The best beaches near Manchester you can reach by train

Becky blog author avanti social team

By the Avanti Web Team

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10 min read | April 11, 2023

Manchester is bustling and vibrant, a truly great city. However, even those in the city might occasionally feel the need to get away to the seaside to breathe in that fresh, clean air and feel closer to nature. That’s why we’re exploring the 10 best beaches near Manchester.

Keep reading, below, for our thoughts on the best beaches near Manchester, ideal for a day out with the kids or a relaxing weekend break.

What's the best beach near Manchester?

The nearest beach to Manchester is Southport Beach, 34.32 miles away as the crow flies. So that's where we'll start our Manchester beach tour.

Southport Beach

The closest beach to Manchester is a great place to start. Southport Beach is a classic British blend of golden sands and lush countryside in one place. The beach seems alive as vast sandy stretches of the coast appear and disappear with the changing of the tides.

Good to know:

  • The nature is wild: The sand dunes are teeming with interesting and approachable wildlife.

  • The water is safe: The tides aren't strong so your kids can enjoy a paddle, under your supervision of course.

  • The beach is clean and well-maintained: It's a Quality Coast Award winner.

  • The promenade is alive: It's full of shops, pubs and restaurants and is also part of the National Cycle Network. Just off the promenade are some really enjoyable local walking paths and trails too.

  • Check out Southport Pier: It's the oldest iron pier in Britain with its own tram that takes you right to the end. Southport Marine Lake, just behind the pier, is not to be missed either.

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Getting there: Go direct by train from Victoria and Oxford Road stations. The beach is a mile walk from Southport train station.

Blackpool Beach

Classic Victorian seaside resort Blackpool has seven miles of beaches. The Pleasure Beach theme park is a great place to start with its 125 rides and attractions. It's a national treasure and rightly so.

Good to know:

  • Three magical piers: The North Pier, Central Pier and South Pier all compete with each other to keep tourists happy and amused. Food, entertainment, arcades, bars and even Big Wheels, there's lots to do.

  • Blackpool Tower looks great: If you squint, it looks just like the Eiffel Tower. Go to the top of the tower for panoramic views of the town and the Irish Sea.

  • A touch of glamour: The Winter Gardens hosts regular concerts and events including the final of Strictly Come Dancing a few years ago. There are always stars to entertain you in Blackpool, real or tribute.

  • Spectacular light shows: Come towards the end of the year for the annual Illuminations display and its elaborate light shows that stretch down the promenade.

  • Adult-friendly too: Blackpool town centre has a bustling scene at night that makes it popular for grown-ups as well as families. Enjoy the vibrant nightlife and wake up the next morning in one of the town's charming B&Bs.

Getting there: Travel direct by train from Piccadilly, Oxford Road, and Deansgate stations. Blackpool Beach is about a mile from Blackpool North train station.

Morecambe Bay

Morecambe, Blackpool's near neighbour, is a much more relaxed seaside resort. Throughout the year, it's home to many festivals like the Kite Festival, Vintage-by-the-Sea, and the Catch the Wind Kite Festival.

Good to know:

  • Morecambe Beach is big: It's five miles long and is a mixture of golden sands and mudflats.

  • The promenade has just been renovated: There are lots of independent cafes, tourist shops and amusement arcades to explore. Make sure you check out the marine-inspired artwork all down the prom.

  • It's got impressive views: From the beach, you can see the stunning nearby Lake District mountains.

  • Morecambe is a bird-watching paradise: It's renowned internationally for bird-watching. The RSPB has a nature reserve at Hest Bank, part of Morecambe Bay.

  • There's lots to see: Other highlights include the Eric Morecambe statue, the Winter Gardens (yes, Morecambe has one too), and the striking art-deco Midland Hotel.

Getting there: Catch indirect connections from Piccadilly, Victoria, and Oxford Road. It's a half-mile walk to the beach from Morecambe train station.

It’s not advisable to walk too far out on the beach unless you are on a supervised cross bay walk as some parts can be dangerous.

Ainsdale Beach

Ainsdale's long sandy beach is stunning and forms an integral part of the local Sand Dunes nature reserve. This place is a mixture of relaxing and lively and it has something for everyone.

