Parking at Formby

A message from NTFormby about parking

Formby is a very popular place for visitors and when the sun is out there’s nothing better than a trip to the coast.


At these times of the year, we’re incredibly busy and we know how frustrating the queuing traffic and long waiting time can be for our visitors. Below you’ll find some advice on ways to avoid the queues and ensure your visit is as stress-free as possible.

During the holidays and nice weather, our car parks at Victoria Road and Lifeboat Road are often full by mid-morning. We have limited car parking available with just 270 spaces at Lifeboat Road and 300 at Victoria Road.

Once the car parks are full it’s a one out, one in system. This means that queues and delays to get on to the property can be very long. Because of this we strongly advise visitors travel by public transport or visit outside of busy holiday periods. Although wider parking is available in and around Formby, the area very soon becomes congested causing a lot of issues for our local residents of Formby.

Public Transport

Formby has great public transport links, especially by train:

Freshfield station is located 1 mile from Victoria Road. Plan your journey here

Formby station is located 1.2 miles from Lifeboat Road. Plan your journey here

Local parking and Formby residents

We advise parking at the National Trust car parks or planning in advance so you can make use of public transport to take the stress out of your journey. You’ll also be helping our local residents too.

Please be mindful of local residents and their own parking requirements on private streets. Please don’t block driveways or create obstructions which will make it difficult for the emergency services to pass.

Other places to visit nearby

We understand that our visitors want to enjoy Formby, but we on busy days it isn’t always possible to welcome all our visitors to our car parks. Here are some suggestions for other places to visit nearby:

Ainsdale - 11 min (4.1 mi) via A565
Southport - 17 min (8.2 mi) via Coastal Rd
Blackpool - 1 h 7 min (55.4 mi) via M6
Morecambe - 1 h 13 min (64.1 mi) via M6

These coastal areas can also become busy during the holidays and warmer weather, so we’d advise checking the local website and travel updates before visiting.

What we’re doing to help

We know only too well how frustrating busy days at Formby can be. Our staff, who should be carrying out essential conservation work to care for Formby and protect it for generations to come, so very often spend their days controlling traffic, parking cars or picking up litter.

We’re working closely with our partners to come up with some solutions, as Formby continues to get even more popular.

We’re improving awareness of how busy our car parks get so visitors arriving know what the problem is and that we’re full. That means you can make the decision to either wait or visit somewhere else for the day.

We are supported by dedicated volunteers who will be helping us with traffic, marshalling the car park, walking the queues to give people information and generally assisting with running the site. They give up their free time to help us and our visitors – we couldn’t do it without them.

We are looking at longer-term plans at Formby to improve people’s enjoyment of this special place and reduce the stress of visiting when it’s busy. Working with such a delicate and changing coastline like Formby is a challenge and takes time to plan to ensure anything we do helps protects it for future generations.

Time to Solve the Holiday Traffic Crisis? Part Two.

The chaos continues, the moment the sun comes out or it's a weekend/bank holiday Formby descends into traffic chaos. The social media are full of reports today about the traffic congestion BUT in-action still rules it seems.

Traffic Jam at Fresfield StationDid you know you can write directly to your local Councillors or any of your other elected representatives? You can find the contact details on their websites.

Here's my letter to my local Sefton Councillors written and published on 31 May 2016. I've repeated these comments over and over again face to face to local Councillors and the National Trust and I'm still waiting for signs of action.

Local Councillors driving around 'tweeting' isn't enough now. Time for residents to call them to account - that's what the ballot box is for, use your vote.

In the meantime, if you feel like I do, I suggest you write your own letter?

Good luck.

As residents of Formby we are all aware of the chaotic traffic problems caused by the weight of visitor traffic during high seasons and holidays.

Most if not all observers will be horrified by some of the dangerous, potentially life threatening results. Jammed roads making it impossible for emergency vehicles to pass, vehicles stranded in the middle of the level crossing at Freshfield station, trapping residents on their properties because of inconsiderate and illegal parking.

