Your one stop shop for all things Fairhaven Lake

Fairhaven Lake is considered to be the third oldest marine lake in Britain first conceived by Thomas Riley, a Fleetwood businessman. Riley, aware of the development of St Annes, seized the opportunity to propose, plan and then develop the marine resort of Fairhaven.

Architect Arthur Carter was commissioned to produce a ‘master plan’ for the new resort, in 1893. The new resort was envisaged as being a genteel “watering place” – offering the virtues of spaciousness, clean air and community facilities, including a hotel, recreational provision and affording extensive views of the sea over the estuary.

Riley’s architect, Thomas Crook, created a dramatic impression of the new resort of Fairhaven, which envisages the lake and marine drive as being a major focus for the development. The creation of the lake was a fundamental part of the development of the resort and utilised the natural features of the estuary to create it.

This included the extensive shingle bank known locally as a ‘stannah’ which naturally enclosed a tidal lagoon. The aim was one of extending the stannah to provide a completely enclosed lake. This became the outer sea wall and Promenade.

Fairhaven is considered to be the third oldest marine lake in Britain, designed as a centrepiece of a resort with its recreational facilities including a golf course. The present café was originally the golf course club house. The original lake was half the size of the present one and followed the natural contours of the site.

The site also included some notable buildings, such as the original boat house, known as the Pagoda building – dating from 1901 and the large boat house, designed by way of an unusual prefabricated system, dating from 1921. The original boat house was designed by William Wade, an eminent St Annes architect.

Well-known to readers is the fact the former two urban districts of Lytham and St Annes were merged in November 1922, and to illustrate its forward-looking ambitions, the new local authority purchased the whole site from the Fairhaven Estate.

A price of £34,000 had been agreed and at this point, the generosity of Lord Ashton (having already provided funding for the purchase and upgrading of what was to become Ashton Gardens, in St Annes) enters the story. He generously donated the £34,000 for the Corporation to purchase the whole site.

The ambitions to enhance this newly acquired recreational facility led to the commissioning of Thomas Mawsons and Sons, who had an international reputation for high quality landscape and town planning design. Their scheme was presented in 1924 and included ambitions plans to extend the Promenade Gardens, as well as the lake and its immediate environment.

The lake was doubled in size in a picturesque format, with bays and inlets and featuring extensive landscaping, plantations and a re-plan of the recreational facilities. The ambitious plan was fulfilled and the lake as it now appears follows the Mawson Plan.

An interesting feature of the Mawson Plan was the proposal and implementation of the Japanese garden/lagoon, situated on the south-westerly side of the lake. The Japanese garden was covered over in the 1960’s where it remained hidden until the Fairhaven HLF project expertly uncovered the garden and made repairs to restore the area to its former glory.

The HLF project also transformed the Pagoda building, into the home of the RSPB wildlife charity alongside a new visitor centre which depicts the history of the lake across an interactive timeline.

The large boathouse has benefited from an internal redesign to become Fairhaven’s brand-new Water Sports building to increase usage of the lake for a number of water related activities and support existing clubs and societies on the lake.

The dated café building has been comprehensively rebuilt back to its former grandeur externally and redesigned into a vibrant modern café inside.

For more information on the Park and its history head to our visitor centre in the pagoda building, tour the park and learn from our various information boards or download our app!
The home of water sports on the Fylde coast! Water Sports have been present at the lake since its creation and our new Water Sports centre offers you various ways to improve your existing skills or to learn the basics, all supported by a qualified instructor with state-of-the-art equipment and facilities. There’s something for everyone no matter your skill or experience:

Have a go paddle session (any craft) £20 per person for 2 hours
A two-hour session, in which you can try your hand at a variety of Watersports. We offer canoeing, kayaking and paddleboarding. You will get a chance to try each craft under our qualified instructors’ supervision. Our have a go sessions are ran on set days, visit our Facebook page for the dates or contact us.

Private Tuition (any craft) £20 per hour per person
You can hire our qualified instructor on an hourly basis to help you in your desired craft. They are proficient in all three craft (canoe, kayak, and paddleboard) and can easily help with any issues or questions you may have. This session can be booked at a time that suits yourselves including evenings and weekends.

Learn to Paddleboard (SUP) £65 per person for the 5-hour course
This course will give you all the skills to be confident on your paddleboard. Whether you are wanting to build on your own skills or learn something new. We will cover balancing on the board, manoeuvring around the lake, and what to do if you fall in. Learn to Paddleboard courses are ran on set days, visit our Facebook page for the dates or contact us.

Paddle Start (Canoe or kayak)
£80 per person for the 5-hour course over 1 day

This British Canoeing recognised introductory course to your chosen craft will provide you with all the basic information you will need to be more confident on the water. We will look at manoeuvring around the lake. Focusing on turning and steering.

