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Sitting exactly halfway down the UK’s western coastline, the beautiful Morecambe Bay serves as a perfect destination for those looking for a coastal experience to match the stunning scenery of The Lake District.

Just a 20 minute drive from the National Park, Morecambe Bay takes-in the Arnside & Silverdale area of outstanding natural beauty, a trip down memory lane in the vintage seaside town of Grange-over-Sands, cobbled adventures in the market town of Ulverston and long stretches of beach right around the Furness Peninsula which juts-out towards the Irish Sea – and that’s just for starters.

Here's our list of top picks of things to do around Morecambe Bay – where the coast is always just a stone’s throw away:

Dock Museum

Famous for its shipbuilding heritage, dive into Barrow-in-Furness’ seafaring history at the Dock Museum, set in a genuine 19th century dock with a modern twist on the quayside. Home to exhibits documenting the town’s industrial history, discover more about everything from Viking treasures unearthed here, to how the town contributed to the Word War 2 effort.

Furness Abbey

Built almost 900 years ago, the ruined – yet preserved Furness Abbey monastery was once the largest of its kind in the northwest of England. In keeping with many other nearby structures, the abbey is built from stunning red sandstone and is tucked away in a quiet – yet easily accessible site, surrounded by woodland and a green ampitheatre-style hillside. With a history going back to as early as 1124, it was founded by Stephen, the Court of Boulogne who later became King of England.

South Lakes Safari Zoo

Just a five minute drive from Furness Abbey in the nearby small town of Dalton-in-Furness is the South Lakes Safari Zoo. Home to giant Rhinocerous’, Tigers and Lions, this is where many animals can also roam-free. Both adults and children will marvel at the sight of playful Ring-tailed Lemurs and Penguins, which can be fed by hand. There’s even the opportunity to feed the Giraffes in a specially-built feeding facility, and you can wander along the birds in a huge cage which allows them to stretch their wings and take flight. A large café and fantastic gift shop also mean nobody will go home hungry or without a souvenir of their memorable day.

The Coast Road

Linking Piel and Walney Islands all the way up to Bardsea, The Coast Road is the perfect way to experience Morecambe Bay on a mini road trip. The majority of the road is flanked by a long, pebble beach which can be walked along for several miles. The best place to pull-up and enjoy a stroll is just past the village of Baycliff at Bardsea, where ample roadside parking means you can enjoy views across the bay in all its splendor. For an even better vista, turn left and head up to the top of Birkrigg Common where the coast can be enjoyed on one side – and the southern fells on the other.

Conishead Priory

Just past Bardsea outside Ulverston sits the beautiful Conishead Priory and its Manjushri temple which is the home of Buddhist monks and free meditation sessions. The stark contrast of the priory and the golden tops of the temple complement each other perfectly, and the resident monks always provide a peaceful welcome.

Laurel & Hardy Museum

Ulverston is the birthplace of Stan Laurel, of Laurel and Hardy fame. With murals dotted around the town, there’s also a statue of the comedy duo outside the Coronation Hall: A perfect photo opportunity, and a short stroll to a museum dedicated to the history of the town’s most famous son and his showbiz partner, Oliver Hardy. If you’re feeling particularly nostalgic, you can also find the house where Stan was born, commemorated by a special plaque to mark the spot.

Cumbria Crystal

How often do you get the chance to blow your own glass? We’re guessing not that often – so here’s your chance. At the foot of Hoad Hill and the end of Ulverston Canal, Cumbria Crystal is no ordinary manufacturer of stunning glassware. Providing glass props to TV and film production teams including those working on the James Bond series and Downton Abbey, you can create your very own glass ornament to take home. Buy a glass and use it to enjoy a gin of your own creation at Shed 1 Distillery, just around the corner!

The Sir John Barrow Monument

No visit to Morecambe Bay would be complete without soaking up the views from the top of Hoad Hill. With the lighthouse-inspired Sir John Barrow monument standing proud at the summit, this brilliantly restored structure is open at weekends and can be ascended free of charge, offering stunning views both across Morecambe Bay and over towards the Furness and South Lakeland fells.

Holker Hall

This lovely historic Victorian house is set in 25 acres of beautiful gardens and parkland where Fallow Deer can be seen wandering free in their natural habitat. Set in landscaped grounds, Holker Hall also offers a year-round programme of special events, so be sure to check what’s happening around the time of your visit. With plenty of options for food-lovers, local produce takes priority here thanks to its Food Hall, with a gift shop and children’s play area also adding to the fun. While here, grab a bit at the Ilex Bar & Brasserie – an extension of The Courtyard Café.

Arnside & Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

The Arnside & Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is exactly that: A miniature destination in itself. Loved for its scenery, wildlife, culture and heritage, there are several small towns and villages to explore including Arnside and Silverdale itself, as well as Beetham, The Yealands and Warton – where Warton Crag – the highest point of the area, looms above. Back on low ground, stroll along Arnside promenade and towards the bay you can discover a secluded woodland walk – Just keep a lookout for a secluded entrance beneath low hanging trees…

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