Despite the growth in this issue I can find little or no evidence that Sefton Council, Formby Parish Council together with The National Trust finding effective solutions yet. (Emphasis added 2018)

I know that parking restrictions have been put in place, but so far the solutions seems to be reactive rather than proactive.

It's clear that most if not all visitors come by car and with very little or no notice find themselves caught in the jams, they queue waiting in vain not knowing how long that wait may take or how far they have to travel. We all know that there is insufficient parking spaces on the really busy days and this in turn leads to cars parking close to the access points. It's fortunate that the dramatic scenes of last weekend are limited to a relatively small number of days in the year. Small comfort for the residents most badly affected.

As a resident I'd like to see the evidence of concern over this issue. Links on the Council web sites to documents, meetings and actions taken are required - occasional 'tweets' are not sufficient.

Can I suggest all of the Bodies involved need to address how best to be proactive. Visitors need more advice sooner. (Emphais added 2018)

  • Solar powered Mobile Variable Systems, Highway Agency approved are worth worth trying out. They can be hired for trials
  • Secondly it might be worth considering a plan based on Zoning. An outer zone with signs on the by-pass with the latest up-to-date advice. The next zone within Formby using similar signs. Finally as a last resort but a necessary remedial response, some means of directing vehicles to places on roads to park and helping visitors to access the beach from different points. There are a range of different paths that need signposting with advice on the time it would take or access advice (Wheelchairs, pushchairs etc).
  • The solution also needs to incorporate the use of Social Media - these days most visitors will have access to mobile phones. It would help to use commonly agreed #hashtags such as #formbyparking.
  • Another aspect of an overall plan would be to accept that visitors arrive at different times of the day. Early arrivals do not cause the problem but on 'high days and holidays' from 11.30am or at times of high tides visitors need active relevant and live updates. There has to be an organisational infrastructure in place, both physical and human.
  • A solution will cost money, we all have to accept it, but perhaps on a longer term, means can be found to generate an income from visitors to offset some of these casts.

I hope you will seriously consider these suggestions and help reassure the besieged residents of Formby something is being done to resolve an ever-worsening problem.

Many thanks,

Sean Brady

For the full post visit:

Sunday Rail Travel Disruption

Make a note of this advice from Merseyrail. On Sunday 20 May, the rail service between Formby and Southport will be replaced by a bus service.

Rail track 1

Bank Holiday Weekend: The Aftermath

Following the Bank Holiday chaos, the usual debate has started. Traffic

What do you think? Is it getting worse? What can be done about it?

Have you got some practical suggestions? Write to me, using the comment link below.

Enjoy Your Bank Holiday (If Possible)

The sun is shining as promised and it's going to be a good day. BUT...

NTFormby Entrance
I think I can guarantee this quiet entrance will become a scene of chaos and anger very shortly. On days like today, the world seems to want to drive through this narrow lane, AND it takes hours!

Victoria Road will be full of stationary vehicles the neighbouring estates will be piled high with badly parked cars, blocked drives. Weary residents, frazzled laden visitors. Formby is the most natural gateway to the sea, the sun and the sand for so much of Merseyside and the wider region.

We've got to find a solution. Yesterday I felt sorry for everyone. The Trust, the residents, the emergency services and the Visitors.

How much longer have, we all to got to suffer this on high days and holidays?

Just one small example, I came across a small car full of family, husband, wife, children and Granny, all sweltering. The old lady was very distressed and wheelchair dependent. They'd been in the car on Larkhill Lane near the junction with Victoria Road for around an hour. In front of them, another 50 vehicles waiting in turn for someone else to leave. Nowhere to go, no movement, no information, the promise of the earlier day turning into a most unpleasant experience.

This scene happens every year I was commenting on it three years ago, Sefton has disposed of the problem. The NT Formby with a mandate to increase visitor numbers seems stuck for a solution, and we've heard nothing from our local Parish Councillors, they know what they don't want but seem bereft of positive suggestions or plans for the future.

How much longer have, we all to got to suffer this on high days and holidays?