Moving to the Seaside

Moving to the Seaside

Like many other seaside resorts, the Fylde Coast is a popular retirement place. It’s a popular place to relocate to, full stop! We often get asked for information by people who are moving to the seaside, so we thought this might be a popular article!

I’m Jane, editor of everything you see around you in the online Visit Fylde Coast family. Many years ago I made the move from where I was born in Yorkshire to my new home in Cleveleys. So I’m fully qualified to write about relocating to this lovely place!

Moving to the Seaside

We moved here by accident. Yes really, it was a series of circumstances which led to us moving our life, lock, stock and barrel. It was probably the only way that we would have moved – we’re not very good at making decisions and would never have said ‘lets relocate’.

You’re probably making a much more focussed move to the Fylde Coast!

Why are you moving?

People have lots of different reasons for coming to live at the seaside. Quite often it’s a place that people choose to retire to. Others love the sea and the seaside atmosphere. You might have had a traumatic life event and want to start again.

Just bear in mind that if you do move to the seaside you’ll bring your personal problems with you. Come here for a holiday and you leave it all behind. But when this is your normal life, normal things accompany it. You’ll still have to do the housework, go to work, and argue with relatives!

Which bit of the Fylde Coast do you prefer?

The different towns on the Fylde Coast all have a different feeling to them. Fleetwood is very different to Cleveleys. Is very different to Lytham, and Lytham is very different to St Annes.

You’ve probably already decided which bit of the Fylde Coast that you prefer. Which bit you’re drawn to. Before you make the plunge, make sure you’ve had a good look around and visited all the places you could choose.

And while we’re on the subject, do you prefer to live right beside the sea, or further inland? Away from the coast could be a couple of streets back – or it could be out in the rural countryside. Away from the coastal plain there are some beautiful rural areas and lovely countryside.

House, Bungalow or Sheltered Accommodation?

There’s plenty of choice of accommodation all along the Fylde Coast. As it’s a popular retirement place there’s a wide choice of suitable places to live. There’s a larger than average availability of bungalows. Plus plenty of flats and apartments. There’s also a wide choice of sheltered accommodation and ‘mature living’ places. They’re the ones where you have your own front door – with support on hand should you need it.

Younger people would probably prefer a traditional house, or a modern apartment. There’s a huge range of both. From small, affordable terraced houses to great big detached mansions in all kinds of price brackets. There’s seafront and town centre living in stylish apartments, all along the Fylde Coast.

What’s your view on the weather?

I always describe the weather at the coast as being like ‘the girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead’. In that ‘when it’s good it’s very, very good and when it’s bad it’s horrid!’ If you don’t like bad weather then perhaps seaside living isn’t for you…

If you’re in the habit of visiting the coast on lovely sunny days in the season, you’d be advised to come along and take a look in bad weather. Especially if you’re thinking of moving to the seafront (or close to it).

When we moved to Cleveleys someone said to us that people either love it and stay forever – or hate it and go quickly! We’ve seen that’s true – it’s exactly what happens.

The good seaside weather is fabulous!!

When the sun comes out (and it does, all year round) there’s no better place on earth!

  • It feels like you’re on holiday all the time, even after a long time of living here.
  • It’s lovely to potter around town or on the seafront, passing time talking to people.
  • The beach and sea improves your mood no end.
  • You’ll get a weathered glow and tanned patina to your face!
  • The Fylde Coast is flat so the skies seem bigger and brighter.
  • Our West Coast sunsets have to be seen to be believed. They are just stunning.
  • Winter passes by much more quickly than it does inland.

Moving to the Seaside is Ideal for All Ages

Brilliant place for older people…

You’ll have already gathered that the Fylde Coast is a great place to retire to. Many people move to the seaside and enjoy the best years of their life in a nice place with a great community.

…for Families and Young People

It’s also a great place to bring up your family. The sense of community fills children with good values and there’s a lower than average level of crime here.

Where could be better to be a child than at the seaside? Imagine living here when you were little. How good would that have been – events, beaches, parks and so much for little people to explore.

