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The 18 Best Beaches Near Manchester

The 18 Best Beaches Near Manchester

Ready to swap the bustling streets of Manchester for the gentle lapping of waves and the kiss of sea breeze? Truly, there’s nothing like a good beach day to reset and recharge.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Manchester and beaches, really?” But believe me, you’ll be surprised at just how many incredible beaches are within easy reach. 

We’re talking award-winning sandy stretches, and breathtaking views that’ll make you want to stay until sunset. So, grab your sunscreen, pack your beach towel and get ready to embark on a coastal adventure. Let’s dive in, shall we?

Formby Beach

Directions

Driving time from Manchester: About 1 hour 10 minutes

If you’re yearning for a coastal retreat away from the bustling city life of Manchester, Formby Beach is just the place for you. Just over an hour’s drive, you’ll find yourself in a world far removed from skyscrapers and trams. 

Imagine strolling along the gorgeous sandy coastline, the salty sea breeze gently playing with your hair. Look around, and you’re surrounded by vast, breath-taking sand dunes—a unique sight that screams of untamed natural beauty. 

But there’s more! Formby Beach is also home to an unlikely resident – the charming red squirrel. Spotting these little creatures while exploring the dunes or nearby woodland is nothing short of delightful. 

Pro tip: 

  • Be sure to make a pitstop at the nearby squirrel reserve. Trust me; this experience is worth it. Who doesn’t like watching these cute little fellas in their natural habitat, especially during their feeding time? It’s a unique sight that’s bound to make your day at the beach even more special. Plus, kids absolutely love it. 
  • Remember to keep your camera handy. You’ll thank me when your pictures of these adorable creatures become the envy of your friends back in the city!

Morecambe Beach, Lancashire

Directions

Driving time from Manchester: About 1 hour 20 minutes

Pack your bucket and spade, folks, because we’re heading to Morecambe. Now, Morecambe Beach is a bit of a classic. It’s a traditional seaside resort that brings back memories of family holidays and sticky candyfloss. 

Its long, sandy stretch is perfect for sandcastle building competitions (I won’t judge if you’re a grown adult doing this, promise), while the promenade is lined with ice cream stalls and fish and chip shops. 

The best bit, though? The most enchanting aspect, however, lies in the breathtaking views that unfold across the bay, encompassing the majestic peaks of the renowned Lake District fells.

Pro tip: 

  • While you’re here, make sure to check out the iconic statue of comedian Eric Morecambe, one of the town’s most beloved figures. It’s a fantastic photo op, and yes, you’re allowed to dance alongside him!

Llandudno Beach

Directions

Driving time from Manchester: About 1 hour 30 minutes

If you’ve never been to Llandudno, I must say, you’re in for a treat. Picture a Victorian seaside town, the kind you’ve only ever seen on postcards or in period dramas, with well-preserved architecture that transports you back in time. 

Now, add to that a certain charm that only small towns seem to possess, and voila, you’ve got Llandudno. And at the heart of it all, like a sparkling gem in an already impressive crown, is Llandudno Beach.

The beach itself is something to behold. It’s pebbly, yes, but each stone has a story to tell. You can spend hours here, skimming stones, feeling the smooth pebbles beneath your feet, or finding the perfect one to take home as a keepsake of your visit.

And just when you think it can’t get any better, you step onto Llandudno Pier. From here, the view is absolutely breathtaking. The crystal-clear waters of the sea meet the blue expanse of the sky, with the whole panorama of the beach stretched out before you. 

You can see the town, the headlands, and, on a clear day, even the distant mountains. Believe me, it’s a sight that will leave an imprint on your heart, one that you won’t forget in a hurry.

Pro tip: 

  • Be sure to ride the historic tramway or cable car up to the Great Orme, one of the headlands framing the beach. The view from the top is nothing short of spectacular.
  • You get to see the whole town, the beach, and on a clear day, you might even catch a glimpse of the Isle of Man. Now, that’s what I call a vista!

Filey Beach, Yorkshire

Directions

Driving time from Manchester: About 2 hours 30 minutes

Next stop, Filey Beach. Now, this is a beach that knows how to make a first impression. It’s a vast, five-mile stretch of golden sand, backed by soaring cliffs and a promenade peppered with colourful beach huts. 

It’s got everything you’d want in a beach, including rock pools teeming with marine life (who needs an aquarium, right?). But in our books, what really sets Filey apart is its laid-back, old-school vibe.

