Alternatives to Formby Point

Formby Point is a jewel of Sefton’s coast, with its white sandy dunes and red squirrel pinewoods making it a popular choice as soon as the British sun makes an appearance. However, we’re lucky enough to have lots of alternative options on the Merseyrail Northern line for if you’re looking for a day out at the beach without the Formby crowds.

Ainsdale Beach

One more stop along the Northern line and you’re in Ainsdale village. With café’s, a bakery, and Tesco Metro you can stock up on supplies before making the short walk to Ainsdale beach. Beautiful sand dunes line the vast beach area that is so long it never feels crowded. Whether you’re building a sandcastle, flying a kite, paddling in the sea or simply soaking up the sea air with friends, it doesn’t get much better than Ainsdale.

Crosby Beach

Another stunning sandy beach a little bit closer to Liverpool on the Northern line but with the added bonus of Antony’s Gormley’s Iron Men. A popular subject for professional photographers and selfies alike, the 100 cast-iron life size figures are spread across the beach all looking out to sea. 10 minutes from Blundellsands and Crosby station, walking along to the end of the promenade will take you to less than a 10-minute walk from Hall Road station for your return journey.

Southport Beach

If you are looking for a traditional British seaside day out head to Southport. Ice creams are readily available for a stroll along the oldest iron pier in the country with views across to Blackpool before you head down to the beach. If sandcastles aren’t your thing, choose from fairground rides at Southport Pleasureland, amusement arcades, or a bite to eat at Ocean Plaza, which is home to Nandos, Pizza Hut and many more.

Birkdale Nature Reserve

A hidden gem of the Northern line coastal walks is Birkdale nature reserve, tucked between Hillside and Royal Birkdale Golf clubs. A little bit inland, you’ll find a warren of paths through sand dunes and woodland perfect for a peaceful walk without crowds. Climb to the highest sand dune and you’ll have stunning views of the sea and venture into the trees and you may find a little fairy grotto! From Hillside station walk to the end of Hastings Road to access the entrance to the nature reserve.

If you want to go beyond the Northern line head over to north Wirral to take advantage of one of the many beautiful destinations there including New Brighton, West Kirby and Hilbre Island.

Don't forget to help keep our coastline looking clean and beautiful by taking your rubbish home with you if bins are full, please don't leave rubbish next to bins. Please respect this precious landscape, it is home to many rare plants and animals!

Stay Safe

All of the beaches in this guide are lifeguarded beaches but it's important to follow key safety advice:

  • Check tide times and only swim within the yellow and red RNLI flags.
  • Be aware of soft mud. If you get into difficulty and can't see the lifeguard call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.
  • If you get into trouble in the water lie on your back and relax, resisting the urge to thrash about. If possible raise your hand and shout for help.