Days out and events, Family holidays, Outdoor family activities

Formby beach family day out – photos and top tips

Formby beach is a beautiful part of the North West coastline. You won’t find donkey rides and amusement arcades along this stretch of sand, but you will find stunning natural beauty and lots of space to play and explore all day long. Read on to find out about our recent summer day out to Formby beach and our top tips for visiting.

Playing in the sand dunes at Formby Beach - family day out UK

Formby – our favourite beach in the North West

We’re based in Manchester, and although we have “everything except a beach” – as The Stone Roses’ Ian Brown pointed out – we’re only an hour or so away from the coast. And having grown up in the Midlands where you couldn’t be further away from the sea if you tried, that’s close enough for me!

Formby beach and sand dunes - family day out UK

Formby is one of our closest beaches and we love it. The beach itself is huge – it seems to go on forever, so even on sunny days you’ll always be able to find a quiet spot. Large pools of sea water collect on the beach, which are great fun for paddling and splashing in. There are also sand dunes which are perfect for running up and sliding down.

Formby beach sand dunes - family day out to Formby National Trust

But it’s not just the sand that’s the attraction here. There are also woods to walk through with pine trees, red squirrels and other wildlife (we spotted lots of butterflies!). We always park in the National Trust car park and walk through the woods to get to the beach. When you come out of the woods and look ahead towards the sand dunes and Irish Sea, the landscape is so beautiful, varied and unusual.

Formby beach walking through the woods and pine trees - family day out UK

Summer family day out to Formby Beach

We try to get to Formby every year and this weekend was our first beach trip of 2017 – and the first ever visit to the seaside for our baby girl.  The weather had been a bit windy and rainy with some storms over the last few days, but we checked the weather forecast and decided to risk it. And we struck lucky! Although there were a few clouds, it was fairly warm and sunny – and we even braved a paddle in the Irish Sea!

Formby beach family day out - Merseyside, Liverpool, Manchester, North West, UK

Running into the Irish Sea at Formby Beach - family day out UK, outdoor activites for children

Formby beach and the Irish Sea - National Trust day out with children Merseyside Liverpool North West UK

Running up and down the sand dunes, building sandcastles, collecting shells, burying each other in sand, splashing about in the sea, looking for red squirrels and playing hide and seek through the woods, we had a great day and can’t wait for more trips to the beach this summer.

Sand angel - National Trust Formby Beach sands

Formby beach day out with children - sand dunes, sands, National Trust, UK

National Trust Formby Beach UK - playing near the sand dunes

Baby's first seaside visit to Formby Beach, North West, UK National Trust family day out

Visiting Formby Beach with children – 10 top tips

  1. Park in the National Trust car park (postcode for satnavs is L37 1LJ). The car park has a toilet block and usually an ice cream van. It costs £6 to park, or it’s free for National Trust members.
  2. Go early. Although the beach itself is huge, there are only limited spaces in the National Trust car park. It can get busy quickly during school holidays and weekends – especially if the weather’s nice.
  3. Prepare for the walk: If you park in the National Trust car park, it’s a bit of a walk through the woods to get to the beach. Our little boy loves playing and exploring in the woods so it can take longer than expected!
  4. Take a baby carrier. You’ll struggle to get over the sand dunes with a pushchair or pram.
  5. Bring your own refreshments. Although there’s an ice cream van in the car park, if you’re going to stay for a few hours or more make sure you pack a picnic as there aren’t any cafes or places to buy food.
  6. Walk along the coast. There’s always lots of room for everyone, but if you walk along the coast a bit you might find a really quiet spot and feel like you’ve got the beach completely to yourselves.
  7. Look out for events. The National Trust puts on events and activities at Formby Beach thoughout the year, such as ‘footprint walks’ and ‘rock free rock pooling’. Have a look at the website for more information.
  8. Go all year round. Formby Beach isn’t just a good place to visit in the summer. Wrap up warm and head to the coast in the colder months and it’s great for kite flying!
  9. Dogs allowed. Dogs are allowed on the beach. Check out the website for information and restrictions.
  10. Stop off in Formby. Formby itself is a nice little town with shops, cafes and restaurants. If you want to stop off somewhere for a meal after visiting the beach it’s a nice place to have a look around.

Want to visit Formby? Pin this article to refer to later…

Tips for visiting Formby Beach and sand dunes with children. Read here for information and advice about this National Trust family day out in Liverpool, Merseyside, North West, UK

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