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Holidays: Rock & roller coast; BLACKPOOL'S A SCREAM.

Byline: MARK MOYLAN

LIGHT up your life with a visit to brash and breezy Blackpool.

With its illuminations, a host of stars playing to packed houses and new casinos on the way, the town is fast becoming Lancashire's answer to Las Vegas.

If you can't have a good time in Blackpool, you never will.

For starters there's the Pleasure Beach, one of the country's top attractions and home to "The Big One", once the world's tallest rollercoaster.

There's also a little one, a long one, a sort of round one and the one that turns you upside down and inside out...brilliant!

The town also boasts three piers, a sea life centre with a fantastic shark tank and Louis Tussaud's waxwork museum - proving there is life after Crossroads. The famous illuminations run until the start of November and really have to be seen.

Up to eight million people visit Blackpool each year for the lights. They stretch for six miles, cost pounds 2.4 million to stage and work starts at Easter just to get them ready each year.

And while I've got my anorak on here's one last fact - more than 1.5million cars travel the route every year. And you can guarantee that in front of them will be a bloke towing a caravan.

For our weekend stay, we opted for the tranquil Ribby Hall holiday village, a 10-minute drive from Blackpool.

My wife and son, his friend and I stayed in a stone cottage with patio overlooking a well-stocked fishing lake. It had three bedrooms, a family bathroom, lounge with satellite TV, CD player and a fully-equipped kitchen.

The village has five fishing lakes set in 100 acres of landscaped grounds, a sports centre, equestrian centre, two pools, steam room and spa. In fact everything you could ask for.

For the kids there's a new mini golf course, adventure playground, rock climbing tower and tons more. My favourite distraction was the nine hole golf course.

A word of warning though if you happen to be boating on the lake if someone like me is on the first tee.

I'll blame it on the wind but every shot I hit homed in - like heat-seeking missles - on a bloke with his kids in a boat. Sorry mate!

As for food, if unlike us you forget to pack the kitchen sink, there is an excellent supermarket on site.

And if you don't fancy cooking there's a bistro, a pizza and pasta diner, an a la carte restaurant and several fast food outlets.

With a full- entertainment pro- gramme day and night this place has got the lot.

Who needs Las Vegas? You can give me Blackpool any day.

FACTFILE: A weekend break at Ribby Hall for a family of four starts at @pounds 185. Or you can book a full week for four from pounds 320. To book call 0800 085 1717 (lines open 8am - 8pm) or take a virtual tour of the village on their website at www.ribbyhall.co.uk

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Oct 5, 2003
Words:508
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