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For those of you who love splendid architecture, fabulous features or a bit of history, the Winter Gardens, Blackpool is a real hidden gem. Much of the building has been symapthetically restored to its former 1870’s glory & the new Heritage Tours take you into rooms & areas which visitors would not normally get to see. For example, you can stand on the stage of the Opera House where people like Morecambe & Wise & Elton John have performed & which has played host to two Royal Variety Performances infront of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. Then there’s the magnificent Empress Ballroom, renowned not only for its sprung dance floor but for its excellent acoustics & where heads of state like Margaret Thatcher & Winston Churchill have addressed the party faithful & where bands such as the Rolling Stones & White Stripe have performed. Nearby is the Empress Grill (a division of Heathcotes), serving the needs of theatre goers & diners at weekends & this has been restored in art-deco style. Opposite, in what was more-recently an amusement arcade, is a splendid art-deco cafe area, the modern panelling having been removed to reveal the original features & friezes in perfect condition. Further along the Floral Hall sits a bar which is decorated in the style of a Spanish galleon, perfect for pre-show or interval drinks & upstairs are the Spanish Halls, used for private functions & dance events.

There will be one scheduled tour per month but others may be booked subject to numbers. Just £5 per tour … amazing value for money & well-worth 90 minutes of your time!

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