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From Stunning Beaches to Charming Villages: Must-Visit Places in Majorca

Majorca, also known as Mallorca, is a stunning island located in the Mediterranean Sea. With its golden sandy beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and picturesque villages, Majorca has become a popular destination for travelers seeking both relaxation and adventure. Whether you’re looking to soak up the sun on the beach or explore the island’s rich cultural heritage, Majorca offers something for everyone. In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the must-visit places in Majorca.

Palma de Mallorca: The Capital City

No trip to Majorca would be complete without a visit to its vibrant capital city, Palma de Mallorca. This bustling city is home to an array of attractions that showcase both its historical and modern charm. One of the highlights of Palma is its iconic Gothic cathedral, La Seu. With its intricate architecture and stunning views of the seafront promenade, this cathedral is a must-see for any visitor.

In addition to its architectural wonders, Palma also offers an abundance of shopping opportunities. From high-end fashion boutiques to local artisan markets, there is something for every shopper in this city. Don’t forget to sample some delicious local cuisine at one of Palma’s many restaurants before heading out to explore other parts of the island.

Serra de Tramuntana: A Hiker’s Paradise

For those seeking outdoor adventures, a trip to Serra de Tramuntana is a must-do while in Majorca. This mountain range stretches along the northwest coast of the island and offers breathtaking landscapes that are perfect for hiking enthusiasts.

With its rugged terrain and well-marked trails, Serra de Tramuntana provides endless opportunities for exploration. From challenging hikes that lead you through narrow mountain paths to more leisurely walks that take you through charming villages, there is a trail for every level of hiker. Along the way, you’ll be rewarded with stunning panoramic views of the coastline and the Mediterranean Sea.

Alcudia: History and Natural Beauty

Located on the northeastern coast of Majorca, Alcudia is a town that seamlessly combines history and natural beauty. The old town of Alcudia is surrounded by medieval walls that have been well-preserved over the years. As you wander through its narrow streets, you’ll come across ancient buildings and charming squares that transport you back in time.

Beyond its historical charm, Alcudia also boasts beautiful beaches that are perfect for sunbathing and swimming. The Playa de Alcudia is one of the most popular beaches on the island, offering soft sand and shallow waters that are ideal for families with children. For those looking for a more secluded spot, head to Playa de Muro, located just a short distance away.

Valldemossa: A Picturesque Village

Tucked away in the Tramuntana Mountains lies Valldemossa, a picturesque village known for its quaint streets and stunning views. This charming village has long been a source of inspiration for artists and writers due to its tranquil atmosphere and natural beauty.

One of Valldemossa’s main attractions is the Royal Charterhouse, where composer Frédéric Chopin once resided. Visitors can explore this historic building and learn about its fascinating history while enjoying the peaceful surroundings it offers.

After exploring the sights in Valldemossa, take some time to relax at one of its local cafes or restaurants. Indulge in traditional Mallorcan cuisine or sip on a refreshing glass of local wine while soaking up the village’s enchanting ambiance.

In conclusion, Majorca offers an array of must-visit places that cater to every traveler’s interests. From the bustling capital city of Palma de Mallorca to the serene village of Valldemossa, there is no shortage of stunning beaches, charming villages, and historical attractions to explore. Whether you’re seeking relaxation on the beach or adventure in nature, Majorca is a destination that will leave you with unforgettable memories.

This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.


best uk beaches to visit

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The best beaches in the UK

By Olivia Morelli

The best beaches in the UK | 52 beautiful spots

The UK might not be known for the  best beaches in the world , but take some time to explore the coastline on those increasingly common sunny UK days and you might be pleasantly surprised. The best beaches in the UK hail from the well-loved Cornwall coast to the secret sandy spots in Scotland. We've searched high and low to bring you our expert pick of the best UK beaches, plus where to stay nearby for a weekend break in the UK . For more inspiration, see our round-up of  the best beaches in Europe .

Are there any sandy UK beaches?

It takes some by surprise, but it turns out the UK does have some of the world's most beautiful sandy beaches. From Cornwall to the Isles of Scilly , you can expect sun-kissed sandy beaches, with each stretch of coastline more beautiful than the next. While we don't like to pick favourites, we do recommend exploring the southwest corner of Wales , which has an enchanting stretch of coast and sandy UK beaches.

Where is the clearest water in the UK?

While southeast beaches are perfect for long summer afternoons, the English Channel doesn't offer the clearest waters. By no means skip a trip to the sandy shores of Kent and Sussex but, for ultimate paddling visibility, Cornwall and Devon offer some of the best spots – lay a towel down on Kennack Sands or Combesgate Beach and take to the water. When the British weather permits, some of Scotland's beaches are truly breathtaking, with crystal-clear waters to match – in 2009, Koh Chang Marine National Park in Thailand reportedly used a picture of Berneray island in Scotland's Outer Hebrides by mistake, mixing up Thailand's tropical shores with the Scottish swathes of sand.

The best beaches in England

The rather inauspiciously named Blackpool Sands is actually in South Devon and it comes as a wonderful surprise. A drive...

1. Blackpool Sands, Devon

The rather inauspiciously named Blackpool Sands is actually in South Devon, and it comes as a wonderful surprise. A drive through pine trees, almost reminiscent of the Amalfi Coast, brings you out onto a splendid sweep of beach.

Despite the name - and appearance from a distance - the beach is in fact formed from the smoothest little pebbles, which makes the water astonishingly clear. (It has won awards for cleanliness; no dogs allowed). The pontoon floating off the shore is the coolest place to be when temperatures soar, good for diving off into the bay's blue waters.

Head to Blackpool Sands Beach Shack, which serves locally roasted coffee, cakes, pies and pasties with beachfront seats.

Where to stay near Blackpool Sands

A 10 minute drive from the beach is Dart Marina Hotel , a smart harbour-side stay with an onsite spa and restaurant. In nearby Salcombe, we love Gara Rock for its staggering clifftop views, and Harbour Beach Club for it's steps-from-the-sand location. For more options, see our pick of the best hotels in Devon .

Seven Sisters is one of the most arresting coastlines in Britain thanks to a dramatic stretch of pristine white chalk...

2. Seven Sisters, Sussex

Seven Sisters is one of the most arresting coastlines in Britain thanks to a dramatic stretch of pristine white chalk cliffs that dominate the landscape. The name refers to the seven peaks of those cliffs and there’s a fabulous undulating hike that runs along the top of them. It’s not for the faint-hearted (with a lot of steep up-and-down sections, it’s real dust-off-your-hiking-boots territory), but it’s visually rewarding. Keep an eye out for the story-book, red-and-white-striped Beachy Head Lighthouse along the way. This is a great spot for outdoor activities so bird watchers, canoeists and wild swimmers all flock here too.

Where to stay near Seven Sisters Beach

At the Seaford end of the cliffs, set within Seven Sisters National Park, Saltmarsh is a characterful boutique hotel in a 16th-century farmhouse, with six bedrooms and a café that plates up fresh local produce. Nearby in Eastbourne, we love Port Hotel , a design-led bolthole set right on the seafront. By Olivia Holborow

This milelong cove just around the corner from Land's End is breathtakingly beautiful. Years ago it was thought that...

3. Sennen Cove, Cornwall

This mile-long cove, just around the corner from Land's End, is breathtakingly beautiful. Years ago, it was thought that mermaids frequented the shores. Years later, the mermaids actually turned out to be dolphins, which can still be seen frolicking in the deep blue waters at certain times of year. Surfers love it, too - conditions are top-rate. The village of Sennen still maintains the atmosphere of an old fishing village.

Where to stay near Sennen Cove

Drive twenty minutes north to Penzance, where you can check into quirky Artist Residence or six-room B&B Chapel House . See our edit of the best hotels in Cornwall for more options.

On the south side of the River Blyths mouth Walberswicks long grassy dunebacked beach is much quieter and wilderfeeling...

4. Walberswick Beach, Suffolk

On the south side of the River Blyth’s mouth, Walberswick’s long, grassy dune-backed beach is much quieter and wilder-feeling than neighbouring Southwold across the river. It’s just a short walk from its postcard-perfect village, which has several solid pubs, is the unofficial crabbing capital of the UK, and home to screenwriter and director Richard Curtis and his broadcaster partner Emma Freud. Catch Dani Church’s row-boat ferry across the river (it takes about five minutes) to the excellent fish restaurants right opposite on the Southwold bank.

Where to stay near Walberswick Beach

In nearby Southwold, we love The Swan , a 17th-century coaching house and one of three pubs in Southwold run by Adnams brewery. Downstairs houses two restaurants while upstairs has 24 bedrooms including six very big suites, plus another 11 rooms arranged around the lawn behind.

Pentle Bay Tresco Scilly Isles Cornwall

5. Pentle Bay, Scilly Isles

Pentle Bay's white sand and intensely blue sea give it an almost tropical look, but this beach is in fact in the Isles of Scilly, almost 30 miles south-west of Land's End. The water here is safe for swimming, which is tempting since the Isles have an unusually warm climate for Britain , and the beach is a great spot for collecting sea shells or just lounging on the sand. The safe waters around the island mean it's perfect for water sports, and amateur ornithologists and archaeologists will find plenty to keep them interested.

Where to stay near Pentle Bay

There is one hotel on the island, the New Inn , which is comfortable and overlooks New Grimsby Bay. Even better are the various houses and cottages available for rental. Some of the most luxurious options on the island are the Flying Boat Cottages , well-designed beachfront houses which can sleep up to 10 people, and the lovely Sea Garden Cottages .

Mwnt Beach or Traeth Mwnt near Cardigan South Wales is a sheltered sandy cove.

6. Crantock Beach, Newquay, Cornwall

Crantock Beach is a golden stretch of sand nestled between towering dunes and expansive grasslands that stretch well beyond the beach, forming Rushy Green. Upon descending the dunes of Crantock Beach, you’re immediately transported to another world, even though you’re only a mere 12-minute drive from Newquay. Crantock sits a the mouth of the Ganneal estuary, which boasts turquoise waters that beach-goers can paddle up and down when the seas are calm. Be sure to grab a treat from Cargo Coffee for a lovely cap to your day, or take a short walk to Jam Jar Kitchen for a fresh lunch or cream tea.

Where to stay near Crantock Beach

We recommend staying at the Watergate Bay Hotel , a quick 20-minute drive from Crantock Beach, which offers panoramic views of the north Cornish coast.

Meadowes Foot beach Mothecombe Devon England

7. Mothecombe, Plymouth, Devon

This sweep is where in-the-know locals head – think soft fine sand, warm shallow waters and gorgeous green backdrops. Right at the mouth of the River Erme, it’s a hidden pocket perfect for summery days spent by the coast. Once you’ve had enough sun, sea and sand, stop by The School House for epic barbecues between 5pm and 8pm during summer.

Where to stay near Mothecombe Beach

Glebe House  is a 25-minute drive in Southleigh, a lovely early-19th-century hotel sandwiched between the Jurassic Coast’s red sandstone cliffs and the verdant Blackdown Hills. It’s a place for families with tots in tow,  solo travellers  and good-food devotees.

Crantock bay Cornwall England UK near Newquay beautiful beach and blue sea

8. Mwnt Beach, Cardigan, Wales

Hike your way through hedgerow-covered single-track lanes before the coastline suddenly opens up in front of you, complete with azure waters and honey-hued sand. Surrounded by towering grassy cliffs, visit the Church of the Holy Cross, a huge whitewashed chapel once a magnet to pilgrims en route to Bardsey Island.

Where to stay near Mwnt Beach

Just south of Cardigan is  Bethsaida , a pretty blue Baptist chapel reborn as a  boutique B&B . The storybook rooms have stained glass windows, Welsh fabrics, and pews refashioned as headboards.

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Wild and free and almost lunarlike Holkham Beach is a vast expanse  four miles  of golden sands backed by pine woods and...

9. Holkham Beach, Norfolk

Wild and free and almost lunar-like, Holkham Beach is a vast expanse - four miles - of golden sands backed by pine woods and huge sand dunes held in place by wildflowers and marram grass. A half-moon basin fills up at high tides to form a lagoon. It's part of the Holkham estate and nature reserve, so it's protected and wonderfully unspoilt - no fires or barbecues here - and great for beachcombing.

Where to stay near Holkham Beach

Red-brick 19th-century inn Holkham Hall has smart bedrooms and a restaurant serving local, seasonal produce.

On the Jurassic Coast Durdle Door is the name of the limestone arch between two lovely beaches St Oswald's Bay and Man...

10. Durdle Door, Jurassic Coast, Dorset

On the Jurassic Coast, Durdle Door is the name of the limestone arch between two lovely beaches, St Oswald's Bay and Man O'War Cove. Even on the hottest days in the height of summer they won't get overcrowded; to get here you need to climb down several hundred steps in the cliff (and it's a long walk back up to the loo or to get your sandwiches).

But it's worth the climb. It is a beautiful spot, sheltered from the wind and so striking that it has been chosen as a location for Far From the Madding Crowd and Wilde , for Pink Floyd artwork, and music videos for Cliff Richard, Bruce Dickinson and Tears for Fears. The sea is unexpectedly blue and crystal-clear - though breathtakingly cold, drawing gasps from even the bravest bathers.

Neighbouring Lulworth Cove is more popular with families , being easier to get to with facilities nearby, plus a couple of inns overlooking the cove.

Where to stay near Durdle Door

The Lulworth Cove Inn is just up the hill from Lulworth Cove and a 20-minute walk along the coast path from Durdle Door. The pub downstairs has great food. For something more homely, we love this beachfront house Airbnb in neighbouring Ringstead Bay. The coastal path runs in front of the house, so it's perfect for seaside walks up to the chalky headland of White Nothe or west for the coastal hamlet of Osmington Mills.

Framed by cliffs marshes and plantfilled heath the windswept expanse of shingleandsand Dunwich Beach is the perfect wild...

11. Dunwich Beach, Suffolk

Framed by cliffs, marshes and plant-filled heath, the windswept expanse of shingle-and-sand Dunwich Beach is the perfect wild spot for a weekend walk by the waves. While it’s close to some of Suffolk’s best-known towns such as Southwold, it feels pleasingly remote and has the added thrill of a colourful history. Dunwich was one of England’s largest towns in the 11th century, but coastal erosion saw it gradually receding into the sea. Today Britain’s Atlantis is a pretty village with a tiny museum and a dog-friendly beach with a car park and a child-friendly café with in- and outdoor tables, so it couldn’t be easier to visit.

Where to stay in Dunwich

The Ship , right on the coastal path and dating back to Tudor times, is an excellent pub with rooms furnished in White Company style; some are in the stable block outside, but try for the snug attic room in the main building. The pub itself has a wood burner and a hearty menu.

On one of Cornwall's most remote and stunning shorelines the north coast of the Penwith Peninsula Pedn Vounder is a...

12. Pedn Vounder Beach, Cornwall

On one of Cornwall 's most remote and stunning shorelines, the north coast of the Penwith Peninsula, Pedn Vounder is a quiet, sandy little cove that can be reached by boat, or a 15-minute walk from the village of Treen. Its seclusion and privacy - especially when high tide completely cuts it off from neighbouring beaches - means that it is popular with naturists.

At low tide you can reach the secluded beach from neighbouring Porthcurno (in the foreground of our picture) but beware that a climb awaits if you get cut off. The pretty Treryn Dinas cliffs, which stretch out along the east of the beach (at the top of our picture), overlook the blue Atlantic; among them is The Logan Rock, a 70-ton block of granite which can be rocked by human force.

Where to stay near Pedn Vounder Beach

Boskenna Home Farm is made up of a small B&B and self-catering cottages, and is 10 minutes' drive from the beach and within walking distance of the famously beautiful south-west coast path. Or check our round up of the best Airbnbs in Cornwall for more inspiration.

Hunstantonthetown parcels up all the best bits of a quintessential British seaside resort quaint little teashops a candy...

13. Hunstanton, Norfolk

Hunstanton-the-town parcels up all the best bits of a quintessential British seaside resort: quaint little teashops, a candy striped helter-skelter and pony rides along the promenade – and come summer , families are lured here by the calm shallow waters and crabbing in the rockpools punctuating this wide, pebbly stretch of coastline. For lower-key, more rugged charm, lose the crowds and head a little further north to reach Old Hunstanton – here, wind-whipped clapperboard beach huts sit on a sweep of pristine buttery sand – and if you time your visit right, you'll get ringside views of a spectacular sunset in front of the region's famous red-and-white streaked cliffs. This is the only west-facing beach on the east coast, so in cooler months, it sometimes even feels a degree or two warmer than its better-known neighbours too.

Where to stay near Hunstanton

Not quite on the beach but an easy 25-minute drive inland, the Dabbling Duck ’s pub-with-rooms serves up real ales, wood-fired pizzas and steaming pots of local mussels; Upstairs, bedrooms come with rickety beams and views across the village green. A few miles closer there’s the altogether grander Congham Hall – handy for those planning a trip to Sandringham – but if you really want to be in the thick of it, rent a cottage in Old Hunstanton: Airbnb has a good selection. Teddy Wolstenholme

The sunbleached sands flanked by soft grassy dunes are spared the swathes of tourists on nearby Sandbanks. This is...

14. Shell Bay, Studland, Dorset

The sun-bleached sands, flanked by soft grassy dunes, are spared the swathes of tourists on nearby Sandbanks. This is perhaps due to its location – a chain-ferry away from the tip of the Sandbanks peninsula or a longer 45-minute loop around Poole Harbour, past Wareham and Corfe Castle before reaching Studland. Forget the seaweed, rocky shallows and, yes, a few shells as the name suggests – the smooth overlap of sloping, unblighted sand into warm, glassy water is almost tropical. Navigate your way along the nudist patches (unless of course you’re keen to join in) and find a beach blissfully free of tarmac promenades, ice-cream shops and the usual coastal caper. Shell Bay’s undulating sand dunes really come into their own for summer barbecues and picnics. In cooler months, blustery walks along this tip of the National Trust-owned Studland peninsula are rewarded with local cider and ploughman’s sandwiches at the Bankes Arms.

