My travel blogs continue this week and I’ll be focussing on the wonderful British coastline in the coming summer months – looking at the places I’ve selected for my Around the Coast in 80 Days book, which is now out through Bloomsbury. There’s a podcast linked to this blog, featuring an interview with Beth Pipe – author and broadcaster on Lake District Radio.
We’re heading up to the north west of England in this blog, to the edge of the Lake District and a place that combines the majesty of the fells with the glorious scenery of Morecambe Bay. The Edwardian beauty of Grange over Sands is overlooked by many, but it’s a cracking place to spend some time – and that’s why it’s got its own chapter in my Around the Coast in 80 Days book. Not only is Grange itself a great place to spend a sunny afternoon, there are stunning walks to tick off from the town and the birthplace of one of my favourite puddings is just a stone’s throw away.
The name is a little deceptive. There are no sands at Grange where you can take a walk or enjoy a picnic. You won’t be going for a paddle in the sea here, but you can enjoy a lovely stroll along a promenade that has the most delightful views of Morecambe Bay and the Lake District. Grange-over-Sands is a lovely, quiet retreat. Stepping off the train at Grange’s renowned Victorian station is like drifting back in time. The slow pace is infectious, the tea rooms so tempting and the Edwardian architecture is typically elegant. If you’re not sure when to visit Grange-over-Sands, look up the date of the Edwardian Festival in early June for a special historical trip.
Grange-over-Sands has a beautiful railway station, full of artistic Edwardian splendour that makes a real impression when you arrive. Some reckon that the town’s clock tower – built in 1912 – even trumps the railway station. But it’s the railway station that the town has to thank for its development – it was just a small hamlet before the Furness Line arrived and today the railway is still important for commuters and tourists. To make it even better, you have to pass through Carnforth to reach Grange – another beautiful station that was the famous setting for classic British film Brief Encounter.
There’s only one racecourse where winners take home a coveted portion of sticky toffee pudding – and that is, of course, at Cartmel. Just a couple of miles from Grange-over-Sands in the middle of the peninsula sticking out into Morecambe Bay, the small village of Cartmel has made a name for itself as the maker of fine Lakeland deserts and the organiser of great race meetings. Only a handful of race days take place at Cartmel each year so you’ll have to plan your visit. But when they happen, thousands of people converge near the coast to enjoy a day at the races. Each Cartmel race meeting takes place over three days with a rest day in the middle so organisers can get tidied up and visitors can enjoy some time visiting the coast and Lake District fells. And if you haven’t tasted one of the marvellous Sticky Toffee Puddings from Cartmel you must make this a priority.
It’s perhaps one of the most under-rated places on the coastline of the country; there’s plenty to keep you entertained up here in the north west. And plenty of other coastal gems can be found in Around the Coast in 80 Days.