Blackpool Illuminations - Seasonal

Blackpool Illuminations - Seasonal

Top Tourist Attractions

Blackpool Illuminations is the No. 1 free light show in the world. This an annual lights festival, founded in 1879 and first switched on 18 September that year, held each autumn in the British seaside resort of Blackpool on the Fylde Coast in Lancashire.

Blackpool Illumination Season

Blackpool Illuminations is an annual lights festival, founded in 1879 and first switched on 18 September that year, held each autumn in the British seaside resort of Blackpool on the Fylde Coast in Lancashire. Also known locally as The Lights or The Illuminations, they run each year for 66 days, from late August until early November at a time when most other English seaside resorts' seasons are coming to an end. Over 400,000 lamps and 74 miles of cables and wires are used for the six-mile-long promenade illuminative display.

Hundreds of thousands of visitors come to witness the impressive display each year and many celebrities have been given the honor of switching on the lights over the years. They include Shirley Bassey, the Bee Gees, Westlife, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Terry Wogan, Status Quo, Ken Dodd, Tom Baker, Frank Bruno, Jeremy Clarkson, and Chris de Burgh.

At the heart of the illuminations is Blackpool Tower, which is adorned with thousands of flickering lamp bulbs the Blackpool Illuminations approximately cost £2.4 million to stage each year.


  • Blackpool was the first town to have electric street lighting and visitors first came to marvel at Blackpool’s Lights in 1879 when just eight arc lamps bathed the Promenade. This sparked Blackpool’s long association with light and electricity.
  • The Lights’ scale, density, and content have improved year on year. In particular, the use of microcontrollers, LEDs, lasers, and video has added a new dimension to the fabulous autumn display!
  • There are an amazing one million lamps of various types and styles, and more than 100 miles of festoon strung between the promenade poles and across the carriageway.
  • Over one million LED lamps are used across the display. The electricity that is now used has been slashed by two-thirds in ten years thanks to the use of LED technology.
  • Lightworks, the Blackpool Illuminations Depot, is where all the magic happens and is the home of the design, construction, maintenance, and storage of all displays.
  • In recent years, the Blackpool Illuminations have been using low voltage neon lamps, microprocessor controls, and wind turbines in a bid to help save energy and money.

Over the years the illuminative display has expanded into the town and there are several events taking place during the festival including charity events, firework displays, and musical gigs to help celebrate the occasion. A new scheme, Friends of the Illuminations, has been introduced with the hope to introduce education and interaction with the display in a bid to become a worldwide tourist attraction.


The Illuminations were first shown in 1879 when they were described as 'Artificial sunshine' and consisted of just eight carbon arc lamps that bathed the Promenade. The original event preceded Thomas Edison's patent of the electric light bulb by twelve months. The first display similar to the modern-day displays was held in May 1912 to mark the first British Royal family visit to Blackpool when Princess Louise opened a new section of the Promenade, Princess Parade.

  • Switch-On

 It marks the start of the Illuminations Display. It's the biggest weekend of the year when Blackpool celebrates the start of the Illuminations season, kicking off with a star-studded line-up of musical talent and the switch-on moment by a guest celebrity.

The first switch-on ceremony was held in 1934 when Lord Derby flicked the switch to turn on the Illuminations. 

  • Lightpool Festival

Experience all the free-to-see entertainment filled with magic, music, and illuminated magnificence. It includes a program that boasts 16 nights of light-based art installations, lasers, stunning live performances, family-friendly activities, and 3D projection shows involving local national, and international artists.

  • Illuminated Heritage Trams

Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours invites you to enjoy an experience like no other as you take a ride along the world-famous Blackpool Tramway aboard a piece of moving history!

At a time when the rest of the UK is closing down after the summer months, Blackpool is coming alive with light and colors lighting up the autumn nights. The Blackpool Illuminations have become more and more popular over the years and this most famous of Blackpool attractions is frequently referred to as the ‘Greatest Free Show on Earth’.

It's a wonderful opportunity to experience miles of festoon, larger-than-life tableaux, illuminated trams, instagrammable features, laser technology, and stunning projection shows during the dark winter months.


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