Before I start there is one thing I need to say Lytham and St Annes are two different places with 2 different town centres and I am reviewing St Annes and not Lytham. (ok it is now a single borough but the people that live in these places see them as separate towns) If you put either St Annes or Lytham into google etc you will get information on both Lytham and St Annes (A lot of people think it is one place - Lytham St Annes)
The full name is St Annes-On-the-Sea which is shortened to St Annes .
A Bit of History
Colonal Clifton the squire of Lytham wanted to develop the area known as 'West End' (That part is now St Annes) All there was in 1870 was Dunes, a railway from Blackpool to Lytham and some farms and cottages that paid rent to the Clifton's. They had seen the good of Lytham as a resort so saw the dunes as somewhere they could develop. They started in 1872 with Clfton Drive (a road which runs parallel to the front) which they linked to Heyhouses Lane (the original road from Lytham to Blackpool) by another Road (St Annes Road).
In 1874 a business man (Elijah Hargreaves) was visiting and saw what was happening. He leased some land from the Cliftons (which is now the centre). Plans were drawn and a new town was eventually formed.
The Pier was started in 1879 and opened in 1885. It had a mock Tudor entrance which it still has today. In 1982 a fire destroyed part of the pier so it was reduced to two thirds its original size
St Annes is South of Blackpool and people think it is a lot quieter, they also think it is the place where people retire to. It does have a higher than average aging popularity. But also lots of small primary schools. It only has one high school and could do with another one as there are about 1600 - 1700 children that go there.
It is a lot different to Blackpool and doesn't have the same buzz because it is not as big - it hasn't got the big front of arcades etc or pubs along the front.
It has a good front - it is great to walk along the promenade through the gardens or past the band stand which has music playing on a Sunday afternoon in the summer. It has 2 paddling pools one is near the band stand and has a great atmosphere when the children are splashing around in it. The nice weather just brings everybody together. There is a little train which goes around the front, it has trampolines and a big inflatable play activity thing and mini golf. They also have a few rides and what my daughter calls bungy jumping (but it's not)
On the lake it has peddle boats and some big balls that children can get zipped into and go onto the water in them. My daughter says it is very difficult to stand up and run in these and you do get a bit wet but it's great fun. My youngest wanted to go in but I couldn't allow a 2 year old to go in one, plus I was jealous that I couldn't have a go.
The front is very family friendly although the swimming pool has now closed down (The local authority needed to save money).
It also used to have a Salters Wharf with a play area but now it is a Toby Cavery with no indoor play area but it still has one outside. I think this is a huge shame as it was somewhere you could go for a meal and then relax a little as the children played (depending on their age) or just go for a coffee in the afternoon whilst children played. Although I do believe children should also be able to go out for a meal without it involving a ball pool etc.
It has 2 arcades which is obviously great for children one of them has an over 18's part and a part where ther are just rides which is great for kids or at least my youngest. They have a small ten pin bowling which is two lanes.
The cinema (or pictures as I call it)is next to one of the arcades it is a little cinema which reminds me of when I used to go to the pictures when I was younger, small seats and litter. - not great.
"The train" is also on the front - this is an old train carriage part of it is a cafe (it used to be licensed) it has only just re opened. I went with my family last Tuesday and was so disappointed, my husband and I reallty fancied a lager (very rare for me I am a wine drinker) and as it was my husbands birthday why shouldn't we have the one. That's when we found out it was no longer licensed ok a fizzy drink. I then went on to order the food (it was mid afternoon so we didn't want anything great) no white bread - ok we will have wholemeal, - no chips ...... well we decided to forget it.
The other carriage is a souvenier shop.
It has a lovely sandy beach although it is very rare if you see the sea come in - great when it does as the sea is part of a day out on the beach. When the weather is nice it gets very busy near the arcade part of the beach, you can see children building sandcastles and adults sun bathing. At a certain time of the year they have a big inflatable slide here and sunbeds for hire. Further out they have the donkeys to ride on(do they still have them anywhere else?). If you don't want to be near the busy part (not sure I should be telling you this) you can go either way along the beach one way it the hard dampish sand but there is concrete where you can sit. I think this part is great for playing frisbie or ball etc. The other way you have to climb over the sand dunes for the nice soft sand. Don't have a picnic on the beach if it is windy - sandy sandwiches don't get any better as you get older.
There are plenty of nice hotels on the promenade which have leisure facilities and a bar etc. Not so close to the front there are a few B&B's. There isn't many cafes or restaurants along the front although some of the hotel restaurants are open to non residents.
The town centre (the square) is very small towards somewhere like Manchester, it has quite a few charity shops for the size of the town - my husband loves browsing through charity shops. It has bakeries, cafes, pubs, restaurants (we like the Italian ones)and some well known shops such as wh smiths.
It also has Ashton gardens which has a great park for children and lovely gardens etc. It is now being refurbished
There are lots of dance and performing arts academies in St Annes which give fantastic opportunities for children.
I love walking along the front on a nice day - it makes me feel like I am on holiday whether it is is through the gardens or along the front. The streets are very quiet but not so you feel unsafe at least in the daytime.
It has the Old Links Golf Club which hosts the Opens. I am not familiar with golf so any information you want about this can be found on the internet.
I think St Annes is great but it is changing to try and get tourists in to make money - this I don't like - I am quite happy with a quiet litte seaside town with no well known big shops (which was spoilt when Marks & Spencers food came along.
St Annes is within easy reach of other big towns and there are a few little places around.
Lets keep nice little towns as they are.
But please people that don't live in either town remember they are different places with tiny towns in between (Ansdell and Fairhaven)