Oct 2, 2012

Bring the Bling: 100 Years of Blackpool Illuminations and Other Flashy UK Hotspots

Merchant Ivory films inform many travelers' notions of Merry Olde England. Castle turrets. Thatched villages. Guttersnipes and plummy aristocrats. But there's far more to the UK than Dickens and Downton Abbey.

For some real-life razzle dazzle, look first to Blackpool, a seaside resort within a 75-minute drive of both Liverpool and Manchester. In the 1840s, daytrippers crowded into this North West town to ride donkeys, consult fortune tellers and nosh on fish and chips, thanks to new industrial rail lines...

Read more of my latest UK coverage on Yahoo or check out the slideshow, complete with the roller coaster where American Richard Rodriguez broke a world record for endurance with 112 days in September, 2012.

Top: The seaside resort of Blackpool blazes with more than one million bulbs strung over six miles. It claims to bring “artificial sunshine” to England’s North West – and brightens nine weeks each autumn. Photo courtesy of VisitBritain. Lower: A couple dances next to a massive mirror ball, built in 2002 by artist Michael Trainor on Blackpool's South Shore. Photo by Adrian Houston courtesy of VisitBritain. 

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