Where to stay near Shell Bay

While not necessarily right on the sand, as the name suggests, The Pig on the Beach is set high on the Jurassic Coast ’s white cliffs, with sweeping views across Studland Bay. Its architecture is an eclectic, mustard-coloured mix of Gothic grandeur and seaside Victoriana. More curious still are its interiors, a contrived confusion of dark mahogany woods, strange ornaments, distressed velvet chairs and fresh, floral rooms. Expect vegetables from the kitchen garden, pollock from Poole Harbour and tender rumps of local Purbeck lamb. See our best hotels in Dorset guide for more options. By Rosalyn Wikeley

With its picketfenced cottages brightly coloured huts and vintage pier this is a proper seaside destination with a beach...

15. Southwold, Suffolk

With its picket-fenced cottages, brightly coloured huts and vintage pier, this is a proper seaside destination with a beach that’s ideal for promenading with an artisan coffee in hand, picked up at the Two Magpies Bakery or one of the many little cafés and tearooms. Then find a spot in the sun to sit and watch the world go by. Southwold is also home to Adnams brewery – tours are available – which has the best views across town.

Where to stay in Southwold

The swanked-up Swan , parts of which date back to the 14th century, is the smartest place to stay on this part of the coast. It sidesteps familiar seaside clichés with an urban design scheme of neon colours, copper details and mid-century furniture. Picnics with plenty of foodie treats can be arranged for the beach.

Reach this whitesand beach by the local ferry from Mudeford Quay  a popular spot for crabbing and fishing  or on foot...

16. Mudeford Sandbank, Dorset

Reach this white-sand beach by the local ferry from Mudeford Quay – a popular spot for crabbing and fishing – or on foot from Hengistbury Head. While there are plenty of beaches along the Dorset coast, Mudeford Sandbank offers something a little different. The narrow stretch is best known for its 350 colourful beach huts, so popular they have in the past sold for the price of a two-bedroom house. Taking in the powdery sand dotted with wild marram grass and that sea view on your doorstep, it’s easy to see why. Grab an ice cream or settle in for a pizza, paella or burger at The Beach House Café overlooking Christchurch harbour.

Where to stay near Mudeford Sandbank

One of the closest stays is Christchurch Harbour Hotel & Spa , which is within walking distance of the beach and has a restaurant that overlooks the water.

Cuckmere Haven

17. Cuckmere Haven, Seaford, East Sussex

One of our top picks for the best beaches near London , this is also one of the wildest beaches on the south coast, with superb views of the Seven Sisters chalk cliffs. At low tide, the adventurous can explore the foreshore eastwards all the way to the Birling Gap, or head west for sea caves. This area was a favourite haunt of the Bloomsbury Set, with Charlestone House museum not far away. Be careful of currents by the river mouth and being cut off by tides if you explore the undercliff area.

Where to stay near Cuckmere Haven

Further up the coast in Rye, check into The Galivant , a beachfront hotel that takes inspiration from New England motels.

Its not sandy but this pretty towns pebble beach backed by stripy beach huts still rates as one of Britains best seaside...

18. Whitstable beach, Kent

It’s not sandy but this pretty town’s pebble beach backed by stripy beach huts still rates as one of Britain’s best seaside spots. The stones may be hard on your feet, but the water is lovely – and for those who don’t like sand in their shoes it’s win-win. The town is getting smarter by the day (the annual Oyster Festival draws the crowds), and there are plenty of independent shops and cafés for diving into should it rain. You can’t miss the oyster stalls from the beach – once you’ve had your fill, plonk yourself on the pebbles near The Old Neptune pub so you can pop in and out for drinks (and, crucially, use the loos), then buy a crab sandwich from Elliott’s at No.1 Harbour Street for lunch.

Where to stay near Whitstable Beach

The Sportsman , the incredibly popular Michelin-starred gastropub, has rooms to book, too. Hotel Continental 's beach huts are smart, or, for something a little rougher around the edges, find several of the cute beach huts for rent on Airbnb . By Tabitha Joyce

Long associated with writers and artists  the Scallop sculpture on the beach by Maggi Hambling in memory of the late...

19. Aldeburgh, Suffolk

Long associated with writers and artists – the Scallop sculpture on the beach by Maggi Hambling in memory of the late composer and resident Benjamin Britten says it all – Aldeburgh has a bustling seafront that’s one of the best places in the world to sit and munch exceptionally good fish and chips. Stroll up the promenade between quirky historic houses and the long, glorious Blue Flag shingle beach, and buy the freshest catch imaginable from fishermen’s huts dotted along the way. For supper there’s the award-winning Golden Galleon and Aldeburgh Fish & Chips or several more formal restaurants to choose from.

Where to stay in Aldeburgh

The town has a couple of great places to bed down, of which the beachside Brudenell Hotel with its suntrap terraces is the best. Bright and cosy, it’s awash with ocean colours and riffs on its setting with nautical prints, driftwood furniture and porthole windows by the bed. The menu, naturally, focuses on seafood with crab arancini, lobster and cod straight from the boat.

Brancaster Beach Norfolk UK

20. Brancaster Beach, Norfolk

North Norfolk is blessed with plenty of beautiful beaches (the entire stretch of coastline is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), but for lower-key loveliness head to Brancaster with its miles of golden sand and no need to jostle for sandcastle space. It’s perfect for long walks and one of the best dog friendly beaches in the UK . Kitesurfers love it too because of the pancake-flat water. For wildlife enthusiasts, Titchwell Marsh Nature Reserve is just two miles down the road, so on a good day visitors can spot avocets, skylarks, pink-footed geese and seals basking on the sandbanks. At low tide, the shipwreck of SS Vina (which the RAF used for target practice during World War II) peeks out from the sand – though tides can be dangerously strong, so keep an eye on timetables before heading in for a swim. And you can skip the picnic: just up from the car park is the eternally popular Crab Hut, which serves unbelievably delicious, just-caught lobster and crab rolls.

Where to stay near Brancaster Beach

The Ship Hotel is a 15-minute walk away; the best of the nine, newly refurbished rooms features a roll-top bath and the restaurant has an aptly nautical vibe. A little further down the coastal road is Titchwell Manor , a larger converted farmhouse backing on to the nature reserve with fantastic seaside views. By Teddy Wolstenholme

Dungeness might not be your typical postcardperfect beach but its a wild and wonderful place to explore. Theres a...

21. Dungeness, Romney Marsh, Kent

Dungeness might not be your typical postcard-perfect beach, but it’s a wild and wonderful place to explore. There’s a surreal clash between nature and man: industrial power stations tower over a protected wildlife sanctuary. Anglers, artists and ornithologists make the pilgrimage to this curious landscape, but the shoreline stretches for miles so it also makes a peaceful place to bring a picnic and watch common tern diving for fish (see if you can hold your breath as long as they do). The Fish Hut serves up fresh catch and cold drinks – well earned if you climb the 140 steps to the top of the old lighthouse. The sea here is not for swimming, but ask a local for directions to ‘the Long Pool’ in the forested area known as ‘the jungle’ – it’s not on any maps.

Where to stay near Dungeness

Some of the best restaurants in Kent double as places to stay – The Wife of Bath is a romantic bolthole with fantastic menus to boot. By Anna Prendergast

Polzeath Cornwall

22. Polzeath, Cornwall

This haven for surfers and watersports types was also the favourite place of the late poet laureate Sir John Betjeman, and it's not hard to see why everyone loves Polzeath. It's a picturesque mix of sand and shingle, and is studded with rock pools and backed by a dramatic rockface. The only downside is the riptide, which makes it unsuitable for children to swim.

Where to stay near Polzeath

A short drive away you'll find this charming chalet Airbnb in Porthily. It's the perfect set up for beach goers with an outside shed for storing paddleboards, bikes, surfboards, plus a wood fired hut tub. Just across the Camel Estuary, the Pig at Harlyn Bay is set in an elegant, rambling manor dating back to the 15th century.

One of the best beaches in Devon set within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Bantham Beach is reached...

23. Bantham Beach, South Devon

One of the best beaches in Devon , set within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Bantham Beach is reached down a narrow country lane, high with hedgerows of cowslip and foxglove, which you have to scrunch right into to pass the VW surf wagons - then there it is below: the sea!

The sand is pale and fine; there are fantastic rockpools for poking about in, and a tiny estuary to explore. The waves here break long and low so it's popular with surfers, veteran and beginner. When the tide is out there's a vast expanse of sand (it looks as though you can walk all the way to Burgh Island, and perhaps you can, if you wear your shortest shorts and time it right). Dunes and rocky cliffs provide shelter from the wind.

Sand in the sandwiches may hold a certain nostalgic charm - but we'd rather eat at the Gastrobus in the dunes, or the catch of the day at the marvellous Sloop Inn up the road, which chalks up an excellent daily menu.

Where to stay near Bantham Beach

At Burgh Island Hotel , the Art Deco gem of a hotel that has been restored to its 1930s grandeur (Agatha Christie stayed here, and Noël Coward). It's the only place to stay on the island, which gets cut off from the mainland at high tide. If you can't get a room, go for a pint at The Pilchard , the island's only pub.

The best part of this sandy beach is the wildlife. Trek out to the north and find Filey Brigg a stretch of stony land...

24. Filey Brigg, North Yorkshire

The best part of this sandy beach is the wildlife . Trek out to the north and find Filey Brigg: a stretch of stony land that protrudes out into the ocean, and is teeming with rock pools to explore. There's also the sculpture trail along the beach, and a series of colourful chalets dotted along the coastline that are available to rent - the ideal place to stay for a peaceful summer holiday by the sea.

Where to stay near Filey Brigg

Drive inland to stay at The Talbot , a coaching inn at the heart of arty town Malton .

West Wittering draws a crowd from all over the south coast and is particularly popular with windsurfers. Low tide brings...

25. West Wittering, West Sussex

West Wittering draws a crowd from all over the south coast, and is particularly popular with windsurfers. Low tide brings the promise of shallow lagoons to paddle in and creates a blank canvas for sand-castles. There's a grassy patch ideal for picnics behind the beach huts that fringe the beach.

Where to stay near West Wittering

The Crab and Lobster is a cosy 16th-century inn just a short drive from the Witterings. The four rooms are decorated in typical seaside shades - a nod to its position on the banks of Pagham Harbour. And the reference doesn't stop there: the restaurant menu is based around seafood, serving everything from delicate lobster dishes to hearty fish pies.

A huge sloping stretch of fine golden sand marks the shoreline of this popular beach front with perfectly clean...

26. Sandbanks, Dorset

A huge, sloping stretch of fine, golden sand marks the shoreline of this popular beach front, with perfectly clean, swimmers-only bathing areas, and designated barbecue sites for feasts with family and friends. The beach has held its European Blue Flag award for more than 22 years, making it one of the safest and most scenic beaches in Britain.

Where to stay near Sandbanks

The Pig on the Beach is just a 30-minute drive away.

A truly beautiful stretch of shingle and sand backed by a series of low cliffs St Bees is an excellent place to go for a...

27. St. Bees, Cumbria

A truly beautiful stretch of shingle and sand backed by a series of low cliffs, St Bees is an excellent place to go for a quiet day of contemplation. There are a fascinating array of shells and stones to pick through here, many of them caused by the continual erosion of the cliff face. It also marks the start of Wainwright's Coast-to-Coast route, which stretches from here to Robin Hood's Bay, in North Yorkshire .

Where to stay near St. Bees

Head to the neighbouring town of Sandwith to stay at this converted barn Airbnb that sleeps 10 and is surrounded by private scenic gardens including its own pond. For more, see our round-up of the best Airbnbs in the Lake District .

With two and a half miles of golden beach backed by voluminous dunes and fronted by rolling Atlantic breaks Woolacombe...

28. Woolacombe Sands, Devon

With two and a half miles of golden beach backed by voluminous dunes and fronted by rolling Atlantic breaks, Woolacombe Sands is a surfer's paradise. It is one of the most popular beaches in Britain, and with such fantastic water conditions, is a great place to take the family. The nearest town is Ilfracombe.

Where to stay near Woolacombe Sands

Broomhill Art Hotel in nearby Muddiford is a hotel set in an expansive contemporary sculpture garden, with five simple, comfortable rooms and a restaurant.

If you're looking for a traditional seaside experience Norfolk has them in abundance. From promenading along the pier to...

29. Cromer Beach, North Norfolk

If you're looking for a traditional seaside experience, Norfolk has them in abundance. From promenading along the pier to watching a puppet show in the theatre pavilion, or taking a ride at the fun fare, Cromer Beach is the place to go for a truly British beach holiday. Look out for the famous Cromer crabs that lurk in the pools left behind by the tide - they're world-renowned for their quality and flavour.

Where to stay near Cromer Beach

The Gunton Arms is a traditional inn surrounded by a 1,000-acre deer park, with eight bedrooms and a classic restaurant.

From the fantastic local produce to the luxury accommodation and the outstanding coastal walks Sheringham is a truly...

30. Sheringham beach, North Norfolk

From the fantastic local produce, to the luxury accommodation, and the outstanding coastal walks, Sheringham is a truly romantic retreat by the sea. At low-tide, there are long stretches interspersed by stones and plenty of rock pools to inspect for wildlife. It retains the feel of an old-fashioned seaside village too, and you can buy fresh fish anywhere - even in the pubs.

Where to stay near Sheringham Beach

The Gunton Arms is a twenty-minute drive away.

This stunning beach front was originally a famous Victorian holiday resort complete with a traditional funfair and...

31. Whitley Bay, Tyneside

This stunning beach front was originally a famous Victorian holiday resort, complete with a traditional funfair and bathing area. Now, it is still a popular holiday destination for locals, who come here to swim in the clean, safe waters.

Where to stay near Whitely Bay

There aren't too many hotels of note in the town just yet, but there are plenty of great Airbnb options . We like the look of this large upper floor maisonette which is a ten minute walk to the beach.

Legend has it that Scarborough in North Yorkshire was one of the world's original spas pilgrims from as early as 1611...

32. South Bay, Scarborough, Yorkshire

Legend has it that Scarborough, in North Yorkshire, was one of the world's original spas: pilgrims from as early as 1611 would come from miles around to bathe in the sea, the waters of which were thought to have peculiar healing properties. Today, the beach is just as picturesque as ever, with plenty of attractions to keep you occupied. Be sure to explore the 11th-century ruins of Scarborough Castle, which separates South Bay from its similarly stunning sibling, North Bay.

Where to stay near South Bay, Scarborough

There's a handful of sweet houses to take over as your own on Airbnb .

Ventnor beach Isle of Wight

33. Ventnor, Isle of Wight

More than half the Isle of Wight has been designated an Area of Outstanding Beauty, and there are 65 miles of coastline to explore. Along the more beautiful south coast there's has a beach to suit everyone: swimming at Sandown, surfing off Compton Bay, and family fun at Ventnor (pictured).

Navigate the winding roads down through the cliffs and the cascading gardens, and onto the golden beachfront of the Victorian town of Ventnor, which has something of a riviera feel. The tide is strong here, but the beach itself is clean, mainly sandy, easily accessible, and has rockpools to poke around in at either end.

Where to stay near Ventnor

Just south of Ventnor in the quiet residential area of St Lawrence, the National Trust has an unusual two-bedroom house to rent. Called Chert , it is a rare work of excellent 1970s architecture, and is modern, monochrome and authentically 1970s throughout. Next to it is the less-dramatic but similarly 1970s Little Cher .

The best beaches in Scotland

Anyone from Britain who finds themselves longing to escape the drear for island life somewhere with deserted beaches and...

34. Scarista Beach, Lewis & Harris, Scotland

Anyone from Britain who finds themselves longing to escape the drear for island life, somewhere with deserted beaches and turquoise shallows, would be well advised to look closer to home. Britain has more than 6,000 islands , and Lewis & Harris, in the Outer Hebrides, must be one of the loveliest of them all.

It is an island of two halves. The Isle of Harris is the southern part, narrowly joined to its northern neighbour and blessed with spectacular beaches, wildflower-carpeted moorlands, and mountainous lunar landscapes. Scarista Beach is one of its best beaches: an immense space, made up of miles of shell-scattered pale-gold sand, backed with dunes and lapped by waters that look decidedly un-Scottish (though a wetsuit might be advisable outside of summer months). Seals play in the waves; eagles can be spotted wheeling overhead; deer stroll down almost to the beach.

Where to stay near Scarista Beach

Blue Reef Cottages , at the back of the beach, are built to blend harmoniously in with the landscape: low and rocky and covered in grass and wildflowers, as though part of the scenery themselves. Inside they are stylish, decorated in natural wood and stone, with jacuzzis, saunas and log fires, and long windows to let the sweeping, dramatic outside in. Stay here and feel as though the beach is yours, barely another building to mar the view. And at night, the skies are bright with stars.

Among the little islands and coves of the west coast of Scotland can be found countless beautiful beaches. Some are wild...

35. Achmelvich Beach, North-west Scotland

Among the little islands and coves of the west coast of Scotland can be found countless beautiful beaches. Some are wild stretches of sand, some sheltered bays with turquoise sea when the sun shines, and almost all are free from crowds, pollution and noise.

