The Best Beaches to Visit in Northwest England

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Written by our Web Team

5 min read | 7 June 2024

If you’re looking for beach trips in the UK, northwest England has some hidden gems. Whether you want a great day trip or to spend a few days exploring the best northwest beaches, travelling via train is a great option.

Here, we’ll highlight the most beautiful parts of this coastline and explain how you can get to them. 

The best northwestern beaches

From stunning Lake District beaches to Liverpool’s seaside towns. Northwest coastal towns are warm and welcoming. 

There’s something for every beach-dweller here, too. Blackpool offers the perfect combination of sandy beaches and electric nightlife. While West Kirby Beach is ideal for relaxing and unwinding amongst nature. 

Here are some more details so you can choose which destination to visit first. 

Todmorden Beach

Todmorden Beach, also known as ‘Gaddings Dam’ or ‘The Dam’, is in West Yorkshire. Though it’s only accessible on foot up two steep and rugged footpaths, it offers clean, golden sands to those who reach it. Making it one of the north’s best secret beaches. 

  • Todmorden Beach is also England’s highest beach at 60 miles inland and 80 feet above sea level

  • From the shoreline, you can enjoy stunning views of the Stoodley Pike monument across the Yorkshire valley

  • Wild swimming is a must-try pastime here, with shallow waters making the sea fairly warm in summer

Todmorden is one of the best beaches to reach from Manchester via train. You can travel directly to Todmorden from Manchester Victoria. To get to Victoria from Piccadilly, you can walk or jump on the free bus service. Todmorden is then a 25 minute train journey. 

From here, you’ll need to hop on a bus to the beginning of the footpaths before walking approximately 30 minutes to the beach. 

West Kirby Beach

If you’re heading to the Wirral, West Kirby Beach is a must-visit. The beach is only 300 metres long but is set among a kilometre of winding sand dunes. Perfect for kids to explore and spot some unique flora and fauna next to Marine Lake. 

  • Coffee shops, ice cream parlours, toilet facilities and fish and chip shops are just a few metres away, ideal for a day out

  • The nearby refurbished and shallow Marine Lake is home to the Wirral Sailing School. Windsurfers and kitesurfers should check tide times before their visit.

  • You can see the red rocks of the Hilbre-Island nature reserve from the beach and they’re accessible during low tide 

Head to West Kirby via train from Liverpool Lime Street in less than half an hour. You can then walk to the beach in around five minutes. 

One of Antony Gormley’s statues from artwork Another Place looks out at the sea.

Crosby Beach

We couldn’t write a list of the best beaches in the northwest without including Crosby Beach. At the start of the 22-mile Sefton Coastline, the beach offers picturesque views of both North Wales and the Wirral. 

With a five-mile promenade, walkers can enjoy a scenic coastal walk. With Waterloo and Hightown railway stations at either end, you can return to your destination easily. 

  • See the ‘Another Place’ installation by internationally acclaimed artist Antony Gormley. Made of 100 cast-iron figures, the work spans the whole coastline

  • Head to the beach in the evening and watch the sun disappear over the Irish Sea. Be sure to note Crosby tide times when visiting later in the day. 

  • Coastal and industrial landscapes combine here, with the Burbo Bank offshore wind farm visible from the shore

From Liverpool, you can reach Crosby Beach in less than an hour by train.

Blackpool Beach

When considering things to do in northwest England, Blackpool is usually on the list. The beach here is iconic, offering the full British seaside experience for a fun family day out. 

Open 24 hours, Blackpool Beach is also great for group adventures. This is true whether you’re sunbathing in summer or watching the Illuminations in November. 

  • With amusements, three piers and a safe, blue-flag beach, this is a family-friendly seaside resort

  • Explore more than 40 rides and try one of the country’s highest roller coasters at Blackpool Pleasure Beach

  • Blackpool Tower was the British Empire's tallest man-made structure and is now home to five attractions

Taking the train to Blackpool is easy, with direct routes from several UK stations. Once you arrive at Blackpool North Station, you’ll find the beach within a 20-minute walk.

Haverigg Beach

When it comes to Lake District beaches, Haverigg Beach is one with a difference. Located at the mouth of the Duddon Estuary, it has a mixture of sand, stones, and dunes. Here, you can walk, unwind and even enjoy a horseback ride. 

  • A former blue-flag winner, the beach is well-known for its cleanliness and facilities

  • Visit the refurbished lighthouse or National Trust properties in the nearby fishing village of Millom

  • The tide comes in quickly at Haverigg Beach, so be sure to check tide times and keep an eye on the water

Getting there: Haverigg Beach in Cumbria is three miles from Millom, which is the closest train station to the beach. 

You can take a train to Millom from Oxenholme Lake District station in an hour. Or travel from Penrith North Lakes station in an hour and a half.

A wide-angle view of Blackpool Beach including the tower.

Things to do on northwestern England’s beaches

The North has unpredictable weather. So keep this in mind when choosing which northwest beaches to visit. Thankfully, there is usually plenty to do, come rain or shine. From exploring areas of outstanding natural beauty to cosying up for sunset shoreside. 

If you’re looking for northwest coastal towns with plenty of things to do, Blackpool is a great choice. From the beach to the three piers and a ‘Golden Mile’ of attractions, it’s a must-visit British seaside resort for families and groups. 

Unwind in a more relaxed atmosphere at Todmorden Beach in West Yorkshire or Haverigg Beach in the Lake District. Take the kids and a picnic for a daytime adventure, or grab a blanket and nibbles for a romantic evening on the beach.

Sand and single stretches out on Haverigg Beach in the Lake District.

Getting to Northwest coastal towns by train

Visiting the best beaches in the northwest is easy and comfortable when you travel with Avanti West Coast trains. Whether you’re off on a summer holiday or venturing north for a day, you’ll surely find convenient routes to your destination.

Use our journey planner to put your itinerary together, and book online to score the best-value tickets for your trip. If you’re organised, you could take advantage of our advanced ticket prices too. Then all you need to do is pack your bucket and spade, and you’re good to go!

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