Good sense of community

Do you yearn for ‘the good old days’ when people were nice and helped each other? When they looked after where they live, did things as a community? Take your pick then of Fylde Coast towns, because you’ve come to the right place!

Care for Cleveleys Town Centre Team Clean Up Dates 2019
The Care for Cleveleys Town Centre Team at a Clean Up Event

All of the smaller towns of Fleetwood, Poulton, Cleveleys, St Annes and Lytham are quite community orientated. There are all kinds of groups for all kinds of things. Some of them are directly concerned with their particular town, looking after it and organising events.

Each of the Fylde Coast towns has a ‘gala’ of some kind. They’re big events, organised by the community for the community and include local schools, groups and much more. Not only are they a celebration, they’re also a way to show the towns off. During the summer season there’s a big event pretty much every weekend.

Even though it’s a bigger town, Blackpool has a strong sense of community too. Businesses involved in tourism work hard together to make the town work. An army of volunteers support local heritage and there’s a growing arts scene too.

There’s such a lot of things to do all, all year round and all along the Fylde Coast.

Decent services

It can’t all be ‘ooh we’re moving to the seaside’ though. You have to be practical about where you’re going to live. Availability of public services is important to everyone, whatever age you are.

Because seaside towns are on the edge of the country, they’re frequently less well provided for. Not so the Fylde Coast.

We’ve got excellent schools (and private schools too) for all ages. And one of the best colleges in the UK in Blackpool and the Fylde College.

There’s a good general hospital at Blackpool Victoria (and a private hospital too). General Practice doctors surgeries are spread across the whole of the coast, all of them offering a good service to residents. Plus, there are two walk in centres – one at Fleetwood and one in Blackpool.

The area around the Blackpool tramway (ie Fleetwood to South Blackpool) is also going to be one of the first in the country to get 5G internet connectivity. Why around the tramway? Because there are conduits under the tracks already laid for new cables.

Reasonable transport

Transport to the Fylde Coast is quite good. The main motorway network disgorges traffic at the end of the M55 at Yeadon Way. The main railway line comes into Blackpool. If you’ve got a private jet or helicopter you can even arrive at Blackpool Airport 😉

Public transport along the coast is quite good too. There’s a good bus service, mostly provided by Blackpool Transport. They also run the tram service between Fleetwood and Blackpool.

Blackpool Transport Tram
Blackpool Transport Tram

The tramway is in the process of being extended to Blackpool north station. Sadly it doesn’t continue along the coast to St Annes or Lytham. A variety of passes are available for regular commuters.

Like any other seaside town, getting around by car can be a touch more tricky. If you’re fortunate enough to be able to pick the times when you travel it’s no different to any other busy place. At rush hour, especially at holiday times, it can get very busy on the roads, especially travelling north to south.

Fortunately the Fylde Coast is quite flat. That makes the humble bicycle a good choice of transport for many, especially if you haven’t got too far to travel on your commute. It’s perfectly normal for people of all ages to use bikes to get around. No one will look twice at you riding a bike.

Shanks Pony (ie walking on foot!) is a common way to get around too, so moving to the seaside could even be good for your figure!

Shopping

High streets are taking a battering all across the UK, with pressure from all sides, not least of all online.

The Fylde Coast is hanging onto its town centres. They’ve all been affected to some degree, but while residents and visitors continue to use them, they’re very much alive and kicking. A good hour’s drive away, the Trafford Centre is the nearest big indoor shopping mall to the Fylde Coast.

Perhaps the unique position is the reason why the town centres still survive.

St Annes town centre
St Annes town centre

And, there are small clusters of shops, of all different kinds, all over the Fylde Coast.

As you drive around you’ll notice groups of retailers forming small local shopping areas around main junctions. Hairdressers and convenience stores, corner shops and furniture stores with restaurants and bakeries. These clusters of independent shops are the lifeblood of villages like Thornton, Ansdell, Bispham and many more besides.

Cons of Moving to the Seaside

Here at Visit Fylde Coast we really love living next to the sea. For us, the problems are massively outweighed by the good things. Cleveleys is a lovely place to live, people are friendly, facilities are good and the location is amazing.

