Bluebells at Lytham Hall in Spring
Claire Grierson, Lytham St Annes High Technology and Performing Arts College
Joe Curran, Blackpool 6th Form College
Photos from local students who entered the Lytham Hall Photography Competition.
I just thought I’d write and let you know about something I found out this weekend.
My friends and I were passing the gates of Lytham Hall on Ballam Road in Lytham and we noticed that there was a sign up saying the Hall and tea room were open – so we went to have a look.
We were a bit pushed for time, so we didn’t manage to go round the Hall. But we did go in the tea room, which I have to say was very nice. There’s a proper chef and plenty of helpers in the tea room, so we decided to stop for a bite to eat. The chef told us that the tea room is open every day except Saturday – I didn’t know that!
We had a very nice hot lunch, though from the menu I could see there was a choice of sandwiches, soup and ‘specials’ too. The cakes were too delicious to resist, so we didn’t – but that didn’t matter, because we were able to have a walk round the grounds afterwards to walk it off!
It was a tough choice, but we decided not to go back in the tea room after our walk for a cuppa, in case we had to have another cake.
What was really nice was that there wasn’t all the noise and being squashed up together that you find in other town centre cafes. We could hear ourselves talk instead of having to try to hear over everyone else’s chatter, which made a nice change.
I’ll admit that the walk up the drive is a bit long, but cars and taxis can go right up to the Hall or if need be round the back to where the tea room is. My friends and I are going to go during the week now we know it’s open. I think it’s open from 10:30 until about 3:00pm – something like that.
Why not take the dog or plan a family bike ride along the impressive hall drive to the former seat of the Squires of Lytham, the Clifton family.
Under an agreement between Heritage Trust North West and Lancashire County Council, the extensive grounds of historic Lytham Hall are open - free of charge – for 200 days per year.
That means that the parkland, which is a registered biological heritage site comprising of semi-natural woodland, two ponds and grassland, are yours to explore from Monday to Friday.
There is a small charge on Sundays, when the Georgian hall is also open for guided tours at 12pm. The highly popular tearoom, manned by volunteers, is also open. The hall and grounds are closed on Saturdays for Private Functions.
Anyone interested in joining the Hall’s 100-strong army of volunteers can contact the hall estate office on 01253 736652.
It is also the only wooded community resource left on the Fylde coast. And for good measure, it also has a number of grade 2 listed buildings on the estate.
Lytham Hall in Spring
Lytham Hall is in full colour in spring after a long, cold winter and it's a perfect time to get outdoors.
The Lytham Hall year starts in January with Snowdrop Sundays - more here.
There is plenty to enjoy walking around the grounds from a wonderful abundance of Blue Bells, Forget-me-not’s, apple blossom to Rhododendron as well as plenty of wildlife, including birds nesting, hares ‘boxing’ and lambs playing in the fields.
Blossom at Lytham Hall in Spring
Lytham Hall grounds are open to the public every Monday to Friday (free of charge) and Sunday (Charges Apply).
Grounds Open/Timings: 10.30am to 4.30pm
Guided tours of the Hall available on Sunday at 12pm and 2pm (charges apply)
Sunday Admission: £1 per Adults / 50p per Child / £1 Car Parking
Sunday Hall Admission: £4 per Adults / £2.00 per Child
Lytham Hall Tearoom is open serving Hot and Cold Food on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Fridays & Sunday
More about Lytham Hall
I'm Linda, and I'm a volunteer with Lytham Hall and I'd like to take you on a little guided tour. Not wishing to over-emphasise it's importance our local heritage (that being the Fylde coast's heritage) it is in the top 2.5% of national listed buildings and considered 'at risk' by the likes of English Heritage - it needs our help and support.
Lytham Hall Open Times
The grounds of the Hall (80 acres of mature parkland registered as a 'Country Park' with Lancashire County Council) are open throughout the year - please check times and availability with the Hall before travelling.
The grounds are open to the public every Monday to Friday from 10.30am to 4.30pm
The Tearoom is open serving Hot and Cold Food from Tuesday to Friday, and Sundays.
