Nostalgia may not be what it was, but don’t let that stop you wallowing at an away venue this August. There’s a chance to step back into various bygone Golden Ages near the grounds of:

Stephenson's Rocket Manchester Science & Industry Museum Chelsea Spurs Palace Brighton
Stephenson’s ‘Rocket’ on display at Manchester’s Science & Industry Museum until 8 Sep

Chelsea Wartime (where the visiting teams are Leicester on 18 Aug, Sheffield Utd on 31 Aug); and at Milton Keynes (Shrewsbury 10 Aug, Lincoln 20 Aug, Peterborough 24 Aug); and at Oldham (Crewe 10 Aug)

Derby Magazines & Dressmaking Patterns of the 30s (Swansea 10 Aug, Bristol City 20 Aug, WBA 24 Aug)

Leicester Ladybird Books (Wolves 11 Aug, Bournemouth 31 Aug); and at Reading (Sheffield Wed 3 Aug)

Manchester Stephenson’s Rocket (Chelsea 11 Aug, Spurs 17 Aug, Palace 24 Aug, Brighton 31 Aug)

Morecambe 1940s Revival (Grimsby 3 Aug)

Norwich The 1950s (Newcastle 17 Aug, Chelsea 24 Aug)

QPR Toy Brands in the 50s (Huddersfield 10 Aug, Swansea 21 Aug, Wigan 24 Aug)

Stevenage Design Icons of the 60s-80s (Exeter 10 Aug, Southend 13 Aug, Bradford 20 Aug, Macclesfield 31 Aug)

50s Toy Brands Museum of Brands QPR Huddersfield Swansea Wigan
Toy Brands in the 50s at the Museum of Brands near QPR’s ground

This is a sample of what you’ll find to do (apart from watch the match) when you follow your team around the country. Check out all the destinations at Towns.

AFC Fylde

Mill Farm: curvaceous, for a football stadium

If AFC Fylde make it into the Football League, Nailsworth (home of Forest Green Rovers) will no longer be the smallest town with such a distinction. The club’s ground, Mill Farm, is just outside the small towns of Kirkham and Wesham. They are paired on the railway station sign-boards and blend into one another on Station Road. Kirkham, with a population of about 7,200, is about twice as big as Wesham.

That does not mean, though, that there’s not much to do or to look at in the vicinity of AFC Fylde. On the contrary: there’s a clue in the name. The Fylde peninsula is a considerable, perhaps notorious tourist hotspot.

St Annes Pier: bright and breezy

It’s barely eight miles from Mill Farm to the fleshpots of Blackpool. Within about five miles are the more genteel charms of Lytham, and between those two is the middlingly breezy St Annes-on-Sea. Only a mile or two down the road is Wrea Green, where cricket is played during the summer on an authentically English village green, with a fine pub on the corner, and a pond.

Lytham has a windmill and associated seasonal Windmill Museum. Lytham Heritage Centre holds exhibitions (Lancashire at War, 1914-18, until 9 December), and there’s a small museum at the Old Lytham Lifeboat House.

Even closer to Kirkham & Wesham is Wild Discovery, a kind of zoo populated by mainly small but exotic mammals, birds and reptiles, amphibians and insects. It puts on a regular programme of talks and activities, and is more about education and experience than the gawping of a conventional zoo.

Kirkham itself seems to be the sort of place that was once quite something. At one time it had 11 mills, not to mention a race-course. According to one account it was the first settled place in the Fylde in prehistory, but the evidence – an elk with two harpoons embedded in it – sounds more like Japanese whalers blown seriously off course and having a pop at anything that moved.

The town now is notable for small places to stop and watch the world, such as it is, go by. One has a display case containing Kirkham’s last loom. Another records the town’s perennial success in floral competitions, so regular that you’d wonder whether everywhere else has given up. And by the roundabout where the road to Wesham turns off, a leafy arbour suggests the retreat Coronation Street’s scriptwriters have recently discovered to give the characters somewhere to go where they don’t have to be seen boozing or gorging themselves. Wesham has what may be the nation’s last off-licence.

AFC Fylde 1 Chesterfield 3
20 October 2018