A Morecambe resident explains why she loves it so much
PUBLISHED: 00:00 02 September 2020
Judith Coyle’s personal celebration of resurgent Morecambe, a town that’s got a lot going on
When the ITV drama series The Bay aired last year it was pitched as a gritty northern drama. While there was crime, and some grime, a more uplifting story, of redevelopment and resurgence, bubbled beneath the plot’s surface.
Those of us who live in the town know something: Morecambe is on the up. A survey from the hotel chain Best Western confirms this, naming Morecambe as the most ‘up and coming’ seaside town in Britain.
This story was developing even before the announcement of the proposed Eden Project North. Barely a week goes by without some new shop opening or a significant refurbishment taking place.
I moved here four years ago and have discovered some hidden gems, old and new.
People talk about the magnificence of the sea and those jaw-dropping Lakeland views but for me Morecambe’s beauty lies in its ever-changing skies. You’ll find a real sense of openness and space here.
Head for South Beach, Marine Road West, for the biggest skies, expansive views and a firm sand and shingle beach. This beach is beloved by dog walkers whose canine companions love to tear up and down here (check for access times). This exposed part of the Bay is also popular with wind and kite surfers.
Morecambe Promenade has received much investment recently, including a new sea wall and smart planting. Marine Road Central, has seen particular improvement.
I adore the Beach Bird which opened last year and sells eclectic gifts and art, much of it by members of Morecambe Artist Colony, along with silk skirts and dresses made out of saris. ‘There’s a cafe within the shop,’ says co-owner, Jane Wignall. ‘We aim to become a social hub as well as somewhere people can buy interesting curios.’
Opposite the Eric Morecambe statue you’ll find Skipton Street and the newly-relocated Eden Music run by Paula Baker. It’s the place to go for vinyl records fromevery era and genre, rock and pop books, vintage sound systems and rock memorabilia.
New kid on the block is Soul Bowl and Vista, a neon-bright bowling alley with Italian restaurant. Great for families and groups of friends.
My favourite area, though, is Poulton, the original fishing village that is the heart of old Morecambe. Admire the fishermen’s cottages, adorned with award-winning floral displays, and head for The Morecambe Hotel, a former coaching inn that’s now a boutique hotel with restaurant and landscaped garden.
On Church Street is Morecambe Parish Church and its handsome red brick rectory – Sir Edward Elgar was a guest in 1909 and Eric Bartholemew (better known as Eric Morecambe) was baptised here in 1926. The churchyard and Morecambe Cemetery were brought back to beauty by a small team in the 2000s and the cemetery is now maintained by the War Graves Commission, Lancaster City Council and the Friends of Poulton Cemeteries.
Further east is Bare’s elegant Princes Crescent, possibly the perfect village street. There are longstanding businesses here such as the chemist, butchers, post office, bakery and newsagent, and the Crescent Gallery where you’ll find David French’s Morecambe-themed art.
No discussion of Morecambe can omit the Art Deco splendour of the Midland Hotel. Afternoon tea and dinner in the Sun Terrace Restaurant remain centre stage but try the glamorous informality of the Rotunda Bar. Great for lunch or early evening cocktails before heading to a gig at More Music, Devonshire Road. City friends are often mastonished at the quality of the acts on here and live gigs should return in late September.
David Morris, MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale, has said that Eden Project North will be a “game-changer” for the town. This is true but, in Morecambe, I would say it’s already ‘game on’.
Find out more at Morecambe Visitor Information Centre, The Platform, Old Station Buildings, Marine Road Central, Morecambe, LA4 4DB. 01524 582808.