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For information on Lytham & Fairhaven click here.

 St.Annes-on-the-Sea
Visitor Guide & Tourist Information.

Plan of the proposed town of St.Annes, 1874.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 coast.

To download a printable version of the new St.Annes Town Trail click here.

 The Seafront

The beach & sand dunes to the north of St.Annes Pier.

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).

South Promenade & Beach, St.Annes-on-Sea

 

 South Promenade

Miniature Railway, St.Annes PromenadeThere 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.

 

The Boating Lake, St.Annes PromenadeIf 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 click here.

St.Annes Promenade

 

 

The Lifeboat House, St.Annes Promenade

 Lytham St.Annes Lifeboat is stationed in the Lifeboat House on South Promenade; also the RNLI gift shop.

 

The original St.Annes lifeboat house (1883) is in Eastbank Road. Near the bandstand (1897) is a statue of a lifeboatman, commemorating Britain's worst ever lifeboat disaster in 1886.

 The Lifeboat Monunument, South Promenade Gardens, St.Annes.


The Gardens, St.Annes PromenadeThe 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

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.

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 foreshore.

 

 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.

The beach & sand dunes north of the pier, St.Annes. In the distance is Blackpool Pleasure Beach & Blackpool Tower.

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.  Windsports on North Beach, St.Annes.

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 window).

 

The Blackburn Miners Home, St.Annes on Sea, 1916. Behind is the Thursby Convalescent Home for Burnley Children, built in 1904.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.

Thursby Convalescent Home, St.Annes-on-Sea, opened in 1905.

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.

The new tram depot for Blackpool, 2010.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).

Blackpool viewed from the railway bridge, Squires Gate.Running directly 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, 1909).

Beyond the Airport is the Halfway House pub and opposite are some large stores including Currys, Comet, Maplins, PC World, Staples and Morrisons.

There is a railway station at Squires Gate (trains hourly) and buses (no.7 & no.11) every few minutes to Blackpool and Lytham St.Annes.

 




St.Annes Town Centre 

St.Annes Road West (The Square), St.Annes, looking towards the pier from the Crescent.

Marks & Spencer Simply Food, Clifton Drive, St.Annes, Lancashire

 

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 every month.

 

 

Back St.Annes Road West.

To the left of Marks & Spencer is a back street and tucked away along here are a few small family-run businesses including a sandwich shop.

Further along, between Orchard Road and Park Road is a second-hand furniture shop and Urban Nurseries Outlet  (open Summer 2013 Mon-Sat 11.30 a.m.- 4 p.m.). Specialising in made-to-order hanging baskets, they also have bedding plants, shrubs, alpines and compost.

 

 

Wood Street, St.Annes

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 favourite is St.Annes Fish and Chip Restaurant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ashton Gardens, St.AnnesAshton 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.

Miniature Golf, St.Annes Promenade

Lytham St.Annes has four golf courses:
Royal Lytham & St.Annes Golf Club
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 South Promenade.

 

 For information on Lytham & Fairhaven click here.

FOR THE OFFICIAL GUIDE TO THE FYLDE & LYTHAM ST.ANNES CLICK HERE 

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