Travel Review: Morecambe
IT was a long shot. The middle of November and as we headed along the Fylde coast we were frantically singing “Bring Me Sunshine’’.
And guess what? That old rascal Eric Morecambe must have known The Hay family was heading for his home town. For the sun came out and signalled time for some fun!
Before we hit Morecambe we stopped off at Britain’s number one seaside resort Blackpool. And we took advantage of the Big Ticket, which allows visitors into seven attractions for a snip of the full price.
With 90 days to use the ticket from the date of the first visit, it’s a good buy and lets you go to The Blackpool Tower Eye, circus and ballroom, Jungle Jim’s (for the toddlers), The Blackpool Tower Dungeon, Madame Tussauds and Sea Life.
And it is especially worth it if you have a family in tow, because they want to see as much as they can. Ruaridh (5) and Flora (3) are a bit small for the dungeon and the ballroom and circus were closed when we visited, so they along with Madam Tussauds are down for the next visit within the three months.
We concentrated on the Blackpool Tower Eye, Sea Life and Jungle Jim’s. The tower was brilliant, its such an icon and at night looks lovely, all lit up. As you travel upwards, the walls are decked with fascinating facts. And once you are in, you get to don a pair of cool 4D glasses and follows a little boy’s adventure on a day out to the seaside.
Then, it’s a quick hop into the lift and a big step out onto the glass skywalk, which can hold 50 tonnes, so its pretty safe as you look down on to the front, which these days is looking pretty clean and trendy. Gone are the days of the dirty pavements and shabby shelters, now it’s a smart looking front which brings in the crowds.
From the tower we took a short hop to Sea Life. And what fun we had there too, the children loved all the tanks full of different species from colourful tiddlers to sharks and they particularly enjoyed the hands on section, which gave them the chance to dip in and touch an array of sea life.
The centre is well set out and there’s even a small play area , which was fun. Infact we had to prise Ruaridh and Flora out for a trip to Jungle Jim’s. Its based on a themed Lost City and a chance to burn off some energy on the amazing slides and rides.
From Blackpool, we headed off for a short drive to Morecambe to see the Eric Morecambe statue, which was was unveiled by The Queen in 1999. The impressive icon was created by artist Graham Ibbeson and depicts the great comedian ina perfect “Bring Me Sunshine’’pose.
Ruaridh and Flora had great fun practising the one-legged tribute to Morecambe’s famous son and there were some nice phrases from the comedian around the statue.
John Eric Bartholomew was born in the seaside resort in 1926 and adopted the town’s name as his surname when he and his side kick Ernie Wise started cracking jokes.
The statue is sited on the promenade, which like Blackpool, has been spruced up and the views across the bay are stunning.
From one comedian to another and just a short hop up North to Ulverston in Cumbria takes you to the home of the loveable rogues Laurel and Hardy.
Stan Laurel was born in Argyle Street in the town and a plaque is sited on the door of the house , which belonged to his grandparents.
There’s a Laurel and Hardy museum dedicated to the boys and it is a fan’s paradise, started 30 odd years ago by former town Mayor, Bill Cubin and now run by his equally enthusiastic grandson Mark.
As a teenager I used to be a regular visitor to the museum and although it has changed venues, the museum still has Bill’s touch, with a small cinema area for fans to wile away the hours watching Laurel and Hardy greats and an informative display and selection of souvenirs.
Mark is in the process of moving the museum once again, just a few yards away into themain room at The Roxy Cinema and is busy trying to raise funds to finance it.
Lets just hope he doesn’t heed a famous Stan quote: “Three million dollars! Is that as much as a thousand?’’ or he will be in “another nice mess!’’
For more information on Blackpool’s Big Ticket, log onto www.blackpoolbigticket.com
Tourist information, Morecambe: www.citycoastcountryside.co.uk/morecambe-and-the-coast
Laurel and Hardy Museum, Ulverston: www.laurel-and-hardy.co.uk