A Hidden Gem
If you’re visiting Lytham, you may not be aware that it has its own hall. Full of history, with lots of stories to tell, this elegant building is well worth a visit
Just a short stroll from Lytham town centre, nestling in 78 acres of beautiful historic parkland is Lytham Hall. It is a Grade 1 listed building and is the finest Georgian House in Lancashire.
In the 12th century it was originally a Benedictine Priory and eventually a Jacobean Hall was built. Parts of the old buildings remain, and it is therefore of great archaeological and historical interest. In the 18th century Thomas Carr of York designed the stunning Palladian house we see today.
Four generations of the very colourful Clifton family have lived here, and the beautiful interior, pictures and artefacts tell their amazing story.
The fortunes of the Clifton family remained buoyant and great refurbishments took place at the hall between 1790 and 1830. A downturn in the family fortunes however was exacerbated by the profligate spending of John Talbot Clifton (1868-1928) and his son Henry Talbot de Verre Clifton.
In 1968 the hall was sold to the Guardian Royal Insurance Company for office use. In 1997 when it came up for sale again it was bought by the charity, Lytham Town Trust with the help of a donation from BAE Systems.
A 99-year lease was agreed with The Heritage Trust for the North West for them to manage the hall and its grounds.
In 1997 the Friends of Lytham Hall was formed. It is an independent charity whose sole aim is to support the hall by raising funds through events and grant applications. Masked balls, summer lunches, Christmas dinners and many other events have been organised over the years. The £250,000 raised to date, has been given to the hall to help purchase Clifton family artefacts, help to fund the painting of the hall, lay paths and buy a Land Rover for use in the grounds. Many other restoration projects, large and small have been supported by the Friends. The old Privy was restored to reveal seats for two, so no social distancing here!
The managers and staff at the hall have worked tirelessly over the past few years to conserve and restore this special place. Even in lockdown, work continued behind the huge iron gates and the painting of the outside of the hall was at last completed in its original colours. The badly eroding drive was replaced with the help of Fylde Borough Council and a stunning exhibition of the explorer John Talbot Clifton was funded by the Lytham Heritage Group and was placed at the hall.
As the estate can no longer afford a huge staff of servants, a willing band of over 250 volunteers have stepped in! With their wealth of talents and great determination they have created beautiful gardens and maintained the woodland paths and the parkland. The kitchen garden is flourishing and is producing plenty of fresh produce.
Volunteer guides also give lively and interesting tours of the hall and grounds. They also serve in the ever-popular cafe, where customers can dine inside or on the lawn, which is surrounded by the beautiful garden hub and a small antiques centre. The friendly pigs, boars, giant rabbits and the Pigmy goats love to welcome visitors to their home just behind the cafe lawn.
The pond at the rear of the hall was dug out and a mound was formed with the soil and put over the old ice-house. The ice-house would have provided cold storage for fresh food used by the hall. The volunteers have cleverly built steps to the top of the mound for visitors to climb and enjoy a wonderful view of the hall and the estate.
In late February, the lead volunteer for the grounds set up several wildlife cameras which were triggered by movement and body heat. He was amazed by the diversity of wildlife in the grounds of the hall, obviously enjoying the freedom and peace and quiet of lockdown. Deer, foxes, hares, rabbits, squirrels and a huge variety of birds were captured on the cameras.
The pictures and videos throughout the seasons will also show the stunning displays of snowdrops, bluebells and swathes of native English daffodils which enhance the beauty of the grounds.
The hall manager Peter Anthony said: “During lockdown Lytham Proms, the steam rally, weddings, open air theatres, concerts and many other events have had to be cancelled. This has led to a serious loss of much needed revenue, but we are open now and determined to come back stronger than ever.”
Lytham Hall and grounds are a wonderful place for a quiet stroll (well behaved dogs and lively children welcome) to explore the woods, climb the mound, rest by the lake or step back in time with the Clifton family in the stunning Georgian Hall.
We look forward to your visit and your support. Thank you for helping to keep this stunning place alive for generations to come.