Location and accommodation

Blackpool seafront with tower and pier

If you are joining us in Blackpool for the first day of the conference on 30 March 2022…..

It goes without saying that all of this is subject to Covid regulations at the time. None of us know exactly what we will be able to pull off in March 2022.

Venue details: Blackpool Winter Gardens

Photo of inside the Winter GardensThe Winter Gardens in the heart of Blackpool is home to some of the best conference and event facilities in the UK. The venue is full of charm, heritage, and character, and boasts meeting spaces, the likes of which you won’t find anywhere else in the world. Officially opening in 1878, you will discover beautiful architecture dating back to the Victorian age, much of which has recently received tasteful refurbishment that is faithful to the building’s proud history. You can find out more on the official Winter Gardens website – check out their Heritage page in particular to learn about the interesting stories behind some of the spaces you will experience at the conference, and visit the virtual tour of the Winter Gardens where you can see some of their fabulous spaces.

Our conference will be one of the first to be hosted in the Winter Gardens’ brand new purpose-built Conference and Exhibition Centre, which you can read about here: Conference & Exhibition Centre | Winter Gardens Blackpool.

The venue is fully accessible. Please read through our commitment to accessibility at the conference. All accessibility information can be found on the Blackpool Winter Gardens and Opera House AccessAble webpages.

The Conference Centre is located in the town centre and is easily accessible from all areas of the resort using public transport. Blackpool has an excellent transport system with the tramway running the whole length of the promenade, and a clean modern and efficient bus service. Download the BPL Buses and Trams app to buy tickets, plan your journey and get real time updates on services.

The full postal address for the Winter Gardens is: 97 Church Street, Blackpool FY1 1HL, with the Conference and Exhibition Centre accessed either just off the Floral Hall in the main complex, or via the separate entrance on Leopold Grove.



There is loads of accommodation to choose from in Blackpool at a range of prices. But a word of warning, don’t leave it too long to book.

Many of us will be staying at the Imperial Hotel, including conference organisers and keynote speakers. It’s a 19th century hotel which is comfortable and quite grand, and a throw-back to the resort’s Victorian heyday. It’s got some lovely posh public rooms. Some people think the bedrooms are a bit dated, but we love it all the same.

If you want something more modern, or at different price points, we suggest you take a look at the accommodation listed on this link. They are all keen to support our conference and are therefore offering special rates for delegates who stay with them. But if you don’t find something you like there, then the official VisitBlackpool website offers a wider choice. All accommodation featured has been independently assessed against set criteria.

For those of you coming in groups (schools for example), and if you are travelling on a really tight budget, we have thought of you too if you are happy to share rooms – some might even have bunk beds. We have reserved a whole hostel for the conference and you can book directly through us if you wish to stay there – contact headstart@blackpool.gov.uk. Backpackers Blackpool is clearly one of the cheaper accommodation sites in Blackpool and has been accredited by Visit Blackpool. The hostel is right in the centre of Blackpool where our conference is being held. It is also within walking distance of stations if you are travelling by train or coach. Parking is not available at the hostel, however we have numerous pay and display car parking across town. The accommodation has a large lounge area on the ground floor and also a games room in the basement. Free Wi-Fi access is included and you can also make light refreshments since there is a microwave, kettle and toaster. Please note that the hostel doesn’t have good disabled access; there are four steps into the building and the rooms are small. We do have other accommodation available for disabled delegates, so please contact headstart@blackpool.gov.uk for more info.



Blackpool is Britain’s most loved holiday destination, which should come as no surprise when you think about the huge range of attractions available all year round, as well as the new seafront, world class events and spectacular lighting shows.

If you are feeling adventurous take a trip up the famous Blackpool Tower, which soars 158 metres above the town or get your adrenaline pumping at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, where you can ride the UK’s tallest rollercoaster, the Big One.

Quieter adventurers can appreciate Blackpool’s calmer side by strolling down the newly renovated South Promenade, where they will discover contemporary artwork by pop artist Sir Peter Blake and the glittery spectacle that is the world’s largest Mirror Ball in the Great Promenade Show. Marvel at the gag-tastic Comedy Carpet which includes the work of over 1000 comedians and comedy writers from the days of music hall right up to today’s stand up greats.

The magnificent Winter Gardens have a fantastic programme of unmissable events from award-winning West End to big name music concerts, as well as the Blackpool Grand Theatre offering the stunning design of Frank Matcham.

Our original September 2020 conference was arranged so that you could come and see the world-famous Blackpool Illuminations. They turn six miles of promenade into a glittering festival of light and magic. Unfortunately they won’t still be on in March, but check out these charming photos of an unlit lockdown Blackpool.

Whether you are nine or 90, there are plenty of things you can do in Blackpool and with a wide range of accommodation from hotels to self-catering; there is something for every pocket.


Getting to Blackpool

The nearest airports are Manchester and Liverpool John Lennon. Each of them is located approximately 1 hour away from Blackpool.

From either of these Blackpool can be accessed by road, rail or coach. Click here for full details on the Visit Blackpool webpages.

Travel from London: Those delegates arriving in London should look to travel to Blackpool by trains departing London Euston Station (journey time approximately 2.5hrs) or by coach from London Victoria Coach Station (journey time approximately 6 hrs)


The Blackpool Tourist Information Centre can be found at

Tourist Information Centre
Festival House

Telephone: +44 (0)1253 478222

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