First bumper weekend as crowds head to resort for Easter break
Blackpool is gearing itself up for its first bumper weekend of the summer season.
The M55 is expected to strain under the weight of the extra traffic as thousands of holidaymakers descend on the resort for the Easter break.
On the back of an already busy week and weekend, which saw visitors bask under the spring sunshine, more staff have been taken on at attractions, while hoteliers are also preparing for a welcome boost in numbers.
A spokeswoman for Merlin, which runs the Tower and Sealife Centre on the seafront, said: “With school holidays varying from region to region, we have already experienced an increase in visitors. But we are expecting the full volume over the course of this week.
“We have several new members in our teams, and they are all ready and waiting to greet our guests for their Easter holidays.”
Luca Vettese, from Notarianni’s ice cream parlour in Waterloo Road, South Shore, said all leave is cancelled for his staff, who he said will be ‘out in force’.
“Every weekend since we opened has been mental,” he said. “It’s good though; it’s want we want, and we will be expecting this to be our busiest weekend so far.”
The RAC said 12.8m trips will be made across the four-day break as families make the most of the long weekend. The M55, between Preston and Blackpool, was named as one congestion hot-spot.
It urged drivers to make sure their vehicles are in good shape, while Met Office spokesman Grahame Madge said weather forecasts should be checked before setting off.
He said: “Rain or shine, the weather can have significant impact on any trip and the comfort of travellers.”
Although it is too early to be more specific, this weekend isn’t likely to be as pleasant as the one we’ve just had, forecasters warned.
Early indications show temperatures will reach a modest 10 degrees Celsius, with some rain expected to fall on Saturday, Met Office data showed.
A number of special events are being held through the weekend, while visitors will be able to climb aboard six heritage trams, which will run from 10am until 5pm from Saturday until Monday.
In Fleetwood, an Easter egg hunt will be held in Memorial Park from 11am until 1pm on Sunday, costing 50p per child.
The Friends of Lytham Hall will host their annual family fun day, complete with Easter trail through the parkland, from 11am until 4pm the same day. Entry costs £2 per child, with activities priced at 50p. Parking is £1.
And an Easter treasure hunt – with chocolate eggs on offer as a prize – will be held at the RSPB Ribble Discovery Centre at Fairhaven Lake, from 11am until 3pm from Friday to Monday. Tickets for members costs £2, or £3 for non-members.
Blackpool Zoo is also expecting to welcome its 15th millionth visitor at some point this week. The attraction first opened in 1972, when an adult ticket cost just 30p. The landmark visitor will be treated to a fanfare of prizes, a spokesman said.
Marketing executive Jude Rothwell added: “Easter is always a popular time of the year and we are all keeping our fingers crossed for some lovely, warm weather over the long bank holiday weekend.
“We’re still on track for the zoo’s 15th millionth visitor stepping through the gates later this week; it could happen any time over the next few days.”
A spokesman for Blackpool Pleasure Beach added: “We are anticipating a good Easter weekend. So far, advanced bookings are positive for the whole weekend, and the weather forecast looks good, so we are looking forward to welcoming many visitors.”