A fine Fylde Coast pub restaurant on a former smugglers’ creek off the River Wyre at Skippool, close to the iconic seaside resort of Blackpool. Within easy reach of the Forest of Bowland, The Thornton Lodge serves traditional pub food, superb seasonal specials and relaxed Sunday roasts.
Near the banks of Skippool Creek in the River Wyre Estuary, on the road to Thornton and the coast at Fleetwood, stands a imposing pub restaurant of whitewashed walls, The Thornton Lodge. At the heart of the River Wyre’s historic peninsula in the district of Thornton-Cleveleys, this welcoming Lancashire inn is close to all the glitter and spectacle of Blackpool’s iconic attractions, while by contrast a short drive inland leads to the Forest of Bowland’s rugged beauty, an ancient landscape of wild high moors and brooding fells.
The surrounding area is popular with walkers, ramblers and nature lovers, and steeped in history, with many prehistoric finds recorded on the Fylde peninsula, including the famous Carleton Elk, an almost intact 12,000 year old elk skeleton with hunting barbs embedded in the leg. The nearby Domesday Book listed village of Thornton is home to the landmark Marsh Mill, a Grade II* listed working Tower Windmill built in 1794. Skippool itself was once a major river port, trading in cargoes from Ireland, Russia and the West Indies, and Skippool Creek, at the rear of The Thornton Lodge, has long been associated with smuggling.
With Blackpool and the Forest of Bowland both in easy reach of The Thornton Lodge, this pleasant country pub is perfectly located on the Fylde to relax and unwind after a day spent riding the roller-coasters of Blackpool, walking on the River Wyre estuary or exploring the region’s rich history. Enjoy a delicious pub meal, choose a seasonal special, or tuck into a fine Sunday lunch, served with fine wines and cask ales.Read more...
Less than 15 minutes drive from the iconic attractions of Blackpool’s world-famous Golden Mile, The Thornton Lodge is an imposing country pub restaurant surrounded by fields and gently rolling coastal landscape on the edge of Skippool Creek. It dates back to the late 19th century, but is said to occupy the site of a much older pub, The Ouzel Inn, that may have served the sailors and smugglers that frequented the tidal creek that flows into the River Wyre.
In the 17th century Skippool was a bustling port, handling cargoes of tobacco, sugar and rum from the West Indies, Baltic timber and Russian flax, alongside its sister harbour of Wardleys on the opposite bank of the Wyre. Both ports served the important market town of Poulton-le-Fylde, where merchants plied their trade and regular markets were held. A customs house was established in 1708 to collect duty and combat smuggling, a significant problem on the Fylde coast.
The town’s Grade II listed Market Cross, stocks and whipping post all date from this prosperous period in Poulton-le-Fylde’s mercantile history, and form part of what has become known as Poulton’s ‘famous five’ antiquities, along with the 19th century Fish Stones and Queen Victoria’s lamp.
Skippool’s importance as a port diminished after the development of Fleetwood and the coming of the railway. Today few clues remain to hint at the existence of a river port that was once said to be bigger than Liverpool, but a walk along Skippool Creek from The Thornton Lodge offers fine views across the Wyre Estuary and the atmospheric derelict hulls of large vessels that once docked at the port, now slowly sinking into the mudflats.
A little further north on the estuary, at Stanah, the Wyre Estuary Country Park has numerous attractive walks and accessible paths to explore, and a popular Children’s Natural Play area.
The most popular attraction on this stretch of the Fylde for children and adults alike is the vibrant seaside resort of Blackpool, a 15 minute drive from The Thornton Lodge. First made fashionable by Victorian visitors coming by train to take the air and promenade on the seafront, Blackpool’s reputation rapidly grew with the development of the Winter Gardens, the introduction of electric trams and the opening of Blackpool Tower in the late 1800’s.
Today the town is world-famous for its iconic attractions, such as the three Piers, the Pleasure Beach and the spectacular annual Blackpool Illuminations in September and October, bathing the bustling Golden Mile in light and colour. By contrast, nearby Lytham-St-Annes offers a quieter and more relaxed atmosphere, with pretty parks and boating lakes.
Visitors to The Thornton Lodge seeking a more outdoor experience should head for the stunning countryside of the Forest of Bowland, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the source of the River Wyre. Just 30 minutes distant, the pretty market town of Garstang lies in the foothills of Bowland Fells, and offers walking routes such as the Wyre Way, following the meandering river upstream to the picturesque Bowland hamlet of Abbeystead.
Ramblers and walkers can also explore the scenic Lancaster Canal, first opened in 1797 and once a busy transport link to Kendal and Preston, now a haven for wildlife and popular for canalside strolls and leisure boaters. Garstang hosts its own walking festival every year in May, offering guided walks around the ridges, rivers and rural pastures of the Bowland Fells.
Just inland from Garstang, the rich variety of countryside that comprises the Forest of Bowland attract ramblers, cyclists and wildlife lovers. From dramatic moorland expanses to wooded valleys and river trails, dotted with picturesque hamlets and villages, this rugged ancient landscape is the perfect setting for a revitalising country walk after a relaxing pub lunch.
Located on the banks of Skippool Creek just a mile north of Poulton-le-Fylde, and perfectly positioned to experience the exhilarating thrills of Blackpool, or explore the tranquil hamlets and stunning landscape of the Forest of Bowland, The Thornton Lodge is a welcome retreat for a delicious pub meal with family and friends, or a leisurely Sunday lunch in a fine Fylde Coast inn. This welcoming pub restaurant is the ideal base for exploring the rich history of the Fylde peninsula, refreshed with a seasonal special from our extensive menu, including fine wines and cask ales.Show less...