In the far north-west of the Scottish Highlands , Achmelvich has a series of lovely, intimate beaches backed by a picturesque, flowering landscape. It offers clean white sands (no dogs in summer holidays), clear, safe waters where porpoises swim in summer, an annual sandcastle-building competition and Europe's tiniest castle, Hermit's Castle.

Where to stay near Achmelvich Beach

There's a campsite right next to the beach - but to stay in style, we'd recommend checking into the Summer Isles Hotel , 20 miles to the south in Ullapool, where the food prepared with homegrown and locally caught produce has earned its restaurant a Michelin star. If you prefer your accommodation chic yet isolated, head 20 miles in the other direction to the eco-cottages of Croft 103 in Port na Con.

Machir Bay Islay Scotland

36. Machir Bay, Islay, Scotland

Islay, known as 'Queen of the Hebrides', is famous for its single malt whisky (there are eight distilleries on the tiny isle); but it's also outlined by 130 miles of rambling coastline. Take a walk along the green, boggy flatlands, pass the iconic stone Celtic Cross of Kilchoman and you'll come to Machir, one of the fairest stretches of sand of them all. It's got a simple but perennially pleasing beauty: more than a mile of white-sand shoreline and a well-deserved reputation for stunning sunsets. Hike down to the south end and you'll also come across a crumbling Iron Age fort hidden amongst the coastal crags.

Where to stay near Machir Bay

Bridgend Hotel , set near the banks of Islay's fishing lochs, is a sweet little stone cottage with charming, well-manicured gardens. The rooms are modern but cosy, and it's only a 20-minute drive from Machir.

Scotland's Isle of Lewis has along with its sister Isle of Harris the most exceptional beaches. Like the Caribbean in...

37. Uig beach, Isle of Lewis, Scotland

Scotland 's Isle of Lewis, has, along with its sister Isle of Harris, the most exceptional beaches. Like the Caribbean in all but temperature: the soul-liftingly clear turquoise waters; the fine, white sand it is a joy to skip along, with just the wind remind you that you're as far from anywhere as you'll ever be, in the Outer Hebrides.

Uig Beach itself, or Uig Sands, is our pick - an unusually stunning landscape with bright, inviting waters. 'Here are golden shifting sand dunes, machair grassland, myriad islets and rugged cliffs,' writes former Acting Deputy Editor Michelle Jana Chan, who wishes she could once more 'camp here on the springy moss, awaken to the trill of the curlew, and then kite-surf at high tide in the shallow waters.'

The waters are similarly bright and clear, the sands as fine and fair on the Isle of Lewis's other beautiful beaches: Cappadale Sands, also in Uig Bay, the cliff-flanked cove of Mangersta Sands, or sweeping Reef Beach where you can go beachcombing along the shoreline for shells.

Where to stay near Uig

Handcrafted B&B Mint Croft is one of the prettiest stays on Skye.

St Cyrus Aberdeenshire Scotland

38. St Cyrus, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Aberdeen isn't best known for being a spot of natural beauty, but outside the hubbub of the city is Montrose, home to an array of beaches including St Cyrus (once known by the name of Ecclesgreig). Bordered by red granite cliffs and set in a National Nature Reserve, it plays host to a superabundance of wildlife: butterflies and fulmars reign the skies, whilst porpoises are often spotted in the sea. The north end of St Cyrus is also the setting of a grizzly slice of horrible history: set on a rocky outcrop lies the Kaim of Mathers, a castle where a local sheriff was once boiled by a cannibal laird. Luckily, the nasties died out in the 14th century, and it's now simply a serene coastal village.

Where to stay near St Cyrus

90 minutes' drive inland, in Braemar, there's a selection of luxury properties; Gairnshiel Lodge , near Balmoral Castle, is one of the biggest (it sleeps 20) and best, and great for big get-togethers, or check into The Fife Arms , an art-filled hotel from Hauser & Wirth.

Luskentyre Scotland

39. Luskentyre, Outer Hebrides, Scotland

The Isle of Harris has some of the most evocative landscapes in the Outer Hebrides. Brooding, sombre backdrops, terrains reminiscent of lunar scenes - it has a real sense of isolation. And there are many beaches to be enjoyed, too. The best is arguably Luskentyre, which has azure-green waters less associated with Scotland than with the Caribbean: clear as crystal, and trimmed by vast white coastline. Occasionally, wild ponies are spotted grazing along the dunes, but they're not the only nature to be spied: otters, seals, dolphins, eagles and deer all call Harris home.

Where to stay near Luskentyre

Scarista House , hidden in a solitary spot amid heather-covered mountains, is the only hotel on the island that can claim to be five minutes from the sea. The Georgian manse, a 20-minute drive to Luskentyre beach, is located overlooking a shell-sand beach of its own, along whose shores otter footprints are often found.

More of the best beaches in Scotland

The best beaches in Wales

Three Cliffs Bay on what is undoubtedly one of Britain's most beautiful shorelines is relatively quiet yearround due to...

40. Three Cliffs Bay, Wales

Three Cliffs Bay, on what is undoubtedly one of Britain's most beautiful shorelines, is relatively quiet year-round due to the fact that scaling its dunes makes for a challenging walk - but it's worth the hike. Rugged green cliffs give way to an undulating stretch of sandy coastline, home to lots of postcard-picturesque beaches.

The bay is popular with horseback riders, who are oft-spotted galloping along the sand, as well as naturalists; lucky visitors might spot the occasional rare peregrine falcon sweeping overhead. It's overlooked by the crumbling remnants of Pennard Castle, which lends the area an isolated, forgotten feel with a touch of the fantastical. According to folklore, the castle has long been the haunt of fairies.

Where to stay near Three Cliffs Bay

Seven miles from the bay is The Penthouse , a luxury self-catering house sleeping six, which overlooks the also-very-beautiful Langland Bay and has its own Edwardian beach hut. Keen riders may like nearby B&B Parc-Le-Breos which has its own stables; while for literature buffs, Browns Hotel is about an hour's drive from Three Cliffs, in the small town of Laugharne. The hotel was Dylan Thomas's favourite drinking hole, and one of the spots where the poet penned works such as Under Milk Wood .

A horseshoeshaped little bay halfway between Dina Cross and Newport on Aberfforest Beach you are significantly more...

41. Aberfforest Beach, Wales

A horseshoe-shaped little bay halfway between Dina Cross and Newport, on Aberfforest Beach you are significantly more likely to spot a sunbathing seal or a passing pod of dolphins than you are a picnicking family. It's completely unspoilt. The sand and smooth slate-shingle is met by cool clear still waters and steep cliffs on either side. Access is via the footpaths that hug the very edge of the coastline. The famous Dinas Island walk, a circular loop which climbs and falls dramatically along the rocky edge with astonishing views, brings you round to the Old Sailors pub on Fishguard Bay for a well-deserved pint of Felinfoel and a doorstep-thick crab sandwich.

Where to stay near Aberfforest Beach

There are four converted cottages available to rent right by the beach, but the prettiest is Crab , with its simple, bright New England style - whitewashed walls, scrubbed pine farmhouse table and a wood burner for chilly nights.

We're hoping Anglesey's recent time in the spotlight as the parttime home of a certain royal couple won't bring the...

42. Llanddwyn, Anglesey, Wales

We're hoping Anglesey's recent time in the spotlight, as the part-time home of a certain royal couple, won't bring the hordes flocking to the island's stunningly beautiful beaches. On tiny Llanddwyn Island, the three-mile-long beach is known as the 'Beach of Romance', thanks not to Kate and Wills but to another princess, Dwynwen, who long ago ran away to Llanddwyn after a love affair went awry and became Wales's own St Valentine, patron saint of lovers.

Behind the beach is the Newborough Warren National Nature Reserve, a hot spot for bird-watchers and wildlife enthusiasts. Visitors might spot the world's second-largest species of raven, or perhaps even an elusive red squirrel. Nearby, Lligwy and Traeth Yr Ora are also home to spectacular stretches of sand.

Where to stay near Llanddwyn

What was once a grand country mansion is now the Tre-Ysgawen Spa , set in cultivated gardens on Anglesey, half an hour from Llanddwyn. For a more off-the-beaten-track experience a little further away, Anglesey Tipi & Yurts are a laid-back alternative: think authentic wood dwellings decked out with sheepskin throws and fairy lights.

The southwest corner of Wales has the most wonderful stretch of coast and sandy beaches. Try beautiful Barafundle Bay...

43. Barafundle Bay, Pembrokeshire, Wales

The south-west corner of Wales has the most wonderful stretch of coast and sandy beaches. Try beautiful Barafundle Bay, reached after an invigorating half-hour romp across the clifftops, which ensures it stays relatively quiet even in the height of summer. Out of season you can often have the beach to yourself, save a few surfers who brave the brisk Irish Sea all year round - although in summer the water is a very un-Irish Sea shade of blue, which has drawn comparisons with the Caribbean Sea. Take a picnic, as there's nowhere to buy food and drink (and no loos, either).

The nearby beach of Marloes Sands, where Snow White and the Huntsman was filmed in 2011, is similarly remote, and also highly recommended.

Where to stay near Barafundle Bay

A picturesque drive away is The Grove at Narberth , a truly welcoming and stylish B&B in a refurbished manor house. It has a lovely atmosphere, warm and deeply comfortable rooms, pretty gardens with bucolic views, and an excellent restaurant where the chef is producing quite special food with local and seasonal produce.

The Gower peninsula has one of the UK's most picturesque coasts with rugged little coves and large expanses of golden...

44. Rhossili Bay, Gower Coast, Wales

The Gower peninsula has one of the UK's most picturesque coasts, with rugged little coves and large expanses of golden sand. At its western end, Rhossili Bay is a relatively untouched beach, a long, beautiful curve of white sand enclosed by steep limestone cliffs, with little on it other than the remains of Norwegian ship Helvetia , which was beached in 1887, sticking up out of the sand. It is big enough so that it never feels busy, particularly if you head for the northern stretch, down the track from the village of Llangennith, where the surfers go; and it has waves that are perfect for novice surfers and long-boarders.

Around the village of Rhossili itself is Dylan Thomas country, popular with walkers; and not far away is the town of Mumbles.

Where to stay near Rhossili Bay

If you stay at Hillend campsite behind the dunes, you can be in the swell before breakfast. In Llangennith, The Kings Head is a family-friendly pub with rooms and an award-winning restaurant: the cheese board was recommended in The British Cheese Awards 2011. Up in the hills in Llandeilo, an hour away, the boutique Cawdor hotel has individually designed rooms and family apartments.

Harlech beach is huge enough that you'll feel completely alone despite it being easily accessible with excellent...

45. Harlech, Gwynedd, Wales

Harlech beach is huge enough that you'll feel completely alone, despite it being easily accessible with excellent facilities including toilets, shops and parking. One of the beach's major attractions is its clean golden sand, and it's been designated a National Nature Reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest because of its miles of rolling dunes. The clean, safe water is ideal for adults and children to swim in.

Where to stay near Harlech

Castle Cottage has seven nicely decorated guest rooms in its 16th-century building, and an award-winning restaurant.

Some people have the soft sands of Harbour Island or the Seychelles but for others only the wild coastline of Ceredigion...

46. Penbryn, Ceredigion, Wales

Some people have the soft sands of Harbour Island or the Seychelles , but for others only the wild coastline of Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire will do. Not quite as balmy, perhaps; but there's poetry flowing through its rock strata. Use Cardigan as your base. Poppit Sands is the closest beach to town - and it's very nice, with a handy car park and a café. But further north is Penbryn, for which you have to put in a little more legwork. You can cove-hop all the way up here, with signposts every half mile or so pointing the way to another tucked-away shore. Penbryn lies at the end of a fern-fronded valley and is completely untouched - not a bin or Wall's sign in sight.

If this was Cornwall you'd barely get on the sand, but it's rarely busy. A few surfers, perhaps, or seals out to sea, or families playing beach cricket. On the northern side is the black maw of a cave - a Welsh dragon's den - for which you have to tip-toe over a few rocks to step inside and take photographs peering out. There's so little light pollution that star-gazing walks are held in the summer. Despite its lack of airs, Penbryn is a film star, having appeared in Die Another Day . It stood in for North Korea , and Pierce Brosnan and Halle Berry snuggled up in a beach hut together. Perhaps there's a beach outside Pyongyang that once stood in for West Wales?

Where to stay near Penbryn

Follow in the stumbling footsteps of Dylan Thomas and bed down for the night at the Black Lion Inn in New Quay.

One of the most popular surf spots in the country come summer the westfacing Whitesands Beach in Pembrokeshire sees its...

47. Whitesands Beach, Pembrokeshire, Wales

One of the most popular surf spots in the country come summer, the west-facing Whitesands Beach in Pembrokeshire sees its waters brimming with bodyboarders, canoeists and surfers at the northern end, all competing for the best waves. The south end is quieter, but visitors seeking more solace might prefer to take a 15-minute walk northwest to Porthmelgan, which overlooks Ramsay Island, the home of the UK 's largest grey seal population. Porthmelgan's waters are more dangerous for swimming in, but the beach serves as respite from the clamour of the crowds at Whitesands.

Less than a 10-minute drive away is St David's, the smallest city in Britain and popular thanks to its impressive cloistered cathedral, which bears evidence of both Romanesque and English Gothic influences. It's also home to Cwtch Restaurant , widely considered the best restaurant in the area; stop by for lunch to try the local game casserole.

Where to stay near Whitesands Beach

Managed by those behind the restaurant of the same name, Cwtch Cottages are two snug, stylish stone-walled cottages that sit alongside one another in the heart of St David's. Situated slightly out of town is Penrhiw Priory , a self-catered luxury rental home that was once a vicarage. There's also the dramatic Roch Castle hotel - the views from the Norman property's turret overlook rolling green countryside, 25 minutes' drive from Whitesands.

The best beaches in Northern Ireland

Benone Beach in Castlerock coast of Atlantic Ocean in Northern Ireland

48. Benone, Ulster, Northern Ireland

In the summer, Benone is a haven of buckets and spades, windbreakers, and brightly patterned picnic blankets. It’s immensely popular with families, especially those with young children, though the gorgeous view (including a glimpse of the Mussenden Temple on the cliffs above) is enough to impress the adults as well. Stop for a coffee and a thick wedge of freshly-baked banana bread from the tiny dune café, The Sea Shed, to fortify yourself for a day filled with paddling and sandcastle-building.

Where to stay near Benone

You don’t need to wrestle with tent-pegs to enjoy a stay in the great outdoors. Benone Getaways glamping pods are as plush as any hotel room; with a private hot tub moments from the beach.

Rathlin island bay Northern Ireland

49. Mill Bay, Rathlin Island, Northern Ireland

This tiny island (six miles long and one mile wide) draws in visitors from all over the world thanks to the puffins nesting on the cliffs. Spend a morning watching these portly little birds dive-bombing into the sea for fish, and after a seafood lunch in the Water Shed Cafe, head down to the harbour for an afternoon stroll on Mill Bay. This small beach near the ferry port takes its name from the old ruins of the kelp-drying mill nearby. Today, it’s the preferred nap spot of the local seals, who will happily flop down just feet away from you to enjoy the sun. If you plan to join them, make sure to bring a deckchair as the beach is stony rather than sandy.

Where to stay on Rathlin Island

The Manor House, a charming 18th-century Georgian home, is right by the harbour. On a sunny day, take coffee and breakfast in the al-fresco dining area to enjoy a beautiful view of the sea.

Magilligan Point

50. Magilligan Point, Ulster, Northern Ireland

This beach is at the very tip of the Magilligan Foreground, a place which has been declared an Area of Special Scientific Interest thanks to the ever-changing nature of its 20-mile stretch of dunes, which each shift and reform with the winds. However, one thing that remains constant here is the Martello tower rising in the distance. Though this rather stumpy landmark may look like the ruins of a fairytale castle, it was built in the early 1810s as a watchtower to protect against Spanish invasion; this spot was chosen for the building due to its vantage point over both Magilligan Point and the Donegal coastline across the water. Today, it makes the ideal picnic spot to shelter from the wind and take in the spectacular views.

Where to stay near Magilligan Point

Drive 30-minutes up the coast and check into The Royal Court Hotel for friendly service, sea views and a traditional Sunday lunch. Bring an appetite.

Whiterocks beach near Portrush Co Antrim Northern Ireland

51. Whiterocks, Portrush, Northern Ireland

This long, sandy beach is popular with swimmers and watersports enthusiasts; from the shore, you’ll often spot brightly-coloured kayaks bobbing up and down on the waves and surfboards can be rented on-site. Dramatic white limestone cliffs line the sands, with figures and faces appearing in the rocks as you peer out into the secret sea-caves and hidden corners of the craggy coastline. It’s here that you’ll find the distinctive Wishing Arch, which is strikingly similar to Durdle Door – though, if you ask the locals, far superior.

Where to stay near Whiterocks

There are plenty of pretty B&Bs and guesthouses in the neighbouring seaside town of Portrush. For something a little different, check into Portstewart’s eclectic Me & Mrs Jones , a romantic, boutique stay with beautifully decorated rooms.

Whitepark Bay Northern Ireland

52. Whitepark Bay, Antrim, Northern Ireland

This expansive beach is perfect for a bracing walk and though it’s not suitable for swimmers, Whitepark Bay’s main attraction has little to do with the water. It’s home to a herd of possibly the most-photographed cows in Ireland. Used as a method of conservation for the dunes, the grazing cattle often wander down to the shore or a quick dip or a snooze on the sands, and if you turn up in the early morning you’re sure to catch sight of these beach-bound bovines.