Good to know:

  • Ainsdale is a kiting hotspot: The town is a magnet for extreme kite sports. The beach has zones set aside for lovers of kitesurfing, landboarding, and kite buggying. You made need a permit if you want to have a go.

  • The beach is looked after: Ainsdale has held the Blue Flag Award many times. The beach is a Quality Coast Award winner because of how clean it is and the quality of its facilities.

  • There's a wildlife habitat right next door: Just off the beach is the Ainsdale & Birkdale Sandhills Local Nature Reserve, a unique habitat open to all full of rich flora and fauna.

  • You can hire a bike for free: Pop into the Ainsdale Discovery Centre for local information and free cycle hire.

  • Ainsdale is worth a visit: It's just a short walk to get to lots of good shopping opportunities and some great restaurants too.

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Getting there: Indirect train journeys leave from Piccadilly, Victoria, and Oxford Road stations. The beach is a mile away from Ainsdale train station.

Lytham St Annes Beach

Relax and enjoy the sea breeze or get involved in the water activities and games on Lytham St Annes massive, sandy beaches. When you visit this tranquil resort, you’ll feel many modern world stresses fade away.

Good to know:

  • Rent one of the beautiful little beach huts: Claim your own private space from which you can watch the world go by.

  • The popular Splash Park is a step away: This is a popular free water play area for children with fountains, jets and sprays. Next to it is a paddling pool, where you can cool off on a hot day.

  • Visit when there's a fair on if you can: Lytham hosts several annual events and festivals including the popular Lytham Festival and the St Annes International Kite Festival.

  • Go see the Promenade Garden: The boating lake is great fun and it's home to the town's iconic windmill.

  • Lytham Town is charming: It has a great selection of independent shops, restaurants, bars, and other attractions.

Getting there: Catch indirect trains from Piccadilly, Victoria and Oxford Road stations. The beach is an eight minute walk from St Annes-on-the-Sea train station.

Crosby Beach

On the Merseyside coastline just north of Liverpool lies the beach at Crosby. Crosby Beach is popular with a range of beach lovers, whether they want to take in the scenery, walk around a live arts inspiration, or simply have fun by the sea.

Good to know:

  • Crosby Beach is two-and-a-half miles: It's a mix of sandy shores, shingles, and mudflats offset by sand dunes teeming with wildlife.

  • It's home to an art installation: Check out Antony Gormley's 'Another Place,' comprising 100 cast-iron figures dotted across the shoreline.

  • Tourists' favourite activities at Crosby: Particularly popular are kite surfing, windsurfing, sailing, fishing, and birdwatching.

  • Children are well catered for: In the unlikely event that the beach is not enough to capture their attention for hours, there's an adventure playground a minute's walk away at the Leisure Centre.

  • There's more beyond the beach: The beautiful promenade is ideal for a long stroll or bike ride. And the town of Crosby has lots of independent shops, pubs, and cafes to get a taste of local life. There are some great landmarks in the town too.

Getting there: Indirect trains leave from Piccadilly, Victoria, and Oxford Road stations. The beach is a short 11 minute walk from Blundellsands-and-Crosby train station.

Formby Beach

Formby Beach's long, sandy beach is characterised by its soft golden sands, perfect for sunbathing, playing, and just relaxing. Framed by desert-like sand dunes, you can enjoy great views of the Irish Sea and Cumbria's distant mountain ranges.

Good to know:

  • Formby Beach is more than a beach: It's also a National Trust nature reserve that protects rare wildlife and habitats.

  • Step back in time: See the prehistoric human and animal footprints at low tide when the sediment layers are exposed.

  • The coastal pine forests: They back onto the beach and are home to rare red squirrels.

  • Practice your swing and have a pamper day: You can do both at nearby Formby Hall Golf Resort & Spa.

  • A characterful town: Check out some of the local landmarks like Formby Point, Perch Rock Lighthouse, and the iconic pirate ship. You can also pay a visit to the outstanding cafes, pubs, restaurants, and shops in the town.

Getting there: Indirect journeys are available from Manchester Piccadilly, Victoria, and Oxford Road stations. Formby Beach is closest to Freshfield train station and involves a mile-and-a-half walk.

