Arnside and Silverdale is a wonderful Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) crossing the southern border of Cumbria into Lancashire. Just outside the Lake District National Park, it’s a hidden gem where you can enjoy all the beauty of the county without the crowds.
With its variety of wildlife, pretty villages, and sandy beaches, there’s plenty to keep you busy. All you need to do now is read through our top picks of the best things to do in Arnside and Silverdale and get planning your visit. Hurray!
Silverdale and Arnside Art and Craft Trail
The Silverdale and Arnside Art and Craft Trail is a popular gem in the creative calendar, and a surprising treat for visitors who haven’t heard of it. Residents from the villages of Arnside and Silverdale come together to show off their skills in a truly charming art trail that spans a good section of the AONB. Taking place every September, participants often open their private homes, hire quirky venues, and display a range of arts and crafts that are as varied as oil painting and stonemasonry! It’s also run entirely by volunteers, so there’s a real community feel about the whole affair.
Walk up Arnside Knott
This mini hill is a lovely easy walk in the heart of Arnside and Silverdale, which provides you with great views over the AONB and Morecambe Bay. With the option to even park halfway up, it’s accessible to almost everyone, including those with little legs!
Read our full guide to the walk up Arnside Knott.
See the Arnside Bore
A bore is an unusual and rare tidal phenomenon that can only be viewed in a certain number of places around the world. Fortunately for you, one such place is at the village of Arnside! At particular times, the incoming tide will push the river’s current backwards, causing an impressive rippling and swirling effect that’s quite the sight to behold! You’re most likely to see it between March and September, around two hours before high tide.
Silverdale Golf Course
There’s a famous quote that “golf is a good walk spoiled”. Not so at Silverdale Golf Club! This 18-hole course combines the popular sport with stunning scenery thanks to its position in the AONB, right next to RSPB Leighton Moss. It’s even a Site of Special Scientific Interest and, if you’re very lucky, you may spot wandering deer on the course!
Arnside and Silverdale beaches
The sandy beaches of Arnside and Silverdale are almost uninterrupted right along Morecambe Bay. During low tide, they can stretch into the bay for a long way, though you should stick close to solid land as tides can come in quickly, and sinking sand is a big hazard further out. Otherwise, enjoy the coastal landscape with the pristine sandy beaches, rocky coves, and sloping grassland.
Gait Barrows National Nature Reserve
You can barely take a step through Arnside and Silverdale without coming across some sort of reserve, which is why this is such a wonderful location. Gait Barrows National Nature Reserve (NNR) is one of England’s most important limestone landscapes and is home to vital peat bogs and both rare and common wildlife. The diverse landscape includes varied habitats including Hawes Water (not to be mixed up with Haweswater in the Lake District!), woodland, and open meadow. A number of footpaths are marked out to help you enjoy this lovely area.
The Lakeland Wildlife Oasis
Boasting over 100 animals, birds, reptiles and insects, the Lakeland Wildlife Oasis on the edge of Arnside and Silverdale makes the perfect family day out. Choose to wander the zoo, admiring the meerkats or snow leopard, or get even closer to the animals with an experience day. Learn what it takes to be a zookeeper, meet your favourite critter, or get up close and personal with the carnivores! After all that, don’t forget to stop off at the café for something tasty to eat!
The Fairy Steps
For something magical, head to the Fairy Steps just above the pretty village of Beetham. Legends surround the narrow lime formation: some say that the fairies will grant a wish to anyone who can climb the steps without touching the edges of the narrow gorge. Another story goes that anyone with the Sight will be able to see the dancing pixies playing nearby. Whether or not you do meet the sprites, this is a pretty place to pass away some time.
Leighton Hall and Estate
As it forms around 10% of the AONB, chances are you’ll pass through Leighton Hall Estate at least once during your stay! A family home since Medieval times, Leighton Hall is a beautiful stately home with an impressive collection of furniture and art. Outside you’ll find acres of grounds that include viewpoints, a walled garden, woodland walks and even a bee corner! There’s also deer, red squirrels, and an adventure playground for the kids. You’ve got a full day ahead of you!
Wolf House Gallery
If you’re looking for a gift to take home for a special friend - or even just for yourself! - then head on over to Wolf House Gallery in Silverdale. This emporium, situated in a charming stone building and with its own cosy wood burner, houses a gorgeous collection of homeware, original artworks, and hand-picked gifts. You can quite easily spend a happy hour browsing here, perhaps popping into the café next door to refresh with a tasty scone or cake.
Heron Corn Mill
Heron Corn Mill offers a wonderful insight into the heritage of the area. Going through an extensive restoration in 2013, it’s now a hub of history, events and community! Mill tours and milling demonstrations take place on the last Friday morning of every month, giving you a real-life experience of this ancient industry. Other events include Foodie Friday, crafting workshops, and breadmaking.
The Three Towers
Sounding like something out of Lord of the Rings, the Three Towers of Arnside and Silverdale stand proud and tall in the AONB. Consisting of Arnside Tower, Beetham Hall and Hazelslack, these are three of only four significant stone-built medieval remains in the area (the other is Warton Old Rectory). Now all ruins, they are nonetheless impressive edifices on the landscape and offer an insight into the history of the area.
RSPB Leighton Moss
Though owned by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Leighton Moss isn’t all about our winged friends. This important protected area is also home to otters and red deer, as well as north-west England’s largest reed bed. It’s just bursting with interesting wildlife, and a walk around the area is bound to delight all ages.
The Bay Cycle Way
If you’re keen to get out and about on two wheels, then you’re in luck! The 80-mile Bay Cycle Way tours Morecambe Bay from Barrow-in-Furness to Glasson Dock. Of course, you don’t have to do the whole thing, and the relatively flat route is ideal if you’re after a slow and steady route with sea views, quaint villages, and fascinating wildlife.
If you’re searching for more challenging and thrilling routes, take a look at our guide to the best cycling climbs in the Lake District and our favourite Lake District cycling routes.
The diversity and amount of things to do in Arnside and Silverdale makes it the ideal holiday location. Find your perfect holiday cottage for your stay.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.