Content covered in this course includes:
  • Clothing choice and safety equipment
  • Stability and general use of your chosen craft
  • Paddle choice
  • Seating, kneeling, and standing positions
  • Safe methods of moving your craft and how to get onto the water
  • Controlling your craft on the water including stopping, moving, and changing direction
  • Information on locations you can take your craft

  • Paddle Start courses are ran on set days, visit our Facebook page for the dates or contact us.

    Paddle Discover (Canoe or kayak)
    £120 per person for the 10-hour course split over two days In this British Canoeing recognised course, we will investigate your chosen craft in more detail, building on all the skills that you have already learnt. We will then look into rescues and what to do in the event of a capsize.

    Content covered in this course includes:
  • How to check the weather conditions including wind/direction/outlook
  • Types of water flow/levels/exposure
  • Access and egress points
  • Moving craft - Varied safe lifting techniques and consideration of ground conditions
  • Everything you need to know to plan a paddle trip
  • Shared access and paddling with others
  • Balance and stability on the water and good technique for getting in and out
  • Working though Seating, kneeling, and standing positions until combatable
  • Different methods to move forwards on your craft
  • Different methods of steering, short and wide strokes, ruddering – static and on the move
  • Taking a journey to explore your surroundings
  • Various recure methods – self rescue/peer rescues and peer rescues with support
  • Various methods of returning to shore – pushing/shoving/nudging and towing

  • Paddle Discover courses are ran on set days, visit our Facebook page for the dates or contact us.

    Corporate Sessions: Fancy a team building experience like no other. Water Sports are a fantastic way to build team skills and relationships. We can accommodate groups of varying size and any level of skill. Enquire now.

    Holiday camps: Looking for a unique experience to keep your little ones occupied during the holidays – check out of Facebook page as we release dates for our ultimate outdoor experience, as well as water sports activities we offer bushcraft, boat rides and adventure golf.

    Fairhaven Water Sports gift vouchers now available to purchase online! Give the gift of a new experience to your family or loved one.

    To book any water sports activity email our team or message us on our Facebook page

    To make payment for any activity please click here.
    Our modern multifunctional Water Sports Building is available for hire too!

    We’re already home to various clubs and societies, fitness and craft groups, charities, and social clubs. If you’re looking for a fantastic space for your next event, meeting, coffee morning, party or celebration enquire now. There are two rooms available depending on the size of your group and both have access to toilets, Wi-Fi and refreshment making facilities. We also have chairs, tables, and feature lighting available.

    Riley Room £20 per hour


    Mawson Room £15 per hour


    Reduced charitable rates available for both rooms if applicable.

    To book either room or for more information about creating the perfect space for your booking, email our in-house team or message our Facebook page

    Contact details can be found here.
    Recreational water activity has been at the heart of Fairhaven Lake since its creation. If you’re interested in brining your craft to use on the Lake, you’ll need a Fairhaven Paddle Permit:

    2-hour paddle permit (Canoe, kayak, or SUP) £5
    Our 2-hour pass is great for a one-off paddle. Available to purchase at our boat service or adventure golf kiosks.

    Full day paddle permit (Canoe, kayak, or SUP) £10
    Pay for a full day and use the lake at your leisure. Available to purchase at our boat service or adventure golf kiosk.

    Annual paddle permit (Canoe, kayak, or SUP) £60
    Save money and choose our annual pass this pass entitles you to 12 months use of the lake. To purchase an annual pass you can visit our kiosks (opening hours vary) or pay online here.

    Private launch (sailing boat or dingey) £6 for 2 hours, £12 for a full day or £75 for the full year

    Please retain your physical pass for the duration of your use of the lake or have your confirmation email to hand as you may be asked to produce evidence of payment by the lake team. Please familiarise yourself with our paddle permit guidelines before using the lake. (#PDF link)
    Welcome to the new Fairhaven Adventure Golf, opened in September 2020 and located at Fairhaven Lake and Gardens. This exciting eighteen-hole attraction offers a journey around Fylde featuring many recognisable landmarks, including Lytham Hall, Singleton Fire Station, St Annes Pier and Lytham Windmill. There’s also a number of holes based on those at the nearby Royal Lytham & St Annes and St Annes Old Links golf courses.

    The Fairhaven Adventure Golf course is open daily from 10am (weather permitting) all year round and our very friendly and helpful staff are on hand to help. There’s free car parking in the adjacent car park and ample free parking on the Inner Promenade road.



    Adventure golf prices and info:
  • Open Daily from 10am (the facility operates weather permitting)
  • No need to pre book! Just turn up and tee off…
  • Child – £5
  • Adults (16+) – £7
  • Family ticket (2+2) – £20
  • Carer free with a paying guest
  • We also offer private hire of the course to groups and schools, for prices and booking please contact us here!
  • The Fairhaven Boat Service is seasonal and is open at weekends, bank holidays and every day during school holidays from 10.00am – 5.00pm (weather conditions permitting). Tickets for a 20-minute ride are available from the boat hire kiosk along the lake side.