Where to stay near Whitepark Bay

The Bushmills Inn has been welcoming guests since the 16th century, when it acted as a coachhouse for weary travellers along the coast; now, it’s a smart hotel where you can enjoy all the perks of traditional Irish hospitality including turf fires, a hearty pub menu – and most traditional of all, a pint of Guinness.

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18 Best Beaches in the U.K.

From charming seaside towns to impossibly picturesque coves, these beaches in the U.K. offer a picture-perfect getaway.

best uk beaches to visit

Rory Fuller/Travel + Leisure

No, it's not as bleak, wet, and cold in the U.K. as you think. Yes, it rains an awful lot, and the weather changes so fast you'll barely notice the rainstorm heading toward you, but it's an island nation, after all, so cut it some slack. However, despite the unpredictable mercury, the sun is known to come out from time to time (generally for two weeks in July or August).

Luckily, all four nations that make up the U.K. — England, Scotland , Wales , and Northern Ireland — have their fair share of beautiful beaches, from charming seaside towns to the most idyllic coves you've ever seen. To help you narrow down your options, here are 18 of the best beaches in the U.K.

Holkham Beach, Norfolk, England


Remember when Gwyneth Paltrow frolicked on that pretty beach in "Shakespeare in Love"? Well, this is it. The Norfolk seaside gem is often voted one of the best sandy patches in the U.K. — and for good reason: It makes you feel light-years away from civilization. Enormous and windswept, it's backed by a grassy nature reserve filled with excellent walking trails that will help dust off all those cerebral cobwebs. The pinewoods are also a great spot to check out flora and fauna, from stunning orchids to kaleidoscopic birds.

Bamburgh Beach, Northumberland

Northumberland was the backdrop for much of the Harry Potter film franchise, thanks to its Hogwarts-esque appearance. Though it can get very cold, it's well worth braving the chill to walk along the pristine sandy stretch for a boat trip to the famed Farne Islands. The medieval castle here is something straight out of "Hamlet," and it's a great spot to eye local wildlife such as seals, sea puffins, and skipping dolphins.

Whitepark Bay, Antrim, Northern Ireland

If you need to get away from it all, go to Whitepark Bay. It's isolated, quiet (save for the sometimes-howling bay winds), and has precisely three miles of white sand to tread through. Set on the remarkably photogenic sweep of Northern Ireland's first World Heritage Site — the Giant's Causeway — Whitepark Bay tops many a travel wish list, thanks to a rare phenomenon dubbed "singing sand." Basically, the sand here is so fine that when the particles vibrate together, they emit an eerie humming sound. If you miss out on this unique wonder, scour the dunes for fossils — there are loads of them.

Kynance Cove, Cornwall, England

Rory Fuller/Travel + Leisure

White sand, hidden coves, crystal clear waters, wildflower paths, and a string of perilous and dramatic rock formations might make you think you've stumbled upon something that looks more like California than rural England. Kynance Cove is one of the most photographed beaches in the country, and it's just an hour away from the beautiful Cornish town of Penzance (well worth spending the night). A National Trust landmark, the place gets busy during the summer months, so go early to avoid the crowds.

Scarista Beach, Lewis and Harris, Scotland

People far and wide head to Scarista Beach to catch a glimpse of the porpoises that call this gorgeous place home. One thing to note: As Scarista Beach is way out in the Scottish Hebrides , it's incredibly remote. This isn't a bad thing, though, especially if you're a nature lover or introvert partial to the wilderness. In fact, it's so out of the way (and special) that there's not even one sign that denotes where it is, but that help keeps this pathway to nirvana protected and virtually free of tourists. Tip: Bring your camera.

Compton Bay, Isle of Wight, England

The summer months can see Compton Bay lined with spritz-sipping visitors, but there's also a treasure trove of geological wonders that make this England's real-life answer to Jurassic Park. When the tide goes out, make your way to the east side of the main car park and head for Hanover Point. It's an easy trek, and once you get there, you'll see what all the dino fuss is about: massive three-toed casts of Iguanodon at the base of pretty cliffs. (Cue the iconic John Williams theme.)

Whitby Sands, North Yorkshire, England

Another must-visit is the darling, mystical, and sometimes moody Whitby Sands, a jewel in northern England. It's wild, windy, and busy come summertime, but that's part of its charm. It was the gothic setting of Bram Stoker's "Dracula," but most flock here to grab some battered cod from Magpie Café, followed by an obligatory Mr. Whippy (soft-serve ice cream with a chocolate stick in a cone).

Oxwich Bay Beach, Wales

Wales has its fair share of gorgeous beaches, but the ones that make up the Gower coast stand out from the rest. Oxwich is one of the most jaw-dropping spots (picture windswept dunes, salt marshes, and fairy-tale woodlands that back a two-mile seashore). The rolling hills mean you're a little more protected from the elements, and the shallow waters make it a great place to swim in the warmer months.

Pentle Bay, Tresco, Isles of Scilly

Hidden offshore on the Isles of Scilly, this spot requires some extra effort to reach. But once you arrive, expect the clearest waters, white sand, and one of the quietest (and genuinely secret) beaches this side of the English Riviera. The only downside? The water is freezing, so be prepared for a cold swim.

Llanddwyn, Anglesey, Wales

This Welsh wonder was the home of Prince William and Princess Kate Middleton for three years after their wedding, so it naturally boasts a regal atmosphere like no other beach in the U.K. Dubbed the "beach of romance," this three-mile stretch on Llanddwyn Island has an interesting backstory. History says it was here that Princess Dwynwen ran away after a love affair went topsy-turvy, and not long after, she became Wales' very own patron saint of lovers. Other than all the romance, Newborough Warren National Nature Reserve is also worth visiting for a peek at England's elusive red squirrels.

Porthcurno Beach, Cornwall, England

Barefoot walks on soft, white sand alongside turquoise waters in England? Yes, really. Cornwall has some of the best beaches in Europe . Popular with locals and a celebrity or two, it's a great place to spot dolphins and sharks — if you're lucky — breaking the water. Scale the cliffs, and you'll also find the famous open-air Minack Theatre.

Durdle Door, Jurassic Coast, Dorset, England

This is one of the most famous beaches in the U.K., if not the world, thanks to a century's worth of guidebooks and social media stardom. Crowned by a spectacular arch — nicknamed the Durdle Door — it's a truly remarkable corner of the South West Coast Path. Most pair a visit here with a stroll to the nearby Lulworth Cove, but this place is so breathtaking, we wouldn't blame you for staying put.

Three Cliffs Bay, Wales

If you love horseback riding, this is the beach to get your gallop on. Often regarded as one of Britain's most stunning beaches , the rugged Three Cliffs Bay is guaranteed to make you go wild for the Welsh coastline. Even better, it's quiet year-round, thanks to the dunes, which are well worth the grueling hike. Fun fact: Folklore says Thumbelina and crew hang out in the nearby Pennard Castle.

Whitstable Beach, Kent, England

Most head to this seaside destination for the oysters and pretty beach huts. While stone beaches are not for everyone, the town is worth exploring, especially come lunch or dinner. The Lobster Shack offers a mean, well, lobster served with chips. The water can get a little rough on some days, but when the sun comes out, the beach proves to be one of the best places to take a dip in the country.

West Dunes, Camber Sands, England

This place is home to rickety houses on the coastline, armies of ice cream trucks, and golden shores filled with couples and families wearing rolled-up trousers as they walk along the beach. Note that dog-watching is nonnegotiable. The charming village of Rye (you may have seen it all over Instagram) is also just a 12-minute drive from this picture-perfect spot.

Hunstanton Beach, Norfolk, England

Quintessentially British, with rows of cute tea shops and even adorable pony rides along the promenade, this slice of Norfolk paradise is one for families and couples. Visitors can avoid the crowds up in Old Hunstanton Beach, going barefoot in the custard-yellow sand or simply watching the sunset, complete with a cushy blanket and picnic.

Cuckmere Haven, Seaford, East Sussex, England

If you're visiting London and pressed for time, this is one of the closest beach destinations to the capital. But Cuckmere Haven is not for the faint of heart, as it's also one of the wildest beaches on England's south coast. The Seven Sisters are the main draw, and the adventurers who make it here will be treated to beautiful views of the chalk cliffs. A once-favorite haunt of the infamous Bloomsbury Set — Virginia Woolf, included — the sea caves are worth a peek, along with the stunning Birling Gap, too.

Druridge Bay, Northumberland, England

If you really need to escape the dregs of the modern world, Druridge Bay is just the wellness tonic the doctor ordered. Splattered with rocky dunes, the unspoiled seven-mile coastline stretches as far as the eye can see, and is a haven for bird-watchers, walking types, and anyone wanting to breathe in the fresh North Sea air.

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Porthcurno Beach

The 33 best beaches in the UK, from sandy bays to sun traps

From secret coves to picturesque bays and crystal-clear waters, check out our pick of the best beaches in the UK

Whatever the time of year, the UK ’s beaches are amongst the finest attractions this country has to offer. But it’s in the summertime that those beaches really come into their own. Fresh sea air, soft sand between your toes, thunderously crashing waves and balmy weather? Well, maybe the weather bit is a little ambitious, but if all those come together life simply doesn’t get any better.

The UK is home to dozens of drop-dead gorgeous beaches primed for you to explore. From vast, sandy crowd-pleasers conveniently located near dazzling seaside towns  to  hidden coves  with extremely clear water accessible only by boat or hike, these islands have it all. Whether you’re after picnic spots, nature-watching or the kind of scenes that you’d never guess were in the UK , below is our handpicked guide to the UK’s finest beaches.

RECOMMENDED: 🐚 The most beautiful hidden beaches in the UK 🏊 The best wild swimming spots in the UK 🚴 The most beautiful bike trails in the UK

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Top beaches in the UK

Woolacombe Sands, Devon

1.  Woolacombe Sands, Devon

Best for Making more sandcastles than you can shake a spade at.

One of north Devon’s best-loved hangouts, Woolacombe is a beast of a beach with miles of uninterrupted golden sand – get into epic sandcastle-building and play hide and seek at the dunes. A favourite with surfers and families, this beautiful bay also has rock pools for kids to explore. Grab some grub from the seaside cafés, or head to nearby Ilfracombe for a more substantial bite to eat. 

Need to know There’s a lifeguard service during busy periods (check dates here ).

Get there Closest train station is Barnstaple, a 30-minute drive away. 

Stay here Set in an old Edwardian building perched on the quiet end of Woolacombe Bay, the Watersmeet Hotel offers glorious views over the sea to Lundy Island. There’s a pool on-site, but guests are more likely to use the private steps to Combesgate Beach. It’s pitted with rockpools and rarely gets busy.

Bamburgh Beach, Northumberland

2.  Bamburgh Beach, Northumberland

Best for C hannelling your inner Grace Darling on a boat trip to the Farnes.

It can get canny chilly on the northeastern coast of England, which probably explains why its long stretches of gorgeous coastline have been criminally overlooked by holiday-goers. Bamburgh’s pristine 1.5-mile-long white sand beach is one of the area’s best, and sits beneath a mighty eleventh-century castle that was recently used as a filming location for the latest Indiana Jones . The area is also ideal for boat trips to the Farne Islands just off the coast – here you can spot seals, puffins and maybe even dolphins, while the pretty medieval village and the RNLI’s Grace Darling Museum are also worth exploring.

Need to know Though the  world’s first lifeboat was developed and tested at Bamburgh, there’s actually no coastguard on the beach these days.

Get there Closest station is Chathill.

Stay here Coastal Retreats have several lovely holiday cottages in the area, including the Bamburgh Coach House , an airy two-bedroom conversion a mile down the road from the village. There’s a spacious garden and the bedrooms have excellent sea views. 

Kynance Cove, Cornwall

3.  Kynance Cove, Cornwall

Best for Famous Five-style adventuring on the Lizard Peninsula.

With its white sand, clear blue waters and dramatic rock formations, it’s easy to see why Kynance Cove is one of Cornwall’s most photographed. It almost vanishes at high tide, but time it right and the retreating waves will reveal a thrilling network of coves and caves with names like the Ladies Bathing Pool and the Drawing Room. The walk down from the car park is steep and takes about ten minutes, so go carefully – reward yourself at the bottom with crab sandwiches from the much-loved Kynance Cove Café . 

Need to know Coming in summer? It gets seriously busy, and the National Trust car park is often full before 11am – get there early to be sure of bagging a spot. Dogs aren’t allowed between Easter and September. 

Get there You’ll definitely need a car for this one – it’s just under an hour’s drive from Penzance. 

Stay here Right next to the Kynance Cove Café is a cosy cottage that sleeps four. It’s decorated in soothing seaside shades, there’s a wood-burning stove and the garden has its own picnic bench – what more could you ask for?

Barafundle Bay, Pembrokeshire, Wales

4.  Barafundle Bay, Pembrokeshire, Wales

Best for Braving the chill for a sheltered dip in crystal-clear waters.

Yet another award-winning beach for Wales , Barafundle Bay caught the globe’s attention when it was named among the best   in the world. After walking the pretty half-mile route from Stackpole Quay, visitors will find a picture-perfect beach, where small turquoise waves lap up against a crescent of sand. The sheltered cove is the perfect swimming spot, while the Pembrokeshire Coast Path offers more routes for the keen rambler. For refreshments with an added feel-good factor, visit the tea room at the Stackpole Walled Gardens  (a ten-minute drive away). This community garden and farm provides work experience and training to people with learning disabilities.

Need to know Bring everything you need and take it back with you – there are no facilities on site. And be sure to check the tide times and leave in plenty of time to avoid getting stranded.

Get there Closest train station is Lamphey, a 13-minute drive away. 

Stay here If picturesque country pubs are your vibe, book a room at The Stackpole Inn . Downstairs, the restaurant is warmed by a log fire and serves the likes of Welsh-reared steaks with locally sourced produce. Upstairs, bedrooms are modern and cosy and include an unmissable traditional Welsh breakfast. 

Pentle Bay, Tresco, Isles of Scilly

5.  Pentle Bay, Tresco, Isles of Scilly

Best for Frolicking on a subtropical beach with barely another soul to be seen.

This next beach will take some determination to reach, but it’s so worth it. Located on the Isles of Scilly – an unspoilt archipelago off the coast of Cornwall – Pentle Bay is a secluded stretch of bright white sand lapped by glassy-blue waters. The beauty of this coastline hasn’t gone unnoticed, and the beach was named among the top four under-the-radar beaches in the world by the Wall Street Journal . Despite this, it’s still generally quiet – maybe it’s the chilly water that does the trick.

Need to know The nearest toilets are a ten-minute walk away at Abbey Gardens.

Get there It’s a 30-minute flight from Newquay to the Isles of Scilly, then roughly 20 minutes by boat from St Mary’s to Tresco, then a 25-minute walk to Pentle Bay. (Trust us, you won’t regret it.)

Stay here  On the opposite side of the island, but still only a 20-minute walk away from Pentle Bay, The New Inn  is a cut above your average pub, with an AA Rosette-awarded restaurant and modern, comfortable rooms, some with their own sun terrace overlooking the swimming pool. 

Holkham Beach, Norfolk

6.  Holkham Beach, Norfolk

Best for Channelling your inner Gwyneth Paltrow and re-enacting the beach scene from Shakespeare in Love .

Easily one of the best-looking beaches in the UK, Holkham would be flooded with visitors if it were just that little bit closer to London. The beach – which makes you feel a million miles from civilisation – has deservedly starred in many a film and pop video, including All Saints’ big tune ‘Pure Shores’. An enormous sandy stretch is backed by a verdant nature reserve with a warren of well-signposted walking trails within it; trek through the pinewoods and saltmarshes to see orchids, sea lavender and rare birds.

Need to know The nearest toilets are a short drive away, at Wells-next-the-sea. For more facilities, park up at Holkham Hall, where you’ll also find a play area, café and museum.  

Get there Closest train station is Sheringham, a 45-minute drive away. 

Stay here The perfectly polished Victoria Inn has 20 rooms with a posh contemporary-cottage feel. Live your best life and stroll through the walled rose gardens, dine in the restaurant for fresh shellfish with samphire from the Holkham coastline, or walk the few minutes to the golden sands of the beach.

Whitby Sands, North Yorkshire

7.  Whitby Sands, North Yorkshire

Best for Windswept walks with an ice-cream lunch.

Just a few minutes’ walk from the idyllic former fishing town of Whitby , Whitby Sands offers a perfect British seaside setting, with bright beach huts, a beautiful stretch of white sand and miles of the big blue. The battered cod is so good at Magpie Café   there are often queues snaking down the street. And if you haven’t been to Fortune’s Kippers , have you even been to Whitby? These fish fans have been smoking scales for more than 139 years, and a bloody good job they do too. Buy a smoked kipper for the road from their shop across the bridge from Whitby beach.

Need to know Dogs are not allowed in the summer.

Get there Closest train station is Whitby. 

Stay here  It’s unlikely you’ll come across anything like La Rosa elsewhere in the UK, let alone in Whitby. A former haunt of Lewis Carroll when he visited the seaside, the hotel has embraced the ‘Alice in Wonderland’ theme, adapting it for a grown-up audience with whimsical decor in each room. Breakfast is delivered to your door in a hamper and is best consumed beneath your quilt.

Rhossili Bay, Gower, Wales

8.  Rhossili Bay, Gower, Wales

Best for Breathtaking rambles through the dramatic cliffs of the Gower Peninsula.

Remote but by no means overlooked, Rhossili Bay has a list of accolades longer than its sandy shore, with titles like ‘best beach in Europe’ and ‘top ten beaches in the world’ among its plaudits. One visit here and it’s easy to see why – the steep, winding walk down to the coast from Rhossili village is stunning, with panoramic views over three miles of golden sand, and on clear days, to the coastline of North Devon. The beach itself is all about the unspoilt nature, but there are facilities nearby: visit the National Trust shop and visitor centre near the village, or pop into the Bay Bistro for homemade soups and sandwiches if you’ve forgotten your packed lunch.

