Ah the beach! At the end of the day no-one wants to leave, even when we have sand between our toes, salt in our hair and a slight chill is descending, we want to prolong those sunlit hours for just a little bit longer…
Manchester is famous for not having a beach but in actual fact there are tons! Either in the city (manufactured but beaches none the less) or a bit further out. There are traditional kiss-me-quick and donkey-ride-type beaches, wild beaches and the beaches where the red squirrels roam free. See you down at the water’s edge…
Intu Trafford Centre
We usually think of the TC as a shopping ‘n’ eating destination, but the Barton Square beach makes a nice change of pace, with deckchairs for the grown-ups and buckets and spades for the kids. There are charges for other activities including the water walkers, boats, bumper cars and more.
Open from now until August 25, 12pm to 6pm Sunday to Friday and 10am to 8pm on Saturdays, free entry
Come To The Beach, Heaton Park
This is purported to be the North West’s largest beach, with deck chairs, a paddling pool, buckets and spades plus appearances from cartoon characters and a traditional seaside-style funfair.
Open from now until September, daily 12pm-5pm, entrance to the beach is free but rides are charged. Check the website for details of offers running throughout the summer.
A really sweet little morning out for a toddler, we’re not talking white sand but there really is a small pebbly beach, ripe for skimming stones and possibly the odd splash (although you should probably take wellies). There is no charge to get into the marina, we suggest taking a picnic and everything you need with you.
A Bit Further Out
Beautiful sands and perfect for nature lovers, Formby is home to a colony of red squirrels and is protected by the National Trust, so if you have an NT card you can park for free.
Top tip: head out on the Red Squirrel Walk.
Great for spotting big ships out at sea, the wind farm and the famous ‘Another Place’ Antony Gormley statues add a new layer of interest.
Top tip: easy to access by rail plus free car parking.
New Brighton is located on the tip of the Wirral Peninsula and you can enjoy the beach while admiring the Liverpool skyline. Our favourite is the Black Pearl, a local artwork made from natural materials that the kids can explore to their hearts content, all maintained by local volunteers.
Top tip: there have been cases of people getting stuck in the wet sands so don’t stray too far out
Once Morecambe was a bit more on the faded side of faded glamour, but now that seaside goers love all things retro, things are really getting back on track at this seaside resort town. Read our full review here.
Top tip: we especially like the Art Deco curves of the Midland Hotel.
Like Morecambe this is a bit of a nostalgia-fest for us, and the kids love it. Predictably, it’s heavy on sugary treats and souvenir tat, but who doesn’t enjoy that once in a while? Sea Life is our favourite of the many different attractions on offer.
Top tip: try parking down at Starr Gate and getting the tram up to the promenade.
Lytham St Annes
Blackpool’s posher cousin, Lytham St Annes (in fact two towns of Lytham and St Annes) is much more sedate if you want a more peaceful time of it, though it does get busier for various sporting events and perhaps most significantly, the kite festival which marks the end of the summer season. The Ribble Estuary and sands of St Annes and Lytham are an Important Bird Area, mainly as a feeding ground for waders during winter and spring
Top tip: this year’s kite festival (1-3 September) includes an illuminated nighttime event of the evening of the 1st, which could be pretty exciting!
As always, we suggest you check these details on the links provided before you travel and please never let children play unsupervised near water.