Find the tableaux at Bispham, at Blackpool North Shore. They’re the huge, great big Illuminations which you can walk right up to and enjoy in the cold dark air of autumn. Oh and if you wondered, tableau is one of them, tableaux is plural!
The Tableaux at Blackpool North Shore
You can find these huge illuminations displays between the archway at Red Bank Road at Bispham and the Cliffs at Bispham. Walking along the display in the dark is one of life’s simple pleasures, and a lovely memory to make to make. Get wrapped up and join hundreds of other people and soak up the family friendly atmosphere on the seafront.
The tableaux are installed along the grassy banking at the upper level of seafront at Bispham, parallel to the tramway. A footpath is marked out along the length of the display so that you can walk along the front of them.
Some of the displays, like the Teddies below, include selfie spots so that you can get up close and personal for your photos. Other tableaux are so big that you’ll need to stand well back to get them in your photo!
Oh What a Night!
It’s an amazing atmosphere when you visit this section of the Blackpool Illuminations. As soon as the Illuminations are switched on each night the place gets really busy. The highway is bumper to bumper with cars enjoying the view and it’s full of families enjoying a free, fun night out together.
There are fish and chip shops and fast food takeaways at the Red Bank Road end of the tableaux at Bispham, so you could make this the start or the end of your journey. Be prepared for a wait though – it’s delightful, freshly cooked food and there’s usually a queue!
You can also get your own lights on the night and join in with the spirit of the event. You’ll find various sellers with a mixed bag of things that light-up in the night – light sabres, deely-boppers – you name it. Please support the official Blackpool Illuminations retailers where possible. Their profits are invested back into the display.
If you’ve enjoyed your evening, please also make a donation at the official donation point. The Blackpool Illumination relies on donations and contributions to continue.
Tableaux at Blackpool North Shore by Day
Even though the tableaux are designed to be enjoyed at night, they’re still interesting to look at in the daytime. And they look quite different too!
How to Build a Tableau
In summer each year the huge poles which support them are first erected. Then the big panels, lamps, projectors and controls are assembled in time for Switch On night.
The Different Tableaux at Blackpool North Shore
There are various different tableaux themes which you’ll see on display at Blackpool North Shore. Here are just some of them –
It’s the header photo at the top of this page, and possibly our favourite here at Visit Fylde Coast. The four faces of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter don’t look that big when they’re out in the display. But they are when you stand at the side of them! They were on display at Lightworks at the first season launch we went to many years ago. The size of them made quite an impression on us!
Alice in Wonderland Tableau
This photo (below) is the original Alice Tableaux. It was badly damaged during storms in 2010.
The new Alice’s Garden tableau which you’ll see on display was co-designed by Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and the in-house design team. It originally came back to the display in 2014 with thanks to sponsorship from Houndshill Shopping Centre.
It draws on the story of Alice in Wonderland and, in particular, the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. You can see how it’s all brighter and more modern than the old version – fit for today’s Illuminations display. It’s a massive 100ft display. During the Houndshill sponsorship period it featured a magical water garden and an 8ft bridge.
Take a look at these photos of it, lit up at night and in daylight – (click/swipe from left/right)
Did you know that Sooty was first discovered right here in Blackpool?
So it’s only proper that Sooty and Friends feature in the Blackpool Illuminations! They’ve got their own display in the tableaux. Here’s Richard Cadell at the launch of their illumination, to mark the 70th anniversary.
There are many more other tableaux, with various designs and made using various different technologies. Some are fibreglass moulds, like the ones above, others are chasing lights like the one below. Some include light projections. Go take a look!
New White Ribbon Tableau Switched On
A new White Ribbon tableau, the symbol of a national campaign to end violence against women and girls, was switched on to become a feature in the 2018 Blackpool Illuminations.
In the photo (L-R): Cllr Graham Cain, Cabinet Secretary for Resilient Communities, Chris Green, OBE, Founder of White Ribbon UK, Anthea Sully, Chief Executive of White Ribbon UK, Chrissie Chesters, Integrated Commissioning Manager (Domestic Abuse/Interpersonal Violence), Blackpool Council.
It’s 2.4m high and 3.9m wide and you can find it near St Stephens Avenue, at Blackpool North Shore.
The White Ribbon campaign aims to educate and raise awareness of violence against women and engage more men to be part of the solution. Supporters of the campaign pledge never to commit, condone, or remain silent about men’s violence against women in all its forms. Blackpool is clear that all violence and abuse is not acceptable for any victim regardless of gender, age, race, religion, class and sexual orientation.
Where do the Tableaux at Blackpool North Shore go when they’re taken down?
All of the Blackpool Illuminations are made and stored at the the Lightworks depot.
The big tableaux are dismantled then go to Lightworks during the winter to be electrically and structurally checked, cleaned and repaired if necessary. Although they’re designed and built to withstand the seafront, the weather is just too harsh to leave them outside through the winter every year.
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