Although commonly known as Lytham St Annes, this affluent conurbation in the Fylde district of Lancashire comprises two separate towns; Lytham and St Annes-on-Sea. Both lie on the north bank of the Ribble Estuary.
St Annes-on-Sea, more commonly known as St Annes, was developed in the latter half of the 19th century as an upmarket seaside resort. It is home to the majority of the areas hotels and accommodation. Lytham is a much older settlement and is renowned for its speciality shops and boutiques. Together, the two towns serve as a destination in themselves and as a refined base for visitors to Blackpool.
Golf draws many visitors to the area. The Royal Lytham and St Annes Golf Club is the most notable of several courses here. It is one of the nine links courses that hold the Open Championship.
St Annes was a planned town made viable as a tourist resort due to the completion of a railway line in 1863 that linked Lytham and Blackpool.
In 1874 Elijah Hargreaves, a wealthy mill owner from Rawtenstall, formed the St Annes Land and Building Company to develop the area as a resort for the middle classes of Lancashire.
The first properties constructed included the St Annes Hotel and the St Annes-on-Sea train station, both opened in 1876. A separate company was formed to build the majestic St Annes Pier. St George’s Gardens (now Ashton Gardens) were also established around this time.
St Annes is home to most of the hotels, B&B’s, and guest houses in the area.
The Island entertainment complex in St Annes closed in September 2009. It featured a 3-screen cinema, tenpin bowling alley, restaurant, and amusement arcade. It opened as Pleasure Island in the early 90s on the site of the town’s former open air swimming pool.
Lytham dates back to around medieval times. Until the rise of tourism in the early 19th century it was home to a community mainly dependent on fishing and shrimping.
Today the town is a prosperous area with several exclusive housing developments. It is nicknamed ‘Leafy Lytham’ due to the abundance of trees lining its streets. Clifton Street, one the town’s main shopping districts, is a notable example.
Lytham Green lies between the shore and the Central Beach road and is home to the iconic whitewashed Lytham Windmill and the Old Lytham Lifeboat House.
Fairhaven is a district between Lytham and St Annes. It is home to Fairhaven Lake and the RSBP Ribble Discovery Centre.