines.
After the Cliff Lift as you approach Gynn roundabout, you’ll come to the spacious seafront Jubilee Gardens between the edge of the promenade and the tram lines.
It’s a sunken garden built 100 years ago by our Victorian ancestors, which has recently been adopted by the new Friends of Jubilee Gardens Group – who have already transformed it.
Gynn roundabout is another good local landmark – it joins the main promenade routes with roads that head inland to Bispham past the Rock Gardens, and here on the roundabout itself you’ll see a varying assortment of displays which are part of the Illuminations.
Our journey continues southwards towards North Pier, and on the lower walkway in the area across from the Imperial/Hilton Hotels you’ll find the Colonnades.
In this short clip below we’re stood on the walkway in front of the Colonnades, as a tram passes above.
They’re an attractive and original feature which date back to 1925 and hark back to the long history of Blackpool as one of the original British seaside resorts.
Access the lower walkway from the main promenade with the footpath (above) to find five curved bays which cover nearly a kilometre. They replaced the earlier coastal defences which had been built as grassed slopes in 1895-99.
Our journey southwards continues, and now you start to feel like you are arriving in Blackpool!
With Victorian shelters and benches and a spectacular view, the Promenade at Blackpool is one of the greatest spots from which to enjoy the evening sunshine as it sets on the west coast, and on a sunny day there’s nowhere better to be.
You can pick up a tram anywhere along the way and head to Cleveleys and Fleetwood in the north, or into Blackpool. The promenade continues here at split level with the lower walks taking you past the Princess Parade Colonnade of 1912.
Here is where you’ll find the Metropole Hotel (above), the only accommodation which is on the seaward side of the highway on the Fylde Coast.
There are attractive gardens here too, and the Cenotaph, and finally you have arrived at North Pier.
TheBlackpoolilluminations.info – our website all about the Lights
Cliffs at Bispham on Blackpool seafront north shore
Shelters along Blackpool north shore seafront
Blackpool promenade at North Cliff – you can just see the open air baths sticking out into the sea
North pier seen from north shore at Blackpool