  • £8 per boat hire for up to 20 minutes
  • 5 people per boat
  • No standing up in the boat whilst moving
  • Life jackets are available
  • No pre-booking is required

  • We also offer rowboats, sit on top kayaks and canoes for hire!
  • Rowboat £6 for 30 for minutes (4-seater or 6-seater)
  • Kayak £6 for 30 for minutes (Single (1 person) or tandem (2 people)
  • Canoe £6 for 30 for minutes (3 people)
  • Public court hire
    To book one of our fantastic public hard courts visit Fairhaven Lake / Home (lta.org.uk)

    Courts are priced at £7.50 per court for an hours play. Alternatively book and pay at the adjacent adventure golf kiosk.
    Racket and ball hire available too for £5.00.


    Resident Tennis Club
    If you’re interested in playing regularly at the lake, why not join our established Fairhaven Lawn Tennis Club – with access to recently upgraded hard courts and 5 grass courts! Find out more about the club and how to join here. (Here link to club’s page)

    Fairhaven boasts 3 bowling greens, two used by our resident Marine Park bowling club and one wintergreen used during the off-season months by clubs across Fylde whilst regular greens are closed for maintenance.

    Our winter green is also home to the Fairhaven Bowls Academy who aim to bring bowls to all ages and all levels of experience!



    If you’re interested in a game, bowls playing equipment is available for one-off hire from our Adventure Golf Kiosk for 1 hour:
  • £6 per adult
  • £5 per senior
  • £2 per child

  • A Fylde bowls contact enables you to play across our Fylde greens for the full season.
    Purchase your bowls contact from our adventure golf kiosk:
  • £85 per adult
  • £65 per senior
  • £30 per child

  • Winter contracts also available for £20 per person Find out more about Marine Park Bowling Club and The Fairhaven Bowls Academy here.
    Fairhaven Bowls Academy
    Fairhaven Bowls Academy is a non-profit making organisation. Their primary purpose is to promote the sport of Crown Green Bowls in Lytham St. Annes.

    Academy coaches are volunteers drawn from the local Crown Green Bowling Clubs. The Academy is managed by the LSA Bowls Development Partnership.

    The Academy is affiliated to the North Lancashire and Fylde Crown Green Bowls Association and the Sport's governing body the British Crown Green Bowling Association. Volunteers deliver coaching sessions to anyone that wants to participate in an open training session that is aged 5 and over, no upper age limit.

    The Academy is an inclusive coaching organisation, in that they use coach volunteers based upon their ability to coach regardless of any physical, mental, or behavioural disabilities. They encourage everyone to play bowls and look to develop the bowler to maximise their potential, seeking guidance on any physical or mental disabilities, only to ensure that individuals can participate in bowling safely.

    The group meets at Fairhaven on Sundays 1pm until 3pm and Thursday 9:30am until 11:30am for those with learning disabilities.

    Fairhaven Lawn Tennis Club
    The lawn tennis club has been at Fairhaven since 1912, with five well maintained lawn tennis courts and two all-weather hard courts for use by members. The club is a friendly place to play, offering an active social calendar, catering to all levels of play whether you’re a complete beginner or seasonal pro. There are a variety of different membership types available including family and junior membership. Coaching is available for both juniors and adults in groups or individually. Play is all year round, using the hard courts in the winter. New members and visitors welcome, for more information click here

    Ribble Cruising Club
    Established in 1950, RCC has encouraged and facilitated sailing on the Ribble estuary (and further afield) for 70 years, primarily based at the club house on Lytham Green. The clubs second home is at Fairhaven Lake, where regular training and sailing sessions occur when tides are not suitable on the estuary.
    Ribble Cruising Club – Sailing, cruising, racing & tuition in Lytham, Lancashire

    Fylde SUP Group
    Fylde SUP is a group for paddlers of all ages and abilities who paddle on the Fylde coast, looking to develop skills, taking part in social paddles and linking with trainers. The group alternate paddles between Fairhaven Lake and Fleetwood Marine Lake every Wednesday evening during the season. In association with Three Pier watersports, board hire is available during these sessions on a bookable basis.

    More information can be found here

    Fairhaven Lake Model Boat Club
    Fairhaven Lake Model Boat Club are a group of likeminded enthusiastic individuals that build, sail, buy and sell all things related to model boats. Weather permitting, you will find members enjoying scale boat and sailing sessions at the Northern end of the lake next to the Spitfire from 18:00 until sunset generally on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday evenings weather permitting, and have recently added a Wednesday afternoon form 14:00 onwards to the official days. The club have use of the newly re-furbished park building positioned next to the lake complete with high quality kitchen and other facilities. The building is used to hold our regular club meeting held the 2nd Wednesday of each month.

