For information on Lytham & Fairhaven click here.
Visitor Guide & Tourist Information.
St.Annes-on-the-Sea didn't exist until 1875; before then
the site was part of Lytham Manor. There was nothing but sand dunes between the beach and the
railway; inland there were farms & fields.
In 1875 a group of Rossendale businessmen formed a company to develop the new
resort which they hoped would be less boisterous than Blackpool but livelier than Lytham.
St.Annes was a popular middle-class resort from the 1880s until the 1960s
attracting millowners and businessmen. Times change though, holidays abroad became cheaper
and, in common with all British holiday resorts, St.Annes went into decline.
Since the mid-1980s millions of pounds has been invested in
improving accommodation and the better hotels can rival any on the Lancashire coast. The
town centre has been transformed, gardens have been renovated and the cash-strapped local council
has managed to maintain most of the attractions.
Visitors to St.Annes are a mix of businessmen & women, families with young
children and retired people. Like Lytham, this is a good destination for a quiet,
relaxing holiday or a base for touring Lancashire and the Lake District. Blackpool, with its tower,
piers, zoo, theatre, opera house, pleasure beach and nightlife, is just four miles along the
To download a printable version of the new St.Annes Town Trail
North Promenade (above) is north of the Pier
with sand dunes and miles of golden sands to explore. The most popular beach, and
the main tourist area, is along South Promenade (below).
There are many attractions
along South Promenade suitable for families with young
children: Apart from the golden sands, there's gardens, a
miniature train, trampolines, children's rides, boating, water walkers,
miniature golf course & crazy
golf & ice cream stalls. Also, Salters Wharf Pub/Restaurant & St.Annes Pier.
The Island Entertainment Cinema reopened in July 2011; for film
listings and times click here.
If that hasn't worn the kids out
then in the summer there are donkey rides and a bouncy castle on the sands.
There is an indoor swimming pool & gym; for opening times
The gardens on South Promenade were laid out in 1896 and the Alpine
Gardens (opposite the Grand Hotel) 1907-14. There are some ornate Victorian
shelters and fountains.
St.Annes Pier & Jetty
St.Annes Pier (1883) has an amusement arcade, small
ten-pin bowling alley, shops & cafe.
On a clear day there are good views across the Ribble Estuary to
Southport and the Welsh Mountains.
The pier was officially opened in 1885 and the mock-tudor
entrance was built in 1899. Look above the entrance and you can see a bay
window; this contains the boardroom of the St.Annes Land & Building
Company and 100 years ago the directors could watch as the wild expanse of sand
dunes was transformed into the new resort of St.Annes.
At the pierhead (the seaward end) there were two Edwardian
pavilions, a theatre (1904) and an orchestral hall (1910), but both were
destroyed by fire (1974 & 1982) resulting in the demolition of the
pierhead in 1984. The jetty was left standing in splendid isolation.
Since 1985 the remaining pier structure has been renovated &
improved, funded by income from the amusement arcade and shops.
Access to the remaining open promenade deck at the far end is in
the summer only. During the renovations in 1985, this open section was
stripped of the steel used to widen it in 1901-04 and the original arched supports,
designed by Alexander Dowson (1883), were revealed. When first constructed the
whole pier was this width and was far more graceful as it stood twice as
high over the sands, and the tide came in twice a day.
The old jetty, St.Annes Pier. Only one
storey of the jetty can now be seen but there were originally three storeys and a
deep channel passed in front, suitable for steamboats which took passengers to
Lytham, Southport & Blackpool.
When a new shipping channel to Preston was created in the 1890s
the old channel silted up and the level of sand on St.Annes beach rose by over 20
feet. Since then, it is only on very high tides that the water covers the
North Promenade & Beach to Squires Gate.
Next to the pier car-park, in the small North
Promenade Garden, there is a statue of comedian Les
Dawson. North of here is a good beach and miles of sand dunes
stretching to the boundary with Blackpool.
On a good day this is a pleasant walk and from the top of the dunes there are
views of the Old Links Golf Course, Blackpool Airport, Pleasure Beach and Tower.
Looking much further inland across the flat plain of the Fylde, you can
see the backbone of England, the Pennines.
