Destinations / Europe / Lists / Travel / UK

It’s Not All Grim Up North

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not all grim up North! The UK, the north in particular, seems to have a reputation for being a little dull and rainy! The north however boasts some wonderful destinations: the Peak District, Liverpool, the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales to name but a few. It also includes the popular tourist attractions on the Fylde Coast. Aside from Blackpool, with its famous tower and illuminations, the Fylde coast offers plenty of other seaside attractions.

Lytham and St. Annes (and Ansdell and Fairhaven located in between) offer sandy beaches, lovely promenades and plenty of quality local pubs and restaurants. If you take a trip to the North West coast there’s plenty of excitement to have come rain or shine.

Ten Things to Do in St. Annes, Fairhaven & Lytham

1. Visit St. Annes Beach

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St. Annes beach has recently won a Seaside Award to reflect its cleanliness and water quality. Visiting again lately, it is more than deserving of the title. The beach is well maintained, there’s a noticeable lack of litter and there’s plenty of facilities nearby such as toilets, gardens and cafés. Perfect for a picnic or a paddle, the beach is close to many other amenities that can keep the whole family entertained. There’s pitch and putt, a cinema, a boating lake and a paddling pool, as well as trampolines, an old train converted into various shops and it’s close to the town centre. Best enjoyed on a sunny day, St. Annes beach is well worth a day trip.

2. Enjoy the amusements on the Pier 

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Overhanging the beach is St. Annes Pier; a Victorian era pier.  The Pier once housed a Moorish Pavilion but it was destroyed by a fired in 1982 and deemed irreparable. Due to protests at its demolition it was decided that the final 150 foot of the pier, the old landing jetty, should remain.  It can still be seen today, standing solitarily, just off the end of the current Pier.

Inside the Peir there are an array of amusements to enjoy; slot machines, a small bowling alley, plenty of fun and games for children. On the uncovered stretch of deck there is also a brand new cafe where visitors can enjoy drinks and snacks overlooking the beach. Plenty to keep everyone amused whatever the weather.

3. Grab a drink at the No 10 Ale House

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New to the St. Annes Pub scene, No 10 Ale House is a micro pub promoting real ale, ciders and fine wine. The small bar has no TV’s and aims to encourage the old art of conversation. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming and it is somewhere to enjoy a quality drink, whether as part of a night out or as part of a day exploring the town.

4. Try a delicious snack from Hungry Monkey  

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Located down an alley, just off the main square, Hungry Monkey is a family run sandwich shop. With reasonable prices and great quality, it is a great place to pick up a snack or stock up for a picnic on the beach.

5. Visit Fairhaven Lake 

Most people refer to the area as Lytham St. Annes, ignoring the fact it is two separate towns with Ansdell and Fairhaven located in between. Though rarely mentioned, Ansdell, is home to Fairhaven Lake and Granny’s Bay.

Fairhaven Lake is one of the borough’s most popular attractions with many recreational facilities provided: motorboats, canoes, flat green bowling, tennis courts and the recently opened Skate Park. Other lakeside facilities include a café and the RSPB Discovery Centre. The lake is great for an afternoon meander or to relax in the parks. You can also access the lake from the beach and enjoy the views across to Southport from Granny’s bay.

6. See the White Church

Close to the Lake, is the church locally known as The White Church (officially the Fairhaven United Reformed Church). It is a distinctive architectural landmark in the town and worth a glance when passing from Ansdell into Lytham.

7. Stroll along Lytham prom

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When the English weather gives you the opportunity you should take advantage of a stroll down Lytham seafront. The promenade runs adjacent to the beach, with beautiful views over the Ribble estuary towards the Welsh mountains. Starting at Granny’s Bay, at the edge of Fairhaven Lake, it leads to the centre of Lytham. It’s a relaxing saunter towards the well known Lytham Windmill. Lytham Green provides plenty of space to enjoy a picnic, some sport or just to relax. The prom is somewhere appealing to take a pit stop on a fine day.

You should also check out Lytham Proms which takes place annually on the Green.

8. Admire Lytham Windmill

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Lytham Windmill is situated on Lytham Green and was designed for grinding wheat and oats to make flour or bran. Since milling on the site ceased in 1921 the mill has been open to the public during the summer as a museum. It is Lytham’s most iconic landmark and has survived through some terrible storms to be reformed to its former glory. The exhibitions inside have improved greatly since I was a child and the view from the top remains as lovely as ever. A great little stop off on a day out.

  9. Try a fine Wine and Deli Snack at Barrique 

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Barrique is a brand new wine store and deli in Lytham. The Wines and produce are available to take away or to sit in and enjoy. They also have an intriguing wine vending machine. The machine offers wine by the glass in tasting, small or large measures, all served at a perfect temperature. This allows wine lovers and people new to wine to try many different wines and find one which suits their tastes. These can all be enjoyed alongside a great selection of meats and cheeses from the deli.

The most appealing aspect of this bar is that it is not overly pretentious. The decor is high quality, as are the products on offer but you do not feel  too intimidated to ask questions or seek advice on what to try.

10. Enjoy a great lunch at the Vinyl Groove Café  

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As a teenager I worked in a café in Lytham for many years. I enjoyed it and met some lifelong friend there. In place of the café where I worked, there is a new venture called the Vinyl Groove Café. Admittedly, my first visit was merely to nosey at what had been done to the place but I must confess I was impressed. The vinyl theme appeals to me as a music lover but the food is no less pleasant. The café also sells vinyl records and the artwork decorating the walls is also music themed, with pictures of Jimi Hendrix and Prince created from old vinyl. The background music is a great playlist of old and new classics and the atmosphere is hospitable and relaxed. It’s a small café but the locally sourced food and homemade cakes are delicious. I can wholly recommend the potted shrimps and chocolate orange brownie!

 

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