New Brighton Beach

This Wallasey destination offers uninterrupted views of Liverpool Bay and Mersey's mouth from its expansive, sandy coastline. You can watch ships sail up the estuary, enjoy playing around in the sea or just relax and take it at your own pace.

Good to know:

  • Britain's longest promenade: The promenade stretches along the beach and it's your gateway to a wide variety of attractions and amenities.

  • Family-friendly activities: There are lots of things for families to do including amusement arcades, a pirate-themed mini-golf course, and a children's playground on the beachfront.

  • Water sports destination: The Marine Lake along the promenade is a popular location for water sports, such as sailing, canoeing, and windsurfing.

  • Notable landmarks: Make time to see the 19th-century Perch Rock lighthouse and Fort Perch Rock. Young ones can enjoy the pirate ship playground near Marine Lake.

  • The town is worth a visit: Explore New Brighton's theatre, cinema, bowling alley, arcades, and adventure golf course. The Floral Pavilion Theatre hosts a diverse range of shows and events throughout the year.

Getting there: Take an indirect train from Piccadilly, Victoria, and Oxford Road stations. The beach is a seven-minute walk away from New Brighton train station.

Meols Beach

Meols Beach is a quaint sandy haven near the Wirral, popular with locals seeking a break from the hubbub of the city. Visitors come to Meols for its soft sands, gentle tides, and views of Liverpool Bay.

Good to know:

  • Great for family activities: During high season, families can choose from activities like donkey rides, horse riding, and sand buggying.

  • Access the Coastal Park: Meols Beach is ideal for accessing the four-mile Coastal Park which stretches from Meols Dove Point to New Brighton. The park itself is a mixture of foreshore, common land, and huge dunes.

  • Take a walk along the promenade: Visit landmarks like the Leasowe Lighthouse and Royal Liverpool Golf Club as well as local independent businesses.

  • Coastal fishing: Among local coastal fishers, Meols beach is a favourite because of the variety of species that visit the shoreline.

  • Dog lovers: Meols Beach allows dogs all year around so take your dog with you on the journey.

  • Getting there: Catch indirect services from Piccadilly, Victoria, and Oxford Road stations. The beach is a mile walk away from Meols train station.

North Wirral Coastal Park

Sandwiched between Dove Point in Meols to Kings Parade in New Brighton is North Wirral Coastal Park, a beautiful fusion of coastline and countryside.

Good to know:

  • There's a lot to explore: The Park has 200 acres of public open space stretching four miles that offers a wide range of things to do and see in a stunning natural habitat.

  • Popular all year round: The Park is a destination for cyclists, picnickers, walkers, joggers, and footballers playing on the grassland.

  • Great for getting in touch with nature: Go down to the sand dunes to surround yourself with local flora and fauna. Twitchers will be kept busy with the birds and waders along the foreshore and estuary.

  • Plenty to visit and see: There are lots of shops, cafes, and restaurants along the coastal road and promenade as well as local landmarks like Leasowe Lighthouse and Hoylake Lighthouse Museum.

  • Get to three different beaches: The Park allows access to three beaches, Meols Beach, Moreton Beach, and New Brighton Beach.

Getting there: There are indirect services from Piccadilly, Victoria, and Oxford Road stations. The coastal park is a mile walk from Wallasey Grove Road train station.

Best beaches near Manchester FAQ

Are there any beaches in Manchester?

There is no beach in Manchester.

Where is the nearest beach from Manchester?

The nearest beach to Manchester is Southport Beach. Southport Beach is in Sefton, close to Liverpool and the Wirral, and it's 34 miles away.

Is Manchester a seaside town?

Manchester is not a seaside town, so there are no beaches in Manchester. It's a very large city in the North West of England 34 miles away from the coast.

Getting to the beach from Manchester by train

The northwest has lots to offer. You can also visit the magnificent beaches of North Wales by train too. Llandudno beach is always popular as are the long sandy beaches at Prestatyn and Rhyl.

You can buy your tickets to all of these brilliant seaside destinations through Avanti West Coast. Buy your tickets directly to save on fees. You can save even more by booking as a group, booking in advance or buying a Railcard.

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