Need to know  Dog-friendly all year round.

Get there  Closest train station is Gowerton, a 37-minute drive away. 

Stay here The views from The Worm’s Head Hotel are so staggering, you’ll barely notice the dated decor. We’re not fussed about a few mad carpets when every room has a view over the cliffs of Rhossili Bay. Take advantage of the view with their restaurant’s cliff-top terrace – bagsy a table and settle in for some proper pub grub.

Camber Sands, Sussex

9.  Camber Sands, Sussex

Best for Rolling your trousers up and splashing through the shallows.

Camber Sands is so wide and golden you’ll be transported to other shores. In fact, this Arabian-looking beach has been used for a number of desert film locations, including Carry On Follow That Camel . The sandy shore stretches for almost five miles before it starts to turn into shingles towards the eastern end. From the western side, it’s four miles to the pretty town of Rye , where cobbled streets, proper pubs and rickety old houses make for a charming day trip.

Need to know Dogs on a lead are allowed on the beach, although there are restricted zones from May to September.

Get there Closest train station is Rye, a 12-minute drive away. 

Stay here The duneside boutique hotel The Gallivant ’s restaurant sources virtually all of its ingredients from within a ten-mile radius. Residents of the 20 bedrooms can lounge by log fires, read in the book-lined snug, or prop up the bar – which is dog-friendly, by the way.

Summerleaze, Cornwall

10.  Summerleaze, Cornwall

Best for A good ol’ bucket-and-spade holiday with a line-up of rainbow-hued beach huts.

One of Bude ’s best-loved beaches, Summerleaze is the embodiment of the classic British seafront. Perfect for families who want more home comforts, cute beach huts are available to hire in a range of prices – splash out on a seafront hut out of season from £35 for a week. At low tide, a paddling pool emerges, as does an expanse of golden sand for walks along the coast. And there’s no need to bring a packed lunch – the family beach has brilliant bars and restaurants within walking distance. 

Need to know Dogs should stay on a lead from 10am to 6pm.

Get there Closest train station is Okehampton, a 50-minute drive away.  

Stay here The Beach (yes, that’s the hotel’s name) balances style and charm with slick contemporary rooms and a traditional Victorian terrace overlooking Summerleaze beach. The restaurant showcases the best of Cornish produce, while the beach bar comes to life with live music on Sunday afternoons. 

Blackpool Sands, Devon

11.  Blackpool Sands, Devon

Best for A bangin’ breakfast served while you look at the best view in Devon .

The small entry fee for Blackpool Sands is worth it for a spotlessly clean coastline despite a high number of visitors, while families will appreciate the modern and well-equipped facilities. The wide pebble beach is one of the cleanest in Devon and is sheltered by pine trees and evergreens, while rocks at the far corners provide shade. Feeling brave? Visitors can hire kayaks for £18 per hour.

Need to know The entry is around £8, but changes depending on the season – call 01803 771800 for up-to-date prices, and barbecues are allowed after 5pm.

Get there Closest train station is Totnes, a 30-minute drive away. 

Stay here Views don’t get much more stunning than those at Gara Rock . The secluded hotel and restaurant is perched on the coastline just 30 minutes by car from Blackpool Sands. Inside, the artsy decor features grand open fires, cosy seating areas with sheepskins and board games. The kitchen celebrates local produce including Dartmouth kippers, vegetables from its onsite allotment and locally foraged ingredients. 

Watergate Bay, Cornwall

12.  Watergate Bay, Cornwall

Best for Riding the salty waves on a surfboard.

You’ll find big waves at this lively bay, which makes it a magnet for surfers and thrill-seekers. The family-friendly spot is buzzing with extreme sports activities all year round; take surf lessons from Extreme Academy, or just spectate from your deckchair on the two-mile-long sandy shoreline. Events take place throughout the year . And dog owners can rejoice – there’s no seasonal ban and pooches are always welcome.

Need to know Lifeguards are on watch during peak periods (check here for dates).

Get there Closest train station is Newquay, a 10-minute drive away. 

Stay here Set slap-bang in the middle of the beach, the family-run Watergate Bay Hotel is the beating heart of the bay. The second generation of owners took over in 2004, and the 69-room hotel saw an £8 million redevelopment, transforming it into a hub of activity and relaxation. Expect luxury rooms with beach-chic decor (some featuring freestanding baths with sea views) and a jam-packed events programme.  

Beer Beach, Devon

13.  Beer Beach, Devon

Best for  Fresh seafood straight off the boat. 

Fishing still dominates this shingle beach; boats, nets and buoys are spread all over the pebbles. It makes for a wholesome day out for visitors, who can find their sea legs on a mackerel fishing expedition, visit the jaunty fishmongers that sits on the slipway, or just hole up in one of the stripey deck chairs on the shore. The adjacent village is charming and picturesque, but the best lunch is found at the beachfront cafe, which serves up a nostalgic menu of sandwiches (hello, prawn Marie Rose cut into triangles), ice cream and cracking views of the jagged chalk cliffs.

Need to know Everyone loves Beer. Best to visit off-season for maximum chill.

Get there Closest train station is Axminster, a 20-minute drive away.

Stay here Glebe Hous e  is the  former family home of owner Hugo, and together with his wife Olive they have transformed the rural Georgian abode with a metropolitan maximalist makeover. Expect mismatched wallpaper, modern artwork and an accomplished kitchen knocking out rustic dishes and homemade charcuterie (so don’t get too attached to the cute pigs that welcome you on the way in).

Porthcurno Beach, Cornwall

14.  Porthcurno Beach, Cornwall

Best for Beautiful barefoot walks along soft white sand by a turquoise sea.

Small but perfectly formed, this little turquoise bay is the stuff that dreams are made of. At least that’s what the ’Poldark’ location scouts thought: they used this beautiful beach on the western foot of Cornwall as the location for a dream sequence in season two. But it’s not just actors that like to hang out here: dolphins and basking sharks are sometimes spotted in the calm waters, too. The soft, white-shell sand and freshwater stream also make this a popular beach with families. On the granite cliffs above, you’ll also find the legendary Minack Theatre , quite possibly the most attractive open-air theatre in the UK.

Need to know There’s a dog ban from Easter to October 1, and lifeguards keep watch during summer months only.

Get there Closest train station is Penzance, a 25-minute drive away. 

Stay here Surrounded by ferns and foxgloves and sweeping lawns to the sea, Cove Cottage is one of the most delightful retreats in Cornwall. The tiny B&B offers romantic getaways, complete with four-poster beds and private flower-filled terraces. There’s chintz and geraniums by the bucketload and we’re totally on board.

Scarista Beach, Isle of Harris, Scotland

15.  Scarista Beach, Isle of Harris, Scotland

Best for Porpoise-spotting from the pristine shoreline.

One of the most dazzling beaches in the Hebrides, even on a cloudy day Scarista Beach is breathtaking – visit in the sunshine and you’ll struggle to pull yourself away from the sugary-soft sand and inviting water. Despite its remote location, there are some top foodie trips nearby. Pop into Scarista House , the Georgian manor set on the edge of the sand for a fancy afternoon tea, or drive ten minutes south to The Temple Café , a cute, hand-built stone-and-timber café with a counter full of tempting cakes.    

Need to know There’s no signage or parking, but that helps to keep this hidden paradise safe from the majority of tourists.

Get there  One hour 25-minute bus ride from Stornoway.

Stay here For dramatic views, starry skies and cosy fires, book a stay at the Oran Na Mara . Perched to the north of Scarista beach, its curved walls make the most of the azure sea views with floor-to-ceiling windows, and winter offers a chance to see the Northern Lights from its secluded patio area.

Morfa Nefyn Beach, Gwynedd, Wales

16.  Morfa Nefyn Beach, Gwynedd, Wales

Best for Splashing about in the beautifully clear rock pools.

The distant peaks of the Yr Eifl (Rival Mountains) form a stunning backdrop to this beach on the remote North Coast of the Llŷn Peninsula. Sheltered by low cliffs, the sandy beach is a great sun trap, has beautifully clear waters and is dotted with excellent rock pools. The historic Coch Inn is part of a small cluster of buildings at the head of the beach and does classic pub grub.

Need to know Parking is available at a nearby National Trust car park. There is no coastguard on site.

Stay here With a charming nautical theme befitting its history, the Old Boat Store is a cosy self-catered apartment offering fabulous sea views. It sleeps five across the main Captain’s Room and the bunk bed-filled Crew Room and features open-plan living space and a small gravel yard (complete with BBQ).

Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove, Dorset

17.  Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove, Dorset

Best for Traversing the most beautiful corner of the South West Coast Path.

Around 10,000 years ago, water broke through a stack of rocks on the Jurassic Coast and started to create one of the most stunning formations in the UK. Now, Durdle Door is a spectacular archway that frames the crystal-clear waters beyond. The rock formation is best paired with a visit to nearby Lulworth Cove . Just a 30-minute stroll on the coastal path brings you to a sheltered white pebble beach that is almost perfectly circular, offering a haven of relaxation as you watch the boats bobbing in the emerald water.

Need to know The car park can get full at peak times – cycle or arrive early to get a space during the summer months.

Get there Closest train station is Wool, a 15-minute drive away. 

Stay here Travel light and pitch up at a wooden camping pod at the Durdle Door Holiday Park . Just 200 metres from the beach, pods feature picnic tables, heating and electricity – though you’ll need to bring your own bedding.

White Park Bay, County Antrim, Northern Ireland

18.  White Park Bay, County Antrim, Northern Ireland

Best for H earing the ‘singing sand’... if you’re lucky.

This glorious three-mile arc of white sand is tucked away in a quiet spot on the otherwise rocky coastline around the Giant’s Causeway. Despite the popularity of Northern Ireland’s first World Heritage Site, the secluded location of the bay means it’s never too busy even during good weather. The sand on the beach is so fine that when the conditions are right you can even hear it ‘singing’, an extremely rare phenomenon where the sand particles vibrate together and emit a strange humming sound. You can also find fossils scattered around the beach, while a Neolithic cairn can be spotted among the surrounding dunes.

Need to know T he beach has dangerous rip currents and isn’t safe for swimming.

Get there Nearest train station is Coleraine, from which regular buses run to the beach.

Stay here The Fullerton Arms  is a clean and cosy family-run inn right on the seafront with modern minimalist rooms available for a very decent price and a great restaurant serving local mussels cooked in several ways.

Tankerton Beach, Kent

19.  Tankerton Beach, Kent

Best for Sunny picnics on the grass overlooking the sea.

Rolling grassy slopes, a long promenade, pretty beach huts, and of course, the sea: Tankerton Beach has the perfect combo, with the added bonus of Whitstable – one of the UK’s buzziest seaside towns – just a 20-minute walk away. When you’re all splashed out on the pebble beach, head into the lively town to refuel. Feast on fresh seafood at the rustic and reputable Whitstable Oyster Company , or share a bottle and mezze at the popular seafront bar JoJo’s .

Need to know Between May 1 and September 30, it’s a dog-free zone.

Get there Closest train station is Whitstable.

Stay here With the beach literally on its doorstep, The Marine Hotel is the seaside retreat dreams are made of. Splash out on a superior sea-view room, with refined, classic decor and double doors that swing open onto a private balcony overlooking the ocean.

North Shore Beach, Llandudno, Wales

20.  North Shore Beach, Llandudno, Wales

Best for Pulling up a deckchair to watch the Punch and Judy show.  

The North Shore is Llandudno’s most well-equipped beach, complete with bandstand, Victorian pier and donkey rides in the summer. It’s been a popular seaside resort for centuries, and many traditions – such as the Punch and Judy show, which pops up on the promenade in fair weather – still remain. 

Need to know Climb the headland, Great Orme, for spectacular gull’s-eye views of the beach.  

Get there Closest train station is Llandudno, a 9-minute walk away.

Stay here Embrace the Victoriana vibes with a chintzy room at the Osborne House Hotel . Inside it’s all frills, antiques and chandeliers – and not a piece of driftwood in sight. Expect luxurious sea-facing rooms dripping with eclectic furnishings sourced from around the world. As the owners say, it’s not your typical seaside hotel.

West Wittering Beach, Sussex

21.  West Wittering Beach, Sussex

Best for Spotting red kite birds among the coastal salt marshes.

Backed by bushy dunes and lush marshland perfect for bird-spotting, West Wittering beach is a pristine destination with ample facilities – including three blocks of toilets, drinking-water taps and shower blocks. After a bracing dip in the sea, warm up with a cuppa at the beach café or take the five-minute drive to East Wittering, where restaurants serve up a broader range of lunch and dinner – we recommend Drifters for craft beer, homely dishes and veggie options.

Need to know Dangerous currents occur at The Hinge, so don’t go splashing around there. 

Get there Closest train station is Chichester, an 18-minute drive away.

Stay here A quintessential British retreat, Millstream Hotel is set back from the bustling beach in perfectly preened gardens. Bedrooms are prim and proper, and the two-AA Rosette restaurant is a destination in itself. 

Portstewart Strand, Derry, Northern Ireland

22.  Portstewart Strand, Derry, Northern Ireland

Best for Playing hide-and-seek in the grassy dunes.

In between the mouth of the River Bann and Portstewart are rolling dunes and pristine sands. And designated drivers rejoice: the two-mile stretch is one of the last places in Ireland where cars are still allowed to drive straight onto the beach. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s incredibly popular with families who want to picnic on the shores. Afterwards, pack up and pack into the 3hree Kings Coffee Company (30-minute walk) for a proper flat white, sourdough sandwiches and seriously good pancake stacks.

Need to know The National Trust facilities are open 10am-5pm.

Get there  Closest train station is Castlerock, a 6-minute drive away. 

Stay here  With its plumped Egyptian cotton linens and optional nutritional therapy service (complete with Instagrammable chia smoothie bowls),  Saltwater House wouldn’t look out of place on the beachfront of Santa Monica. A peek out the window of your tastefully designed abode will remind you that you’re in the UK, though – there are grand views over the Portstewart Strand and the Atlantic Ocean.

Formby Beach, Merseyside

23.  Formby Beach, Merseyside

Best for Spotting red squirrels on a wild walk from the beach to woodland.

One of the National Trust’s quickest-changing shorelines, the glorious, family-friendly Formby beach is hugged by a network of dunes that move at an alarming rate of four metres a year. The shifts are revealing prehistoric footprints: stroll along the sand to spot them and look out to the ocean for stunning views across the Irish Sea. The woodlands which shadow the beach are managed to preserve the red squirrel’s habitat – visit the National Trust’s site to download ‘squirrel walks’. While you’re here, make the 30-minute drive to Crosby beach to see Antony Gormley’s iconic public artwork ‘Another Place’.

Need to know Facilities can be found at Victoria Road, and there are pushchair-accessible paths through some of the woodlands.

Get there Closest station is Formby.

Stay here Cosy bell tents overlooking a wild meadow, complete with a crackling log burner, a basketful of logs and a proper double bed: Watkinsons Farm is more on the rustic end of the glamping scale, and that’s why we like it.

Compton Bay, Isle of Wight

24.  Compton Bay, Isle of Wight

Best for Magical walks spotting dinosaur footprints (or foot casts, more accurately) on the shore.

Beach bods will be content hanging out on the sandy shelves or surfing the waves of Compton Bay , but stretch your legs across the glorious grassy banks and you could catch a glimpse of the dinosaurs. When the tide goes out, head to the east of Compton Bay car park at Hanover Point and look for the large three-toed foot casts of Iguanodon at the base of the cliffs. From here it’s a ten-minute drive to Freshwater, where The Freshwater Coffee House  serves up a good flat white, or head south 30 minutes to Ventnor for OTT burgers and a cheeky cocktail from Stripped .

Need to know There are on-site toilets and a food van in the summer.

Get there  One-hour bus ride from Newport. 

Stay here Adorable doesn’t begin to cover the collection of wee little homes at Tiny Homes Holidays . Each with its own cute design and name, every home is like an eco-friendly Tardis, packed full of sustainable features such as solar power, composting toilets and recycled water. Take part in equally cute workshops while you stay, such as spoon-whittling and willow-weaving.

Camusdarach Beach, Scotland

25.  Camusdarach Beach, Scotland

Best for A digital detox on one of the most peaceful beaches on the western coast.

If rugged Scottish coastline is your bag, you won’t do much better than Camusdarach Beach. One of the cleanest, most peaceful beaches on the western coast, this crescent of pillow-soft white sand is hugged by clear-blue waters and framed by dramatic, jagged rocks. The catch? There’s not a lot in the way of facilities, but the nearby town of Morar (an eight-minute drive) offers home comforts in the way of cafés, restaurants and hotels. Drive a little further north to Mallaig where The Jacobite steam train (as seen in the Harry Potter movies) calls by. Have a meal in the old dining cars or even stay over in the restored carriages.

Need to know Bring a picnic – there are no facilities here, save for a small car park.

Get there  Closest train station is Morar, a 10-minute drive away.  

Stay here There’s no TV, no wi-fi and no phone at The Wee Lodge – and they make no apologies for it. What it does have is a cosy double bed, the sound of the birds singing and a stunning view of Loch Morar. Set on the grounds of a working farm, this secluded hideaway is the perfect place to switch off and recharge your batteries.

Marazion Beach, Cornwall

26.  Marazion Beach, Cornwall

Best for  Getting lost in fairytale medieval castles. 

