Four things to know when visiting Sefton's beaches

27 April 2023 2min read

Sefton Council is providing a few reminders for people planning on visiting Sefton’s glorious coastline.

Stretching for 22 miles the Sefton coast, which is also a protected haven for nature, attracts visitors from across the Borough, the City Region and the whole of England’s North West.

Travel Smart

Those thinking about visiting one of Sefton’s coastal gateways are being encouraged to travel safely, thinking about ways to walk or cycle where they can.

Southport, Ainsdale and Crosby beach are all RNLI lifeguarded beaches with natural beauty and fantastic facilities.

And they are in easy walking distance from Merseyrail stations such as Southport, Birkdale, Hillside, Ainsdale, Hall Road, Blundellsands & Crosby and Waterloo.

You can plan your Merseyrail  journeys and find timetables and service updates here.

Those who do drive should plan ahead to avoid traffic delays and are reminded to park responsibly and considerately, away from residential areas.

Beach Car Parking

Aindsdale Beach Car Park

On-beach car parking is available at Ainsdale-On-Sea and the car park will be open until 7pm.

The men’s, women’s, and disabled toilet facilities have now re-opened at Ainsdale for the summer season. Accessible toilets are also available at Crosby Coastal Park.

Southport beach car park is currently closed due to poor sand condition from recent high tides. 

Beach car parking charges for 2023 are:

  • £10 per day for cars at Ainsdale beach
  • £16 per day for horseboxes or minibuses
  • 50% off the above rates after 4pm subject to car parking management arrangements
  • £35 season ticket for Sefton residents and those who drive an electric or hybrid vehicle
  • £70 season ticket for non-Sefton residents

The car parks operate a cashless payment system as a preference.

You can buy your money-saving season ticket here.

Car parking for the beach at Formby is managed by the National Trust, who have lots of helpful tips for anyone planning a visit there, at


Dogs are welcome on our coastline, but we ask they are kept under control at all times. 

There are two beach dog exclusion zones in place from 1st May to 30th September

  • Southport beach is free of dogs starting from the Pier south towards Pleasureland (for 555m) and to the tide line
  • Ainsdale Beach is free of dogs 200m either side of the main beach entrance and to the tide line

Dogs should also be kept away from birds on the beach, especially large flocks of roosting waders, terns and gulls, all of which use this coastline as an essential stop off or breeding site along the East Atlantic Flyway.

It is a criminal offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to allow your dog to disturb these birds.

Environmental sensitivity

Visitors are also reminded of the environmental sensitivities and how they can play their role in protecting the landscape by taking litter home.

Fires, BBQs, balloon releases, and fireworks have a detrimental impact on Sefton’s wildlife and are not allowed anywhere at the coast. Failure to comply risks a Fixed Penalty Notice or prosecution.

The range of dune habitats and rare species found along Sefton’s coast are unique and protected as a site of special scientific interest. Please do your bit to keep our natural coast clean and safe for all to enjoy.

Organised events at the coast will need to apply for permission to ensure that activities are safe and do not negatively impact on the nature conservation and protected coastal areas.

You can find out more about visiting Sefton’s coast and its important role in protecting and nurturing UK wildlife at

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