Sunday, 11 September 2011

Grange-Over-Sands

Day 1 & 2

As we were driving towards our final destination for the day Grange-Over-Sands, the clouds started to roll in and a fine drizzle was forming.  Oh well this is the Lakes, as night follows day, so does rain follow sunshine. 

We got to Grange-Over-Sands about 4pm and found the hotel - the Lymehurst - quite easily on the edge of town.  The town was more residential than shop based with lots of sturdy stone buildings.

The hotel was a hotel / B&B hybrid as there was no proper reception area and you had to buzz for attention.  However the room we had was definitely hotel standard with super-king size bed, spacious room and really nice bathroom with modern fittings, which appeared to be recently refurbished.  The hotel was very clean and you could not fault the standard.

We then headed off into the town to find some charity shops before they closed.  We found one near the hotel, Age UK, which did a great line in knitting related products.  Lots of dead old ladies knick knacks too, however nothing much in the music line to interest Neil.  We went onto the main road and found the other charity shop had just closed, which was a nuisance.  Neil was getting niggly as the drizzle had turned into light rain and showed no signs of stopping.  So we sheltered under the ornate canopy covering a parade of shops.  One was the Chocolate Shop with lots of cocoa based delights.  Further down there was a fab bakery-turn-cafe called the Hazlemere Cafe, which was packed full of people enjoying afternoon tea.  It had a sign saying it was one of Rick Stein Food Heroes places and by the looks of things I could easily believe it as it looked delicious.

It was still raining so we decided it was time to head to the pub.  There was the Sands, but that looked liked some scary sports bar which we wouldn't be seen dead in.  Then we found the Commodore down near the front on Main Street.  It's your very traditional pub with whitewashed walls, beams and olde worlde knick knacks.  It was good to see they did a range of weirdy beardy beers and we tried Lonesome Pine and Flying Elephant. It was an animal friendly too. The pub had a games area with pool and darts, a bar area seating and a quiet area by the toilets.  It was also blessed with two things which make pubs brill to us: a jukebox and a games machine that had Top of the Pops quiz on it.  This pub scored some serious brownie points and so we made a mental note to go here in the evening.

Finally we had a break in the clouds and it stopped raining so we decided to take a walk down the promenade.  Looking on the map as it was next to Morecambe Bay and the fact it had 'Sands' in its name, I thought Grange-Over-Sands would have a beach.  I was mistaken, it had fields with sheep that moved as if they were on roller skates.  Clearly the land had been reclaimed, but I wanted beach!  However from the signage along the front walking across the fields to find the beach was considered a bad thing, something to do with quicksand.  Anyhow, we ploughed on - surely there was something of interest along here. 

We found a derelict lido with signs of 'danger of death' and 'deep water'.  There was a volunteers cafe that was closed.  The railway ran the length of the promenade so there were the occasional railway bridges that crossed back to civilisation.  I had heard Grange-Over-Sands had had a swimming pool built a few years back, but had to close due to structural issues.  Apparently it was stunning to swim in as it had views over Morecambe Bay, however it was beset with structural issues and had to close for health and safety reasons.  Anyway, we carried on walking hoping to find something. 

Looking over Morecambe Bay I spied Heysham nuclear power plant - one of the scary things about Cumbria and North Lancashire is the whole nuclear power plant stuff.  I used to have scary dreams in the 80s about nuclear disasters (not good for a child with a highly active imagination). Also Pat, who I used to do a paper round for, had to have her thyroid removed as she had cancer due to the Windscale disaster in the 50s. 

In the end we only found ornate benches with frogs on them and gave up our search to find something interesting.  So we decided to head back to the hotel.

On our journey around Grange-Over-Sands we discovered we only had three options for food in the evening: the hotel, the Fish-Over-Chips cafe and At Home Cafe and Bistro.  We decided to have a look at the At Home Cafe and Bistro.  This proved to be an excellent choice and we decided to go for the 3 course meal.  My Cumbrian chicken in mustard sauce was fab.  The chicken was stuffed with cumbrian sausage and poached - it was so lovely that Neil was jealous.  His steak was nice too, but mine was nicer.  As we rolled out of the Bistro we headed to the Commodore.

The Commodore had a lively atmosphere and was packed full of locals and tourists.  Neil spent a small fortune on the Top of the Pops Quiz game and eventually, after losing due to bizarre questions, we retired to a corner seat to put lots of 80s tracks on the jukebox. 


There was a big party of people having a laugh and one of them put on 'Lady in Red' for the lady in red in their party.  I discovered in the Co-op next day that it had been the leaving do for 5 people at the Co-op and they had a good time, but were suffering from hangovers.  It was a good night with myself and Neil getting nicely trollied on the weirdy beardy beer and wine, hogging the jukebox with our music tastes.

Next day, with a tender head, I made it to the hotel restaurant for a full English breakfast.  It was very nice and tasty - clearly they used good quality ingredients.  They also did decaf tea, which scores highly in my caffeine free world.  I managed to acquire some danish pastries for Neil and we packed up our stuff.  The hotel is really nice and I do recommend it, although I would be hard pressed to find anything to do on more than one night in Grange-Over-Sands apart from the Commodore.

We checked out and headed towards the car boot sale on the way out of town.  We paid our pound to get in and spent a maximum of ten minutes looking at stuff before heading off.

So what do we do next?  I'd heard Cartmel was good and was only a short drive away... Oh well, we might as well give it a go.