As well as the usual suspects – lifeguards, sand dunes and rock pools – this beach also boasts views of the whimsical St Michael’s Mount, a tiny island accessible by a cobbled causeway at low tide. It’s topped with a twelfth-century castle, which houses (among other things) a mummified cat and a piece of Napoleon’s coat. If that doesn’t entice you to cross the cobbles don’t know what will.  

Need to know Missed the low tide? Don’t fret, jump on a ferry back (April-October; £2.50 adults, £1.50 under-18s).

Get there Closest train station is Penzance, a ten-minute drive away.

Stay here  The  Marazion Hotel should know a thing or two about hospitality: the building has been hosting visitors since the 1700s. The old coaching inn has had a lick of paint since and bright, seaside-y rooms await. When you’re done building sandcastles, prop up the bar at the hotel’s Cutty Sark pub and restaurant, or curl up with a good book next to the wood burner in the lounge.

Studland Bay, Dorset

27.  Studland Bay, Dorset

Best for Getting an all-over tan.

You might spot a few beach balls at Studland Bay , the beach being one of the most popular naturist spots in the UK. And if skinny-dipping doesn’t float your boat, keep to the south, which is backed by lush heathland and a wooded area marked with walking routes to spot wild deer and birdlife. The little village of Studland – which is so ridiculously cute it inspired Noddy’s Toytown – has a number of places to eat, including the Michelin-approved Pig on the Beach , where homely British dishes are made from ingredients either grown on-site or sourced within a 25-mile radius.

Need to know Facilities are ample – there’s even public wi-fi at the Knoll Beach visitor centre.

Get there Closest train station is Corfe Castle, a 15-minute drive away. 

Stay here It’s eclectic furniture and mad wallpaper galore at Pig on the Beach – the rejuvenated country manor house which is home to the popular aforementioned restaurant and spa treatment rooms set in a wild meadow.

Morecambe Beach, Lancashire

28.  Morecambe Beach, Lancashire

Best for E xploring art installations along the promenade.

Blackpool might get all the glory in these parts, but the stretch of beach around this picturesque if slightly faded Lancashire seaside town is the largest expanse of intertidal sand flats in the UK (with a whopping five miles of sandy and shingle coastline). Amble along the promenade to take in the TERN Project , an award-winning sculpture trail celebrating local wildlife, with steel gannets, cormorants and razorbills dotted along the seafront.

Need to know Dogs are not allowed on the beach during peak season from May to September. 

Get there Morecambe station is just a short walk from the beach.

Stay here A 1930s art deco masterpiece that has been lovingly restored in recent years, The Midland Hotel is right on the seafront and features rooms with sea views, a sun terrace restaurant and a gorgeous circular bar. 

Luskentyre Beach, Isle of Harris, Scotland

29.  Luskentyre Beach, Isle of Harris, Scotland

Best for Forgetting city stresses on a huge stretch of perfect white sand.

Go out of season to Luskentyre and you might be lucky enough to have miles of bright-white sand all to yourself. Just a short drive north of Scarista, this is one of Harris’s biggest beaches, and visitors come here to unwind on deserted shores between the blue sky and turquoise water. 

Need to know Facilities are sparse, but you can find toilets by the car park. Dogs are welcome all year round.

Get there A 90-minute  bus from  Stornoway.

Stay here It’s not the most glamorous place to stay, but what the cosy B&B Shore Cottage lacks in style it makes up for with location. Seemingly perched on the edge of the world, this remote hideaway is just a ten-minute walk from Luskentyre beach and offers a homely base to explore the rest of the island.

Cromer Beach, Norfolk

30.  Cromer Beach, Norfolk

Best for Reliving your childhood and parading down a pier.

Peaceful beaches and crystal-clear rock pools aside, the magnificent Victorian pier is the main attraction here. Refreshingly, it’s mostly untouched by the usual seaside tourist tat – instead, it’s home to a thriving theatre, where regular soul nights, comedy shows and original productions keep tourists and locals entertained. After the show, head to No1 Cromer for the local crab and addictive deep-fried cockle popcorn.

Need to know Time your visit with the low tide for maximum sand action.

Get there Closest train station is Cromer. 

Stay here Four miles from the sea and a short car ride from Cromer, The Gunton Arms is a handsome old pub with seriously cosy rooms. Venison from the deer park next door is cooked over a spectacular open fire in the pub’s kitchen and served with goose fat roast potatoes.

Saunton Sands, Devon

31.  Saunton Sands, Devon

Best for Running into the sunset with your four-legged furry friend.

A favourite among families and dog owners, Saunton Sands is a vast three-and-a-half-mile stretch of the gold stuff, flanked by dunes with tufts of green and a row of colourful beach huts. There’s room enough for dogs to run amok, without treading on the toes of sunbathers, surfers and beach-loungers. There’s also a strong community feel here, with regular beach cleans and BBQ days, as well as spectacular D-Day events with military rallies and battle reenactments.   

Need to know Take care swimming here as there can be riptides by the cliffs.

Get there Closest train station is Barnstaple, a 20-minute drive away. 

Stay here For the best view over the beach, stay at Saunton Sands Hotel – a brilliant white 1930s Art Deco building, which presides over the huge sandy vista. The new spa is a good reason to book, while the supervised children’s play area with two hours of free childcare is a godsend for parents. 

Footdee Beach, Aberdeen, Scotland

32.  Footdee Beach, Aberdeen, Scotland

Best for  Enjoying the bustle of a city centre – right by the sea.

This wide sandy beach offers a quintessential seaside experience, while also being just half a mile from the conveniences of Aberdeen city centre. As you’d expect, it often feels pretty busy; cyclists and skaters frequent the promenade and water sports enthusiasts often hit the waves. You’ll find an amusement park, leisure park and retail park on the seafront, while further inland there’s the Aberdeen Maritime Museum .

Need to know There’s no lifeguard on the beach and dogs are banned between groynes five and 13.

Get there Aberdeen Station is a 15-minute walk from the seafront.

Stay here A mere 20 minutes from the city centre, Girdle Ness is a still-operating lighthouse with adjoining cottages that originally housed the lighthouse keepers. Now rented out as holiday homes by Northern Lights Apartments , they offer magnificent unobstructed views of the North Sea and ample dolphin-spotting opps.

Chesil Beach, Dorset

33.  Chesil Beach, Dorset

Best for An epic walk along the seemingly endless rugged shingle.

Put away those buckets and spades – you won’t be needing them here. Chesil Beach is as rugged as it is beautiful – an 18-mile strip separated from the mainland by a shallow lagoon. It’s a breathtaking structure, and best viewed from the top of the Tout Quarry Nature Reserve and Sculpture Park on the Isle of Portland. To refuel, visit the nearby Crab House Café ,  where locally caught crabs come served with a hammer and a bib, and fresh oysters grown on the café’s own beds are eaten within minutes of leaving the ocean.  

Need to know A visitor’s centre with toilets and a café can be found near the bridge leading to the Fortuneswell end of the beach.

Get there Closest trains stations are Weymouth or Upwey, 20 minutes drive away. 

Stay here The Manor House is a little green oasis on the coastline with refined, classically beautiful rooms. The sixteenth-century manor house has been lovingly restored, and now features a restaurant serving modern British dishes with a focus on local produce.

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  • best beaches in e...

best beaches in england

We are planning a trip to London during september and are interested in visiting a seaside area. We enjoy beautiful scenery, nice restaurants, history, nautical elements, easy walking, and fairly comfortable overnight accommodations. kWhat are some recommendations?

The best beaches are a long way from London - I like the north Norfolk coast, Northumberland and the Pembrokeshire coast around St David's in Wales. Cornwall is too far unless you have several days and if it's for this September, the best places will be booked up.

Brighton is in easy reach - great restaurants, history, easy walking as it's mainly flat and lots of accommodation options, but the beach is pebbly. Take a ride along the seafront on the old Vaux railway.

Hastings old town has the same as Brighton, plus it still has a fishing fleet and the small but perfectly formed Fisherman's Museum is worth a visit and the contemporary art gallery. Great fish and chips too! Take the funicular railway to the top of the cliffs. It's less trendy than Brighton and has a more traditional feel.

Rye has quite a steep hill and the beach is a mile or so away at Rye Harbour, but it's a pretty place.

I also like Whitstable on the north Kent coast - plenty cafes (known in season for its oysters), art galleries and a small harbour. It's flat, so easy walking.

In Suffolk, Southwold and Aldeburgh are genteel, traditional seaside towns and are both fairly flat.

Will you have a car?

What?! They have beaches in England? (Edit: ok, I meant "fun in the sun, swim, sandy type beaches, i.e., what many people mean by the word "beach") :-)

What?! They have beaches in England? :-)

Well, you’ve put a smiley so I assume it’s a joke, but I can’t actually understand what you’re trying to get at.

I loved Brighton for an old time seaside resort feel, I loved the pier and just walking along the beach promenade. It was a while ago I was there so may be different now, definitely more touristy I'm sure but that's part of the fun of it. I also loved some of the old buildings in the town. Didn't go there for swimming or beach sitting but it was great for just seaside fun.

And, of course, there's the Royal Pavilion there also which is well worth visiting.

I love Kent’s humor... of course he knows the UK has beaches.

Susan, whew, thanks for rehabilitating my image! Why didn't they tell me that England/UK are islands? I had no idea. But I still don't believe they have real beaches...you know, sandy, sun, warm water, warm weather, you know, beaches . :-)

Kent, you’re a long time gem on this forum.

There are some lovely parts around the Jurassic Coastline in Dorset. Bournemouth could make a nice base. You have Hengitsbury Head in one direction with Christchurch Harbour and Poole/Sandbanks in the other. Take the chain ferry over to Studland Bay which is beautiful. And yes Kent - there are actually miles and miles of sandy beach here (ok the water isn't warm but in September with the sun out it will be fine for a paddle!). Can also add in a stop at Wareham, Corfe Castle, Swanage, Durdle Door and Brownsea Island

Ok, I'm now convinced, the UK/England does have some real beaches . I've learned something. Thanks for the contributions.

Click this link and you can see how the sea temperature compares with say the USA. https://www.windy.com/-Show-add-more-layers/overlays?sst,44.965,-25.664,3

Here are some of our best beaches - though many excellent ones do not appear. https://www.cntraveller.com/gallery/best-beaches-in-uk

But I still don't believe they have real beaches...you know, sandy, sun, warm water, warm weather, you know, beaches. :-)

So what you’re basically saying is it’s not the Caribbean.

Well, I must admit I thought I spent all my childhood holidays on the sandy beaches of Devon and Cornwall on long summer days in temperatures of around 25 Celsius getting sunburnt, building sandcastles and swimming in warm water but that must be a false memory.

But seriously Kent, I know you’re trying to be funny, but to British people who can’t afford to chase the sun, the beach may be sand or shingle, but it’ll be a lot of fun. There’ll be ice cream, entertainment, lots of sand if you go to the right beaches, warm water if the summer is long, and very many people having the time of their lives. That’s what the beach means to Brits.

What you think is humour, I read as rude & dismissive and coming from a place of privilege as someone who can afford to fly to the sun. Don’t try that approach if you are in the UK.

oh 25. Boy that's hot for a beach... Might even come out from behind the windbreak.

Funny how things seen through the eyes of a child seem different when seen through the eyes of an adult...

Guess Benidorm just became popular because Red Barrel was available on tap.

Norfolk - as said above.

Weston-super-Mare has sand.

The Jurassic Coast has fossils.

Whitby has Jet

Chambers Dictionary:

Beach The shore of a sea or lake, esp. when sandy or pebbly.

But to get back to the OP, they were looking for a seaside area (not specifically a beach) with nautical elements, history and beautiful scenery. Portsmouth & its seaside resort of Southsea will give you two of those - it’s got history and nautical stuff in spades. And you could pop across to the Isle of Wight for the scenery. Portsmouth has the Historic Dockyard with historic shops. Southsea has Henry VIII’s castle and a cheerful pebble beach with patches of sand, a pier and all the accoutrements of a typical BRITISH beach (not one that Kent would recognise as a beach though...) The Isle of Wight is extremely pretty with some great scenery.

Devon and Cornwall for scenic places.

Ken, pay no attention to “This person who writes stuff”. Just being a bit stuffy, that’s all.

You know what? I try to bring a useful British perspective to this board but I’m not going to bother anymore.

Enjoy your trips, everyone.

This is another case of "two nations separated by a common language". For people living on the west coast of North America ( California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia) a "beach" is synonymous with a broad stretch of sand, maybe bounded by cliffs and headlands, maybe with some rocky tidepool areas. But the sand is the defining factor, as in these photos of some beaches onnthe Washington Coast:


Those are lovely beaches! Thank you, Emma.

We enjoyed the beaches at Tenby and Llandudno (for walking), although they are in Wales.

The west coast of Scotland and the Hebrides have some stunning beaches. And potential hypothermia.

The Person Who Rights This Stuff has been very helpful and now gone.

NOT a plus! For shame.

Kent where in the H in the Pacific Northwest are the fun, sandy, swim in the sea beaches cuz they sure ain't like the Malibu coast of SoCal. I remember from my years in WA and OR that the beaches were indeed sandy but the ocean too cold to swim in. Beaches were great for jogging, romping with the dog, collecting drift wood and tide pooling but don't recall sun bathing. So weather and grayness much like one might find in the UK in September. Or bright blue skies and sun.

If the poster is driving then I think Lyme Regis might be of interest. Loved my stay there.

Enjoyed sauntering along the Cobb with my fish and chips. There is also a small but well done museum. Also liked watching the behemoth buses make the narrow turn into town as I sat on the couch in the Aroma Cafe while enjoying coffee and a nosh.

Airbnb accommodation. 20 minute stroll into town. Good hamstring workout returning each day as Lyme Regis has some hills. Soothed the pain by making the Nags Head my local.

Sorry to have chased away Person who writes Stuff. Huffy reaction to a mild remark about being stuffy. Come back, Person.

Claudia, Pacific Northwest doesn't have "fun in the sun" type beaches either--not like So Cal, Hawaii, or Caribbean. The main problem here is that the Alaska Current flows south and keeps the water off Oregon and Washington colder than adults enjoy--only people in the surf are dogs, kids, and surfers with wet suits. But once in a while we get the sun, the sand, and warm weather--with only the warmer water missing. Oregon has stunning headlands that can be seen on a drive down the Oregon part of the US 101.

There are lots of options catering for what the OP is looking for. Prior to the cheap mass holidays to the Costa's the majority of Brits spent their summer holidays in coastal resorts around the UK, the most popular having been developed substantially during the Victorian era. Unfortunately many went into steady decline once people discovered and could afford two weeks in the Med however there has been a revival and investment into a number of these resorts.

I like the Jurassic coast. Plenty of gorgeous sandy beaches and coves, warm clear water during the summer in shallow bays, fossils literally falling out of the cliffs, ancient castles, chocolate box villages, cosy pubs, glorious countryside, traditional small and large seaside resorts, fantastic food from cheap but well cooked fish and chips, excellent seafood, hearty pub food to Michelin starred restaurants. Sure, the sea isn't as warm as Florida's Atlantic coast but it also doesn't contain anything that might take a chunk out of your leg or worse! And whilst I'm partial to an outlet mall or two nothing beats leaving the beach and visiting Corfe Castle followed by a ploughman's lunch over a pint in a pub garden whilst sorting through your fossil find. You can't get that in the Caribbean no matter how attractive those palm fringed beaches look. Plus Bournemouth Beach has been voted the UK's best www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-dorset-43140528 .

However the Jurassic Coast is far from unique, there are many places up and down the UK that offer a fantastic mix of coastal beauty, history, great food, traditional seaside entertainment through to the tranquility of nature reserves.

Personally I find beaches a bit boring, I'm not one for crisping myself in the sun so lying on miles of white sand lapped by warm waters sounds great I find myself itching to find something interesting to do and that's the beauty of many English seaside resorts. Often sand but sometimes pebble beaches flanked by miles long promenades interspersed with piers some containing fairgrounds, music halls, restaurants, arcades etc. Hotels ranging from the grandiose to modern boutiques and homely B&Bs, restaurants catering for all budgets, cuisines and tastes, pubs, clubs, museums, tacky curios, souvenir shops, history, history and more history. England's seaside resorts are often overlooked for the perennial favourites of London, Oxford, The Cotswolds, Stonehenge and Bath but many people are missing out on so much more.

I'm sure it's temporary, he's made of sterner stuff. After all, he spent his childhood summers hobbling over pebble beaches to reach the brisk water of the Solent. I'm still doing it!

An example for the OP as to the variety one can find in a small part of England. As is typical I'll use my hometown of Portsmouth as an example.

From my house I can take 10 minute walk to the fringe of Farlington Marshes, an incredible nature reserve which is of huge importance for migratory birds during winter, it really is a birdwatching heaven www.hiwwt.org.uk/nature-reserves/farlington-marshes-nature-reserve .

From here you can follow a coastal walking/cycling route (or drive the Eastern Road) that takes you to Eastney where the beachfront starts. Eastney has been the home of the Royal Marines and there used to be a very fitting museum there however it has sadly been moved to the Historic Dockyard.

The long promenade starts here and a short walk will take you to the tennis courts and mini golf pitches to your right and the pebble/sand beach to your left. Looking out to sea you'll see the Palmerston Forts in the solent https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palmerston_Forts,_Portsmouth .

Further along you'll reach the area comprising of Southsea Model Village, Canoe Lake and Cumberland House Museum, a small, eclectic museum with a very good butterfly house. Adjacent to this is South Parade Pier, a restored Victorian pier that encapsulates the traditional English seaside holiday http://southparadepier.net/

Mere minutes walk will bring you to Southsea Castle, commissioned by Henry VIII abd where he watched the battle during which the Mary Rose sank. http://southseacastle.co.uk . There's also a very good micro brewery there.

