Coast - Morecambe and the Bay
The beauty of studying at Lancaster is that you're only a few miles away from the glistening sea, dramatic sunsets and panoramic views across to the Lake District.
The town of Morecambe reflects the heyday of British seaside holidays and here coastal attractions sit side-by-side with shops and hotels. Happy Mount Park originates back to the 1920s with attractive green space for picnics on a sunny day.
Don't forget to pose with the Eric Morecambe statue and check out the award-winning Tern Art Project which celebrates the bird life of Morecambe Bay in sculptures and artworks. Much of Morecambe's investment came in the 1930s along with the Art Deco influence - many of the shop buildings carry related illustrations, the finest example being the refurbished Midland Hotel which played host to Coco Chanel and Wallis Simpson in its glory days. Art Deco guided tours take place throughout the year if you feel the urge to explore further. To complete the theme, don't forget to sample a knickerbocker glory at one of the Formica tables in the original 1930s milk bar, Brucciani's.
Walking and cycling are great ways to explore the coast and, for the ultimate Morecambe experience, try the Cross Bay walk with Queen's Guide, Cedric Robinson, who will steer you safely through the fast moving channels and dangerous quicksand. The Lancaster Canal is also great for outdoor pursuits and you can even hitch a ride on one of the canal barge cruises which run frequently in the summer, some of which offer hot pot or fish & chips on board!
And then there's the events! There's live music and comedy in the former Morecambe railway station at the Platform and outdoor festivals in the summer including the Catch the Wind Kite Festival and a Sandcastle Festival. Check the events listing for exact dates.
There's plenty of scope for ice cream, fish & chips and other seaside fare whilst you amble along the seafront, but if you prefer to eat indoors then there's an array of cafés and restaurants to tempt your taste buds. The Bow Window is located along the East Promenade whilst the Shore Café is sited on the beach and boasts great sea views across the coastline. Afternoon tea at the Midland is the height of decadence or you may prefer to cross the road and go for brunch at down-to-earth Rita's instead!
The Honey Tree Restaurant is one of Morecambe's stalwarts and has offered excellent value Chinese meals for years including a great lunchtime two course offer and exotic banquets. Or, for a canal-side perspective, the Hest Bank Hotel which perches next to the canal is a 16th century hostelry with diverse contemporary dishes.
If you just want ice cream, the Sunset Ices classic van (usually parked near to the Midland Hotel) is well worth a visit; a creative project which tells the love of faded seaside glamour, food, people design and all things vintage, and in the owner Kate's words: we also sell a damn fine 99!
For other options visit the local tourism website.
Quirky shops in Morecambe provide a refreshing break from the usual high street names. Pottery Basement is a great place to stock up on end-of-line mugs, plates and pottery at knock-down prices whilst the unkempt treasure trove of around 60,000 second hand books in the Old Pier bookshop is a must for all bookworms - if you can find your way out again that is! Morecambe also prides itself on an excellent music shop, Promenade Music, selling a full range of instruments and music for classical students and would-be rock stars looking for high-tech kit. On the food front, Morecambe Bay's famous potted shrimps are readily available from The Shrimp Shop in Poulton Square - the original heart of the fishing community - and local favourite Pott's Pies are traditional pie-makers who pride themselves on only using wholesome ingredients.
Morecambe's Festival Market has plenty of bargains by the sea with 103 stalls and two cafes on site. Or, to browse crafts whilst you sip your latte, head for 13 The Warehouse which combines attractive gifts and appetising snacks.
If friends and family want a sea view then there's a selection of Morecambe bed spaces to suit everyone's budget. For art deco opulence, the Midland is the front-runner, whilst homely bed and breakfasts are plentiful along the promenade and there is also a Travelodge handily sited in the centre of the resort.
There are also self-catering and caravan parks for that true seaside experience. For more information visit the local tourism website.
And there's more...
Morecambe Bay has its own special seascapes, unique wildlife and some beautiful walks. The train journey to Barrow which crosses the Arnside viaduct over the River Kent estuary is breathtaking and the route takes in other coastal villages including Silverdale and Grange-over-Sands too. Heysham, located at one end of Morecambe, is steeped in history whilst Sunderland Point is a tiny coastal village - once used as a port - which reflects the area's maritime history.
If you prefer a bolder, brasher seaside destination, then Blackpool is within easy reach with all the fun of the fair and a whole range of diversions from your studies!
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