Tucked along the North East coast of England, Arnside and Silverdale AONB has one of the most diverse landscapes in the country. The shimmering sweeping coastline merges seamlessly into magical ancient woodlands and is home to a whole host of rare wildlife.
But owing to the fact that most tourists heading in this direction are making a beeline for the hugely popular Lake District National Park situated just above it, it also doesn’t draw the kind of footfall that you might expect of this kind of naturally beautiful scenery.
Arnside & Silverdale AONB
If that introduction hasn’t piqued your interest enough, there’s also lots of awesome things to do in Arnside and Silverdale AONB. We’re talking gorgeous viewpoints, colourful seaside towns, impressive buildings and unusual rock formations.
In this blog post we’re going to run you through them all. Plus give you top recommendations for where to eat and some cracking Arnside and Silverdale accommodation options.
Here’s everything you need to know.
What Is An AONB?
First off, just in case you don’t know, we should probably just cover off what an AONB actually is! Well the acronym stands for ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ and there’s a total of 46 of these areas dotted across the United Kingdom.
Not wholly dissimilar to UK National Parks, they are areas of land that are safeguarded by various laws due to their ecological importance and natural beauty.
AONB’s makeup around 18% of the UK countryside with Arnside and Silverdale being one of the smallest at just 75 km².
Arnside and Silverdale Points Of Interest
How To Get There
By Train | The area is well connected by the local Furness line train service which operates between Barrow and Lancaster. There are stations in both Arnside and Silverdale. From Lancaster National train services to lots of major cities within the UK, including London.
N.B. Whilst Arnside train station is in the village, the one in Silverdale is few miles out. So you’ll need to hop on the Silverdale Shuttle which operates on a hail and ride basis.
By Bus | There are Regular Stagecoach Bus services that run throughout the area from the North at Kendal from the South at Lancaster. The eastern side of Arnside and Silverdale AONB is less well served by public transport, but there is the Silverdale Shuttle.
By Car | If you are wanting to visit a few places in a short space of time, the best way to get around Arnside and Silverdale AONB is by car. Some places are better than others for parking. But you shouldn’t have too many issues finding spaces with a small car.
Arnside and Silverdale Villages
There are just a handful of villages in Arnside and Silverdale, with the nearest town lying just outside the border of the AONB in Carnforth. The namesake villages are of course the most popular, but there are a few others that are worth stopping by too.
Situated at the top of Arnside and Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, most of this seaside village is based along the pretty promenade. There’s a small pier, some cute gift shops, a couple of pubs, an ice cream parlour and a really good fish and chip shop.
It’s just a few miles from the Lake District National Park. Which you can reach in minutes by train on the impressive viaduct over the River Kent Estuary. There’s lots of roadside parking all though it does get very busy and there’s no overnight parking allowed.
Located in the south of the AONB, along Morecambe Bay, Silverdale has a small highstreet, a welcoming pub, some lovely walks and wide beach area (when the tide is out). There’s also a local farm that makes ice cream and a local art gallery. The place has a really nice vibe.
There’s some free street parking dotted around the village, but not a lot of it. There is however a beach carpark, paid for over app. Just be sure to check the tide times and speak to someone local if you are at all unsure as it has been known to get submerged in water.
A tranquil inland village right at the bottom of Warton Crag. There’s a few pubs, a playground, a church and the ruins of an old 14th-century stone house but not really much else. Still it’s a pleasant stop off if visiting nearby attractions. There’s a small car park and also pub car parks.
This charming, colourful village is situated nearby a couple cool Arnside and Silverdale AONB attractions. It’s worth a visit if only for refreshments at either lovely village pub or the vintage tearooms set in the old post office right next door to.
Parking in the village itself is sparse and roads are very narrow. But you can park at the nearby Herom Mill even if you are not specifically visiting there via an honesty box system.
Things To Do in Arnside and Silverdale
Most of the the best things to do in Arnside and Silverdale AONB are of course outside. And this guide contains beaches, viewpoints, nature reserves and more.
When the tide goes out, it leaves behind huge swathes of sand and mud with tiny rock pools along the shoreline. The ever changing landscape is fascinating to explore and also boasts some of the best sunsets in the world.
But beware, there are quite a few dangerous areas due to the fast tides, slippery mud and sinking sand. It’s best to stay close to the shore as it’s easy to get cut off.
If you are in a campervan or motorhome you can park in the beach carpark overnight, it’s currently £8 and you simply pay through a QR code and an app. It has been known to flood though so do check with someone local who is in the know about the upcoming tides.
Jenny Brown’s Point
A short (almost) circular hike from Silverdale village that takes you right out to the peninsular spot called Jenny Brown’s Point. And it has spectacular views. It’s 4km/2.5 miles and takes around an hour and a half depending on how long you spend gazing at the vistas.
Jack Scout and Giant’s Seat which on route are worth a peak. Or if you don’t fancy walking, the Silverdale Shuttle bus actually goes out this way too.
