Arnside:The Little Riviera of the North




 Boarding Houses and Hotels 


During the latter part of the 19th century, Lodging Houses in Arnside grew considerably. We know of only two in 1881, up to 10 in 1891 then growing upwards again to circa 29 in 1901. In the majority of cases they were run by women, although there are instances of husband and wife concerns, usually with the husband carrying out another trade.

One of the reasons for the rapid growth in the early 20th century is likely to be the number of schools in the area. The local lodging houses would provide accommodation for school staff as well as visiting parents. Staff who were servants in some of the big houses in Arnside were also accommodated in several of the lodging houses as can be evidenced by occupations in the census. This increase in residents, temporary or otherwise, would also have had an effect on the number of local businesses and shops required.

Just how many of these establishments catered purely for tourists or holidaymakers is unclear. Judging by the number of postcards from Arnside available at postcard fairs today, it is clear that the early part of the 20th century was popular with holidaymakers. They had to be accommodated somewhere in addition to the few (private) hotels in the village. Added to this, the number of private schools established here meant accommodation for teachers and visiting parents was required. During the 1870s and 1880s a number of large houses were also built in Arnside and it is fairly certain that staff working in those houses were also accommodated in lodgings.

When we reach 1925 the number has increased considerably once again. The Business Directory for 1925 states there are approx 42 “apartments’ which we take to mean there are 42 establishments willing to ‘let’ rooms, or a room! In some cases it is obvious that some of the establishments mentioned in the 1901 census are still in the hands of the same family or being run by descendants.

By 1930 the number in the trade directory (Year Book and diary we have available) seems to have shrunk to 15 – rather drastic in five years - although it is possible a number of establishments still offered rooms on an ad hoc basis or to regular clients without advertising as such.

Local historian, Stephen Caunce, building on the research of the late Dennis Bradbury, points out that with the increasing need for accommodation, Arnside had a constantly changing balance of hotels, guest houses and other types of accommodation.* 

Stephen points out that most of the properties between the Albion and Ashmeadow, although not necessarily built with borders in mind, do seem to have been intended specifically as guest houses. (The first building on that row was built in 1884 as a dwelling.) Today, the Willowfield is still offering accommodation and there is now also No. 43.

If you look at the folder (on the table below) you will see the growth of accommodation available at various periods (ie Boarding houses and rented furnished accommodation and the name of the landlady/landlord). 

In addition to the Lodging Houses and furnished apartments there were a number of establishments classed as “private hotels”. These have included: Broadlands, Church Hill, Nelson’s Temperance Hotel, The Promenade, The Grosvenor, Promenade, Inglemere, Redhills Road, Broadlands Private Hotel, Church Hill, The Youth Hostel Association, (originally Oakfield, Church Hill, later in Redhills Road), The Willowfield, and Parkside Guest House (Grey Court) the latter two of which are still in operation today. Holly Bank was another private hotel which is now a nursing home.

If you have any information on any of the Lodging Houses listed please do contact a member of the archive.

Download the Paper: “How Arnside became a Pioneer of Eco-Tourism” by Stephen Caunce.  



In addition to Lodging Houses and furnished apartments in the village there were a number of establishments classed as “private hotels”. 

These included:

The Inglemere Hotel, off Redhills Road

The Birks Hotel, Silverdale Road

The Grosvenor Hotel (West Promenade)

Holly Bank (West Promenade)

Willowfield (West Promenade)

Broadlands (Church Hill)

Nelson’s Temperance Hotel, (The Promenade)

The Youth Hostel Association (originally Oakfield, Church Hill, later Redhills Road)

Parkside Guest House (Grey Court) (Redhills Rd)


Today, The Willowfield and Parkside still operate as Guest Houses, while Holly Bank is a nursing home. A new addition to Arnside is No. 43 The Promenade which opened several years ago as a Boutique B & B. 

We have little information on some of the hotels, particularly the Grosvenor (known to have been in business in the 1970s) and Broadlands.

If any visitor or resident has information to add to any of the above please fill in one of our forms. We would be very grateful for memories or further information.



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