When people think of the Lake District, they immediately associate it with steep valleys, mountainous peaks, and tranquil bodies of water. But aside from its postcard-perfect scenery, the Lake District has another interesting aspect that you might not have not yet discovered – it’s home to many beautiful beaches.
Both the Lake District and most areas of Cumbria are home to stunning beaches with giant swathes of golden sands beneath imposing hilltops. Aside from offering fun water activities, these are the best places to spot some of the country’s rarest wildlife and admire epic sunsets over the Cumbrian coastline. What’s more, many of the Lake District beaches are dog-friendly, allowing you to explore the coast with your furry friends in tow.
Most of the beaches in the Lake District are quiet and secluded, which means you can enjoy them without the crowd of tourists. If you’re yet to explore the beaches in the famous national park and are not sure where to go, refer to this list to help find a beach in Lake District that’s perfect for you.
1. Haverigg Beach, Millom
Beachgoers often forego the Cumbrian coastline in favour of places inland, which means that the Haverigg Beach in Millom is almost always quiet. Fringed by dunes and surrounded by stunning views of the fells, this beach is also very scenic.
With beautiful views overlooking the Lake District fells, Haverigg Beach is a sand and shingle beach located at the mouth of the Duddon estuary. Its 30-mile shoreline is composed of dunes, mudflats, and salt marsh, offering plenty of space for beachgoers to roam in solitude.
Aside from the vast area, this beach is also known for its cleanliness. Therefore, it’s an excellent place for families with kids.
As you walk along the old sea wall at Haverigg Beach, you will come across a lagoon, which used to be an iron ore mine and is now used as a nature reserve where you can witness a wide range of birdlife. The restored lighthouse nearby is also worth checking out.
Schedule your visit to this beach during low tide, so you will have plenty of space to explore. If you love walking, walk as far as Silecroft Beach, another beautiful beach that’s definitely worth checking out.
2. West Shore Beach, Walney Island, Barrow-in-Furness
West Shore Beach, also known as Earnsie Bay, is located at the western edge of Walney Island in Barrow-in-Furness. This sand and shingle beach is vast and provides enough space for all visitors to enjoy some solitude. Even if you come here during the busy days of summer, there’s still plenty of room for you to frolic since the beach forms part of an 8-mile stretch of coastline.
Aside from the West Shore, there are plenty of other sandy beaches on Walney Island. The island is also home to two nature reserves administered by the Cumbria Wildlife Trust, where you will find a variety of migratory birds and Cumbria’s colony of grey seals.
At the southeast of the island, you will find Piel Island, where you will find the ruins of a 14th Century Castle.
3. Ravenglass Beach, Ravenglass
Another beautiful beach on the Lake District coast is Ravenglass Beach. It’s located on a coastal estuary in Cumbria where the Rovers Esk, the Mite and Irt all converge and is a great place to visit for an action-packed day out on the beach.
Ravenglass Beach features a combination of mud, sand, and shingles and is backed by some grassy areas on one end. Overlooked by several fishermen’s cottages, it’s not the most picture-perfect beach in the Lakes, but does offer plenty of different things to see and do in the nearby area.
Check out the remnants of the nearby Roman fort Glannoventa and explore the 13th-century Muncaster Castle. For those who love to walk, you will find plenty of scenic routes around the area. The UK’s oldest and longest narrow gauge railway also passes through Ravenglass, known as the ‘La-al Rattie’.
4. Silecroft Beach, Silecroft
Dominated by the majestic Black Combe Fell at an elevation of 600 metres, Silecroft Beach looks very impressive. The fell’s distinctive shape has long been attracting geologists, as it features a classic example of a landscape that was once the start of a glacier.
Silecroft Beach is located close to Haverigg Beach on the southwestern tip of the Lake District National Park. It’s a gently shelving shingle beach that extends incredibly far when the tide is out, providing plenty of space for beach walks, family games and large-scale sandcastle building. The beach is also famous for its breathtaking sunsets.
Adding to the picturesque setting of Silecroft Beach is the view of the Isle of Man out over the water. As a pet-friendly beach, Silecroft is also very popular among dog walkers and holidaymakers who have brought their pets along with them.
You can spot Natterjack toads during springtime at a Site of Special Scientific Interest located close to the beach. Local and migratory birds also frequent the area, including oystercatchers and gannets.