Renowned for its wildlife and 360 degree views of the surrounding countryside and shoreline, Arnside Knott is a hill with an elevation of 159m. You can do a really pleasant circular walk from the National Trust car park (LA5 0BP) which is currently free to use.
The ruins of this 15th century tower house are privately owned and you can’t actually visit it. However it can be seen from a public footpath running through the surrounding 75 hectares deer park also owned by the Dallam Tower Estate. You can also see it from Arnside Knott.
The Fairy Steps at Beetham
Legend has it that if you can pass through this narrow flight of natural stone steps without touching the rock faces either side, then the fairies will grant your wish when you reach the top. It’s impossible. But fun to try all the same.
To get there follow the path from the village, up Beetham Fell and through the woodland. It’s signposted, so easy to find. It takes just 20-30 minutes and makes for a really pleasant walk.
RSPB Leighton Moss
This wetland has one of the largest reed beds in the UK and is home to a whole range of rare and interesting wildlife. Aswell as loads of different bird species, you’ll also find otters and red deer. There are several observation hides, numerous trails, a cafe and an education centre.
Current prices are £9 per adult and £4.50 per child. With first child and under 5‘s going free. There’s a few different car parks, alternatively the Silverdale train station is just next door.
Gait Barrows National Nature Reserve
Made up of a mosaic of limestone, peatland habitats and deep yew forest and open water, this nature reserve has one of the most diverse landscapes in the country. It’s free to enter and there’s three way-marked trails. The car park is small but there’s some layby parking too.
Warton Crag Local Nature Reserve
At 163 metres this limestone cliff is the highest point in Arnside and Silverdale AONB. It’s a steep walk up and around the top, but the views over Morecambe Bay reward the effort. Expect to see wildflowers, butterflies and if you’re lucky maybe a peregrine falcon or two.
It’s free to enter and there’s free parking. But there is a 2m height barrier on the main car park. There’s a smaller one closer to the village and a few layby parking spaces.
Leighton Hall Estate
Leighton Hall is the ancestral home of the well renowned Gillow furniture family. The hall is open to visitors May to September and the history is brought to life by its guides. There’s also extensive gardens and a bird of prey display included in your ticket. It’s a fun day out.
But there is a much darker side to the story of this family and property though. As recently uncovered documents show that between 1754-1765 three quarters of the ships associated with the Gillow company for importing wood were slave trading vessels.
Trowbarrow Nature Reserve
Once a limestone quarry, after it closed in 1959 nature gradually recolonised the area and it is now a Geological Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Trowbarrow is also a popular climbing spot and has 120 different routes. It’s free to enter and you can find more info here.
Arnside and Silverdale Walks
With over 100km of well maintained footpaths, it’s said that there’s a different walk for every day of the year in Arnside and Silverdale AONB. And so on top of the ones mentioned above you’ll find plenty more to keep you busy.
Other popular walks include The Pepperpot and Eaves Wood, Farleton Knott and Hutton Roof Crags. Alternatively if you fancy a bit more adventure, you can take a guided walk right across Morecambe Bay from Arnside to Grange-over-Sands which looks really cool.
Where To Eat in Arnside and Silverdale
The Old Beetham Post Office | 2 Church St, BeethamThese friendly vintage tearooms serve all sorts, but the cakes are truly exceptional.
Arnside Chip Shop | 1 The Promenade, ArnsideYou can’t beat proper fish and chips by the seaside. And these are so good. Expect to queue.
Old School Brewery | Holly Bank Barn, WartonAward winning real ale plus a canteen serving Yorkshire Pudding wraps and breakfast butties.
Wallings at Silverdale | 19 Emesgate LaneYou simply can’t visit without trying the local ice cream made on a nearby family farm.
The Silverdale Hotel | Shore Road, SilverdaleHomemade traditional pub food at god prices, we recommend the burger and the pie.
The Posh Sardine | 24 The Promenade, ArnsideThe afternoon tea with selection cakes is top notch. Try and nab the window seating!
Arnside and Silverdale Accommodation
Kentwood Guest House | This super cute 4 star B&B in Arnside is just 100m from the beach with free private parking. There’s a choice of three comfortable double rooms, each with mini fridge and tea/coffee making facilities. The breakfast gets consistently exceptional reviews.
The Bolt Hole | If you’re looking for somewhere to accommodate a family or group, this gorgeous cottage which sleeps up to 5 is the one. Centrally located in Silverdale, there’s private parking, a washing machine, a wood burner but the real highlight is the hot tub.
Milo’s Retreat | Ideal for a quiet getaway, this homely self catering studio is set in a rural location surrounded by gorgeous scenery with walks in every direction from the doorstep. It boasts a super king size bed, a walk-in shower and outdoor patio. There’s private parking.
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Yorkshire born & bred, Sarah is a professional blogger who loves to travel. Pushing her boundaries with new adventures is her jam, so you likely won’t find her in one place for too long. Also a serious Marmite addict.