Lytham St Annes Seafront and Promenade
Lytham St Annes (also known as St Annes on Sea) is a small Victorian seaside town on the Fylde Coast in Lancashire. Situated next door to Lytham, with Ansdell and Fairhaven in between. But it has a very different vibe to neighbouring town Blackpool.
Although I was born in South Buckinghamshire and grew up in North Bucks (and now live in Berkshire), I actually lived Lytham St Annes for a number of years. My parents are still there, so now it’s become a bit of a holiday destination!
What is there do to in St Annes?
In the summer months, everything is open (unless the weather is bad) so there is plenty more to do at this time of year. Some things stay open all year round such as the cinema, YMCA swimming pool and St Annes Pier (there are restricted opening times though in the winter months).
All of the activities listed here are on St Annes seafront – so all in one area. The beach is vast and there’s plenty of picnic spots. As well as icecream parlours, cafes and holiday shops (to get your buckets and spades!) Many of these are free to do (not all though) and there’s also free parking along the prom. However in high season, it gets parked up very quickly. There are plenty of pay and display carparks.
So, what are the things to do on St Annes seafront?
St Annes Beach
St Annes beach is situated between the Ribble Estuary and Blackpool, on the Irish Sea. On a clear day you can look over and see Southport in the distance, and you get a great view of the Southport Airshow in July. The beach is long with golden sands and sand dunes. It’s great for kids as in the warmer months there are donkey rides, and occasionally a bouncy castle or trampoline. You can hire out sun loungers close to the pier if need be.
The tide is often out – and it goes out for miles! If you are lucky enough to see the sea, you can have a paddle. There are no coast guards and it’s not the best place for water sports. You can check the tide chart online to see when there is a high or low tide.
St Annes Pier
St Annes pier was open to the public in 1885. You can see it from St Annes square, with a mix of indoor amusements and outdoor space at the other end of the pier.
Take your 2ps for the penny slot machines. There are also other arcade games, grab machines, bowling (it’s only small!) and powered ride ons.
Outside there are two small cafes where you can get coffee and icecream. And a small outdoor seating area. Currently the very end of the pier is being maintained.
Splash is a free splash pad, outdoor water play area. It was previously an old outdoor paddling pool that got neglected, so it was recently transformed into a fun area for kids. They ask you to prebook online so it doesn’t get too busy in there – and each session lasts one hour. Children must be supervised by an adult.
There are toilets/changing rooms which cost 40p. Splash is open between 10am – 4pm subject to weather conditions between April and September.
The Promenade Gardens
Next to the pier you will find the Promenade Gardens. These Victorian gardens include a free outdoor paddling pool for young children (it’ll be filled up on warmer days), bandstand and beautiful flowers. To the right of the pier, you will see the statue of the late Les Dawson. To the right, if you walk further down, you will come to the ornamental lake garden which has a pond, bridge, grotto cave with waterfall and stepping stones over the water.
Pleasure Island is an area where the Island cinema is situated, small arcades and restaurant above. Next door is the Salters Wharf (Toby Carvery), and opposite are more attractions. There is a train carriage which has been transformed into beach shops and an icecream parlour. Next to the train are a few small children’s rides and bungee trampolines.
In that area there are more trampolines, a crazy golf, two pitch and putts, an inflatable assault course, another icecream parlour, and a children’s play park. The rides, trampolines and assault course are there in the summer, subject to weather conditions.
The miniature railway is a well loved train that goes around the pitch and putt, passing the crazy golf and the beach huts on the seafront. It has been a feature since the 1970’s. I can remember taking my niece on it in the nineties, then my son in the noughties, and now my daughter (there’s a twelve year age gap between my children!) There are currently plans to build a sea defence in St Annes, which would be in the place of the railway track. However, the locals are fighting to keep the train which is an iconic part of the town.
Lifeboat Station and Museum
The lifeboat station is behind the Island cinema and it is free to go in. You enter via the little RNLI shop, where you can purchase RNLI stationery and small toys. You can then go up the steps to a mezzanine floor which gives you a good view of the lifeboat. You can read all about the history of the lifeboat and how you can support them.