Best beaches near the Lake District
The Lake District, largest of the United Kingdom’s national parks, famously boasts 16 lakes (and many smaller tarns) and more than 150 high peaks. However, did you know that the surrounding area is also home to 30 listed beaches? You may not have heard of them, but there are some hidden gems to be found on Cumbria’s extensive coast.
Cumbria offers its visitors dozens of kilometres of coast and many of the best beaches near the Lake District are made up of a mixture of pebbles, mud and sand. While you may not be assured of resort-quality golden sands or even fantastic weather, what you can be certain of in the Lake District is the magnificence of the surrounding scenery. So, if you get sick of hills and mountains during your break in the Lakes, check out our list of the best beaches near the Lake District for some inspiration and get yourself to the coast.
Earnse Bay, Walney Island
Walney is a lush, green, elongated island, swathed in beautiful white sands and clear blue waters that make for some of the best beaches near the Lake District. For this reason, thousands of holidaymakers cross over the Jubilee Bridge from Barrow-in-Furness on the south coast of the Lake District to Walney Island each year.
Earnse Bay is part of a glorious 11-mile stretch of sand dunes on the north side of Walney Island. The beach is a venue for national kitesurfing championships and is also popular with windsurfers. There are wonderful views of Black Combe and the Isle of Man, though this is obscured a little by wind turbines. There is a large free car park and public toilets available.
Haverigg Beach, Millom
For a beach with a difference Haverigg is the place to go. This award-winning beach at the mouth of the Duddon Estuary is made up of a mix of sand, stones and dune-like areas which are perfect for walking and relaxing. You can also enjoy kite flying, watching the boats in the little lake, playing in the golden sands, or the kid’s play park, or even taking to the saddle to enjoy the majestic views on horseback.
The car park looks out over sea only about 10 feet above beach, but access is down a narrow, twisty, sandy slope that is not suitable for anyone that might have severe mobility issues. Please also note that the tide comes in very quickly here so please beware, so you do not get caught out, especially as the beach has a fair amount of quicksand further out. Make sure you don’t leave Haverigg Beach without having a hot drink and a slab of cake at the charming beach café that is run by locals. The nearby pretty fishing village of Millom with its newly refurbished lighthouse is also worth checking out before you head back to your caravan.
Ravenglass Beach, Ravenglass
Lying the meeting point of three rivers, the village of Ravenglass in the Lake District is home to a picturesque beach that is famous for the former fishermen’s cottages that run along the seafront. Being on an estuary, the beach is a mixture of mud, shingle and sand.
Ravenglass’ proximity to the highlands of the Lake District means that your beach photos will come with a stunning mountain backdrop. It also means that walkers can choose from The Cumbria Coastal Way or heading up towards the peaks of the Lake District when selecting a walking route from Ravenglass. There is also a lovely circular family walk which takes in a Roman Bath House. Visitors can also enjoy a ride on the ever-popular Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway, one of the oldest and longest narrow-gauge railways in England. This is a large car park in the centre of the village, close to the shore and next to the mainline railway which has public toilets at its entrance.
Whitehaven Beach, Whitehaven
Whitehaven beach is a small but scenic pebble and sand beach to the North of the Whitehaven, perfect for those looking for an atmospheric coastal walk away from the crowds. The area was once a bustling hub of mining and shipping and the historic harbour dating back to 1633 is testament to this. The harbour walls still provide good shelter from the wind for beachgoers and anglers alike.
Once you’ve had your fill of fresh sea air at one of the best beaches in the Lake District, why not explore the small Georgian town of Whitehaven? Not only does it have lovely architecture and convenient car parking but also some interesting museums and plenty of cafes, restaurants, and shops to browse.
Allonby Beach, Allonby
Allonby Beach is one of the best beaches near the Lake District - a mixture of shingle and sand with stunning views across the water to Scotland and miles of lovely scenery. The five-mile-wide stretch of beach leaves plenty of space for sunbathing and allows space for a quiet family trip. The waters of the bay are quite shallow and calm, so anglers and water-sport enthusiasts often frequent this spot along with the day-trippers.