Pro tip: 

  • If you’re up for a bit of a hike, take a stroll along the Filey Brigg, a long, narrow peninsula jutting out into the sea. The views from the top are well worth the effort. And who knows, you might even spot some seabirds or seals!

Southport Beach, Merseyside

Directions

Driving time from Manchester: About 1 hour 10 minutes

Ladies and gents, meet Southport Beach, one of the most expansive sandy beaches in the UK. This beach has it all: miles of clean, soft sand, an iconic pier boasting beautiful views, and a tranquil marine lake. 

But what I love most about Southport is the sense of space. With the sea often far out, it’s like having a giant sandbox all to yourself. Oh, and did I mention it’s a stone’s throw away from a vibrant town filled with Victorian architecture, shops, and eateries?

Pro tip: 

  • Try to time your visit during one of Southport’s famous sunsets. With the wide open horizon and vibrant colours painting the sky, it’s a sight that’ll make your heart skip a beat.

West Kirby Beach

Directions

Driving time from Manchester: About 1 hour 20 minutes

Alright, beach lovers, let me introduce you to a place that is, in my opinion, the epitome of tranquility. West Kirby Beach. Located on the Wirral Peninsula, this sandy beach offers stunning views of the Dee Estuary and the Welsh coast. 

But the best part? It’s never too crowded. Imagine, having a spacious, clean, and serene beach all to yourself. Sounds like a dream, right? 

But wait, there’s more. When the tide goes out, it reveals a vast marine lake that’s perfect for sailing and windsurfing.

Pro tip: 

  • If you fancy a bit of an adventure, walk out to Hilbre Island at low tide. This tidal island, located just off the coast, is a local nature reserve and a haven for seals and birdlife. 
  • Just remember to check the tide times; you don’t want to get stranded on the island. Trust me, as fun as an impromptu night on a deserted island might sound, it’s not as glamorous as the movies make it out to be!

New Brighton Beach

Directions

Driving time from Manchester: About 1 hour 10 minutes

New Brighton Beach is where memories are made. It’s got a little bit of everything, a beautiful sandy beach, a historic fort standing as a testament to the area’s rich past, and a bustling promenade that’s a hub of action and excitement. 

But that’s not all! New Brighton Beach has recently seen a waterfront transformation, making it more vibrant than ever. There’s a host of family-friendly attractions, a wide range of eateries and shops, and so much more.

It’s a lively place, buzzing with energy and laughter, a great spot for a family day out. If you have kids, they can build sandcastles, fly kites or simply play in the sand, while you enjoy a good book or take in the refreshing sights and sounds of the seaside.

Pro tip:

  • Do not, I repeat, do not miss out on the Black Pearl pirate ship! This community-made art installation adds a quirky touch to the beach and has quickly become a favourite among both kids and adults. 
  • But hey, remember to play along; this is your chance to be a pirate, at least for a day! Who knows, you might find some hidden treasure.

Majuba Beach, Redcar

Directions

Driving time from Manchester: About 2 hours 20 minutes

Next on our list is Majuba Beach in Redcar, a place that proves you don’t need palm trees and turquoise waters for a beach to be stunning. Majuba is all about simplicity – a broad, sandy beach, rolling waves, and a backdrop of rugged cliffs. 

Plus, it’s also a fantastic spot for water sports, with surfers and paddleboarders often seen riding the waves. So if you’re up for some action, Majuba might just be your beach.

Pro tip:

  • After a day of surfing or beachcombing, make sure to treat yourself to a famous Redcar lemon top ice cream. It’s a local tradition – and trust me, you won’t want to miss out!

Crosby Beach

Directions

Driving time from Manchester: About 1 hour

Crosby Beach offers a seaside experience like no other. Think of an ordinary beach, now add a hundred iron men. Intrigued yet? That’s exactly what awaits you at Crosby Beach. 

Home to the famous ‘Another Place’ art installation by Antony Gormley, the beach features 100 life-size iron men statues scattered along the coast and staring out into the sea. 

The statues, appearing and disappearing with the tide, add a sense of drama and surreal beauty to the beach. This fantastic amalgamation of art, nature, and culture sets Crosby Beach apart. 

With wide open views, spectacular sunsets, and vast sandy stretches when the tide is out, Crosby Beach is a haven for artists, photographers, or anyone who appreciates beauty in its rawest form.

Pro tip: 

  • Bring your binoculars along; you’re going to need them. The beach is an important site for many species of wading birds, so there’s a lot to spot. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the occasional seal lazing around. 
  • Just remember to respect the wildlife and keep your distance. The birds and seals are part of what makes Crosby Beach so special, and they deserve to enjoy it as much as we do.

