ONE of my favourite views in this country is the sun setting on Morecambe Bay.

The estuary is south of the Lake District, with Cumbrian mountains rising in the distance, but its glorious sunsets wouldn’t look out of place in a Greek island.

Overlooking the bay, like a glamorous cruise liner, is Morecambe's fabulous Midland Hotel. Built in 1933, the elegant Art Deco property takes pride of place on the smart promenade, and if walls could talk there would be some colourful stories from its past. Previous guests include Coco Chanel, Noel Coward and Laurence Olivier, who stayed there while making 1960 film The Entertainer at the nearby Winter Gardens, a listed Victorian variety theatre, once home to seawater baths and a ballroom. Reclining on the terrace, you can almost hear the chit-chat of the Beautiful People, clinking Champagne glasses in the sunshine.

After closing in 1998 the Midland stood empty; a sorry sight on the coastline until it re-opened a decade later, following Urban Splash’s £7 million renovation. Restored original features include Eric Gill’s seahorse sculptures and the splendid spiral staircase, winding its way up the circular tower.

Thirties glamour meets contemporary chic; with attractions including an elegant dining terrace and the funky Rotunda Bar, complete with cosy booths. They do great cocktails - and cracking fish and chips!

Our spacious, stylish room overlooked the bay; it felt very peaceful sitting on the balcony, soaking up the sea air, and it was a lovely view to wake up to.

The curved design of the hotel allows spectacular panoramic views of the bay and and the mountains of the North West coast. The bay is the UK’s largest expanse of intertidal mudflats and sand, where the estuaries of various rivers form several peninsulas, and is home to rich bird and marine life. I'd love to do the Morecambe Bay walk, led by the Queen’s Official Guide, Cedric Robinson, who has escorted visitors across for over 50 years.

Taking an evening walk along the front, past the statue of Eric Morecambe, the town’s famous son, we explored old streets weaving through Poulton-le-Sands, the village from which Morecambe grew. Victoria Wood was once a Poulton resident, and it was a Morecambe tea-shop that inspired her 'ancient waitress' sketch.

I have a soft spot for Morecambe because I went occasionally as a child - straight off the coach and into the Pleasure Park, sadly no longer there. Once fondly known as “Bradford-on-Sea”, the town has benefited from regeneration over recent years; characterful period buildings line the sea front and stylish restaurants sit alongside traditional chippy cafes. There are seaside amusements for family fun, and Happy Mount Park has a splash park, adventure golf and a pirate-themed indoor play area.

For me, a highlight of Morecambe is the Old Pier Bookshop - thousands of second-hand books piled high on shelves filling a labyrinth of rooms.

We dined in the Midland's Sun Terrace Restaurant, looking out to the bay as the orange sun melted into shimmering sand. The Midland is renowned for its contemporary, locally sourced cuisine. I started with tasty pickled beetroot and goats cheese, while my partner went for Morecambe Bay shrimps, nicely presented in a glass jar, with toasted rye bread. Other choices included smoked ham hock and Roast Lancashire quail breast.

For a main course I went for celeriac and wild mushroom pastilla while he enjoyed two way beef and onion - a Himalayan salt aged beef fillet with onion purée, pickled shallot, mini fondant potato and kale. The menu also included roast Cumbrian pheasant breast, Holker Hall venison roly poly, Goosnargh duck breast and a market fish of the day.

For dessert, we were tempted by stem ginger panna cotta, roast pear and hazelnut cake and sticky toffee pudding, but both ended up going for a rich selection of British cheeses, served with fruit chutney and homemade Chorley cakes.

Next morning, after a vegetarian breakfast (me) and scrambled eggs (him), we headed to Grange-Over-Sands, on the tip of the Cartmel peninsula. Taking a train across the bay, we strolled along the elegant prom into the pretty coastal town. Grange is a short drive from places like Cartmel and Windermere, and nearby Hampsfield Fell offers the finest viewpoint of southern Lakeland fells.

Taking in the sweeping vista across the bay, we could just about see the Midland, gleaming in the sunlight.

* The Midland is at Marine Road West, Morecambe, Lancashire.

* Rooms are from £120 per night, based on two adults sharing a twin/double room with English Breakfast.

* Starters at the Sun Terrace Restaurant are from £5.50, mains from £14 and desserts from £6.

* Call 01524 424 000, visit or email

Pictures: English Lakes, Hotel Resorts and Venues