Grange-over-Sands is a sleepy Edwardian resort set across the estuary from Lancaster and Morecambe, and may (at some risk) still be crossed by an ancient pathway when the tide is low. It was a firm favourite to Victorian and Edwardian holidaymakers, being accessible by the Furness Railway, and, due to its protected setting, enjoys more sunshine than any other place in the Lake District.
It still retains much of that charm and tranquility, with a long seaside promenade walk with its attractively well-maintained ornamental gardens and extensive collection of waterfowl, which parallel the town’s main street which bustles with charming and characterful shops, and a profusion of high quality accommodation within all price brackets. It is a leisurely mature town, and attracts an older clientele than other more famous and developed seaside resorts across the bay in Lancashire. The town’s name derives from the fact that some 800 years ago it was the site of a large mill or “granary”, and it was originally called the ‘Granary-over-the-sands’ by the people of Morecambe over the estuary, who obtained most of their flour from Grange.
The Promenade overlooking Morecambe Bay and the Ornamental Gardens
The granary building also stored many other kinds of sea freight and goods, and helped establish Grange as a one-time major sea port for the region. Over the years the name has been condensed to its present form. Grange became inextricably linked with the City of Lancaster by the Oversands path, and a warden was appointed to guide walkers over the treacherously shifting estuary for many years. It was a major thoroughfare until well into the late 19th century; before the building of metalled roads and turnpikes, it was the only reliable way into Lancashire, and saved a whole day’s travel. Walkers may still tread the path, as it is recognised as a Public Right of Way, though novices would be well advised to seek advice and a tidal times manual from the Tourist Information Centre in Grange town centre before attempting the walk. The approach to the modern day town is entirely Edwardian, with the quaint railway station, and the arcaded shops of that period. Also worth seeing at the eastern town approach is the ornamental gardens, with its large man-made lake, the probable site of the original granary, a profusion of wildfowl and water birds, and its exotic trees, of which a luxuriant 100 feet high Lawson Cypress is the most dominant. Curiously, the Furness railway separates the town from its promenade, which can be accessed at three points along its one mile length. At the western end of the town are seaside leisure facilities including tennis courts and putting greens, swimming pool and children’s entertainments.