    1st LSA Sea Scouts
    The 1st Lytham St Annes Sea Scouts is a fully recognised Royal Navy Sea scouting group offering fun and adventure! The group spends their summer at Fairhaven, learning to kayak, row and sail. Open to everyone aged 10.5 to 14 years, warning you may get wet!

    More information can be found here

    Friends of Fairhaven
    This group of volunteers aims to develop community use of Fairhaven Lake by promoting its historical heritage and ecological values. They want to improve access to all to the lake and encourage a wide participation in organising and developing its many features including events and activities for all parts of the community. Since 2016 they have played an active role in the planning of the project for the restoration of the lake and supported and organised numerous events and activities each year including the Big Picnic, theatre productions in the Boat House and heritage walks.
    New members are welcome and can contact them by email: fairhavenlakefriends@gmail.com
    Housed in the original 1895 golf club house, the newly refurbished Fairhaven Lake Café takes in waterside views of the lake and gardens.

    Following an extensive refurbishment programme, there’s an extensive menu of breakfast, meals and snacks is available with hand made on site cakes and desserts. An outside dining area is available adjacent to a children’s play area. There’s a designated doggy friendly area for those visiting the café with their furry friend. The ice cream parlour sells Bonds Ice Cream as well as a range of ice lollies and other ice creams. There’s free car parking nearby and designated disabled bays offering easy access.

    Fairhaven Lake Cafe - Lakeside (facebook.com)

    Fairhaven Adventure golf now features a concession stand with hot and cold drinks, ice cream and snacks.

    The Pavilion building located close to the children’s adventure play now features a concession stand with hot and cold drinks, ice cream and snacks.

    There are many picnic benches around the lake and park area which you are of course welcome to use, and to help us to protect the wildlife and natural assets, please do take your litter home or use the bins provided.
    The Ribble Estuary draws in more than a quarter of a million birds to the estuary at any one time. It’s a restaurant for them – packed full of shellfish, worms and other tiny creatures that provide an endless supply of food. Wading birds like curlew, redshank, godwits, knot, dunlin and oystercatcher occur in abundance here, alongside colourful ducks like wigeon, shelduck and pintail. Thousands of pink-footed geese spend the long winter nights resting here too. The nearby sand dunes and saltmarsh are also home to a variety of unusual plants and small creatures. They can be explored on a school trip or one of our family events. Fairhaven Lake itself, is a popular destination for locals and tourists and is also a great place to spot a range of different ducks and geese. Tufted ducks dive under the water for their food while mallards, coots and mute swans glide serenely across the surface.

    Activities for children and families
    We love to welcome families to the RSPB Fairhaven Lake Visitor Centre! With our new interactive displays and free downloadable app, there’s loads to do. You can even grab a coffee and snack before or after you explore. There’s the Arts Council-funded trail sculptures all around the lake too, see if you can spot them all. The trail will help you discover more about the wonderful wildlife of the Ribble Estuary.

    Seaside and park activity backpacks are available all year round, to really make the most out of exploring the area. Taking a walk down the new sea wall promenade is rewarded with the panoramic view across the estuary, seeing Southport where our sister site Marshside is based and on clear days all the way to North Wales.

    Themed activities, interactive displays and badge-making are available, and we offer a programme of fun, nature-themed, family events in the holidays.

    RSPB Fairhaven Lake Visitor Centre, Inner Promenade, Lytham Saint Annes FY8 1BD
    ribble.reserves@rspb.org.uk
    01253 796292
    Twitter @RSPB_Ribble
    RSPB Ribble Estuary | Facebook
    In 2009 the Lytham St Annes Spitfire Display Team was formed as the fundraising arm of the Fylde Spitfire Memorial Fund. The teams objective was to raise funds through public donations to build a full-size replica of the Mark VB Spitfire W3644 which was purchased by the people of the Borough in 1940. Sadly the aircraft and pilot Sgt Alan Lever-Ridings were shot down by an FW190 whilst returning from escort duty during a bombing mission over Morlaix, France. The Memorial was officially unveiled on the 19th August 2012.

    Find out more by visiting the Lytham St Annes Spitfire Ground Display Team on Facebook

    View our upcoming events at Fairhaven Lake

    july 2024

    12jul7:30 pm10:30 pmFeaturedMamma Mia! - Fairhaven Outdoor CinemaHeartwarming family favourite

    13jul7:30 pm10:30 pmFeaturedFairhaven Outdoor Cinema - The Greatest ShowmanStep right up and experience the magic of The Greatest Showman like never before!