As we’ve already said, when we first moved here over 20 years ago, someone said to us that people either love it and stay forever, or they really don’t like it and go quickly. We’ve seen that played out many times with families who have come and gone.

We might love the seaside but we don’t wear rose tinted glasses. There are  plenty of good things about moving to the coast, but as with anything, there are bad things too. We’d hate you to move thinking it was going to be a bed of roses, so there are some downsides to consider too.

Expect bad weather when you're moving to the seaside
Expect bad weather when you’re moving to the seaside

Living with bad seaside weather…

Until you’ve been in bad seaside weather for a prolonged period of time, you’ve got no idea what it’s really like. When it’s bad it’s very, very bad…

  • The wind can literally blow you off your feet. If you’re a bit wobbly on your legs (or don’t like wind) you could find yourself under house-arrest for days on end.
  • Abandon all hopes of complicated hairstyles and fancy clothes. Hoods, hats and rainwear are the order of the day for many months of the year.
  • You’ll find yourself only buying coats with hoods! Especially if you’re used to travelling by car and shopping indoors.
  • Windows, oh the windows! Your windows will frequently (usually) be dirty. In windy but dry weather you won’t be able to see out of them as they mist up with a layer of salt and sand as soon as the wind starts to blow.
  • If you’re near to the sea you’ll have to learn what plants to grow in your garden. The answers can sometimes be surprising!

Extra House Maintenance

  • The weather knocks the living daylights out of your property. You’ll do a lot more DIY and maintenance simply because of the agressive weather.
    The simple answer is to use weather resistant materials in the first place. If you’re buying a house which needs renovation or repair, always make them weatherproof at the outset. It will save you a lot of money in the long run.
  • Sand gets everywhere. You’ll be surprised how destructive sand can be. After all it’s used in sandblasting – and that’s what the local weather is. A continuous, gentle sandblasting of everything! Sand can blow the surface off house bricks, leaving them ‘spalled’ and crumbly.
  • It gets into the cavity of your house walls through the air bricks, allowing damp to penetrate inside your house. It walks into your car and house. Oh and don’t forget the mini dunes you’ll collect in your garden (especially in sandy places like St Annes).
  • Blown sand can also be responsible for blocking drains, which can lead to flooding from rainwater or sea water. So that’s another thing on your list to watch for.

Over and above!

Anyone who has done any house remodelling or building work will know about Building Regulations. It’s a good idea to make sure your seaside house is insulated to a standard over and above building regs. Because it’s a windy spot, the wind can blow through every crack and cranny, which then increases your heating costs!

Flooding

Huge, and we mean enormous, quantities of money have been spent to protect the Fylde Coast from flooding. New sea defences have been built recently, with a programme of ongoing works still underway.

The recently completed £64m Rossall Coastal Defence Scheme at Fleetwood
The recently completed £64m Rossall Coastal Defence Scheme at Fleetwood

But as clever as modern engineering is, and as much money has been spent, it’s not a 100% guarantee against flooding.

In a place like the Fylde Coast, flooding can occur from the sea, the rivers (Ribble and Wyre) and from the sky (excess rainwater).

It’s quite a complicated subject that we won’t go into here. But there are things that you can do to help yourself and your own property against extreme weather. Again, if your new property requires any level of renovation it would be wise to incorporate some of these flood resistant measures into the works. Not necessarily for now, but to future proof your renovations. Take a look at the Flood Hub website for more advice.

Ideas for Moving to the Seaside

Here at Visit Fylde Coast we’re frequently contacted by people who intend to move to the area and want to ask questions before they do. It’s exactly what we did when we bought our house, and that’s why we’ve published this article about moving to the seaside.

You need to understand how your own mind ticks really before you take any action. If you’re good at making decisions and sticking with them that’s fine. But if you’re a ditherer (like we are!) you’d probably want to make a more considered choice.

Visit before you buy

Please, whatever you do, visit in all weathers before you make a move! Life at the seaside isn’t all sunshine and ice creams. The weather can be really vile when it wants to. If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t like bad weather you’re going to be really unhappy. Don’t try to convince yourself that it will be OK, because there’s as much bad weather as there is good.

