The top ten coastal spots in the North West

Two visitors look out over Morecambe Bay (PM)

Two visitors look out over Morecambe Bay (PM) - Credit: Archant

Explore some of jewels of our coastline this summer. Here are ten of our favourites, compiled by Rebekka O’Grady


Close by Crosby, Blundellsands makes up part of a large sandy beach. It isn’t far from Antony Gormley’s Another Place installation, where cast iron sculptures line the shores. Avid water sport fans will love the Lakeside Adventure Centre nearby. If art and sports isn’t your thing, why not journey a little further up to Formby where you will find the peaceful National Trust red squirrel park.


Cockerham Sands

Park your car at neighbouring Glasson Dock marina and enjoy a walk along the Lancashire Coastal Way to Cockerham Sands and the salt marshes. Make sure to stop and have a look at the old Chapter House of the now ruined Cockersand Abbey near to Cockerham Sands Country Park. Founded before 1184, it was a leper hospital before being elevated to Abbey status in 1192.


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Not only for candyfloss lovers and those wanting a day at the fair, Blackpool prom is well worth exploring if you fancy a stroll. Recently upgraded in a project costing millions, the beautifully landscaped contemporary promenade has sweeping views of ocean and sand from the north to south pier. If you do feel the need for a kiss-me-quick hat or a colourful stick of rock, simply cross the road.


Hest Bank

This seaside village has an attractive centre and excellent coastal views. The sands are popular for walking and bird spotting and there is a local café overlooking the shore. Grab a cup of tea, take a seat and admire the thousands of birds that flock to the sandflats and saltmarshes of Morecambe Bay. Arrive in the evening to get the chance to admire a spectacular sunset.



Twice winner of Britain in Bloom, the charming village of Heysham is full of attractive 17th century cottages and colourful floral displays. Located south of Morecambe and just north of Heysham port, take a stroll to the stunning bay or along the Barrows, an area of coastal grass and woodland which leads up to the remains of the medieval St Patrick’s Chapel. There are also eight body-shaped, rock-cut graves here that are believed to be unique.


Askham in Furness

A small settlement near Barrow, Askham in Furness has a long beach on the edge of Duddon sands. Over time, it has joined with its neighbouring village Ireleth to become a civil parish. Wander down to the large pier, or visit Duddon estuary and look out for the rare natterjack toad as the area is a breeding ground for this rare species.


Silverdale and Arnside

Silverdale and Arnside sit along the north east shore of Morecambe Bay, forming one of the prettiest spots in the north west. Enclosed by low limestone hills, it has been designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty thanks to its rich diversity of habitats and wildlife. Make sure to visit the RSPB Leighton Moss site near Silverdale or browse the pretty Victorian parade of shops and cafes along Arnside promenade.


Walney Island

Located in the Irish Sea, this remote island is a haven of peace and stunning views and wildlife. Just south of Barrow, the island is 11 miles long and just less than one mile in width at its widest point. Connected by the Jubilee Bridge to Barrow-in-Furness, the island contains two nature reserves at either end and its sandy beaches make it a popular leisure site for activities such as kitesurfing. Local inhabitants include Hairy Biker Dave Myers.


Pilling Sands

An area of salt marshes and inter-tidal sands, Pilling Sands is an ideal beach for kite sports, horse riding or walking the dog. Looking north towards Morecambe, some sections of the beach are designated as areas of the Lune and Wyre nature reserve.


Humphrey Head

Situated between the villages of Allithwaite and Flookburgh, Humphrey Head is good walking country with spectacular views of Morecambe Bay over to Lancaster. The limestone promontory has an unusual assemblage of plants and interesting geological exposures which make great spots to watch birds over the estuary.

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