The recently regenerated seaside town of Morecambe should not be overlooked. Take a stroll along the promenade, build sandcastles and admire the exhibitions and public artwork on display
When most people think of a British seaside getaway, they primarily think of the '3 Bs': Brighton, Bournemouth and Blackpool. Often overlooked is the newly regenerated town of Morecambe. In years gone by it was the place to be during the long summer holidays, but a few years of neglect made it go down in peoples' estimations and tourism went into decline. Not so anymore. A lot of money has been spent transforming Morecambe's seafront and promenade into a classic family seaside retreat, complete with beach hut exhibitions and a statue commemorating the town's most famous former resident: Eric Morecambe.
In the town itself there are many things to do to keep both parents and children blissfully happy for hours. Firstly, and most obviously, there is the free option of going to the beach. The combination of sand and shingle areas of beach makes it perfect for both making sandcastles and searching rockpools for crabs, which can be done alongside paddling in the sea. There are also several miles of promenade to walk down whilst admiring the views across Morecambe Bay and the public artwork that has been incorporated into the promenade's structural changes.
If the views and the water become tedious (I'm not sure that this is possible, but it could happen!) Happy Mount Park (www.happymountparkcatering.co.uk) is not far away, yet is filled with infinitely more entertaining possibilities. With crazy golf, trampolines, tennis courts and a newly added aqua park, Happy Mount Park has a wide range of activities for the whole family for very little cost.
Morecambe does not disappoint on the family nightlife front either. The Apollo 4 Cinema (www.apollocinemas.co.uk) houses four screens and shows a wide variety of films. Just across the road is the American-style Superbowl bowling alley (www.super-bowl.co.uk). Open from 10am until late 364 days a year, there are 20 lanes and many arcade attractions to keep children and parents entertained after the sun goes down.
For adults without children in tow, a different range of attractions could be of interest. Lancaster Castle stands in nearby Lancaster. At this historic building, which has been used as a court and a prison amongst other things, guided tours are offered to the public explaining its history and other uses as well as letting people see the structural beauty of the building. After such a cultural experience it may be necessary to do something a little less stimulating. Nearby are a range shops, both well-known chain stores and individual local shops, all providing a first class experience. A little further away is Williamson Park (www.williamsonpark.com), a more grown-up version of the aforementioned Happy Mount Park. With beautiful scenery, great walking opportunities, a butterfly house and café, Williamson Park is a relaxing retreat after a hard day's sightseeing.
There are several options if you want to eat out. There is the usual range of fast food restaurants, but for a more rounded meal, The Station, a pub-restaurant that used to be a railway station, has views of the sea and provides an excellent range of home cooked meals and family favourites and very reasonable prices. Alternatively, there is a branch of the well known restaurant chain Frankie & Benny's that provide good quality Italian-American cuisine in a cosy atmosphere.
As for accommodation, there is nowhere better than the recently refurbished Midland Hotel. The beautiful Art Deco building boasts 44 boutique-style rooms, a spa and breathtaking views across the Bay. This hotel is worth spending a little extra on. For a more wallet-friendly budget, there are a range of caravan parks that have all the necessary facilities and can provide holiday makers with excellent holiday accommodation on a budget.
If you do like to be beside the seaside, then Morecambe should definitely be given some thought.