Grange-over-Sands is a genteel seaside town that lies on the western side of the Kent estuary in South Cumbria. But don’t go visiting this Victorian resort if you’re looking for all the usual trappings of the British seaside – fish and chips, fairground rides or even waves crashing up against the beach. Grange is slightly more refined; it’s a place of classy teashops, gentle rambles and, at a push, a sedate game of crazy golf. And as for those crashing waves… well, since the River Kent changed course, the town has been separated from the waters of Morecambe Bay by salt marshes.
Visitors can enjoy a walk along the promenade, with its views out across atmospheric Morecambe Bay, past the art deco outdoor swimming area. The only saltwater lido still standing in northern England, it’s sadly now closed. The nearby ornamental gardens have a pond and fountain while, at Grange Promenade Recreation Park, you’ll find a putting green, crazy golf, tennis courts, skate park and bowling green. Just a mile down the coast, at Kents Bank, is the Beach Hut Gallery, run by a local artists’ co-operative.
A popular walk from the town climbs Hampsfell, a tiny limestone hill crowned by an unusual Victorian shelter. Further south is Humphrey Head, a limestone headland sitting like a beached whale between the mudflats of the Kent estuary and the moody marshland of the Cartmel peninsula. In summer, the Queen’s Guide to the Sands leads walks across the Kent, carefully navigating a safe passage between the treacherous shifting quicksands and past deep-water channels.
Grange-over-Sands lies on the Furness Railway Line from Barrow-in-Furness to Lancaster, one of the stations on the West Coast Main Line from London to Glasgow and Edinburgh.