Savouring fresh tide of attractions
Our holiday coast was booming last weekend with the Lights Switch-On and Britney on Blackpool Prom; while St Annes held its International Kite Festival and Lytham, well, leafy and now trendy Lytham is always full at weekends!
The Illuminations and pier firework displays will continue to draw visitors this month but, with Brexit looming, there’s some British customs which could attract cultural tourists from further afield.
The Chinese already know Blackpool from its world ballroom dance championships paired with Shanghai, a more exciting link-up than our old friend and ‘twin’ Bottrop, in Germany. However, our coast is also rightly renowned for fish and chips – a traditional treat fast becoming a ‘must-have experience’ on tours from China.
A chippy-come-restaurant outside York (Scotts, at Bilbrough Top on the A64) is attracting more than 100 Chinese diners a week. The influx began after its manager introduced Chinese menus, along with a website and messaging ‘app’ on one of China’s most popular social media platforms.
Chinese tour operators now add the ‘fish and chips experience’ after their President, Xi Jinping, famously shared such a supper with then prime minister David Cameron on a visit to the UK three years ago.
Staff at the Yorkshire chippy cheerfully pose for pictures with Chinese visitors, whom they report are “very friendly, smiley and happy”.
Of course, our coast’s award-winning chippies could offer much more to savour than on sale over the dark, colder side of the Pennines. After trawling nautical history at Fleetwood, there’s diverse piscatorial catering along the Fylde or, of course, cultural curiosities like deep-fried haggis – or even Mars bars – thanks to Blackpool’s Glaswegian associations.
Sometimes, in our Victorian resorts, we can feel we’re living in a museum. Well, we might have missed out on World Heritage status, but the sea’s blessings might still bring a fresh tide of seaside attractions.
* For Roy’s books go to royedmonds-blackpool.com.