Hello, Heysham

I love it when I find something new, unexpected, and beautiful. One of the reasons I'm not fussed about travelling abroad is that there is so much still to see on home turf, and even in my own region there are still plenty of hidden gems like Heysham, which I saw for the first time last weekend.

We started the day in Morecambe, somewhere I have mixed memories of. I remember crabbing there as a child, shouting with delight when I pulled them up on my line and scooped them in my net, but I also recall that the town itself was, like many English seaside towns, feeling the effects of its heyday having passed.

Maybe it's because our visit happened to fall on the day of Vintage On The Bay but change seemed to be in the sea air, with a few new developments on the way and hundreds of people enjoying the beautifully maintained beach, playgrounds, and seating areas along the coastal path. The vintage festival had brought plenty of clothing stalls, classic cars, and even a circus tent hosting dance classes. Next year I will definitely be pulling on a petticoat and joining the many, many people dressed up in their finest retro glad rags.

After racking up thousands of steps exploring the rock pools and hunting for sea glass, we called in to Kerry's Coffee House for lunch and sat out in the sunshine to enjoy more people watching over panini and the most amazing tiffin I've ever tasted, made with mint Aero. I would happily drive back just to grab another piece or five!

a row of old white cottages in Heysham

It was while we were people watching that we spotted an old red bus labelled 'Heysham Village'. Anything with 'village' in the title screams cuteness to me and on this occasion my instinct was 100% correct. Just a short drive from the centre of town we saw a National Trust sign and followed it down a winding road full of quaint cottages. There was plenty of space to park and a brilliant playground which I would have definitely taken full advantage of had it been quiet. Luckily for my dignity it wasn't, so we walked down the main street instead, oohing and ahhing at yet more chocolate box properties. 

At the end of the row we found a garden made by the residents, complete with an insect hotel and a working water pump. I would have looked at it longer and waited for the bees and butterflies to visit, but a banging, crashing sound distracted me. Following it, we found a copper beating workshop in the church hall! They also had a tea shop, so we enjoyed treacle tart and tea, shouting to one another over the hammering. On (another) sugar high, we walked up to the National Trust property, the remains of an ancient chapel. I don't blame them for building it up there, the views were blooming beautiful. Well, if you overlook the ferry port and focus on the beach and bay, that is. Tourists are cleverly encouraged to make the most of those views with a cluster of polished steel structures, people and pyramid shaped, reflecting the nature all around them. It would be the perfect place to take a picnic.

an old stone church and graveyard
a tiny model of a thatched cottage sat on a rock amongst the bushes

My history-loving mum was in seventh heaven, as back down the hill there was a church still standing, with stones dated from the 1600s. It's not my bag, but tucked to the side of the graveyard is 'The Glebe Garden', a community garden where rockeries and shrubs have become home to all sorts of ornaments, like a tiny Humpty Dumpty, toadstool houses, and even a bust of Tutankhamen. Who needs a pyramid when you can spend your days under a holly bush in Lancashire? That's what I say.

a wet white and brown spaniel stands on rocks in shallow watera tiny crab on my outstretched hand

You certainly wouldn't go hungry in Heysham with all the tea rooms and cafes, and there's even a posh pub if a sit down dinner is more your thing. Next time I'm there I'll be making a beeline for The Mad Hatter's Tea Shack, which is decorated with Alice In Wonderland characters but sadly not open on Saturdays. It's right near a flat coastal walkway that wraps right around the bay. Despite the tide coming in, I couldn't resist scrambling on the rocks, making a new furry friend, and fishing out tiny crabs that the water washed in.

If you ever find yourself in the Lancaster/Morecambe area, I'd definitely recommend dropping in and seeing Heysham for yourself. I felt a real sense of community, and I'm already planning on returning in the Autumn to get my steps in on that coastal path then try the Hatter's finest hot chocolate.

Have you been to Heysham?



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