Arnside & Silverdale

Silverdale Beach in the Arnside & Silverdale AONB

Arnside & Silverdale is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) on the border of Cumbria and Lancashire. Surrounded by Morecambe Bay, the Lake District, the Forest of Bowland and the Yorkshire Dales, it’s a dream-come-true for any nature lover! View all of our holiday cottages in Arnside & Silverdale.

Arnside Village on Morecambe Bay

Arnside and Silverdale Villages

There are lots of lovely villages dotted around the shores of Morecambe Bay and Arnside and Silverdale are two of the best. Right on the coast, they offer easy access to long sandy beaches and everything that the bay has to explore. Silverdale is full of winding lanes, while Arnside is the location of a rare tidal phenomenon called the Arnside Bore. This village is also full of quirky cafes such as the BOB-in Café and the Posh Sardine.

Arts and Crafts

The villages of Arnside and Silverdale are also known for their annual community run arts and crafts trail in September. Completely volunteer run, the event celebrates the many artists in the area, and the work on display ranges from oil paintings to stonemasonry. There are also numerous workshops taking place throughout. Perhaps most charming about the event is that the artists find their own venues, which means many displays are in private homes!

Green woodpecker

Rare and Interesting Flora and Fauna

The Arnside & Silverdale AONB is home to multiple national nature reserves and sites of special scientific interest. From quarries to woodland and limestone landscapes to mudflats, it’s full of fascinating plants and animals. Keep an eye out for herds of deer in the early morning, look up in awe at ancient yew trees, or hear the wind breathing through rare ferns. Each reserve has its own special character and unique features, so it’s well worth exploring each and every one.

Heron at Leighton Moss RSPB in the Arnside & Silverdale AONB

RSPB Leighton Moss

RSPB Leighton Moss is perhaps the best known of the nature reserves in Arnside & Silverdale. Here you’ll find bird, bats, otters, bugs and deer all sharing the beautiful landscape, which revolves around a collection of ponds, mudflats, saltmarsh lagoons and wetlands. It’s also home to the largest reed bed in northwest England. It’s a must-visit for any twitchers or birders amongst you!

Peacock butterfly on a flower

Gait Barrows National Nature Reserve

Bang in the centre of the AONB is Gait Barrows, one of the UK’s most important limestone landscapes. Perhaps its most exciting offering is the rare Lady’s-slipper Orchid, but there are other delights too. Butterflies flit through the air and over 800 species of moths have been counted in the area. Birdwatchers, too, will find lots to aim their binoculars at including Green Woodpecker, Blackcap and Marsh Harrier. Three waymarked nature trails and multiple footpaths allow you to take in the sights.

Walking and Cycling

As you might expect from an area of outstanding natural beauty, there is plenty of walking and cycling on offer! Footpaths and nature trails criss-cross the reserves, while heritage trails let you discover the history of the area.

If you prefer to get out on two wheels, The Bay Cycle Way is a long-distance route taking in the spectacular coastal scenery, while the Morecambe Bay Electric Bike Network lets you get around without getting out of breath! Bike hire is available at Silverdale Cycle Hire.

Morecambe Bay

Morecambe Bay

Morecambe Bay stretches from the southwest coast of Cumbria to Fleetwood in Lancashire. Backed by Lake District mountains and with the glistening water stretching ahead, it’s an idyllic coastal retreat. All around it are lovely villages and small towns for your to explore, while the bay itself offers any number of options for outdoor activities. Or perhaps you’d like to explore the history of the area, or take a photo up with the famous statue of comedian Eric Morecambe! If you visit at the right time of year, qualified Queen’s Guides run walking tours across the bay at low tide, expertly navigating the quicksands and hidden dangers so that you can enjoy a spectacular walk.

11th hole at Silverdale Golf Course in the Arnside & Silverdale AONB


Silverdale Golf Club has lots of things to set it apart. The 18-hole course is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, sits on the edge of RSPB Leighton Moss, and enjoys views over Morecambe Bay. Even if you’re not a golfer, you may well fancy a trip here! The course itself is wonderfully varied, and the friendly club is open all year round, even in winter! Get there early to see if you can spot some deer wandering the course. 

Leighton Hall & Estate

Leighton Hall is the historic seat of the famous furniture makers, the Gillows. Still a family home, this stately house is warm and welcoming, with no roped off areas. Outside are large lawns, lots of seating areas with pretty views, woodland walks, and even an adventure playground! The hall hosts numerous events throughout the year such as vintage car shows, murder mystery nights, and plant fairs.

Arnside Tower in the Arnside & Silverdale AONB

Historical Gems

The landscape is dotted with clues to its past, with The Three Towers being most prominent. Many features of the landscape also serve as a reminder of its industrial history, with a number of notable kilns restored for your viewing pleasure! If you love a ruin or marks of the past, you can also take a look at The Wells of Silverdale - which once supplied drinking and bathing water to local people -and the remnants of Warton Old Rectory.

If you prefer your historical edifices intact, then Heron Corn Mill is an important heritage site that has been fully restored and now provides lots of local information and events.

Lemur eating food

The Lakeland Wildlife Oasis

The Lakeland Wildlife Oasis is ‘the little zoo with lots to do’! It’s the perfect family activity, whatever the weather, with over 100 animals, birds, insects and reptiles. Apart from seeing the fascinating creatures, you can also learn more about their breeding and conservation programmes, or enjoy an animal experience. Adults can ‘meet the carnivores’, getting up close and personal with the likes of snow leopards, or you can meet less intimidating animals with short encounters with monkeys and lemurs, or keeper experiences.

Viaduct over the River Kent at Arnside

Explore by Rail

For a relaxing day taking in as much of the sights as possible, consider hopping on the train and tootling up the west coast of Cumbria! The tracks hug the coast for much of the journey up to Maryport on the edge of the Solway Coast, before heading inland to the border city of Carlisle. Alternatively, head in the opposite direction for a relaxing journey through the AONB to Carnforth. Here you’ll find Carnforth Station Heritage Centre, famously featured in the 1945 film Brief Encounter. Take a step back in time on Platform 1, which has vintage suitcases and posters, watch the film in the mini cinema and take a look at the Victorian railway memorabilia! It’s free to enter too!

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