Visit Blackpool

Armed Forces Week

Armed Forces Week, taking place from the 21-27 June, is Blackpool's opportunity to say thank you to our heroes.

To mark the national event, the whole resort usually comes together to welcome serving military personnel, veterans and cadets, with a wide range of activities targeted at them and their families, as well as the many thousands of people visiting Blackpool.

Our events and celebrations will look a little different this year due to the ongoing restrictions still in place over mass gatherings. However, there will be opportunities to show your support and respect for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community.
 

Armed Forces Week - Flag Raising Ceremony

21 June 2021

Time: 10:30am flag raising
Location: Online

Blackpool Armed Forces Week officially begins with the raising of the Armed Forces Day Flag above the Town Hall.
 
At 10:30am, Blackpool will join 10 Downing Street, other Local Authorities and Military Associations by raising the flag above the Town Hall to show support for the service men and women of our Armed Forces. Tune in on our social channels, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, to see the raising of the flag.
 

Fylde Memorial Arboretum

25 June 2021
Time: 11:00 – 12:30
Location: Millennium Grove, Moor Park Avenue, Blackpool, FY2 0LY
Tickets: INVITATION ONLY

Founded by Don Aiken, a D-Day Veteran and located in the fields next to Moor Park school, the Fylde Memorial Arboretum stands as an area of remembrance that provides the service associations, and the people of Blackpool and the Fylde, a place of peace and beauty in which to remember their fallen comrades and loved ones. 

As part of Blackpool Armed Forces week, the Fylde Ex-Service Liaison Committee will host a service of dedication at the centre of the Memorial Arboretum's Glade area. The event this year will be strictly by invitation only.
 
Those wishing to visit the Arboretum and memorials on the day may do so after the event.

National Armed Forces Day

26 June 2021
Time: 10:00–16:00
Location: Hangar 42 Spitfire Visitor Centre, Blackpool Airport, Squires Gate Lane, FY4 2QY
Free event (donations welcome)

Tickets must be booked in advance here

Enjoy a full day of family fun to celebrate Armed Forces Day at Hangar 42 Spitfire Visitor Centre!

Hangar 42 was constructed in 1939 for the Royal Air Force and has been relatively untouched since 1945, retaining many original features. The Visitor Centre has been developed to ensure that the sights, sounds and equipment of the era are brought back to life to give visitors a valuable insight into the realities of fighting on the ground, as well as in the air during the dark years of World War Two.

What can you expect during the Open Day at Hangar 42?

  • Three replica spitfires and a Hawker Hurricane currently being restored with original parts.
  • Step back in time and learn more about Blackpool’s rich military history.
  • Audio supported tour available. Please bring your own smart phone/tablet and headphones in order to access.
  • Some additional activities such as Bomber Command Virtual Reality Suite are chargeable extras.
  • RAF Squires Gate was home to many of the Polish RAF squadrons in WW2, many being formed in Blackpool. 

Please note:  Please remember your visit will be supported by an Audio Tour and we strongly recommend that you bring along earphones and a smart device to receive the FREE commentary. Before you arrive at the Spitfire Visitor Centre we would ask you to download the audio tour on your device, via wifi and then "UNLOCK" the tour with code "13081940

We would ask you to listen to the WELCOME & RECEPTION tours prior to arrival as this will give you an insight to our projects and get you used to operating your tour prior to arrival.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a car park at Hangar 42?

Yes, free car parking is availabe onsite. 

Are there toilets at Hangar 42?

Yes, toilet facilities are available.

Can I take my dog with me?

Hangar 42 has a strict no pets allowed policy. 

Can I sit in a Spitfire?

Yes, photo opportunities in the Spitfire are charged at £5 per person. Age and access restrictions apply and visitors should email the venue in advance to check that Cockpit access is available.

Tickets must be booked in advance here

Step back in time

Did you know Blackpool maintained its tourism offer throughout World War Two and gave many holidaymakers, and soldiers on leave, a chance to temporarily escape and forget the horrors of war? The town also had two operational RAF airfields and even manufactured bomber aircraft.

Heritage Blackpool has been working closely with Blackpool Gazette, a local newspaper which has been delivering and reporting on life and events in Blackpool for over 100 years, to archive important moments in history for us to view in years to come.

Last year, Blackpool Gazette kindly provided more than 120 digitised images of Blackpool during WW2 from their archive – and you can view them for free! These photos offer a glimpse into the past to see how the UK’s most loved seaside resort played a crucial role throughout the war. Discover Blackpool’s war-time history here.
 

How can children get involved?

There are plenty of opportunities for children to learn all about World War I and World War II. We have uploaded some colouring sheets below which are a useful way to introduce the importance of veterans and our Armed Forces to your little one. All you need to do is download and print. Happy colouring!

Spitfire Colouring Sheet  Hurricane Colouring Sheet  Lancaster Colouring Sheet   

Going to the flicks

Going to the flicks is a special war-time cinema experience created especially for local primary school children. The specially commissioned education film will show pupils from year’s 5 and 6 what happened in Blackpool during WWI and what it was like for children during WWII, showcasing archive video footage and images. This footage can be viewed below: