Saturday, 17 October 2015

2015 - Day Out 11: Blackpool

Back on the coaches again, we go back on Greenline coaches a planned day out in Blackpool and a late return so that we can see the world famous Blackpool Illuminations.

Back on Jan!
Its an early start and I make my way into Wollaston ready for the 07:05am journey on National Express West Midlands service 276, after getting some supplies for the coach journey, I make my way to the bus stop and the bus turns up ten minutes early, the driver kindly letting me on so I don't have to wait in the cold. I send a text to Mr UKBuses to let him know that the bus is about to depart and as we arrive in Norton, Mr UKBuses boards, but he was not wearing a dress, as he had to pretend to be a woman, see ticket below. and we make our way into Stourbridge Interchange. A "Fresh Air" break is had whilst we walk down towards our pick up point and at 07:45am we do see a Greenline coach which drives straight past us, just after 08:00am the coach returns and we cross Birmingham Street to board. We take our seats, which are still at the front, but behind the driver this time and we set off around all the other pickup points which include, Halesowen, Blackheath, Quinton and Dudley. With our last pick up point at Dudley reached, we set off towards the M6 Motorway just after 09:00am and as soon as we enter the slip road, the traffic is halted due to an incident ahead, after about five minutes we are on the move again.

Did Mr UKBuses wear a dress to get on the coach!

Mr UKBuses has a nap!

Blackpool Pleasure Beach
At about 10:20am it is time for a break and we exit the motorway and stop at Sandbach Services, a bladder stop is needed first and Mr UKBuses takes his place in the queue at McDonald's, whilst he is waiting I pop to the shop next door where I get myself a sandwich and I find a table and Mr UKBuses is still waiting in the McDonald's queue, he does eventually get served and joins me to eat his meal. With our food finished we make our way back outside for some "fresh air" before boarding our coach for the second part of our journey. The food has taken its toll on Mr UKBuses who drops off on the coach for most of the remainder of our journey, see picture above, We approach Junction 32 on the M6, where we leave and join the M55, where at Junction 4 we leave the motorways behind and have a few miles to go where we arrive at Blackpool just before 12:30pm, with the coach parking up at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, see picture right, our driver Nigel tells us that we have until 06.30pm before we head out and drive through the famous Blackpool illuminations. We make our way to the sea front where opposite the Pleasure Beach we wait and board a tram which takes us to the North Pier stop where we alight and make our way through the town centre.

Preston Bus Station
We decide to pay Preston a visit and we have to find Corporation Street to get our bus, with Mr UKBuses map reading skills, we eventually find our stop just as our bus is about to depart, luckily the bus driver stops and we board Stagecoach in Lancashire service 61 after purchasing our Stagecoach DayRider tickets. We pass through Kirkham and after an hour and ten minutes we arrive at Preston Bus Station, see picture left, which has over 70 stands. A few pictures are taken around the station, which is looking very outdated, it might have been good when it first opened in 1969, but needs to be bought up to modern day standards. We decide to leave Preston early and at 14:32 board our Stagecoach in Lancashire service 68. We leave Preston behind and we are on a different route back to Blackpool this time passing through Lytham, St Anne's and we know we are near when we pass Blackpool Airport. We make our way back into Blackpool and as we arrive in Rigby Road, we alight so that we can visit the depot of Blackpool Transport, also home to the trams. A few photographs are taken and we head back to the sea front.

It's back on the trams again and we board at the Manchester Square stop and go a couple of stops and alight at the Tower tram stop, that is after some uncouth person decides to nearly soak us by knocking over a can of energy drink on the ledge behind our seats. Its time for some refreshment and we make a visit to J D Wetherspoon "The Albert and The Lion", there is a member of staff at the door saying that there are no tables at the moment and it may be a wait for a table if food was ordered. Mr UKBuses makes his way to the bar (he actually purchased the first round!) and as he is served, a table becomes free and we take the opportunity to grab the seats (the fastest I've ever seen Mr UKBuses move!) and we eventually get to rest our feet. With the drinks finished and the pub getting busier, we decide to leave and walk around the corner to another one of our favourite pubs in Blackpool, we enter "The Castle" and as we went upstairs last year, we decide to give the downstairs bar a visit this year. The place is busy but we do get served quickly and music is blaring out at full blast and Mr UKBuses spots the DJ who resembles Paul O'Grady, his name was actually Jim Curran, he may have looked like Mr O'Grady but he had the voice and language more akin to Roy "Chubby" Brown. We liked the DJ and his sense of humour so much, we decided to stay and have a second pint, Mr UKBuses was hiding though as the DJ may have taken the mickey our of him if he was spotted.

He is back asleep!
We still needed to get some food before we boarded our coach, so we head back to the seafront and it is time for another ride on the trams, boarding again at The Tower tram stop and we have an enjoyable ride along the sea front at Blackpool saving us a walk of one and a half miles as we alight at the Blackpool Pleasure Beach tram stop. Time for food and we make a visit to a new J D Wetherspoon public house, "The Velvet Coaster", which opened in May 2015 and it is the first time that I have visited a Wetherspoons with a lift, but the building has three floors and considering it is a large pub it is virtually packed with us having trouble finding a table. After looking on all three floors, we head back to the ground floor where we spot a table. With our seats found, we peruse the menu and I go to the bar to order our food and get the drinks. Mr UKBuses decides to have his usual a BBQ Chicken Melt, without the melt and I opt for Scampi and Chips. Mr UKBuses sticks with his Guinness and I ask the barman to surprise me with a real ale and I am served Viper and I can say after drinking it, it did pack a bit of a bite. We have a little wait for our food and after finishing eating, we have a few minutes to finish our drinks off before leaving and having a short walk back to the coach, with some "fresh air" taken along the way.

We board our coach and with everyone on board at 6.30pm, we make our way to the seafront where the coach pulls over waiting for the illuminations to be switched on. After a few minutes the power has been switched on and we slowly make our way along the seafront taking in the lights. After we pass the Blackpool Tower, we are able to move along a bit faster to see the rest of the lights before heading back onto the M55 Motorway and then the M6 motorway, the day has taken its toll on Mr UKBuses as he falls asleep, see picture above right. We have a short stop at the Knutsford services, with me having to wake up Mr UKBuses as we arrive, where a bladder stop is taken and "fresh air" break had before boarding the coach and completing our journey. We arrive back in Dudley, our first drop off point just before 11.00pm and then we head off to all the other drop off points doing a late night tour of the Black Country before finally arriving back in Stourbridge at about 11.45pm. We decide to walk up to Stourbridge Interchange and with the last buses home already departing, we decide to get a taxi arriving back home just before 12 midnight.

Another good day out (if a little tiring) with thanks to our coach Driver, Nigel and the Mr UKBuses and luckily we could see the lights without much glare from the bald spot:

Bald Spot 1

Bald Spot 1: The Bald Spot waits for the tram outside Blackpool Pleasure Beach!

Bald Spot 2

Bald Spot 2: The Bald Spot is spotted on a stand in Preston bus station!

Bald Spot 3

Bald Spot 3: The Bald Spot is spotted outside Preston bus station!

Bald Spot 4

Bald Spot 4: The Bald Spot spots the trams in Rigby Road Depot, Blackpool!

Bald Spot 5

Bald Spot 5: The Bald Spot is seen outside Blackpool Transport Bus Depot!

No comments :