I visited Blackpool for the first time and felt like a kid again

Whenever I told my friends and family that I was going to visit Blackpool for a little getaway, the answer I got was always the same: Why?

I've heard so much about the seaside resort over the years, yet I'd never made a visit myself. With the budget for a mini-holiday not quite reaching Vegas levels this spring, I had to go for the next best thing - the Las Vegas of England, of course.

As we made the almost four-hour drive from rural Oxfordshire up north, the rain got heavier and heavier. In typical Blackpool fashion, it was going to be a wash-out. Nevertheless, we were excited for our taste of the seaside, and in no time the Blackpool Tower illuminations guided us to our haven for a few days - a £20 per night Travelodge.

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We arrived pretty late in the night, so soon got some sleep amongst the gale-force winds rattling the entire hotel room. The next day was a big one, our visit to Pleasure Beach!

Despite the torrential rain on the day of our visit, we had one of the best days out in my life. The rides were in full force, and I've never laughed so much as I did going around on the back row of their 90-year-old wooden rollercoaster, Grand National - that is one wild ride.

I make pretty regular visits to theme parks down south, and I have to say that Pleasure Beach could be my favourite in the UK. It's got some brilliant rides for a range of ages, and one of their newest rides - ICON - needs to be ridden to be believed, it immediately became a favourite, and we ended up doing it four times on the day. Top tip, they even have a version with 360-degree spinning seats on the back row, which was one of the craziest and best experiences of my life.

Ollie in the Vegas of EnglandOllie in the Vegas of England
Ollie in the Vegas of England -Credit:Ollie Leitelmayer

After an excellent day at the park, we were soaked to the bone but in high spirits. By the end, we weren't sure if the water in our trainers was from the rain or Pleasure Beach's very very wet water ride, Valhalla.

After about an hour attempting to dry out our clothes with the world's least powerful Travelodge hairdryer, we headed out for our big night in Blackpool. It was on the night when I realised why I was loving Blackpool so much - the people.

Whether it was a Pleasure Beach employee operating a rollercoaster in the horrendous weather or the Slug and Lettuce bartender making our Espresso Martinis in between taking puffs of her strawberry vape, everyone was so much friendlier than at home. Everyone had a big smile on their face, and seemed genuinely happy to help - I was falling in love with Blackpool.

We didn't have much time in Blackpool, and the next day we spent a majority of the time exploring the famous amusements. I went to university in Bournemouth, and let me tell you, Blackpool's arcades blow theirs out of the water.

You could easily spend hours in there, and we did. Yes, I spent £20 and had just enough tickets by the end to get a small gummy burger and a keyring. Do I regret it? No way.

It's time to look past Blackpool's run-down reputation. My short couple of days by the seaside made me feel like a little kid again, and I'm already wanting to go back.