Windsports on North
Just beyond the end of North Promenade is the
Trax Windsports Centre, by the old Sandyacht Club. There is now a
beachfront cafe and if you're feeling
energetic there are facilities for: Power Kiting, Kite Buggying,
Kite Landboarding, Kite Surfing, Stand Up Paddle, Sea Kayaks,
Wakeboarding and Ball Sports.
For more information visit the website (opens in a new
In Victorian times,
several charities built convalescent homes amongst the dunes. Some were
for children recovering from illness, and others allowed poor
children from the polluted industrial towns to have a holiday at the
seaside. The Ormerod Home and Manchester Home stood near the sand
yacht club and have been demolished.
The Blackburn Home stood further along the coast
and has also been demolished and replaced by luxury apartments.
The one remaining example is the Thursby Convalescent Home
for Burnley Children, Clifton Drive, built by Sir John Scarlett Thursby, a Burnley
colliery owner; it opened in 1905 and is now a nursing home.
Alongside the Thursby Home is a compound for the diggers
and wagons which extract sand from the beach. The sand is sold
to contractors and there's no shortage because the beach level is over 20
feet higher than it was in 1900.
On the other side of Clifton Drive is Lytham St.Annes Nature Reserve which was created in 1968 to
protect some of the last remaining sand dunes. On the other side of the railway
(opened as the Blackpool & Lytham Railway in 1863) is the Old Links Golf
Club (formed 1901); this is a links course created from sand dunes and
farmers fields when the club moved to this site in 1911.
Next to the Nature Reserve was the Squires Gate Holiday
Camp which dates from the 1930s when hundreds of tents and caravans occupied
the land in the summer. In the 1960s Pontins developed the camp which was
hugely popular. Pontins closed in 2009 and most of the site was demolished in
2010. There are plans to build 350 homes on the site.
Continuing to the
boundary with Blackpool, just after the sand dunes, an immense building
(left) is under construction. This will be the new tram depot for Blackpool.
The boundary with Blackpool is known sometimes as
'Squires Gate' (gate onto the Squire of Lytham's
land) but also as 'Starr Gate' (named
after the starr grass, planted to stabilise the sand dunes).
inland from this point is Squires Gate Lane and on the corner is The Dunes Cafe.
A brief walk inland will take you over the railway bridge and
past Blackpool Airport (site of the first Official Aviation Meeting in England,
Beyond the Airport is the Halfway House pub and opposite
are some large stores including Currys, Comet, Maplins, PC World, Staples
There is a railway station at Squires Gate (trains hourly) and buses (no.7 & no.11) every few minutes to Blackpool and
St.Annes Town Centre
In town there are a large number of shops for all budgets, from J R Taylors Department Store &
Marks & Spencer Simply Food, to B&M Bargains (in the Square & Wood
Street) & Homebargains. A Farmer's Market is held in St Annes Square on the first Thursday of
There's a very good choice of restaurants &
cafes mainly in Wood Street, Orchard Road, Park Road & St.Andrew's Road South. If its
Traditional Fish and Chips then my favorite is St.Annes Fish and Chip Restaurant.
Ashton Gardens has various facilities and the whole site
has undergone restoration. The railings (removed for the War effort in 1942)
have been replaced, the entrance lodges and the War Memorial have been cleaned, lighting
has been improved and the gardens spruced up.
The old Ashton Institute (previously used as a snooker hall) was been taken down
and re-erected on the site of the Ashton Pavilion Theatre (destroyed by fire in 1977). This 'new'
building is colonial style and contains a cafe which opened in June 2010.
Opposite the gardens, in St.George's Road, is Gerrards Auction Rooms - worth a visit on a viewing day - and alongside, in part of the
indoor market, is a small antiques centre.
Entertainment is laid on in most hotels but for shows
there is the Lowther Pavilion, Lytham, and the Opera House & Grand Theatre, Blackpool. There is dancing to
the Wurlitzer at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom (check days & times)
and on a much smaller scale, Ray Gordon's Big Jazz
Band at the Monterey Beach Hotel, St.Annes (most Mondays
excluding Bank Holidays.
Lytham St.Annes has four golf courses:
Royal Lytham & St.Annes Golf
Fairhaven Golf Club
Old Links Golf Club
Green Drive Golf Club
Also the Lucky Strike Golf Driving Range
A little less challenging is the Miniature Golf Course & Crazy Golf on
For information on Lytham & Fairhaven click here.
FOR THE OFFICIAL GUIDE TO THE FYLDE & LYTHAM