5. Arnside Beach, Grange-Over-Sands
Situated in the Arnside Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Arnside Beach overlooks the scenic views of the River Kent estuary. Both the village of Arnside and the beach offer exceptional views of the Lake District, surrounded by the mountains and hills with a stunning viaduct crossing over the water.
With its spectacular setting, Arnside is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful Cumbrian beaches. There are some areas of quicksand when the tide is out, but these are usually easy to spot. The best way to enjoy your time here is to walk along Arnside’s picturesque promenade, lined with interesting shops, cosy cafes, and pubs.
At the end of the promenade, you’ll find a coastal path that’s popular among dog-walkers and a great area to enjoy an evening stroll. As the sun starts to set, look for a spot on the path where you can marvel at the breathtaking sunsets this area is known for.
6. Allonby Beach, Allonby
Located in the stunning Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Allonby is a beautiful beach stretching for around five miles along the coast. You can marvel at impressive views across the Solway Estuary and into the Lake District from the beach, and on clear days, you might even catch a glimpse of the Isle of Man.
Aside from being a great destination for fun family days out at the beach, Allonby is also a haven for wildlife lovers. As you walk along its shores, you can spot natterjack toads and beautiful wading birds.
There are also plenty of activities to keep you busy on the beach and around the area. As well as classic seaside activities like swimming and watersports, you can go kite buggying on the sand during low tide or wander along the nearby scenic Cumbrian Coastal Way.
7. St Bees Beach, St Bees
If you’re on the hunt for the best beaches near Windermere, check out St Bees Beach. It’s a sand and pebble beach that’s about a mile long, located just below the imposing headland of St Bees Head.
This beach is very clean and was given the ENCAMS Seaside Award to recognise its cleanliness, making it one of the most child-friendly Lake District beaches. Here, you can rest assured that your little ones can have fun in the water safely, and after spending time on the sand, they can enjoy the nearby playground surrounded by the beautiful seaside views.
St Bees Beach slopes towards a stripe of golden sands near the pristine shores, ideal for sandcastle building. Aside from being a popular destination for beach lovers, St Bees is also a popular destination for walkers, as there are plenty of scenic hikes nearby. Dogs are permitted on the sand, but pet owners have to clean up after them.
8. Roanhead Beach, Barrow-in-Furness
The picturesque sandy beach of Roanhead is located around 3 miles north of Barrow-in-Furness. Also called the Sandscale Haws, it’s one of the best beaches in Cumbria, mainly because of its picturesque views.
Roanhead Beach is located at the edge of a nature reserve, with a large expanse of sand surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty giving plenty of space for all visitors. The beach is a significant nature reserve in the UK, home to numerous rare plant species and insects, not to mention about 15% of the natterjack toad population in the UK.
The extensive tidal range of the beach causes strong currents, which means it’s not an ideal place for swimming. Still, you can take a walk along the scenic shore and soak up the beauty of the unspoilt landscape.
9. Whitehaven Beach, Whitehaven
Whitehaven is a pebble and sand beach located to the north of Whitehaven harbour, and is one of the most beautiful Cumbrian beaches. Curving around the bay, the beach is quite pebbly but still tends to get busy over the summer as visitors arrive to explore the coastline.
The town of Whitehaven itself is really fun to explore, and one of the main reasons why this beach sees so many tourists. It’s a bustling hub of shopping and mining right behind the beach, lined with charming Georgian buildings, shops, restaurants, and cafes.
You can take an exhilarating clifftop walk along the coast from Whitehaven, heading to St Bees Head and towards the nature reserve. Watch out for interesting wildlife species, such as guillemots and puffins. From the cliffs above the beach, you might catch a glimpse of the hills of Dumfries and Galloway and the Isle of Man, especially on a clear day.
While most holidays to the Lake District are all about mountains and lakes, beaches are also plentiful in this part of the UK. The range of coastline provides plenty of different scenery, from classic sandy bays to rugged expanses of pebbles backed by cliffs.
The best thing about the beaches in the Lake District is that even during the peak of summer, they don’t get too crowded. It may be a part of the UK where scorching hot weather is rare, but even on milder or rainy days, the wonderful views and range of wildlife make these beaches well worth a visit.
If you’re planning a trip to the coast of the Lake District or Cumbria and are looking for places to stay, why not take a look at our range of Lake District self-catering properties.