BLACKPOOL TRAVEL FACTS

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The Independent Travel
How to get there

Britain's strangest air route will take you to Blackpool from Gatwick. Jersey European flight 170 begins at the Sussex airport, and calls in at Belfast and the Isle of Man before arriving at Squire's Gate airport (just past the Pepsi Max Big One in the south of the town). A return ticket costs pounds 164.

The Macmillan government saw to the closure of Blackpool Central station, and InterCity trains to Blackpool North were ended under the present regime; long-distance rail travellers have to change at Preston these days. If you are travelling from a constituency such as, say, Huntingdon, a Supersaver to Blackpool North costs pounds 40 (change at Peterborough and York, not valid on Fridays). The cheapest fare from London is an Apex return of pounds 31.

Where to stay

"You're staying at the Sheraton". A few conferences back, some BBC journalists were delighted to hear this news from their management. But the cheery Hotel Sheraton (01253 352723) is a family concern that has no connection with the international hotel group, and does not have quite the same range of facilities. While the hacks were less than overjoyed, any normal visitor will probably be happy with B&B at the Sheraton for pounds 36 single/pounds 68 double.

Those who are looking for Blackpool's best will be dismayed to learn that the Imperial Hotel (01253 23971) is fully booked: not just for the Tory conference, but for most of October.

Who to ask

Blackpool tourist information: 01253 21623.

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