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It’s a little-known fact that the world-famous Lake District National Park only covers around a third of the total area of Cumbria.

At 2,600 square miles, 1,700 of those are in fact, outside of the Lake District boundary – including along coastline which stretches more than 120 miles from Morecambe Bay in the south, right up to the Scottish border.

With a coastline that long, must-see beaches aren’t in short supply. So, from sandcastle-building to rock-pooling, and swimming and sunset walks, here’s our handy guide to enjoying ten beaches along the glorious Cumbrian coast.


The unassuming village of Arnside is a classic example of how the coast can perfectly compliment the famous Lake District. With fantastic views across Morecambe Bay, you can walk from the promenade along the shore of the Kent estuary while taking little detours into picturesque woodlands along the way.

Sitting on the edge of the Arnside and Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Lake District mountains provide an idyllic backdrop.

This stretch is also popular with dog-walkers and makes a lovely location for a sunset stroll. Do your research and you might even see the small tidal wave known as The Bore, which sweeps in every few weeks following a literal raising of the alarm.

Grange over Sands:

While there’s no beach here in the traditional sense, a visit to the Edwardian town of Grange-over-Sands is essential, thanks to its extensive promenade giving a glimpse into beach holidays of times gone-by.

Over the years, sand has given way to saltmarsh which makes it unsuitable to walk on – but the views across Morecambe Bay remain in all their stunning glory.

Being a very well-kept town, Grange is perfect for a beach visit without the need to brush the sand out from between your toes afterwards – but maintains the traditional seaside town-feel of yesteryear thanks to lovely flowers and traditional eateries.

With play areas for children and a duck pond in a peaceful park on the other side of the prom, further nostalgia can also be unlocked by glimpsing through the gates of the now-closed art deco grade-II lido building.


Sitting on what is locally known as The Coast Road on the outskirts of the market town of Ulverston, you can’t miss Bardsea beach. Boasting fantastic views right across Morecambe Bay, there’s plenty of space to park to enjoy this vast expanse of open space for a memorable walk.

Children will enjoy combing the beach for interesting little finds like driftwood and shells – and it’s very rare to find no ice cream for sale on the shore!

Further walking opportunities include Sea Wood where the open space gives way to mighty, leafy trees – and for an even better view across the bay, head up to the summit of Birkrigg Common where the coast can be enjoyed on one side – and the southern fells on the other.

Walney Island:

Beyond the industrial town of Barrow-in-Furness lies one of Cumbria’s best kept secrets: Walney Island. At more than ten miles long, Walney sits and the end of the Furness peninsula and is accessible by a single crossing: The Jubilee Bridge. The northern end of the island is the home of the best beaches – but be warned – there’s a section reserved for naturists! Be sure to check out Earnse Bay, or the 'West Shore'; a sand and shingle beach which – along with other beaches, gives walkers several miles of coastline to enjoy, with the Irish Sea, Isle of Man and the Lake District fells all within view. Walney Island is the home of two nature reserves – one of which is the home of Cumbria’s only colony of grey seals.

Just off the southern tip of Walney lies the much smaller Piel Island, upon which stands a 14th century ruined castle and even a small pub. This car-free island is accessible only by small ferry or by carefully cross from Walney Island by foot with a guide – while being mindful of the tide times of course.  

Sandscale Haws / Roanhead beach

Tucked-away on the north-western edge of the Furness peninsula, Roanhead beach and the adjacent Sandscale Haws nature reserve offer a magnificent combination of sand dunes and wildlife. With beautiful views across the Duddon Estuary and the Lakeland fells, this a great place for rockpooling at low tide and exploring the grassy dunes.

For those who want to enjoy even more seclusion, head to Lowsy Point; a 30 minute walk across the nature reserve or slightly longer if you hug the shoreline. Alternatively, look for Scarth Bight Bay, which is perfect for spotting wading birds in the winter and admiring the beauty of the flora and fauna of the summer.

Haverigg Beach:

Haverigg beach on Cumbria’s west coast sees shingle turn to sand as you walk further from the mainland, offering the kind of damp sand that’s perfect for sandcastle building. Sand dunes are also in abundance here, making it fun for the young and old alike to indulge in a little bit of hide and seek.

This long beach is among the UK’s cleanest and is best visited at low tide to ensure you make the most of the available space. Dogs are welcome to run-free and stretch their legs here, but owners are asked to keep them on a lead when near to the RSPB Hodbarrow Nature Reserve.

Car-parking is plentiful, with the added bonus of a children’s play area nearby too.


Another beach which stretches as far as the eye can see, Silecroft’s shingle beach offers extensive open, sandy space at low tide, making it a popular but peaceful spot. There’s even a stone circle nearby.

Overlooked by Black Combe, this imposing fell provides yet another Cumbrian beach with a classic backdrop you would come to expect from a visit to the edge of the Lake District National Park. Great for nature-lovers, this beach has official Site of Special Scientific Interest status thanks to its bird and marine life – and well-behaved dogs are welcome.

Ravenglass beach:

Sitting alongside the only coastal town in The Lake District National Park, the sand, shingle, mud and grassy beach at Ravenglass means this one really has it all! The south westerly fells are nearby – and there are several walks that can be enjoyed from here – both along the coast and further inland.

Dogs are welcome here, with the magnificent Muncaster Castle and Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway two of this area’s essential attractions. Birdlife is another draw for this beach – as well as more stunning coastal sunsets.

St Bees:

Set under a stunning backdrop of towering red sandstone cliffs, St Bees Head boasts a mile-long beach with soft sand pebbles-galore. Accessible for most of the day apart from a couple of hours either side of high tide, a trip to St Bees offers stunning views across the Irish Sea, while also satisfying the needs of birdwatchers thanks to the nearby RSPB nature reserve.

Also known as Seacote Beach, it’s a great place for the young and old – and dogs are welcome on the beach at all times of year. Rock pools make a little fishing net for the children a “must pack” item too!


The most northerly beach on this list, the beach at Allonby stretches five glorious miles. If views out across the Irish Sea aren’t enough, views across the Solway Estuary, the Lake District and Scottish fells can also be enjoyed from here.

As with Silecroft, this shingle and pebbled beach is best enjoyed at low tide when the golden sand is revealed.




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