Lytham St Annes Beach

Directions

Driving time from Manchester: About 1 hour 15 minutes

Stepping onto Lytham St Annes Beach is like stepping back in time to the golden age of British seaside holidays. 

Picture this: a Victorian pier jutting out into the sea, beautifully maintained gardens adding a dash of color, a promenade lined with independent boutiques, traditional seaside stalls selling sweets, and the smell of fish and chips wafting through the air. 

This beach is a delightful blend of nostalgia, charm, and old-school fun. The beach itself is a broad expanse of golden sands, inviting you to build the castle of your dreams, play a game of beach volleyball, or simply lay back and soak up the sun.

Pro tip:

  • After a day of frolicking in the sand and surf, take a leisurely stroll along the promenade to Fairhaven Lake. This local gem is a haven for wildlife and offers plenty of activities for kids, including boating and bird watching. 
  • If you’re feeling peckish, grab a bag of chips from one of the local shops, sit down on a bench overlooking the lake, and savour the simple pleasures of life.

Blackpool Beach

Directions

Driving time from Manchester: About 1 hour 15 minutes

When it comes to classic British seaside towns, Blackpool sits at the top of the list. Blackpool Beach is a magnet for fun seekers, a place where you can let your hair down and bask in the lively holiday atmosphere. 

The famous Blackpool Pleasure Beach, a massive theme park, is right at your doorstep offering a host of exciting rides and attractions. 

The beach itself is a long sandy stretch where you can lay out your beach towel, build the grandest sandcastle, or take a leisurely donkey ride. The Blackpool Tower, Pier, and illuminations add to the charm of this vibrant seaside resort.


It’s an enchanting sight that you shouldn’t miss, the city bathed in colorful lights, reflecting off the sea. This vibrant display truly embodies the spirit of Blackpool: always ready for fun, always full of life!

Pro tip: 

  • Stick around until dusk and catch a show at the Blackpool Tower Circus or just walk along the beach as the famous Blackpool Illuminations light up the night.

Ainsdale Beach

Directions

Driving time from Manchester: About 1 hour 20 minutes

Imagine standing on a wide sandy beach, your feet sinking into the warm sand, as the roar of engines fills the air. This is no ordinary beach day. Welcome to Ainsdale Beach, one of the premier locations for kitesurfing and land yachting in the UK. 

This award-winning beach is the perfect spot for adrenaline junkies, with wide open spaces and consistent winds providing ideal conditions for these exciting water sports. But if adrenaline isn’t your cup of tea, there’s still plenty to enjoy. 

Ainsdale Beach is set against a backdrop of stunning sand dunes, home to a wide variety of wildlife. It’s such a beautiful setting for a walk or picnic, aye?

Pro tip:

  • Even if you’ve never tried kite surfing or land yachting before, this is the perfect place to start. Local operators offer lessons for beginners, so why not take the plunge and try something new? The adrenaline rush as you catch the wind and speed along the sand is an experience like no other, and who knows, you might just discover a new hobby.

North Shore, Blackpool

Directions

Driving time from Manchester: About 1 hour 15 minutes

North Shore in Blackpool offers a slightly different flavor compared to the lively central beach area. Here, you’ll find a more tranquil atmosphere, perfect for a leisurely stroll or quiet contemplation while staring out to sea. 

It’s a great spot if you want to enjoy the best of Blackpool but prefer a less crowded setting. 

This slice of heaven stretches out like it’s giving you a warm, sandy hug, with enough space to throw the ultimate beach party, play some epic beach volleyball, or simply soak up the glorious sunshine. 

It’s like a giant sandbox just waiting for your inner child to come out and play!

Pro tip:  

  • Head over to the North Pier for a fun-filled evening. You’ll find an assortment of entertainment, from classic seaside arcade games to live performances in the pier’s theatre. But the star of the show is undoubtedly the Victorian Carousel. 
  • Take a ride on this beautifully preserved piece of history and let it whisk you back to the simpler times of the Victorian era.

Thurstaston, Wirral

Directions

Driving time from Manchester: About 1 hour 20 minutes

Let me spill the beans about Thurstaston Beach, the ultimate hidden gem nestled in the oh-so-lovely Wirral Peninsula. If you’re craving a break from the bustling crowds and want to embrace nature’s tranquility, this is your ticket to beachy bliss!

But wait, there’s a twist! When the tide decides to play hide-and-seek, a vast stretch of beach appears, just waiting for your sandy toes to make their grand entrance. And guess what? 