On the other hand, if you love getting wrapped up and walking on a windswept beach in the middle of winter, then you’re going to be in your element!

Sea Foam at Cleveleys. What moving to the seaside can be like in winter!
Sea Foam at Cleveleys. What moving to the seaside can be like in winter!

Rent before you buy

There’s plenty of rental accommodation of all different types on the Fylde Coast. You could rent a house for a period of time and find out whether you like it enough to make the leap. If you rent where you live now that’s probably an easier thing to do. But if you own a property you could rent that out before making the leap to selling it.

Research and search out local groups

Would you like to play a part in local life and belong to the community? If it’s a big part of the appeal of living at the Fylde Coast it would be worth you searching out some of the groups that interest you.

As for the place itself, have a good look around. Visit Fylde Coast includes more than enough information to help you to familiarise yourself.

Holiday Homes

When you’re living inland in a normal British town, owning a holiday home seems like a big, weird, extravagant thing to do. Your neighbours roll their eyes and go ‘ooooh’ at you.

But at the seaside end of the holiday home thing, you find out it’s completely normal. Loads of people own their own holiday property here. Many of us start out with a holiday home and make the slow transition to living here.

You’ll probably find that you either want to stay in your holiday home for longer and longer periods of time. Or you’ll get fed up and not want to come to it at all!

Pros of having your own holiday home

  • It’s amazing being able to come away every weekend. Especially if you live in an easy travelling distance.
    You’ll find yourself avidly watching the weather forecast and living for Friday!
  • You can leave all your own things in your holiday home, ready to return to next time. Leave food in the freezer and condiments in the cupboard, ready to use when you come back. If you’re not letting your holiday home to anyone you’ll know that it’s all clean and safe for next time.
  • It could end up being your new home…

Cons of your own holiday home

  • Going ‘home’ becomes increasingly difficult. Especially when the sun is shining over the sea and it’s a glorious evening…
  • It’s a tiring way of life if you want to use your holiday home a lot. There’s a lot of driving and you’ll end up losing your free time at home while you spend it at your holiday home.
  • Maintenance has still got to be done. Yes, that’s at two properties now, instead of just the one.
  • You’ll worry about your holiday home being safe. It’s a good idea to install proper security and take home safety seriously.
  • Expect to make mercy dashes from time to time. If the weather is exceptionally bad, or there’s some kind of emergency, you might end up tramming down the motorway at 10pm on a Wednesday night – and then going to work the day after.

Don’t get us wrong. Like we said, the benefits of a holiday home far outweigh the bad side – especially if you want to use it a lot. But there are downsides and it’s not all a bed of roses!

We hope our article about moving to the seaside has given you plenty of food for thought. There are no doubt lots of things that we’ve forgotten but we’ll add them when we remember!

*****

Your Thoughts

It looks like quite a few of you can identify with this article, we’ve had some lovely emails and comments on Facebook. Don’t forget you can also leave a comment below. Here are some of the messages you’ve sent in:

Paul and Wendy:

My Wife and I are Yorkshire born and bred, formerly living between Leeds and Huddersfield. We both always liked visiting Blackpool, of which I have many childhood memories of family holidays with Aunties, Uncles, Grandparents and Parents. It’s a place where I still feel close to them even though most of them passed away years ago.

We had talked about moving to Blackpool many times in the past and we tied the knot in 2018 in the tower viewing room of the Wedding Chapel on the promenade. What held us back I think was committing to make the move. In the end my employers in Yorkshire was taken over by a bigger organisation and they had a depot in Preston. I made enquiries about potential work and found there was a vacancy in Preston. I attended an interview and was offered the job on the spot. We immediately began looking for somewhere to live. Renting at first and them looking to buy. This seemed like the best option due to the timescale for mortgage applications and fear that the job offer could be withdrawn if it took too long.

After making 8 trips over last July/August to view rental properties we decided to concentrate on Knott End. We love walking and liked the idea of a quiet life after living around large towns and cities in Yorkshire. We had a few viewings arranged for one weekend and I booked us into the North Euston in Fleetwood. On the Saturday evening we went out to get something to eat and were bowled over by the friendliest strangers who were out and about. One gentleman even took the time to point out various landmarks and describe the view of the Lake District from over the water. From that day we switched to looking for rental properties in Fleetwood.

