Visit Arnside, Cumbria: Places to stay, things to do

Get the best of both worlds with a trip to the seaside and easy access to the Lake District. Nick Peers heads off to Arnside


Why go there?
Arnside lies on the south shore of the Kent Estuary, which feeds into Morecambe Bay and separates it from the Lake District to the north. While access to the Lakes from here is easy by car or by train – the railway passes through Arnside and crosses the estuary over a 19th-century viaduct – Arnside has much to recommend it on its own. It’s in the Arnside and Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with breathtaking walks through woodland, along cliffs and to limestone pavements, where rare alpine plants and butterflies can be found. You can even cross the bay itself at low tide, but only do so with a guided escort. Also keep an eye out for the tidal bore – alarms sound to warn you of its impending arrival.
The Leighton Moss RSPB Nature Reserve is close by, and access to the Lakes is easy by car or by train. If you’re looking for a historic building or two, check out Leighton Hall near Carnforth or the Elizabethan house and topiary at Levens Hall, just north of Milnthorpe.
Where to stay
Ye Olde Fighting Cocks is perfectly placed on the promenade, offering stunning views across the Kent Estuary to the Lakeland mountains from its terraced garden. Originally built in 1660, a large variety of rooms are available, with prices starting from £65 (or £45 for single occupancy). Breakfast is included in the price, and the pub also serves meals at lunchtime and in the evenings.
Where to eat
There aren’t any restaurants in Arnside itself, but the Kingfisher in neighbouring Sandside offers a modern restaurant with stunning views across the estuary. Its menus are produced using locally sourced ingredients, and offer both an a la carte menu (with prices from around £6 for starters and £13 for mains), plus three-course inclusive menu for £18.50 with a wide choice of dishes. A Sunday lunch version is also available for £15.50.
Local secret
Morecambe Bay is notorious for its quicksand, which is why you should never try and cross the bay or estuary without the help of local guide, Cedric Robinson. “If you find yourself on quicksand, you should lie down and roll off the area,” he advises – just in case.