The newly revamped D-Day museum is minutes away, https://theddaystory.com/ , with the Blue Reef Aquarium next door.

Walking further west you'll have thd beach on your left and Southsea Common on your right https://www.visitportsmouth.co.uk/things-to-do/southsea-common-p595201

Carry on walking the promenade will kead you to Clarence Pier, Southsea's answer to Coney Island or Atlantic City's Steel Pier, slightly jaded but worth a visit.

From here you'll leave the beachfront and enter Old Portsmouth, the area that has been at the heart of the Royal Navy, was an important part of the Spice Route (hence the name Spice Island) and from where the First Fleet sailed for Australia. It also has Broad Street, a street infamous for prostitutes and which was allegedly the source if the American term "broad". A fascinatingly historical site which rapidly leads to the Historic Dockyard www.historicdockyard.co.uk .

You can then venture inland and visit Charles Dickens' birthplace.

If you have time then I recommend a visit to nearby Portchester Castle, https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/portchester-castle/?utm_source=Google%20Business&utm_campaign=Local%20Listings&utm_medium=Google%20Business%20Profiles&utm_content=portchester%20castle , one of my favourite castles.

I can reccomend more if you haven't been scared off!

I love England’s seaside resorts. I have seen some beautiful beaches in England. I think Kent was trying to be funny, but I didn’t think it was funny, actually I thought it was disrespectful to the British who post on this site.

@kent lived in the Pacific NW, know all about the currents and the cold water. Same thing with most of CA where I was born and have lived the majority of my life. Hung out in Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay. My favorite spot was Waddell Creek beach. Not once did I ever swim in ocean, even on sunny days far too cold. Hopefully the OP will enjoy a day out somewhere like Whitsable, Brighton or Margate.

JC, your description of the Jurassic coast has me wanting to go there! Like many brits, my childhood was spent in a caravan (RV) in Devon and Cornwall in the days before we could afford Spain. I lived on the beach in Florida for 10 years and now live in landlocked Missouri (uh!) but, I still love going to British Beaches. Its just a different experience and all my American visitors to England love all the quirkiness of the British Seaside. During my stay in the UK this summer, we drove down to the Suffolk coast just to have fish and chips on the coast. Aldeburgh and Southwold are great places to visit for the OP.

Someone above has given a link to the Daily Mirror - best British beaches. I think about 3 of them do not match the photo. What they call ‘Coppey Hall’ in Pembrokeshire certainly is the wrong photo as there are no chalk cliffs in Wales.

Ok not a day trip from London. But 3 miles of Guernsey on the island of Herm is Shell Beach, it has regulary been accidently used by ad agencies when they want a generic tropical beach! Have tried to share an image, but brain and hands arent working today!

Not wishing to flog a dead horse, but my view of "beach" is pretty much that of Kent, even though the dictionary definition is wider.

JC paints a very accurate picture of Portsmouth - my family's home town and a place I visit very regularly - but to me the stones and pebbles are not a beach (although walking to and from Eastney up to the Still and West is always a wonderful way to spend a few hours) Bournemouth is decent as a traditional sandy beach, although I prefer Studland Bay - the nudist sections are well signposted as are the detours to avoid it.

Returning to Kent's "I still don't believe they have real beaches...you know, sandy, sun, warm water, warm weather, you know, beaches." A friend from Durham reminisces about childhood summer days on the beach, huddling with siblings & parents around a Thermos of hot tea, bundled up in jumpers, hats & gloves. See the book Kingdom by the Sea by Paul Theroux, where he mentions people lying on the beach at (I think it was) Blackpool wearing their coats, "like war dead."

This topic has been automatically closed due to a period of inactivity.

best uk beaches to visit

11 Best Beaches in England

England’s beaches are surprisingly beautiful (in the right weather).

England is blessed with thousands of miles of coastline and hundreds of beaches. The best beaches in England are comprised of a diverse collection of sandy coves in every region of the country and covering any niche: seclusion, family-friendly fun, regular surf swells, or simply a stretch of soft golden sand to relax on.

England’s best beaches are scattered across the country and, in the peak of summer, can go head to head with any of Europe’s sunnier climates. For peace of mind, all of the beaches on this list have been granted the Blue Flag award for their cleanliness and environmental management.

Durdle Door

Visit one of dorset’s most famous natural spots.

best uk beaches to visit

Durdle Door is a common sight on Dorset fridge magnets and postcards, but nothing beats seeing this iconic beach in real life. Famous for its limestone arch, the beach became the UK’s first natural UNESCO world heritage site in 2001.

The beach itself is made up of pebbles and shingle. Bathing in the water is possible but swimmers are advised to take caution as there is no lifeguard. Perhaps the best way to enjoy the stunning scenery at Durdle Door is to view it from the cliff-top viewing point above, where there's a small food and souvenir shop.

Location: Durdle Door, Dorset, UK

Fistral Beach

best uk beaches to visit

Known as the best beach in England for surfing, Fistral Beach feels secluded and peaceful, yet it's only a few miles from popular seaside town, Newquay. This beach is blessed with soft sand and rugged hills. The swells are surprisingly strong at times – which attracts plenty of weekend surfers – but there’s a lifeguard tower for peace of mind.

A collection of restaurants and bars at the far end of Fistral Beach makes for a fun place for a meal and a few beers. The Headland Hotel and Spa has an especially good view, looking down on the beach. 

best uk beaches to visit

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Bournemouth beach.

best uk beaches to visit

Bournemouth has one of the finest beaches in England, with wide and soft golden sands stretching for 7 award-winning miles. The English Channel isn’t known for its warmth, but Bournemouth is fortunate enough to have a microclimate creating some of the warmest waters around the UK.

There are plenty of beach activities to try, including kayaking and paddle boarding, and Bournemouth Pier hosts innovative amusements like a zipper line and a climbing wall. The result is a fun and attractive beach resort with a lively pulse. 

Woolacombe Beach

best uk beaches to visit

Woolacombe Beach is incredibly wide, giving you an endless view of sand and sky at low tide. It’s popular with families, surfers, and there’s a separate section of the beach for dog walkers. In summer, it’s a lively beach, and there are plenty of facilities, including changing rooms, lifeguards, restaurants, ice cream vans, and even bouncy castles.

The town is built on the lush hillside that surrounds the beach, giving it a quaint vibe. A walk along the coast to the next headland reveals more rugged coves, like Combesgate Beach and Grunta Beach, which are fun to explore. 

Whitby Beach

best uk beaches to visit

Whitby is an interesting seaside town with quayside arcades, beautiful scenery, and some of the finest fish and chips in the country. It may be quite a small place, clinging to the coast on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors, but the village is full of character.

You can visit throughout the year, but the North Sea can be mighty chilly in anything but peak summer. The village of Sandsend, right at the end of Whitby Beach, is one of the more popular places to sit in the sun. You’ll find the usual traditional British beach experiences in and around Whitby during the summer months, like donkey rides, ice cream vans, and colorful beach huts. It’s also a good beach for surfing, kite flying and fossil hunting. 

Wells-next-the-Sea Beach

best uk beaches to visit

This spacious crescent beach in Norfolk is backed by tall pine trees and a row of beach huts. It’s incredibly pretty on a summer’s day and has a bird sanctuary behind it that you can hear the chirps and squawks of birds all day. The North Sea is known to be a bit chilly, but its fine for a brisk paddle.

The town still has a working fishing harbor, with plenty of restaurants serving the local fish and crabs brought in by the community. The actual town of Well-next-the-Sea has many period buildings if you fancy a few hours away from the sand. This is a great beach for couples looking for a relaxing break with a bit of history and culture thrown in. 

Bamburgh Castle Beach

  • Northumberland

best uk beaches to visit

Overlooked by an imposing Norman-era castle, Bamburgh Beach is a rugged and iconic stretch of coast in northern England. Ideal for long, seaside walks, this is a place to escape the modern world. Located 20 miles south of the Scottish border, the North Sea here is often chilly, but you can still have a quick paddle in the summer months. The wind really whips in off the coast, making it a popular spot for surfing.

As well as lounging on the beach, a tour around Bamburgh Castle is fun for all ages, with thrilling tales of Viking invasion and Scottish rebellions. 

Ventnor Beach

  • Isle of Wight

best uk beaches to visit

With 17 Blue Flag beaches and over 50 miles of coastline, the Isle of Wight is not short of great beaches. This southern island just off the coast of Portsmouth is a great destination for a beach vacation, and at only 23 miles wide, you can easily jump from one sandy bay to the next.

As we’re forced to choose one beach, we have chosen Ventnor Beach because of its combination of soft sand, rolling waves, and family attractions. You’ll find plenty of shops and amusements with a touch of nostalgia for how things used to be. The Victorian-era town along the beach has plenty of hotels and B&Bs with sea views. 

Blackpool Beach

best uk beaches to visit

Blackpool’s mostly shingle beach isn’t the prettiest in England, but it certainly ranks high as a fun trip to the seaside with lots of attractions. Blackpool Pier is one of the best in the country, with Blackpool Tower and Pleasure Beach amusement park ensuring there never need be a dull moment.

The donkey rides, flashing arcade games, and cabaret shows haven’t really changed in a generation, and there’s something charming about that. Once the sun sets, Blackpool becomes a beacon for bachelor parties, who party late into the night. 

Studland Bay

best uk beaches to visit

If you’re looking to get back to basics, Studland Bay in Dorset is worth the long journey across the Hartland Moors. Protected by the National Trust, this sheltered crescent of sand is one of the prettiest in England.

The beach runs for 4 miles, north to south, so it’s able to accommodate plenty of different types of visitor. It’s home to sailing clubs at its southern end, a nudist section at its secluded northern end, and soft, golden sand for relaxing in the middle section. The South West Coast Path runs along the beach, so it’s a popular spot for ramblers, too.

Studland Bay is only 8 miles along the coast from Bournemouth, but you will need to take a ferry across a small strait, which adds to the journey time. 

South Bay Beach

Scarborough, yorkshire.

best uk beaches to visit

South Bay Beach in Scarborough is one of northern England’s most popular beaches thanks to its soft sand, amusement arcades, donkey rides and the imposing Grand Hotel looking down from the cliff tops. You can still ride the historical cliff lifts down to the beach from the hotel, like a Victorian-era vacationer.

On a sunny summer day, South Bay Beach can be as busy and fun as any Mediterranean beach, though the North Sea is a few degrees colder. The historical harbor has been at the heart of Scarborough for centuries. The fishermen still bring in their fresh catches every day, so it’s no surprise that the harbor is also a hub of excellent seafood restaurants. 

This article includes opinions of the Go Guides editorial team. Hotels.com compensates authors for their writing appearing on this site; such compensation may include travel and other costs.

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best uk beaches to visit

12 Of The Most Beautiful Beaches In The UK That You Just Have To Visit This Summer

Nothing screams Summer like piling your mates up in the car, windows down, banging tunes playing while heading off on a little adventure...

Laura Rogan

Packed full of hidden gems we might have overlooked if it wasn’t for the pandemic and various lockdowns-slash-staycations, the UK is home to some really stunning, sandy locations. We’re talking white or golden sands, glittering waters and glorious sunshine – perfect for visiting during the Summer months and all these heatwaves we’re having. So, without further ado, here are some of the best beaches in the UK for you to visit this Summer when the sun is playing ball.

1. Formby Beach

A panoramic photo of the sand dunes and sea at Fornby Beach, one of the best beaches in the UK

Sweeping sands and mysterious sand dunes await at Formby Beach – one of the North West’s best beaches by a country mile. The National Trust site is beautiful all year round, with red squirrels frequenting the woodlands that lie just behind the sandy dunes. The wholesome spot is a great spot in which to sunbathe on a Summer’s day, with horse riders, dog walkers and families also favouring this Merseyside spot – one of the best beaches in the UK.

📍 You’ll find Formby Beach at Victoria Road, near Formby, Liverpool, Merseyside, L37 1LJ.

2. Pentle Bay, Scilly Isles

Crystal-clear waters and a docked yacht at Pentle Bay in Tresco, the Scilly Isles

The Scilly Isles might seem like they’re another country, but luckily for us, there’s no need to pack your passport to experience its white sands and turquoise waters. Located just a short boat or ferry ride south of Cornwall, the Scilly Isles consist of a number of stunning islands – but Tresco has to be one of the most picturesque. East of the tiny island you’ll find Pentle Bay – one of the UK’s most remote, and therefore most beautiful, beaches. It’s also dog-friendly. Expect overgrown grassland framing the landscape, white sands, calm and clear waters, and just the sound of the birds tweeting in the background. Who knows – you may even spot a dolphin here!

📍 You’ll find Pentle Bay at Pentle Bay Beach, Tresco, Isles of Scilly, Cornwall, TR24 0QQ.

3. Durdle Door , Jurassic Coast Dorset

A panoramic view of Dorset's Durdle Door, one of the best beaches to visit in the UK

The iconic coastline of Durdle Door can be found in lovely Dorset, mostly referred to as the Jurassic Coast. Part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the beautiful beach is a truly unique place to visit, thanks to its highly photographed limestone arch which stands front and centre along the sandy coastline. One of the UK’s most magnificent natural wonders , the beach features beautiful, golden sands, deep blue waters, and is a fantastic place to sunbathe in the summer.

📍 You’ll find Durdle Door at West Lulworth, Dorset, BH20 5PU.

4. South Bay, Scarborough

The golden sands and buildings of Scarborough in Yorkshire, one of the best UK beaches

While Scarborough isn’t the place to go if you’re expecting the Caribbean in Britain, it’s the perfect example of nostalgia. The popular seaside resort is complete with not only a sandy beach, but amusements, ample fish and chips shops and incredibly friendly Northerners. What more could you want?

📍 You’ll find South Bay at Foreshore Road, Scarborough, North Yorkshire, YO11 1NU.

5. Porthcurno Beach, Cornwall

Turquoise waters and white sands at Porthcurno Beach in Western Cornwall, one of the best beaches in the UK

Ok, so we know that the entire Cornish coast is postcard-perfect, but Porthcurno Beach just had to rank in our list of the best beaches in the UK thanks to its tropical-looking white sands and aquamarine waters. Located in the far western reaches of Cornwall, it really is a fantastic place to visit if you’re looking for that ‘abroad feeling’ with an almost Mediterranian vibe, capturing tons of sunshine over the summer and attracting bouts of sunbathers, too.

📍 You’ll find Porthcurno Beach at Porthcurno, Cornwall, TR19 6JX.

6. Camber Sands, Sussex

The windswept sand dunes and sea at Camber Sands in East Sussex

Camber Sands has long been known as one of the best beaches in the UK – and it’s easy to see why. Similarly to Formby Beach, the gorgeous location is peppered with dramatic sand dunes, making for a unique landscape. While Sussex is mostly known for its pebble beaches, Camber Sands is – as you’ve probably guessed – sandy. Yep. We’re talking gloriously soft, golden sands that’ll have you dying to stick your feet into it. If that wasn’t all, the spot is an incredible place to watch the sunset . Just be sure to have your camera ready. It’s also just down the road from the picture-perfect village of Rye .

📍 You’ll find Camber Sands at Camber Sands, Camber, East Sussex, TN31 7RT.

7. Luskentyre Beach, Isle of Harris, Scotland

The aquamarine water and white sands of Luskentyre Beach on the Isle of Harris

One of the more popular beaches in Harris, Scotland, Luskentyre beach is well-loved for its white sands, clear waters and unique mountain views. The landscape is most definitely one you won’t find in most other parts of the UK – which is exactly why it’s not to miss if you’re looking for a standout UK beach. The beach is known for being secluded and has been frequently described as a little ‘ slice of heaven ‘ – it was also featured on the BBC’s Castaway . What more could you want out of the best beaches in the UK?

📍 You’ll find Luskentyre Beach on the Isle of Harris, Scotland, HS3 3HL.

8. Blackpool Sands, Devon

The golden sands and still waters of Blackpool Sands in Devon, one of the best beaches in the UK

Blackpool Sands – not to be confused with the North West’s beloved Blackpool – is situated within the glorious English Riviera, which got its name thanks to its resemblance to the stunning French Riviera. While it doesn’t have the guaranteed sunny weather of Monaco, it is a truly beautiful place to visit, with golden sands, looming woodland providing a dramatic backdrop and beautiful deep teal waters to swim in. Further up the coast, you’ll also find a bustling marina, with plenty of restaurants and bars to enjoy during your visit.

📍 You’ll find Blackpool Sands at Blackpool Valley Road Nr, Dartmouth, Devon, TQ6 0RG.

9. Holkham Beach, Norfolk

The wide golden sands of Holkham Beach – one of the best beaches in England

Holkham Beach, Norfolk, offers a huge stretch of golden sands – providing a gorgeous place to walk surrounded by unspoilt nature. The nature reserve often attracts dog walkers and families looking for a scenic Sunday stroll, and in the summer, you’ll find kids playing in the lagoon, sunbathers pitched up for the peak of the day and paddlers cooling down in the sea. It’s also great for birdwatching and you’re not far from the lovely towns on Burnham Market and Wells-next-the-Sea.

📍 You’ll find Holkham Beach at Holkham, North Norfolk, NR23 1RG.

10. Kynance Cove, Cornwall

The rugged coastline of Kynance Cove on the Lizard Peninsula, one of the beach beaches in the UK

Sand dunes, islets and sea stacks form the unique landscape at Cornwall’s Kynance Cove – which is said to be the most photographed location on the Cornish coast and a strong contender for being one of the best UK beaches. It’s particularly beautiful in the springtime when happy yellow blooms begin to sprout and bluebells carpet the surrounding nature reserve. But in the summer, it’s a popular spot for sunbathing and swimming, with many flocking the Lizard peninsula to enjoy the beautiful azure-toned waters.