Admission: free of charge mid week
Sunday’s & Bank Holidays Open Days
Enjoy a stroll around the wonderful grounds of Lytham Hall and enjoy the spring flowers that are starting to appear. The Tearoom is open serving Hot and Cold Food
Grounds Open: 10.30am to 4.30pm
Admission: £1 per Adults / 50p per Child / £1 Car Parking (please note charges may vary dependent on Event)
The main gates are on Ballam Road, Lytham or there is pedestrian only access via Forest Drive Lytham (cunningly hidden in the undergrowth near the 'Hole in One' public house).
The Hall is closed to the public on Saturdays for private functions - anyone can hire the grounds and/or Hall for their wedding/ civil ceremony/posh dinner do/whatever (contact the Hall estate office for information, costs and catering options on 01253 736652).
Opening the Hall to the public helps it to 'earn it's keep' .... which is not inconsiderable, with annual heating costs alone exceeding in the region of £20k - let's not go anywhere near what it costs to run and maintain the place!
Lytham Hall is a registered Charity, owned by Lytham Town Trust - LTT (another Charity), managed by Heritage Trust Northwest - HTNW (yet another Charity) and supported by... guess what.... Friends of Lytham Hall... you'll never believe this... another Charity!
Not only did the Squire(s) of Lytham own the remaining estate, but much of the surrounding area. All along the coast there are 'Talbot' and 'Clifton' references - pubs, road names and many more - such was the influence of the family.
A quick bit of history about the Hall (though this is best gained by a visit on a Sunday when the historian-led tours take place during the afternoon - charges apply) - the site dates back to 12th Century, when the naughty monks of Durham were exiled to Lytham - there are still bits of the Monastry on the estate. With the Dissolution of the monastries some 400 years later, the estate reverted to the Crown, before being passed through several pairs of hands and then being bought by the 'Colourful Clifton's' (a right rum bunch they were too!) who held it - along with several other estates in this country and Ireland - until the mid-1960's. When the family hit dire-straits it was sold and Guardian Royal Exchange, the Insurance people, owned it until approximately 13 years ago.
When GRE decided to off-load it, Lytham Town Trust was formed to buy the remaining bit of the estate (much having previously been sold off to repay the Clifton's gambling debts!) for the community and protect it from the developers. A generous donation of about £1 million was made by BAe to secure the property, but this did not include any income to maintain it.... not a comfortable position to be in!
About 5 years ago, HTNW joined forces with LTT, the outcome of which was the submission of a bid in March 2011 to the Lottery Heritage Fund for money to do essential maintenance work and begin the process of developing the Hall into a tourist attraction to encourage more people to visit Lytham and the surrounding areas.
The main gates on Ballam road are a stone throw from Lytham Station served by the Blackpool South-Preston line and buses 68/11/7 stop about 5 minutes walk away. There are trails through the woodland, ponds and an abundance of flora and fauna - all unspoilt, 'au natrel' and largely as nature intended - except where car parks have been allocated including designated spaces for mobility users.
Monday to Wednesday there is a Countryside Ranger on the estate - a mine of information and child-friendly (with special qualifications for teaching 'green classroom' stuff).
And whilst we are on the subject of classrooms - Lytham Hall welcomes school parties for tours of the Hall and play in the park during the week, subject to prior arrangement with the estate office - very reasonable charges apply. The prior arrangement bit is as much about 'Safeguarding children' issues as anything, as there are also conferences on from time to time in the West Wing conference facilities (these being available for anyone to hire during the working week).
Finally, Lytham Hall also welcomes groups for tours of the Hall (with or without catered options - charges apply) during the week. Age is no barrier (for baby and toddler groups to grannies and granddads), and the Hall is 'disability-friendly (well, in so far as it is possible to be with an ancient building, when such issues were not given paramount consideration!)
So, all in all, if you'd like to see history coming to life, then a trip to Lytham Hall is well worth it!
You can find out more about Lytham Hall from their own website at http://www.lythamhall.co.uk/
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