What will students see and do?

The RSPB Ribble Discovery Centre reopened in April 2021 as the Fairhaven Lake Visitor Centre. The centre is situated on the banks of the River Ribble and is an excellent place to discover nature and the wildlife that resides there. Animal encounters are pretty much guaranteed!

The Ribble is one of the UK’s most important river estuaries because it’s an important resting point and refilling station for birds migrating south from the Arctic in the winter. More than 300,000 birds pass through the river in the winter months, either during their migration or to make the estuary their home. Some are flying as far away as Africa.

The mudflats at low tide are home to millions of minibeasts, making for an excellent meal for the birds. And the sand dunes nearby are also home to a large variety of interesting plants and animals.

When you visit the Fairhaven Lake Visitor Centre, you not only get the rare opportunity to interact with wildlife but can also learn all about the history of the area. The original boathouse where the visitor centre is located was built in 1901 by the Fairhaven Estate Company.

The visitor centre holds an ‘outstanding’ certificate as part of the Learning Outside the Classroom scheme. As well as outdoor exploration, your students can spend time inside the centre learning from the educational interactive displays. There are also a variety of educational programmes and activities for school groups to book, from mud dipping to birdwatching.

Teaching resources provided

All relevant resources for you to support the learning of your class are provided by the RSPB. Info packs to help you continue teaching once you’re back in the classroom are also available.

The worksheets provided include ‘Spot it’ sheets for children to log their discoveries, as well activities linked to topics such as ‘Food and water for nature’, ‘Homes for nature’ and ‘Nature detective equipment’. For more details, contact the centre team.

Minimum and maximum group size

Sessions at the Fairhaven Visitor Centre are run for a maximum of 50 students. Each lasts two hours, running either between 10am and 12pm or 12.30pm and 2.30pm. You can combine two sessions for a whole-day visit.

If you have any special requests relating to educational sessions for your group, you can make them when booking your trip using the online enquiry form. You can also get in touch to discuss your specific requirements by calling 01253 796 292.

Details of risk assessment

When you book a trip to the Fairhaven Lake Visitor Centre, you will receive all the relevant information you need to fill out your risk assessment. As well as being aware of completing a risk assessment before your visit, you should also speak to your students about the etiquette of visiting. Human activity can disrupt the birds, so being respectful of their natural habit is appreciated.


Don't miss our downloadable A-Z guide on completing a risk assessment

icon for A-Z guide on completing a risk assessment

Facilities On-Site

The visitor centre has a range of facilities available, including accessible toilets, play and picnic areas, a shop, binocular hire, a viewing point, refreshments and parking.

Opening Times

Between April and October, the visitor centre is open daily between 10am and 5pm. From November to March, opening hours are 10am-4pm. The centre is closed on Mondays.



Entry to the Fairhaven visitor centre is free. Contact the team to discuss the cost of any educational workshops you wish to book.

Travel arrangements

You can take the train to Fairhaven from Preston and Blackpool South. The visitor centre is a ten-minute walk from the station.

Travelling by coach is the best option for big groups. Take the A584 south towards Lytham, then turn right onto Lake Road. You can turn left onto the Inner Promenade, where you can park on the side of the road or in either of the car parks.

The car parks are run by the council, not the RSPB. There are two options for parking: Stanner Bank and St Paul’s.


Fairhaven Lake, Inner Promenade, Lytham St Annes, Lancashire

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Book your school trip to RSPB Fairhaven Lake Visitor Centre

For information on booking your school trip to this venue, click below.

Book your school trip to RSPB Fairhaven Lake Visitor Centre

For information on booking your school trip to this venue, click below.

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