When we had a few days staying in Carnforth recently we popped in Morecambe a couple of times as it is only about 10 minutes away by car.
Morecambe is on Morecambe bay on the western side of the UK and is quite a popular seaside resort for those living in the north of England. The bay is huge and is well known for its erratic tides which sadly caught the cockle collectors unaware and twenty one were drowned in 2004. If you are looking over the bay while walking along the promenade it is a splendid sight and seems to go on for miles. On a clear day you can see right across the bay and also out to sea but sadly on this visit we had rain and drizzle and could not see very far at all. Previously we visited in summer and then the views are quite different with blue skies and sunshine everywhere looks better.
Morecambe has a long curved seafront and as you enter the town if you stop fairly soon after you arrive and park the car you can walk all along the promenade and on the way you will come across Morecambe’s most loved comedian in the form of a statue . The statue of Eric Morecambe is just perfect as he is standing in a typical Eric pose with his left hand on his hip and his right holds his hat. One leg is jauntily raised in a sort of Eric style dance; if you knew his performances you would recognise this statue instantly as it is him to perfection. This rather fun statue was created by sculptor Graham Ibbeson.
If you visit in summer you will no doubt have to join a queue to have your photo taken next to the statue but when we went this time there was no-one around. It was a VERY windy drizzly day and so few people were ‘taking the air’, in fact we didn’t take a lot of the air and kept moving the car up the town as we went as it was not pleasant out in the weather. The statue looks great as Eric is looking out over the bay so you get the backdrop of Morecambe Bay and the Lake District hills. At night the statue is lit so it looks good then too but obviously you get the lights in the bay only as a backdrop rather than the view.
If you walk the full length of the sea front then you will pass small playground areas, green park areas and of course the whole time you will have Morecambe bay on one side of you. If you choose to move inwards a little and walk alongside the shops then don’t expect high class stuff. There are the usual seaside tat shops, some very average cafes and a rather nice second hand book shop but certainly nothing that would bring me to Morecambe for the shopping.
Leaping down to the other end of Morecambe to near the railway station as that is where you will find a fairly poor tourist information office which didn’t inspire us much at all. The Platform which is Morecambe's only live entertainment venue is also in this converted Victorian-styled building which was the old Railway Station. The day we visited there was a fairly pathetic craft market inside which didn’t inspire me at all but I did use the toilets which were fine, clean and they worked.
This is also where you will find the art deco hotel ‘The Midland’ where we enjoyed our afternoon tea which I reviewed recently and where Coco Chanel stayed in the past. I can’t say this is the prettiest hotel I have ever seen but inside it is interesting and you do get a splendid view over the bay on a clear day.
If you walk from the hotel out along the stone jetty into the bay you will come to the old ferry terminus and all along the jetty you will see statues of terns and other sea birds. These are on rocks and posts and until you get up close they look like the real thing. It makes the jetty a place that is pleasant and interesting to walk along. They are made of metal but look very impressive and add a bit of interest to a walk along the front.
Morecambe was once a thriving seaside holiday town but since many people have started to go overseas for their holidays combined with the fact that there is really little to actually attract families here apart from the fact that it has the sea and the promenade. Both Morecambe’s piers have been destroyed, West End Pier was washed away in a storm in 1978 and Central Pier had a fire in 1933 but did manage to survive until1992. Several ‘attractions’ of the sort families might use have closed over the years and really there is nothing like other seaside places have to attract people with children. In my personal opinion that makes Morecambe slightly more attractive but I do realise that those with families might want some entertainment besides the seafront and a few dull shops.
When we came with our children a few years ago we walked up and down and then went off elsewhere but we did come back for the Radio 1 Road show which was held on the front and they enjoyed that.
Is it worth a visit, well yes it is quaintly English and rather dated but none the less worth a visit? I am not sure I’d want a holiday here though as there really isn’t a lot to do in the town itself. It is one of a few places that is worth popping in to see on a day visit. Is it a memorable place to see before you die, well no, I think I would not put it in that class but if in the area pop in to have a walk along the sea front and while you are there try some of the famous potted shrimps that the Queen has given her seal of approval to.