On Monday morning we miraculously managed to get ready (with a picnic and everything) to leave the house at 8.15 am. We kept our fingers crossed for fine, dry weather and set out to spend the day pootling and pottering at our closest seasidey place on the Fylde coast.
Our first stop was at this delightful little village - doesn't it look quaint?
This is no ordinary village, as it is very teensy-small indeed. So small in fact, that you can walk the streets and feel like a great big lumbering giant.
Yes, you probably guessed right away that this is in fact a model village. And maybe you might also have guessed right away that I absolutely loved it to bits! I was soooooo excited to visit as I adore model villages - I was that child who obsessively played with her dolls house for hours and hours on end and was in love with the whole idea of miniature houses. Still am actually.
So this is Blackpool Model Village, and it's a very quirky little place that's been here since the 1970's. I've wanted to visit for ages, and managed to persuade J and the Little Peeps that we really needed to go see it. Oh, it was really good! It's quaint and ever so slightly faded, but I just fell in love with it all. As we arrived early we were the very first visitors so pretty much had the place to ourselves (only one other family arrived whilst we were there). We had a quiz sheet which led us around the little twisty-turny pathways, and we had loads of fun answering all the questions. The was plenty of gentle humour too - for example, one of the questions on the quiz sheet was "who's in charge of the school?" and the answer was Mr. Terry Bull and Mr. P. Brain. We had to work a little to explain the names to Little B, but when the penny dropped he nearly wet himself laughing.
This is a family outing very well suited to those with Little People (or adults who still have rather childish minds), and it's all very simple indeed with no gimmicks and nothing extraordinary. Its old fashioned charm certainly pleased me no end, and it was a lovely start to our day.
Blackpool Model Village is on the edge of Stanley Park which is absolutely huge (over 300 acres). The formal gardens are spectacular, with exuberant, colourful flower beds designed to wow.
I particularly loved the dahlias - these fiery coloured ones with the dark foliage were amazing, and made me want to scoop them up and run back home with armfuls of blooms to fill my house with.
I'd heard about the famous art deco cafe in the park, and was keen to see it for myself. It really was stunning inside, quite grand and very 1920's stylish. We chose to sit outside on the terrace.....
....to enjoy a morning coffee and a little bit of a breather. Gosh, I realise that so often a good strong milky coffee is one of the true pleasures of my day. Not sure if I need to worry about that or not?!
After the village and park (and coffee) excitements, we drove the few miles to the coast, choosing as usual to leave the bustling crowds at Blackpool behind and head a little further south to St Annes instead. As you can see, the day was grey and overcast, but that certainly didn't stop a good many families enjoying the vast sandy beach.
We found a bench on the busy promenade and sat a while to eat our picnic and partake in a bit of people (and dog) watching. It fascinates me to visit our rather old fashioned British seaside towns and ponder on the fact that families have been promenading and taking in the sea views for over a hundred years. According to Wikipedia, St Annes was a 19th-century planned town, officially founded on 31 March 1875. Eighteen Seventy Five!!!
After lunch, we took to our feet and leisurely promenaded along the promenade before dropping down to the beach and slowly strolling back again.
By this time it was mid afternoon and the weather had dramatically improved since the morning. The low grey clouds had completely blown away to reveal these perfectly summery white wispy ones.
As with all of our previous visits, the tide was waaaaaay out, exposing the vast open sandy beach. It was decided between us all that we weren't all that bothered about trying to reach the sea this time, it was enough to simply kick off our shoes/flip flops and enjoy the sand between our toes. There were lots of kites flying - some really simple ones flown by children, as well as bigger two-string stunt kites flown with varying degrees of skill by adults.
I enjoy the atmosphere so much in St Annes, there is something incredibly tranquil about it. It feels calm and peaceful, a town built purely to provide gentle leisure and pleasure. We sat a while on the beach, then walked out onto the end of the pier to eat ice cream and take in the views.
Our walk back to the car was through our favourite Ashton Gardens which was looking as beautiful as ever. We flopped around on the grass for a bit, watching the oldies play bowls on the green whilst keeping an eye on Little B who was flinging himself relentlessly down the slide in the playground there.
It felt like a perfect little slice of English Summertime, and all was content in my summer-loving world. Even the fountain was making rainbows as we walked past, which just added to the quiet charm of the whole day.