You might remember that earlier this year I teamed up with Alfa Romeo on a little project called Find Your Passion. I took their Giulietta on a little road trip around Loch Lomond that ignited my passion for exploring more of the area around where I live. It made me determined to see more of Scotland and ever since I’ve started taking in a lot more of the beautiful landscapes that the country offers.
Last month, Alfa got in touch again and asked if I’d like to take another of their models, the MiTo on a trip somewhere different. The timing was perfect, as I’d already been thinking of taking a little summer trip down memory lane to the iconic British seaside resort of Blackpool. As a kid, Blackpool seemed like paradise to me (and millions of others) and I have fond memories from a really young age of making the annual pilgrimage with the family during the school holidays. I wanted to see how much it had changed from then, and if it would live up to my very positive memories.
When the MiTo Veloce was delivered my initial reaction was that it looked pretty small, certainly compared with the Giulietta, but I suppose it is her little sister after all. As the flagship of the range though, the MiTo Veloce is a very good-looking car both inside and out. My initial fears about size were quickly forgotten as, once inside it seemed remarkably more spacious that it looked from the exterior. The inside was contemporary and comfy too (even after a few hours on the motorway to Blackpool). It’s a nippy little car too, ideal for motorway driving.
One thing that I always remembered about Blackpool was the weather. It seemed that no matter when in the year we went it was always raining, so I had set myself up for more of the same this time around. Fortunately, it seemed that I completely lucked out as the weekend that I choose for my visit to be served by a freak heat wave. Bright blue skies as far as the eye could see and temperatures in the high 20’s made this place seem like Spain (albeit with fish and chip shops lining the promenade and ‘Oh I do like to be beside the seaside’ blaring from some speakers).
We checked into the Ibis right next to Blackpool Tower. As you’d expect the hotel was basic but clean and ideally positioned to explore the resort. The Blackpool tower herself looked stunning in front of the bright sky (my good mate Matt Buckets tells me that she had just been painted). Unfortunately my fear of heights and cramped lifts meant that I wouldn’t be able to make it to the top but even from ground level I could appreciate the beauty.
We picked up some ‘Blackpool Big Tickets‘ from the tower box office, that allow you to visit 7 of the top attractions for a reduced price, something I’d definitely recommend as they can all get a bit pricey. They get you into the Tower, the Blackpool Dungeons, the Sealife Centre, Madame Tussuads and others for £45 – ordinarily they are about £15 each. In the end we ran out of town to do all of them but of the stuff we did Tussauds and the Dungeon were my favourites.
Of course no trip to Blackpool would be complete without a visit to the Pleasure Beach, the UK’s most famous theme park. It’s not huge but jam-packed with attractions so it’s best to give yourself a whole day to go round it. I loved the mix of modern mega rides and the rickety old ones that looked like they had been there since my gran was a kid – The Big Dipper was my absolute favourite, it’s a classic and still got me clinging on for dear life even now. I loved the typically British vibe of the Pleasure Beach, it’s not too fancy and it just does exactly what it says on the tin!
I’m not sure if it was just the nostalgia licking in or my love of retro design and ugly architecture but I quickly realised that my passion for this seaside town had not died, in fact now that I had been back I loved it more and can’t wait to visit again. The weekend had gone far too quickly but it was time to get back into the MiTo and hit the road up north. See you next summer Blackpool!
For more information on the Alfa Romeo MiTo, click here.