Family Days Out in Blackpool: Stanley Park

We'd been meaning to visit Stanley Park in Blackpool for ages but for one reason or another it hadn't happened.  So on our most recent trip we were determined to go, and in the end did so twice.  The first time we visited Blackpool Model Village, but got drenched, so saved the rest of the park for a lovely sunny afternoon.

At 390 acres the park is huge and offers plenty to do for a whole day out.  From the model village on one side and the children's playground on the other, to the large boating lake and wildlife conservation area, there is something for everyone.

Children's Play Areas

We headed first to the huge children's play area with our picnic.  Our only grumble being that there aren't nearly enough picnic tables.  The play equipment more than compensated, with an array of swings, slides, climbing frames, see saws and much more.  The girls LOVED it!

There was so much to do for children of all ages and it certainly kept them busy.  Everything was very well maintained and a lot of thought had gone in to providing different zones around the playground.  There is also a train to ride on, a BMX track and skate park.  There are also plenty of extra activities put on during busier weekends and over the summer holidays.

Passing back through the park, past the pretty Cocker Tower, a monument to Blackpool's first Mayor Dr William Cocker, we headed for the formal gardens.  The park is Grade II listed and regarded as a place of special historic interest.

Italian Gardens

The Art Deco cafe overlooks the park's large Italian gardens which feature a fountain built with Italian marble and a number of statues, including a pair of Medici Lions.  From here there are steps down to the boating lake.

The gardens are immaculate with formal planting and the usual municipal touches, but pretty enough.

The Italian gardens are overlooked by an Art Deco cafe, designed by Thomas Mawson, and one of the finest examples in England.

The interior has plenty of delightful Art Deco touches but also houses a rather basic cafe, which was rather disappointing.  So much more could be made of this space, and far more sympathetically than it is now.  Unfortunately, we found the food (afternoon tea) to be rather poor as well, a definite 'could do better'.

The Lake

The lake is large and very pretty.  Unfortunately, we didn't have time to walk all the way round - next time.  Surrounding the boating lake is a woodland area, including a protected area for wildlife, and many species can be seen here.

There is a small ice cream stall here that sells duck food, for which the residents will be highly grateful, or bring your own suitable food.  On one side of the lake is an amphitheatre surrounding a bandstand, also designed by Mawson, see below.

Stanley Park really is a hidden gem, but not far at all from the tourist trail, and well worth a visit.

Visitor Information

Located east of Blackpool town centre, Stanley Park is well signposted and easy to find.  If you're coming from out of town, follow the tourist signs from Junction 4 of the M55.

Parking is limited, but there is a free car park and additional parking along the drive near the main entrance.  Alternatively, there is a large car park next to the Model Village, where you pay £2.50 to park all day.

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