What first brought people to Blackpool, besides the sea air? Seven miles of golden sands, that's what – the UK's best and most celebrated urban beach, around which they built a whole damn resort. Old photographs from the 1920s and 1930s show it was impossibly crowded on summer high days and holidays even then, when there wasn't an inch of sand to be seen between the thronged thousands. It's far less crowded these days – probably because there's a lot more to do off the beach – and it looks better than it has ever done since the promenade behind was smartened up. Now there's a wide ribbon of Spanish-style steps that cuts down towards the sands, with the pedestrianised space in front of the Blackpool Tower newly extended to form the Tower Festival Headland. Tradition still holds on the beach though, with donkey rides and deckchairs, and while the water quality isn't all it could be (according to the Marine Conservation Society) the sands are generally spick and span in the central areas.
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