The nearby village of Allonby was once a fashionable bathing resort and still retains some of the original buildings such as a former bathing house from the 18th-century which is well-worth visiting. The Cumbrian Coastal Path also passes through the village. If you choose to drive rather than walk however, there is free parking with easy access to the beach but unfortunately, the public toilets are currently close.
Grange-over-Sands Beach, Grange-over-Sands
Grange-over-Sands is, contrary to its name, not so much a beach but a wide expanse of saltmarsh. We do not recommend that you walk out onto the saltmarsh due to the dangerous quicksand, however strolling the long promenade that runs alongside it is an excellent way to spend an afternoon. The car-free promenade is bordered with beautiful flower beds and the way is flat and even, making it easy-going for prams or wheelchairs.
At Grange-over-Sands you will find plenty of spots to sit and look out over the scenic Morecombe Bay. There is also plenty to do here without an amusement arcade in sight, just quaint local cafes, a playground for kids, mini golf, tennis, and a football sport centre. The Grade II listed lido is now disused but there are plans to restore it.
Arnside Beach, Arnside
This beach is located next to the pretty village of Arnside which is a half hour drive from our Lakeland Holiday Park. This is an area of outstanding natural beauty and the sunsets here are staggering with views out over Morecambe Bay and the Lakeland fells behind.
Due to its location on the estuary, visitors should beware that Arnside Beach is subject to fast, dangerous tides. The beach is not suitable for swimming, and you should only venture out on the sands on an organised walk or in the company of a personal guide. The lovely Victorian promenade is more suited to casual strolling, and it leads to a coastal path that is popular with dog walkers. We recommend making a call at the Arnside award-winning chippy for a snack or otherwise trying one of the fantastic local pubs. There are also art galleries and other quirky boutiques to while away the afternoon.
Bardsea Beach, Bardsea
This beach is a wide expanse of shingle and sand positioned within the Sandscale Haws Nature Reserve. Strong currents make the sea unsuitable for swimming in, but the sand dunes and coastal scenery are stunning and well worth the trip out. Go hunting for driftwood and seashells amongst the shingle, enjoy a picnic or make the walk to the ancient stone circle at Birkrigg.
The coastal road runs alongside part of the beach where you will find plenty of free parking spots. There is also a chance of catching a van selling ice-creams, coffee and tea during the peak months. The journey by car from our Lakeland Holiday Park clocks in at under half an hour, so Bardsea Beach is one of our top recommendations for beaches near the Lake District for those looking for tranquillity and top-notch views.
Aldingham Beach, Aldingham
Aldingham is home to a pebbled beach with rocks of many sizes and colours. Low tide also reveals a wide expanse of sand, but please avoid walking on the mudflats as the area can be dangerous due to quicksand and fast-incoming tides. Thanks to its excellent location on the eastern side of the Furness peninsula, Aldingham Beach offers scenic views over Morecambe Bay.
The area is famous for St Cuthbert’s church at the side of the bay which is reputedly the resting place of the saint himself. Access to the beach is via a narrow path that leads from the car park and through a wooded area.
Newbiggin Beach, Newbiggin (Cumbria)
The seaside at Newbiggin is one of the most beautiful beaches near the Lake District. Visitors can walk for miles on these shores and in the evening of a clear day you may even see Blackpool Tower light up! The area is the ideal place for relaxing and provides interesting walks along the beach especially with your dog in tow.
Newbiggin Beach is a peaceful, sandy bay, backed by shingle. As it’s undeveloped, it retains a wild, natural atmosphere. The combination of sands, pebbles boulders, rock pools and a stunning skyline make for a lovely day. Please be aware that this beach is particularly dangerous for bathing due to the rapidly shifting channels, incoming tides and quicksand, so take care when walking on the coast anywhere around Morecambe Bay.