BLACKPOOL’S cheap and cheerful reputation was boosted last month when a survey rated it the cheapest place to stay of all the UK’s summer attractions. (Edinburgh was the priciest).

But there’s more to Blackpool than stag weekends and hen parties and fish and chips on the Golden Mile.

The town is pushing the slogan ‘Blackpool’s back’, in a bid to shed its image of faded glamour and tacky arcades.

And there’s a lot of truth to the claim. The sheer range of entertainments on offer means you are never likely to be bored, especially if you are there with kids.

My boys, Jamie, 11 and Kester, seven, had a whale of a time at Sea Life Blackpool , an aquarium on the promenade where you can stick your head up in a Perspex bubble and gawp as rays glide past like strange spaceships and sharks swish by, still menacing despite the fact that none quite rival Jaws for size (thankfully).

Celebrity spotting is the order of the day at Blackpool’s own Madame Tussauds, and again there is good family fun to be had, with waxworks of plenty of recent stars such as Ant and Dec and Lady Gaga, so it isn’t all people children won’t know (although Ronnie Corbett and Stanley Matthews also appear). The highlight here was dipping your hands in wax – which costs extra, but lets you take away a colourful moulding of your paw, like a cross between a candle and a Marigold glove.

Also extra are the photographs which you are encouraged to have taken at many attractions around Blackpool, as an optional extra. These can be enormous but pricey fun.

The cost can be reduced by buying in bulk for a number of the attractions – a resort pass lasts a week, and lets you into nine attractions for £80, or six for £55.

As well as both Madame Tussauds and Sea Life, these include Blackpool Pleasure Beach, with its famous rollercoasters, the sprawling Sandcastle Waterpark with more than 18 slides, including jet powered ‘watercoasters’, and the attractive Blackpool Zoo, which boasts a wolf pack and some very talented sea lions which the boys loved.

We found that each of these, as well as the surprisingly impressive Blackpool Tower could easily keep the family busy for half a day or more, leaving time to stroll along the beach or explore the famous piers.

While those stag parties are still a part of the night time ‘experience’ there are plenty of ways to avoid them. After dining on ribs from Captain Jacks at the Coral Island family entertainment complex, we caught Cats at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, which left the boys open-mouthed. You can still catch the show, which features Jane McDonald as Grizabella, until September 6th.

And don’t forget those fish and chips. We had ours from Blackpool’s Harry Ramsden’s where Jamie won an extra ice cream sundae on the wheel of fortune.

How to get there:

By road (three hours and five minutes via M6, 195 miles)

By rail: Glasgow Central to Blackpool North from £12.50)

Accommodation: The Big Blue Hotel