I’ve collected my favourites here and there’s a good variety too – from the rocky coastline of the Lake District all the way to the sandy beaches of the Wirral (aka the paradise peninsula), which I call home.
The golden sands, fluffy grasses and woodland area of Formby beach will genuinely have you thinking you’re somewhere far more exotic. This popular beach spot racks in tonnes of families, couples and friends year-round, but you’ll find most people (including myself) here during the summer months. There’s just something about sitting on the beach and watching the sun set into the sea – it's one of the best beaches in the North West for sunsets. Oh, and nature lovers will rejoice knowing they’ll walk through the Red Squirrel Reserve to get to the beach – keep your eye out and you might just spot one.
P.S getting the train to Freshfield Station will drop you off a short walk from the beach.
To be completely honest, this beach reminds me of being bribed with an ice-cream into a walk around the marine lake – and immediately throwing a tantrum about it once I figured it out. But now (as a much more mature person), I do quite enjoy a walk around the marine lake. And if you’re in the market for a longer walk, head towards (when the tide is out, of course) the three small islands - Hilbre Island, Middle Eye and Little Eye - for a proper exploration. If you’re looking for a beach walk which is easily accessible by public transport, this is the one for you – the train station is a mere 5-minute walk from the beach.
Now, you may not have heard of this one, but I reckon this is the best beach is the North West of England. My reasons may be biased, but I’ve spent most weekends visiting this beach since I was born – and I still bloody love it. As a family, we nicknamed this one ‘the secret beach’ because at the time, it was! Long gone are the days of having this beach to ourselves, now you’ll find the car park packed every weekend – and a nifty little coffee van that I just love. Glance towards the south on a clear day and you’ll see epic views of North Wales’ wonderful mountains. Choose to either walk along the sandy shoreline or walk over the grassy hill behind the beach (the views are even better from up there).
This bustling (for good reason) beach is famous for the one hundred iron men which stand tall on the beach every day. Though I must admit I found them creepy as a child, they are a magnificent display of how different the beach looks during high and low tide. At low tide, the sea appears miles and miles away, but during high tide the water leaves the iron men almost hidden. The statues are part of an installation called ‘Another Place’ designed by artists Anthony Gormley – and the men are actually modelled after him too. These metal men were the cause of a little controversy back when they were installed, but now they’re pretty much part of the furniture.
I can’t lie, I’m definitely more of a Merseyside beach kind of gal but Blackpool Beach is somewhat a novelty part of my childhood. It mostly reminds me of heading up to see the Blackpool Illuminations, getting a portion of chips from the chippy and setting up on the beach for sunset. If you’re about during the summer, it’s practically a Blackpool rite of passage to have an ice-cream (flake compulsory) and sit on the beach. The Golden Mile is right off the beachfront too, so if you want to hit up any popular attractions (like Madame Tussauds Blackpool, the Tower Eye or the Blackpool Ballroom), you’re sorted.
Visiting Southport isn’t necessarily the most exciting day trip but heading for a gander down the Southport Pier makes for a fun jaunt out – oh, and it’s the second longest pier in the country too (now that's a good old nugget of knowledge to save for a pub quiz). It doesn’t take long to walk to the end of the pier but trust me it’s worth the walk, the views stretch up and down 22-miles of Sefton coastline. But if you don’t feel like taking on the walk, hop on the pier tram (a very nautical looking miniature train) which’ll take you right to the end – in perfect time to grab a brew and a snack at the Pier Pavillion.
A classic British seaside town but with a twist – some seriously gobsmacking views of the Liverpool skyline. If you love those seaside towns that have slightly rundown looking (but still an absolute hoot) arcades, bowling alleys and laser tag, New Brighton is the spot for you. And if you’re not into that, there’s still a tonne to do – walk around the marine lake as people paddleboard and windsurf in all weathers, grab a bite to eat at the Marino Lounge, or walk along the beach for some great pics of the lighthouse. Curious about the giant building right on the beach? Fort Perch Rock, originally built back in the 1820’s to protect Liverpool, but now functioning as a tourist attraction, museum and lovely spot for a café - a definite must-see.
It’s easy to forget that the Lake District is actually so close to the seaside – and there are some pretty good beaches too. Haverigg Beach is a blue-flagged spot found at the mouth of the Duddon Estuary. This is a huge open space and is probably the best beach in the North West for cool views – you can see the Lake District Fells from down on the sand. Like most of the beaches I’ve mentioned, it’s tidal, so best visited at low tide for walks and exploring. If you’re visiting with kids, make sure to stop by the play area – and there’s a great café nearby for lunch.
This one is tucked right in-between Formby Beach and Southport Beach – and it’s usually quieter too. Now, personally this isn’t * my * thing but Ainsdale Beach is a popular spot for beach activities – everything from kite buggies to kite surfing. But if you don’t fancy hopping into a wet suit (I’m with you), there’s still plenty of space for exploring the area by foot. Ainsdale village is perched right by the seaside, with a well-connected train station just 20-minutes walking from the beachfront. The town has plenty of good food and shopping options too if you’re looking to make a day out of the trip.
Looking across the River Dee on Thurstaston Beach always reminded me of just how close the Wirral is to North Wales – it feels like you could almost touch it. Upon arrival to Thurstaston Beach, you’ll find yourself on a cliff edge looking down towards the soft sands and rocky walks. The walk down to the beach is completely cutesy – down a wooden path and down some steps – and the beach itself is a beauty. There’s plenty of spots to grab lunch nearby too – the Cottage Loaf is a family favourite of mine. Oh, and the Wirral Way (a long walking and cycling path which cuts through most of the Wirral) passes right by Thurstaston, making it a fab spot for a cycling day out.
Another Lake District beauty, this is one of the best North West beaches to visit during summer months. You’ll honestly feel like you’ve been transported to somewhere much more extravagant than the North West coast – from the beach you’ll get panoramic views of the Irish Sea, Isle of Man and mountains of the Lake District. And some good news, there’s a tonne of free parking right by the beach too – making it a wonderful bargain day out. As I did when I was younger, kids will absolutely adore rock pooling here, there are loads of cool sea critters to spot.
Just up the coast (a half an hour drive, to be exact), from Lancaster is a stretch of picturesque coastline. Though you’ll probably want to venture out and explore further out at this beach, I’d recommend staying nearer to the shore as there are some pretty nasty tides – but don’t fret, there’s still plenty of exploring to be done in the rocky areas of the beach. This is a much quieter beach than other popular spots nearby (Blackpool and Southport), making it a great stop for families looking for a bit of fresh air, without the hustle and bustle of a busy seaside town.
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