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Blackpool revives Wakes Weeks glory

Discussion in 'Galas and Events' started by visitBlackpool, Jul 30, 2009.

  1. visitBlackpool

    visitBlackpool New Member

    Jul 30, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Blackpool is aiming to revive the glorious tradition of Wakes Weeks – the golden days when mill towns across the North of England shut down and thousands of workers headed to the beach resort for sun and fun.

    Tourism chiefs in Britain’s premier resort have unveiled a week-long package of offers and events from 9-16 August which celebrate the holiday ritual and are designed to attract a new generation of family visitors to Blackpool this summer.

    They include special family rail travel offers from the historic cotton towns of East Lancashire and beyond, and an exhibition celebrating the glory days of the Wakes holidays at Blackpool North station.

    One of the highlights will be a special 1950s Scots Guardsman steam train excursion to Blackpool from Carnforth, calling at Blackburn, which was one of the biggest cotton towns to hold a Wakes Week, and Preston before arriving at Blackpool North station.

    The journey will take place on Sunday, August 9, and coincides with Blackpool’s famous air show – featuring the Red Arrows and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

    Families will also be able to download exclusive Wakes Weeks’ vouchers to take up offers at attractions in the resort from the visitBlackpool.com website, along with special accommodation deals.

    Sandcastle Waterpark is also offering free entry to anyone who turns up wearing traditional Wakes Weeks swimming costumes on Sunday, August 9.

    All of the staff will be dressed in traditional 1950s attire, including the lifeguards who will be wearing traditional swimming caps and all-in-one costumes.

    As part of the initiative, rail operator TransPennine Express is offering free children’s travel for families, as well as special Wakes Weeks prices on normal services into the resort with up to 65% off when booked in advance at http://www.tpexpress.co.uk.

    The prices for the special Wakes Weeks steam train will be £12.35 adult, £6.50 child (2-14) and £32 for a family ticket – a saving of £5.70 – with children under two going free.

    Councillor Maxine Callow, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Tourism at Blackpool Council, said: “Through the generations Blackpool has provided entertainment and fun for families and the Wakes Weeks are a proud part of our heritage.

    “Our aim is to celebrate that tradition whilst giving a new generation the chance to see what our modern beach resort can offer them.

    “We believe the initiative will strike a chord with communities like Blackburn, Burnley and Accrington that have a historic link with Blackpool from the days when most of their population would move 20 or 30 miles west to the coast for a week of holiday relaxation.

    “Those days may be long gone but, as new visitors are finding, today’s Blackpool is a great place for families to enjoy themselves.”

    She added: “The exhibition we are putting together will allow today’s visitors to see how their grandparents and great grandparents enjoyed themselves on their Wakes Weeks breaks.

    “The special steam excursion will also give the 300 people onboard a taste of what it meant to head off on your Wakes break and the anticipation of the good times ahead.”

    The milltown migrations to Blackpool - each town had its own holiday week when the factories fell silent - involved scores of trains ferrying holidaymakers to the resort.

    At the start of Blackburn’s July 1945 Wakes Week, the first since the end of the Second World War, holidaymakers queued at the town’s railway station from early morning to catch one of 23 trains heading to Blackpool.

    The following week 14 trains set off from Accrington and it was estimated that 250,000 people crammed into the resort that Saturday.

    According to reports at the time, it was also estimated that the holidaymakers of Accrington, Church, Clayton-le-Moors, Rawtenstall, Bacup and Haslingden, spent almost £1 million on their break from work.

    For details of the Wakes Weeks steam excursion, special rail deals, Blackpool airshow, and the Wakes Weeks voucher scheme, log on to http://www.visitblackpool.com/wakes. All bookings for the special steam train excursion can be made with the visitBlackpool team on 01253 478222.

    Carnforth depart 11.00
    Blackburn (Plat. 1) 12.37 - 13.19 (takes water)
    Preston (Plat. 5) 13.45 - 13.57
    Blackpool N (Plat. 2) arrive 14.26 (remains in platform for c.30mins)

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