You’re in for a treat! Those sneaky rock pools pop up like little surprises, inviting you to unleash your inner explorer. Who knows what mystical creatures you might encounter? Mermaids, perhaps? Well, we can dream, can’t we?

Pro tip: 

  • Be sure to explore the nearby Thurstaston Common and Royden Park. The common is home to Thor’s Stone, a local geological curiosity that is a great spot for some adventurous climbing. 
  • Afterward, you can relax and enjoy a picnic in the beautifully maintained park, making for a fantastic end to your day out.

Arnside, Cumbria

Directions

Driving time from Manchester: About 1 hour 30 minutes

Now, listen up, beach lovers! This ain’t your ordinary sandy stretch, but trust me, it’s a hidden gem worth uncovering. 

Yeah, yeah, it may not have sand tickling your toes, but who needs that when you have jaw-dropping views and limestone hills that make your heart skip a beat? It’s like Mother Nature decided to go all Picasso on us.

But wait for it—prepare to have your mind blown as the sun does its grand finale over the bay. Think of it as the sky throwing a fabulous color party with shades of orange, red, and pink, while the tide whispers sweet nothings to the shore.

 It’s so romantic, it’ll make you go, “Who needs a date when I have this stunning sunset?”

Pro tip: 

  • Keep an eye on the tide times and try to witness the Arnside Bore, a tidal wave that sweeps up the estuary. It’s a fascinating natural phenomenon that’s a testament to the raw power of nature.
  •  Also, don’t forget to indulge in some local delicacies – the village is known for its delicious seafood, particularly Morecambe Bay shrimps.

Rossall Point, Lancashire

Directions

Driving time from Manchester: About 1 hour 30 minutes

 I’ve got a top-secret tip for you: Fleetwood’s best-kept secret, Rossall Point, is where the chill vibes and clean sand party at! This hidden gem is like finding a unicorn in your backyard—rare, magical, and totally worth bragging about.

Rossall Point isn’t just a pretty face. Nope, it’s a wildlife wonderland! Bird enthusiasts, you’re in for a treat! Grab those binoculars and channel your inner David Attenborough. Spotting those feathered friends has never been more fun. 

And don’t forget the observation tower—they practically built it just for us nature nerds!

Pro tip: 

  • Take a detour to the Rossall Point observation tower. This unique structure serves as a beacon for the area and provides fantastic views of the surrounding coastline, Morecambe Bay, and the Lake District. 
  • It’s also an excellent spot for birdwatching, with information panels providing details about the various species you might spot.

Lligwy and Traeth yr Ora, Anglesey, Wales

Directions

Driving time from Manchester: About 2 hours 30 minutes

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Wales, really?” Trust me on this one. You might have to cross the border, but Lligwy and Traeth yr Ora beaches on the beautiful Isle of Anglesey are absolutely worth the drive. 

Imagine stepping onto a beach that’s virtually untouched, unspoilt by touristy frills, a beach that lets you enjoy nature at its purest. The white sand is as soft as a cloud, the clear waters glistening in the sunlight. 

It’s your own slice of Welsh paradise. Traeth yr Ora is particularly charming with its sheltered location, surrounded by sand dunes and pine trees. You won’t believe you’re only a couple of hours away from Manchester.

Pro tip: 

  • Don’t just take my word for it, pack a picnic and head out to these beaches for a day. And while you’re there, why not explore the rest of the Isle? Anglesey is home to some stunning coastal walks, ancient sites and some mouthwatering seafood. 
  • Be sure to try some locally caught mussels or oysters, they’re the real deal!

Sandscale, Cumbria

Directions

Driving time from Manchester: About 2 hours

Last, but certainly not least, we have Sandscale in Cumbria. Now, this isn’t just a beach, it’s a national nature reserve. The beach is a stunning stretch of sand and dunes, but there’s so much more to explore. 

The dunes themselves are a wonderland of biodiversity, home to a variety of unique plants and animals. I mean, where else could you see natterjack toads and sand lizards hanging out together? 

And let’s not forget the beautiful wildflowers that adorn the dunes during the spring and summer. Trust me, you won’t find another beach quite like Sandscale.

Pro tip: 

  • Now, I’m not a morning person, but trust me when I say that Sandscale at sunrise is a sight to behold. The way the light hits the dunes, the peaceful stillness of the early morning – it’s absolutely worth getting up for. 
  • And while you’re at it, why not bring along a flask of tea or coffee? There’s nothing like a hot brew to start your day, especially when your breakfast view is this good.
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