Day 189 Blackpool – The King of Seaside Resorts

Sunday 11 October 2015

Knott End-on-sea, Wyre to Warton, Fylde

16 miles

Great Birchwood Country Park

It had been a mild night and the morning got off to a good start when Jimmy and Lesley invited me into their caravan for tea and a croissant before I set off. I spent 40 minutes chatting to them before heading off to get the Wyre Rose Ferry.  

The Wyre Rose approaching Knott End
 Although divided by the River Wyre, there appears to be a strong connection between Knott End and Fleetwood, probably linked by their fishing history. 

L S Lowry’s Matchstick Man and his Dog – Lowry used to stand here and sketch the ferry
 The Victorian town of Fleetwood was finance by Sir Peter Hesketh in 1835 and the layout was well-designed for a seaside resort. Some of the buildings designed by the noted Victorian architect, Decimus Burton, still remain, as do the parks.  

The North Euston Hotel, Fleetwood

Marine Gardens by The Esplanade
 Reassuringly British resort names such as The Esplanade and Marine Gardens abound. The town has the air of a once-renowned resort.  

The Mount Pavilion
 Upon leaving Fleetwood the scenery changed. From here onwards I felt like I was walking my way through the British class system. Apart from Rossall School, which has rather a grand old building in the middle of a large estate, Rossall itself was very rundown. It reminded me of Jaywick, the Essex ‘benefits’ town. Cleveleys was not that much better; although the facade and design of the apartment blocks was steadily improving.  

Sea front housing, Cleverleys
 In contrast to the down-at-heel look of the accommodation, money had been spent on the Cleveleys sea front. The Tarmac was new, there were sculptures and weird-looking lampposts. It was a complete contrast to most of the houses and flats just across the street.  

The revamped promenade, Cleverleys
A shell sculpture in the sea
  A notice told me that £1.5M was being spent enhancing the sea front. This is in conjunction with £85M being spent on improving the sea defences at Rossall and Anchorsholme.  

Looking along the shingle beach to Blackpool Tower
 I had been following the promenade most of the way but was forced to leave the sea front just after passing the rather splendid coastguard lookout tower. There were local volunteers there watching birds and collecting litter, and the tower was open to the public. I didn’t bother going in because it was a dull day so not much was visible.  

The Coastguard lookout at Rossall Point
 The sea front was closed due to the work to improve the defences and I was forced onto the main road at Anchorsholme. I jumped on a tram to take me along the front to Blackpool Tower. The trams are very convenient and cover 11 miles of the coastline, from Fleetwood to the Southern tip of Blackpool.  

Random, colourful stuff along Blackpool front
 Blackpool; an assault on my senses even from the tram. It was teaming with people. To begin with every house on the front was either a guest house or a hotel. Then came the attractions – there was stuff to look at everywhere. I don’t even know what most of it was but it was all big and colourful and the people were loud.  

Slightly tacky?
 I alighted the tram at The Tower and made my way back a street to the shops (I needed to buy another map). There were street entertainers and sellers everywhere. I thought placing the 99p shop directly opposite the Pound shop was genius – I know which one my mother would shop at! This place is not short on things to see and do!  

Blackpool Tower
 I thought I might go up the Blackpool Tower, but at £35 for the privilege I decided not to. Instead I got back on the tram and headed to the terminus at Starr Gate.  

Central Pier (and the tram)
 Blackpool had made me smile. It is definitely the King of the seaside resorts.  

The Big One
 The tide was going out and from Blackpool to St Annes is a big sandy beach protected from the road behind by large dunes.  

Looking back at the famous landmarks
 It was nice to give my feet a rest from the concrete. Yet more people! This time they all had husky-type dogs with leads tied around their waists. There were also families out on the beach and I saw kids taking donkey rides.  

donkey rides on the beach
 St Annes looked more upmarket, although it does have a rather dilapidated-looking pier. The houses and flats were getting bigger and better-looking. The beach ended as I rounded the corner into the Ribble estuary and I walked along the road admiring the buildings. I walked past another large, rather posh-looking school and then came to Fairhaven Lake. Here there was a Spitfire MkVb mounted on a pole. It was a replica of Lytham St Anne’s Spitfire, bought by the town’s community when they raised £6,500 in 1940 to help the war effort.  

The replica Lytham St Anne’s Spitfire
 Lytham was the final, and looked to be the richest, town of the day.  

Bigger houses!
 The large, detached houses overlooked lovely grassy areas in front of the sea defences. It even had a beautiful windmill.   

Lytham has a green…
…and a windmill
 I walked along the edge of the River Ribble marshland to get to my campsite, just on the outskirts of Warton.  

Looking across the Ribble marshland to BAE Systems Warton
 This was possibly the worst campsite I’ve stayed at yet and, weirdly, really quite busy. I booked in at the saloon bar, which was a homage to all things Wild West (there was also a shop that sells Stetsons amongst other things but that was shut). Unfortunately it was populated by Neanderthals (I thought they were extinct but it seems they live on in this place). The presence of an outsider was clearly the cue for lewd comments. I pitched my tent behind some trees where it couldn’t be seen and hunkered down for the night. The shower block was filthy and the price I paid was a rip-off. I shan’t hurry back that’s for sure.  

Looking across the River Ribble to Merseyside (cows grazing on the marsh)

5 thoughts on “Day 189 Blackpool – The King of Seaside Resorts

  1. chris frazer October 13, 2015 / 1:49 pm

    I spent three years based in Blackpool……it was emotional! Warton home of BAE’s Typhoon, Blackpool home of TVR. Royal Lytham St Annes…..Fylde Rugby Club…..the memories. You wait for the delights of Preston! On on Juice.


  2. Zephyrine October 13, 2015 / 3:32 pm

    Glad you found the Blackpool tram to your liking! Crazy place… I went up the Tower gratis a couple of years ago, because all employees from the cleaners up gets a free pass – which are then liberally shared among family in friends, but you have to be in the know! I had no idea I saved £35! – I’m glad you found Fairhaven Lake – one of my favourite walks, it takes about 35 mins right round, & has fantastic dune flora at the Blackpool end – I had forgotten to tell you about the replica Spitfire! You can only imagine MY reaction when I first came across it! 🙂
    Looking forward to your next blog… Z x


  3. jcombe October 13, 2015 / 6:49 pm

    I did part of this walk myself a few weeks. I started from Cleveleys and headed north walking round the streets where the sea wall was closed off. When I got to Fleetwood I had missed the last ferry of the day by about 10 minutes – it can’t run when the tide was low and it had just got low enough to stop the boat. I had to take a bus around instead – took an hour!

    I did walk south from Clevelys earlier in the year. I did go up the tower, I don’t think it was as much as £35 I think there is a cheaper tower only ticket. I think the £35 ticket they promote more includes the aquarium and Blackpool Dungeon or something. Probably a bit late for you now though!


    • Lucy November 5, 2015 / 6:54 pm

      Hi. You might be right about the price, I’m not sure. I didn’t hang around long enough. What a shame you missed the ferry. I recommend the walk going South from Blackpool to Lytham. Even better is Southport to Liverpool


  4. jomunday99 October 13, 2015 / 9:59 pm

    35 quid??? Seriously? Just to go up the tower? Campsite sounds delightful – hope you got off the site in one piece!


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