Text by Wendy Johnson
Distance: 11 miles
Start: South Pier, Blackpool
Finish: The Esplanade, Fleetwood
NCN route number: 62
Train station: Blackpool North, Blackpool South and Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Terrain, gradients and access: Flat, wide concrete promenade with a very short and quiet on-road section at Rossall Beach (or dismount to push along this narrower part of the promenade)
Route description: The razzmatazz of Britain’s definitive bucket-and-spade destination provides a lively start to this ride, but is quickly superseded by the quiet, natural beauty of the attractive Fylde Coast.
Start at Blackpool’s South Pier and head north along the wide promenade. It’s sensory overload in the opening miles, with the clatter of Blackpool trams alongside the route, the sweet candyfloss scent of the kiosks and a million bulbs lighting up the seafront during the famous Blackpool Illuminations each autumn. The adrenalin-fuelled rides of the Pleasure Beach are left behind as you cycle towards one of England’s most iconic landmarks: the unmistakable Blackpool Tower. In the opening miles, attractive and ornate Victorian shelters on the Promenade make great stopping points for taking in the scenery over the Irish Sea to north Wales, before you swoop between the curved, sandy-coloured layers of the promenade at Cleveleys, where the Isle of Man can be seen across the water on a clear day. Beside the shingly, pebbly banks of Rossall Beach there are great views of the Lake District’s peaks in the distance. However, the best views are in the final mile from Rossall Point Tower, a futuristic-style observation station that leans eagerly towards the sea. Go to the top deck to look over Fleetwood Beach, Morecambe Bay, the Lake District and the Forest of Bowland. From here, roll past Fleetwood’s Marine Hall Gardens and the little pastel-coloured beach huts on the seafront, before ending at the white sandstone Lower Lighthouse on The Esplanade. It’s just a short ride from here to Fleetwood’s ferry point for the 10-minute boat trip over the River Wyre to Knott End-on-Sea.
Loops, links and longer rides: From Blackpool’s South Pier, NCN 62 follows a mix of on-road and traffic-free route south to Lytham St Annes.
Stay: Queens Promenade Hotel, Blackpool (01253) 355449 www.queenspromenadehotel.com
Eat and drink: There are many places to eat in Blackpool, including ‘Parks’ Art Deco café overlooking the ornamental Italian gardens in Stanley Park, Kwizeen Restaurant or Harry Ramsden’s fish and chips near North Pier. At Fleetwood, try Beachside Café on the waterside, or head into the town for popular Café Royal or the Granada Fish Bar and Restaurant.
Cycle Hire: Bike & Go, Blackpool North train station www.bikeandgo.co.uk
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