Soggy start fails to dampen Blackpool's spirit

A quiet Blackpool Prom on Good Friday afternoon
A quiet Blackpool Prom on Good Friday afternoon

A cold, wet weekend has brought a ‘dubious’ start to the season for Blackpool.

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A quiet Blackpool Prom on Good Friday afternoon

A quiet Blackpool Prom on Good Friday afternoon

Traditionally, the Easter weekend and school holidays have marked the start of the tourist season.

But traders say this can no longer be a marker for the year.

The early fall of Easter this year, as well as a poor weather forecast, haven’t helped.

Claire Smith, president of hoteliers’ group Stay Blackpool, said the Easter weekend itself had been busy at her own hotels and others in the group, but mid-week bookings while schools were off last week and into this week were not great – a similar picture to the early season last year.

“The weekend was all advance bookings, which is a bit unusual, but there’s not much during the week,” she said. “Last year was similar, the bank holidays and event weekends we could have filled 10 hotels but then it took nose dives in between.

“The talk of potential bad weather means people won’t take the chance of getting stuck, like we’ve seen in recent weeks.

“Easter’s not the barometer it used to be for Blackpool, but it’s a dubious start to the season.”

Town centre businessman Robert Wynne, who runs West Coast Rock Cafe and 1887 The Brew Room, said: “I think we hoped the weather would ease off for Easter, but that’s not happened.

“That said, Blackpool’s much more year-round now, we don’t just have six months to make a living, and fortunately there’s a lot of indoor attractions.”

He added that the removal of roadworks and bollards through the town had helped lift traders’ spirits.

Managing director at Viva Blackpool cabaret venue Martin Heywood said they’d had mixed conditions for the weekend; High Jinx family magic show, Joe Longthorne and Roy Chubby Brown were busy – as was the Viva Vegas Diner, while last night’s Chris Connor Elvis show and Saturday was quieter than hoped.

“It’s not been belting, but it’s not been horrific,” he said. “But after the winter’s roadworks, we’d take anything now.”