We moved in at the end of September 2018. A nice 2 bedroom semi which has lovely neighbours. It wasn’t an ideal time to move I thought, with Winter just being around the corner but my Dad said “If we like it through the Winter then we’ll love it come Spring and Summer”. As usual my Dad was right. Winter has been surprisingly mild, whereas Yorkshire would have temperatures below zero all day long during January and February.

We’ve lived in Fleetwood for almost 10 months now.

The best parts?

Walking on the beach after a day at work. Fresh sea air. Particularly mild Winter (compared to Yorkshire). And the people. We regularly walk into Fleetwood or Cleveleys and are amazed at how many of the shops remember us! 49 years in Yorkshire and no shop ever remembered us or knew us by name. Going shopping wearing shorts even when it’s raining and not feeling like a prat.

The bad parts?

Having to commute to Preston each day to work. Although seeing Blackpool Tower on my way back home is a nice sight. And the rain. I haven’t actually been anywhere that rains as much as it does in Fleetwood or Preston. I think sometimes the rain gets stuck and doesn’t want to go away. But in Yorkshire we used to have 2 weeks of snow each year which would take weeks and weeks to thaw out.

I think it’s a shame we didn’t make the move years ago. But that would’ve meant looking for jobs. In the end transferring within my employers depots took away some of the worry and they say things often happen for a reason. I think job prospects are the biggest hindrance for young people looking to move. My wife works in the care sector and jobs are available from Fleetwood to St.Annes. We certainly don’t have any plans to make a return to Yorkshire and hope to grow old here and look forward to retirement by the sea.

Eric Butler, ‘forever a Knott End Guy’:

Eric emailed to say “Loved your article on moving to the seaside, I grew up in Knott end (over wyre) didn’t really see anything about over wyre. Shame really, as there are a lot of retirees in that area, so something good must be attracting them. However I am a bit biased seeing as I grew up in Knott End on sea, so you’ll have to forgive me. I’ll let you in on a little secret, I actually live in Nova Scotia, Canada, and have done for the past 40 years. But Knott End will always be embedded deep in my heart.”

Rosemary says:

“Landlubbers are immediately drawn to the idea of living their lives out at the coast.

“Add to the check-it-out the cost of rents, rates and utilities. What are the best WiFi connections, how are the broadband providers in the area? Plus house prices. The bigger the house, and there are plenty around, the dearer the heating costs. Older properties are not so well insulated.”

East Anglia to St Annes, and back!

Tracey left a comment on our Visit St Annes Facebook page. She says:

“Really interesting read, well informed and as someone who moved here for work lived in St Annes for nearly six years now back in East Anglia, I had no idea what I was letting myself in for relocating. Daily dog marches to the sea at least a mile away from the dunes on most days. Being blown off your feet by the wind and the driving rain. Fighting to find parking spaces in the summer. Falling over tourists lying in the dunes. All these things you get used to, and the beautiful mornings alone on the beach make a memory that you keep and hold onto on the windswept wild days.

“I loved St Annes but I was lonely here for a lot of the time. Not everyone welcomes outsiders or rich southerners as they think you are! (Obviously haven’t been to East Anglia) and it’s difficult if your not churchy or amateur dramatics to fit in. I think before people move hundreds of miles away from family and friends you need to seriously consider this. It’s perhaps easier if you have children or work here. Your friends and family are very important and the once-yearly visit may not be enough.

“Relocating is exciting, however be prepared to have to build new friendship groups. If you do that you’ll have a great time on this beautiful coast.”

Anything else to add?

Have you made the move? Have you got anything to add to our article about moving to the seaside? Just get in touch by emailing jane@theRabbitPatch.co.uk

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One Comment
  1. Avatar

    A lovely read. I lived in Thornton and St Anne’s and then back to Thornton before moving to Johannesburg, South Africa in 1984.
    Still return often for holidays with the family.

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