As recently as the late 1980's, prehistoric prints made by deer, large birds and extinct cattle known as Aurochs were found on Formby beach. The word Formby was originally spelt 'fornebei' translated as 'village belonging to Forni' (Forni was a well-known Norse family name). About 960 AD Vikings came to the west coast of Lancashire, first trading or raiding, then settling. Tradition has it that the Viking invaders failed to defeat the native Anglo-Saxons on the coast of Formby so they salied inland, up the River Alt, and attacked from the rear.

Fornebei is recorded in the Doomsday book. The graveyard of St. Luke's Church contains the carved "Godstone" which some suggest was used as a 'rebus' to convert the Vikings to Christianity. Although the present church was built in 1858 the building and its surrounds contain a 12th century font, a 1407 gravestone, the steps from the original Cross Green cross, the oldest street light in Formby and the table top graves of the Formby family.


Formby lighthouse was erected in 1719, becoming a "lighthouse" in 1834 until 1839. It was then lit again between 1851 and 1856. It is thought to be the very first lighthouse in the UK...and maybe even the world.

Similarly the first lifeboat station in the UK (and possibly the world) was established at Formby Point by William Hutchinson in 1776. Closed in 1916 it was finally demolished in 1965, yet remnants of the foundations can still be seen on the beach today. Formby Cricket Club is a founder member of the Liverpool & District Cricket Competition having been established in 1825.

In 1872 the township was made up of two chapelries (St. Peter and St. Luke), and contained Birkdale township, the hamlets of Ainsdale and Raven-Meols and Altcar Parish. Formby was built on the plain adjoining the Irish Sea coast. 

Formby Golf Club was established in 1884 (the original 18 hole course was designed by Willie Park in 1912). Formby Lawn Tennis Club is also over 125 years old.

Formby pinewoods were planted by the Blundell and Formby families from the late 19th century. These woods are now home to nationally scarce red squirrel. Formby dunes is one of the largest areas of dune habitats in the UK which provides a home for rare and endangered speciies such as the Natterjack Toad and the North Dune Tiger Beetle.

The Formby War Memorial commemorates the residents of Formby who were killed or went missing in World War One (115 names) and World War Two (69 names). It was erected just after World War One. Formby Football Club was also founded after the war in 1919 as Formby United, moving to their present ground in Altcar Road in 2002.

In 2007 Formby Pool and Parkland was opened, to create a heart for the Village and provide a focal point for community life.