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 coast.
To download a printable version of the new St.Annes Town
Trail click here.
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
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 click here.
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
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.
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
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).
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,
Beyond the Airport is the Halfway House pub and opposite are
some large stores including Currys, Comet, Maplins, PC World, Staples and
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
In town there are a large number of shops for all budgets, from Marks & Spencer Simply Food, to B&M Bargains & Homebargains. A Farmer's Market is held in St Annes Square on the first Thursday of every
month except January.
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 Spring-Autumn Mon-Sat noon
- 4 p.m.). Specialising in made-to-order hanging baskets, they also have bedding
plants, shrubs, alpines and compost.
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 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