The Hall That Has It All

The finest Georgian house in Lancashire, Lytham Hall, has been enjoying a revival thanks to the dedication of managers Paul and Peter and their loyal team. Alma Stewart discovers what makes this spectacular site so special

Paul Lomax and Peter Antony have been at the helm of Lytham Hall for more than eight years. When they were first approached to advise on how to breathe more life into the Grade I listed building and 78 acres of parkland, the Hall was down on its luck and had just lost a major National Lottery bid.

“We had always loved the Hall and had helped raise money for it in the past,” said Paul. “As Peter and I had ran so many hospitality venues, the then CEO approached us for our recommendations and we prepared a 15-page dossier of how the Hall and grounds could be revamped. On the strength of this, we were offered the positions of hospitality and catering managers.”

Once the ancestral home of the colourful Clifton Family, the site’s history spans across four centuries. It dates back to the 12th century when it was home to a priory of Benedictine monks. Sir Cuthbert Clifton built a Jacobean manor house on this plot in 1606. Much of the Jacobean building still exists. In 1752 Thomas Clifton commissioned John Carr of York to build the fine Palladian house which we see today.

Paul, an actor by trade, is originally from Wigan and Peter, a professional singer, from Oldham. The pair have family the area and got to know the Fylde Coast well particularly as Peter worked on the Blackpool entertainment circuit. “We love Lytham,” Paul added. “We couldn’t imagine not living near the sea now.”

One of the first changes was providing private dining in the boardroom to boost funds for the charity, particularly following the loss of the Lottery bid. A number of notable events have been held on the grounds with the generous support of local music promoters, Cuffe and Taylor.

When the position of general manager and assistant general manager became available, Peter and Paul jumped at the chance: “We were tasked with being in charge of the 78 acre site – to preserve its history and work on conservation. It was a huge learning curve. Peter had studied horticulture at Myerscough College and also ran his own grounds firm. He always had that interest which of course is ideal for our plans for the grounds,” Paul explained.

Some of the first tasks to tackle were some problem drains and leaking roofs. Repairs were funded by small grants and fundraising. The plan was then to restore each room, one at a time. “One positive thing about losing the initial Lottery bid is that were no longer tied to their constraints of commissioning contractors from outside the area,” Paul continued. “We are delighted to have local, specialist contractors on board who restore the hall using historic materials – it’s great to watch such skill.”

The improvements across the site have been astounding. The gate houses have been converted into self-catering accommodation, there is now the Garden Hub offering a host of beautiful species to purchase. Elsewhere, you can find the antiques and reclamation centre, the animal hub with pigs, rabbits and goats. The Lytham Hall Shop offers lots of exclusive branded produce, gifts and souvenirs. 

Visitors can enjoy one of the fabulous Georgian afternoon teas served at ‘Lilibet’s’ in the stunning ambience of Lytham Hall’s library. The Lytham Hall Café, wherever possible, uses locally sourced ingredients in the delicious homemade food. Peter’s daughter is head chef here, helping deliver a real family feel. The Kitchen Garden provides seasonal salad and vegetables year-round. Dog walkers will be happy to know that well behaved dogs are welcome to use the café.

Outside, a formal Italianate parterre garden has been created to mimic the garden which would have been here before. The Mount is accessible through new steps – this area has become a favourite with visitors. The driveway has also been repaired thanks to a grant from Fylde Borough Council, which has eradicated a number of potholes.

Of course, this work would not be possible without the dedication of the 300 volunteers who pitch in to help: “The Hall was closed off for 30 years when the Guardian owned it. There are generations of Fylde folk who missed out on knowing and using this place so now it’s all about including our local community as much as we can. These days you’ll see many local people taking their dogs for a walk or meeting friends for coffee. Our team here are amazing and we couldn’t have achieved what we have without them. Lytham Hall really does get under your skin.”

There are many reasons to discover the fantastic facilities in 2024. The full event schedule includes outdoor theatre, flower festival, motor shows, workshops and even the Lytham Hall Proms 2024 which will take place on August 25th. Tours of the Hall run throughout the year but visitors are welcome to just explore the grounds and enjoy the most pleasant surroundings.

With future works on the agenda including converting the stables, the creating of more formal gardens to include a wisteria arch, a David Austen rose garden with a royal connection and the possibility of a natural children’s playground, the plans are exciting. The addition of a new head gardener and CEO add to the Hall’s future getting even brighter.



Tedd Walmsley

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Tedd Walmsley managing director of Live Magazines shares his views on the latest topics in media.

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