It looks like the Eiffel Tower. Is it just a copy? I suppose it is. Building the tower, the 120th anniversary of which falls this year, was the idea of mayor John Bickerstaffe, who came back from the 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris, France, so impressed by the Eiffel Tower that he commissioned one like it for Blackpool. It cost £290,000 to build and featured five million bricks, 2,500 tonnes of iron and 93 tonnes of steel. It opened on May 14, 1894. At 158 metres, it is about half the height of the 324-metre Paris landmark. And unlike the Eiffel Tower it is not free-standing. Nor has Jackie Chan filmed a fight scene on it. Blackpool isn't Paris, is it? No, it most definitely isn't. Lying on the northwest coast of England, Blackpool is not a destination known for romance, food, wine and culture, but bracing seaside air, fish 'n' chips, kiss-me-quick hats, fortune tellers and the Pleasure Beach amusement park. It is, however, Britain's most popular holiday destination, with 13 million visitors a year. So why pay a visit? On a clear day - which can't be guaranteed in rainy Britain - you can see as far as the Lake District and down to north Wales. It is a feat of engineering and an example of just how good the Victorians were at building things. Five attractions can be found inside the tower complex: the "eye", the ballroom (above), the circus (below), the "dungeon" and an adventure playground. Its ballroom boasts an impressive Wurlitzer organ and a unique sprung dance floor that has been the venue for BBC television show Come Dancing and, more recently, Strictly Come Dancing . The basement circus, which is as old as the tower, stopped featuring wild animals in 1990. Has the tower changed much since 1894? From the outside, it still looks very much the same. However, inside, a garden, an aviary and an aquarium have been replaced with an adventure playground and the Blackpool Tower Dungeon, a walk-through attraction that tells the horrible history of Lancashire - plague boils, witch trials and all. The Blackpool Tower Eye, featuring a 4D show and the Walk of Faith (below) - a 5cm-thick glass floor that allows those without vertigo to look at the promenade far below their feet - was added in 2011. The hydraulic lifts, thankfully, have also been changed, the last time being in 1991. The ballroom was rebuilt after it was destroyed by fire in 1956. During the second world war, the crow's nest was removed and antennae added to the tower so it could be used as a radar station. Is it true you can have your name in lights on the Blackpool Tower? Yes. For a fee of £500 (HK$6,200) you can choose the colour of the tower's 25,000 eco-friendly bulbs when it lights up at night. You can also write in bulbs a name or special message through the heart - made up of 900 programmable LEDs - of the tower. Apparently, the lights can create an astonishing 16 million colours (name more than 100, I challenge you). So when is the best time to visit and how much does it cost? Definitely on a clear day. In the summer, it gets very busy and, out of season, the show times change, so it is best to check the website first ( theblackpooltower.com ). An evening in early autumn would be a good time as you also catch the famous Blackpool Illuminations, when the town's 10km-long promenade is lit up with thousands of displays. Tickets range from £9.95 for children and £12.95 for adults for a single trip to the Blackpool Tower Eye and up to £39.35 and £51.80 for all five tower attractions. Discounts are available if you book online.