📍 You’ll find Kynance Cove at The Lizard, Cornwall, TR12 7PJ.

11. Reef Beach, Isle of Lewis, Scotland

The dark blue waters and golden sands of Reef Beach on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland

12. Pelistry Bay, Isles of Scilly

The white sands and bright blue skies of Pelistry Bay in the Isles of Scilly in Cornwall

Rounding off this list of the best beaches in the UK is a real slice of paradise. Kind of like your very own deserted island that you can actually get home from, Pelistry Bay can be found on St Mary’s, part of the Scilly Isles, and like many of the other beaches that form part of the archipelago, it boasts white sands, gorgeous greenery, and clear waters. It’s a very remote place to visit, so go at the right time of year and expect to find a completely untouched stretch of beach just for you – with a lovely café just a few minutes walk away.

📍 You’ll find Pelistry Bay at St Mary’s, Isles of Scilly, Cornwall, TR21 0NX.

So there you have it – a roundup of 12 of the best beaches in the UK. So pack your swimmers, slap on the suncream and we’ll see you on the beach this Summer!

best uk beaches to visit


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24 best beaches in the UK to visit this summer that feel more like the Caribbean than Cornwall

By Anucyia Kitching and Laura Hampson

24 Best Beaches In The UK You Need To Visit This Summer

Searching for the best beaches in the UK to visit this summer? Look no further.

Summer is on its way! And OK, we all know that in the UK it can take a little while for those balmy temperatures to arrive, but these first signs of spring sunshine have got us thinking ahead to the warmer months ahead – and the prospect of spending at least some of those days among sand and sea.

While a tropical island getaway couldn't hurt, if you're looking for golden sands, crystal clear waters and azure skies closer to home, our modest island offers more than you think; you'd be forgiven for thinking some of these beaches are in the Caribbean. In fact, these UK sun-kissed sand spots tick all the summer hols boxes, from palm trees and white sands to curving bays and turquoise waters.

Image may contain: Patio, Furniture, Chair, Flagstone, Animal, Bird, Tent, Patio Umbrella, and Garden Umbrella

By Ali Belamant and Lucy Smith

There are also rare gems you would struggle to find elsewhere – like the towering chalky cliffs of Dover, or the Anglo Saxon Bamburgh Castle that towers over the Northumberland beach named after it. What these beaches may lack in year-round sunshine, they certainly make up for in character – so you'll have a wonderful time, rain or shine.

Fancy making a trip to an undiscovered gem this summer? We've done the hard work for you and whittled down the 24 best beaches in the UK.

These are the best UK beaches - in our humble opinion.

What Achmelvich Bay lacks in warm waters it makes up for in postcardperfect scenes. Set along the NC500 road trip route...

Achmelvich Bay, Scotland

What Achmelvich Bay lacks in warm waters, it makes up for in postcard-perfect scenes. Set along the NC500 road trip route, this beach has everything you want: shallow, clear, and kid-friendly waters, white sand, and plenty of space to plonk with your beach towel. Be sure to get there early in the day as the designated parking area fills up quickly.

At high tide there is no better place to be than Flamboroughs North Landing in Yorkshire. Clear turquoise waters lap at...

Flamborough North Landing, Yorkshire

At high tide, there is no better place to be than Flamborough’s North Landing in Yorkshire. Clear turquoise waters lap at the shore and the beach is flanked by headlands that keep you sheltered from the wind. This is the smallest of four beaches in the seaside town of Flamborough, so make a day of it and beach hop between them all.

Theres a reason Kynance Cove gets so busy in the summer months. With crystalline waters small pockets of white sand and...

Kynance Cove, Cornwall

There’s a reason Kynance Cove gets so busy in the summer months. With crystalline waters, small pockets of white sand and serpentine rocks, it’s one of the most beautiful spots in the UK. Get there early and make a day of it, but be sure not to get stuck with the high tide.

The fact that Three Cliffs Bay in Wales is only accessible by foot means that you wont find the hordes of beachgoers...

Three Cliffs Bay, Gower Peninsula

The fact that Three Cliffs Bay in Wales is only accessible by foot means that you won’t find the hordes of beachgoers that flock to the more easily accessible Welsh beaches. It’s back by three limestone cliffs (hence the name) and the water remains azure all summer long.

Consider Berneray Sands Beach your reward for making the trip out to the Isle of Berneray in Scotlands Outer Hebrides....

Berneray Sands Beach, Outer Hebrides

Consider Berneray Sands Beach your reward for making the trip out to the Isle of Berneray in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides. Here sits a pearly white sand beach with waters that look like they’re straight from the Caribbean. The Isle has around 130 inhabitants, so it’s likely you won’t need to get into any elbow fights for a prime patch of sand.

Famous for being the setting of Dracula Whitby Beach nbspalso known as West Cliff Beach  is known for having one of the...

Whitby Sands, North Yorkshire

Famous for being the setting of Dracula, Whitby Beach – also known as West Cliff Beach – is known for having one of the whitest stretches of sand in the UK.

Torn between your love of beaches and castles Fear not because Bamburgh Beach  in Northumberland has it all plus sand...

Bamburgh Beach in Northumberland

Torn between your love of beaches and castles? Fear not, because Bamburgh Beach (also known as Bamburgh Castle Beach) in Northumberland has it all, plus sand dunes and a long, sandy coastline. It’s this combination that made it perfect as a key filming location for both Harry Potter and Downton Abbey.

One of the nearest beaches to London Cuckmere Haven is a peaceful pebble beach surrounded by towering chalk cliffs. It...

Cuckmere Haven, Seaford, East Sussex

One of the nearest beaches to London, Cuckmere Haven is a peaceful pebble beach surrounded by towering chalk cliffs. It also has a serious film factor: Harry Potter, Foyle's War, Green Wing, Luther and Atonement.

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For those who want more than sea and sand the North Antrim coastline offers the added delights of wildlife fossils and...

Whitepark Bay, Antrim, Northern Ireland

For those who want more than sea and sand, the North Antrim coastline offers the added delights of wildlife, fossils and vast stretches of bluebell fields. There’s also Elephant Rock – a rock shaped like, well, you know what – and

Image may contain Outdoors Nature Land Shoreline Water Ocean Sea Coast Vehicle Transportation Boat and Promontory

Tresco, Isles of Scilly

This family-owned island, 28 miles off the Cornish Coast, is accessible via helicopter, plane or boat. As well as the gorgeous beach, there is also an island spa, an abbey garden and an art gallery showcasing pieces by some of Cornwall's most established artists. If it's good enough for the Royal Family...

Image may contain Shoreline Water Land Outdoors Nature Sea Ocean Promontory and Coast

Barricane Beach, Devon

Just next door to Woolacombe, Barricane often looks like it's in the Bahamas. The inlet on the North Devon coast is a great spot for rock-pooling and shell collecting. Head up the stairs for a surprise; a little shack cafe serving excellent Sri Lankan food.

Image may contain Transportation Vehicle Boat Watercraft Vessel Outdoors Nature Universe Space Night and Astronomy

Dungeness, Kent

There's nowhere better than Dungeness for other-worldly landscapes. A towering lighthouse, imposing nuclear power station, wooden cabins and remote vibe will make you feel like you've accidentally found yourself on another planet. There's a haunting beauty to its barren shingle beach, stretching out as far as the eye can see. Grab some freshly caught and prepared seafood at the Dungeness Snack Shack (Weds-Sun, 11am-3pm) and let yourself sink into the desolate environment.

Image may contain Soil Nature Outdoors Land Shoreline Water Sand Ocean Sea Scenery Coast Landscape and Beach

Oxwhich, Wales

Beautiful Oxwhich Beach in the Gower Peninsula is a stretch of fine sand and calm waters. Ideal for paddling, further out in the sea jet-skis and speedboats zoom past. Activities on offer include kayaking, diving and surfing.

Image may contain Promontory Shoreline Water Sea Outdoors Nature Ocean Land Coast and Beach

Crawley Beach, Gower Peninsula, Wales

Small and secluded, Crawley beach is popular with kayakers, canoers and surfers. It's in a remote location so be prepared for a bit of a walk.

Image may contain Nature Outdoors Scenery Land Soil Sand and Sky

Holkham Beach, Norfolk

Part of the Holkham Nature Reserve, Holkham's golden sands seem to stretch for miles. With windswept dunes, salt marshes and a pine forest the beach was most famously featured in the closing scenes of Shakespeare in Love.

Image may contain Promontory Nature Outdoors Ocean Water Sea Plant and Shoreline

Talisker Beach, Isle of Skye, Inverness

Rugged and dramatic, this is the beach for romantics in search of thundering waves, moody skies and impressive cliffs. No white sands here but a grey expanse greeting your eye instead. Stop off at the village of Carbost where the famous Talisker whisky is distilled.

Image may contain Outdoors Nature Land Water Shoreline Ocean Sea Scenery Coast Promontory Lagoon Lake and Sky

Luskentyre, Outer Hebrides

Last year this remote haven was voted one of the top 25 beaches in the world and it's easy to see why. With aquamarine waters, and panoramic views, the beach is located at the end of a single-track road and its breath-taking expanse makes for some dramatic sunsets.

Image may contain Shoreline Water Outdoors Nature Ocean Sea Promontory Bay Coast Rock Land and Beach

Porthcurno, Cornwall

Three miles east of Land's End, Porthcuno is accessed via a wide footpath from the carpark 200 yards above it. High cliffs on both sides of it provide perfect shelter from the winds and the soft white sand makes great sandcastle-building material. The beach was featured in the first series of Poldark.

Image may contain Soil Outdoors Nature Sand and Dune

Winterton Beach, Norfolk

A charming oasis on the east coast of Norfolk, Winterton has acres of golden sands. Formerly a fishing village, the unspoilt beach is backed by dunes and if you're lucky you can catch sight of seals bobbing in the water.

Image may contain Promontory Shoreline Water Sea Outdoors Nature Ocean Rubble Coast and Land

Langamull Beach, Isle of Mull, Scotland

Known as Bagh Chrossapol in Gaelic, this secluded spot takes a bit of walking to get to from the car park (around 50 minutes in all). But it's well worth the trek as you'll be rewarded with an expanse of white sand, sandy inlets and clear waters.

Image may contain Land Outdoors Nature Shoreline Water Sea Ocean Promontory Coast and Peninsula

Woolacombe, Devon

This three-mile stretch of golden sand is around five hours drive from London. Popular with families, as well as kite-surfers and paddle boarders, the beach is backed by one of the longest and deepest dune systems in the country, so there are lots of nooks and crannies to explore.

Image may contain Outdoors Nature Ocean Water Sea Shoreline Land Coast Promontory and Beach

Lulworth Cove, Dorset

This horseshoe-shaped cove on the Jurassic coast in Dorset has a distinctly Mediterranean feel to it with its sand and shingle beach and teal-blue waters.

Image may contain Shoreline Water Outdoors Nature Ocean Sea Land Coast Cove Cave and Promontory

Barafundle Bay, Pembrokeshire

Backed by dunes and pine trees, Barafundle is often compared to Carribbean beaches and for good reason with it's crystal-clear waters and golden grains. It's worth noting that this unspoilt beach can only be accessed via coastal paths and has no facilities.

Image may contain Shoreline Water Outdoors Nature Ocean Sea Promontory Land Coast Beach and Bay

South Sands, Salcombe, Devon

Staying in Devon, South Sands in Salcombe is an idyllic inlet popular with water sports enthusiasts who come for the canoeing, windsurfing and sailing. The soft sand is perfect for castle-building is you're seeking a more leisurely vacay.

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The top 10 beaches in England

Joe Bindloss

Jul 11, 2023 • 8 min read

best uk beaches to visit

England has beaches to spare, from golden Cornish sands to wild, untamed beaches on the edge of the Yorkshire moors © Igor Emmerich / Getty Images

The English seaside has a reputation for honking, beeping amusements, noisy stag parties and persistent breezes that necessitate erecting a wind-break to keep the sand out of your sandwiches. 

That’s one side of the English seaside. The other side is wonderful, with wild stretches of sand running to the distant horizon, seafood experiences on the shoreline, barreling surf, buffeting winds for kitesurfing and windsurfing, and sand so white it would give the Caribbean a run for its money. 

Whether your tastes run to classic seaside resorts, urban beaches or long, quiet sands, you’ll find a beach in England that lives up to your fantasy. Here’s our guide to the best of England’s sand and shingle shores. 

A man walks his dog on the beach at the Holkham National Nature Reserve in the United Kingdom on a cloudy summer day

1. Holkham National Nature Reserve and Beach – Norfolk

Best beach for dunes

Not content with being one of England’s most impressive country houses, gorgeous Holkham Hall also looks after the stunning Holkham National Nature Reserve and Beach , arguably Norfolk ’s most perfect strip of dune-backed sand. 

As with all beaches on the north Norfolk coast, it's reached via a long hike across the marshes, but what waits at the end would not look out of place on America’s Atlantic coast – endless sand and tufted dunes wafted by steady sea breezes. Set aside time to explore Holkham Hall, a magnificent Palladian villa built to house the Grand Tour treasures of the first Earl of Leicester. 

Planning tip: The Lynx Coastliner bus provides easy access to a string of marsh-backed beaches around Holkham, from under-explored Brancaster to the charming beach resort of Wells-next-the-Sea . From Wells, Sanders Coaches’ Coasthopper runs east all the way to the Victorian resort of Cromer. 

Crowds playing, sunbathing, and swimming at Brighton Beach in the summertime

2. Brighton Beach – East Sussex 

Best beach for party people

Brighton Beach won’t win any prizes for sand or serenity, but its collection of piers, seaside amusements, faded (and revitalized) seafront hotels and kiss-me-quick nightlife is the living image of the English seaside. Brighton’s status as a hub for international students, clubbers and the LGBTIQ+ community only adds to the fun. 

On summer weekends, you may struggle to find space for a towel on the steep ramp of pebbles dropping down to the water, but the promenade runs for miles, the pier is crammed with rides and arcade machines, fish-and-chip shops abound, and there’s plenty to do inland, from the wedding-cake-like Royal Pavilion to the quirky shops and cafes tucked away on the lanes behind the beach. 

Planning tip: After braving the summer crowds, head for the hills – more specifically, the hills of the South Downs – for some well-deserved quiet. This wonderful sweep of high chalk grassland starts immediately north of Brighton, traversed by the lovely South Downs Way walking path. 

Rear view of a girl on vacation looking out onto a busy beach in Devon

3. Woolacombe Beach – Devon 

Best beach for families

The beaches of Devon are second only to the sands of Cornwall in the eyes of holiday-makers, and lovely Woolacombe Beach near Barnstaple is a real beauty. Three miles of broad golden sands, reliable surf breaks and a backdrop of rolling green hills keep families happy from dawn till dusk. The tucked-away location in north Devon dampens down the crowds, though it still gets busy in summer.

In the unlikely event that you tire of the sand, walking trails crisscross the emerald hills of the North Devon Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty  immediately inland from the beach. 

4. Viking Bay – Broadstairs, Kent

Best beach for ice cream and nostalgia

The allure of this cozy cove at Broadstairs in Kent comes partly from its cute, cliff-enclosed curve of sand and partly from the journey back in time it offers to sun-seekers. On the lanes that slope down to the beach, Italian-owned gelaterias serve authentic gelato behind 1950s facades, while an old-fashioned puppet show entertains the tots out on the sand.

As afternoon turns to evening, browse the superior restaurants in the streets above the beach – the food at the Little Sicilian is the real Italian deal.

Planning tip: The Kent coast rail line provides easy access to Broadstairs from London, looping around to nearby Ramsgate and Margate, each with their own stretches of sandy beach. Margate is loud and lively, with a famous amusement park , while Ramsgate is more genteel, with a broad public beach and some interesting secondhand stores.  

Two people by the beach with seagulls flying overhead

5. Blackpool Beach – Blackpool, Lancashire

Best beach for seaside action

Northern England’s riposte to Brighton Beach, Blackpool Beach is long, sandy and lapped by gentle breakers, making it ideal for families, who gather in droves to paddle in the shallows and walk along the broad, wave-patterned sand at low tide. Behind the beach is one of England’s most famous amusement strips, promising oodles of seaside fun. 

Take your pick from seafront pubs, fish-and-chip takeaways and tacky arcades full of slot machines, or the thrills and spills of Blackpool Pleasure Beach and the views from the Blackpool Tower . It’s everything you’d expect from the English seaside, but the noise and crowds might send some visitors fleeing for the hills. 

6. Kynance Cove – The Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall

Best beach for appreciating the elements

With golden sand and butterfly-blue waters, Cornwall ’s beaches nudge close to Caribbean and South Pacific territory, only without the palms and with breaded scampi in place of barbecued conch. The sandy strips in busy tourist hubs such as Penzance , St Ives and Porthcurno are mobbed in summer, and the crowds can get so overwhelming that football pitches are pressed into service as overflow car parks. 

We rate Cornwall’s quieter beaches, such as wave-lashed, rock-strewn Kynance Cove on the Lizard Peninsula, where fingers of white sand curl between craggy outcrops, churning white horses fill the air with spray, and the steep walk down from the car park deters fair-weather beachgoers. 

Planning tip: Cornwall is England’s top surfing spot, with some of the best waves between October and April, when the tourist crowds thin out. The most famous breaks are around Newquay and Bude in North Cornwall ; for first-timers, the wide beach at Polzeath has a surf school and plenty of space to practice. 

Families and tourists riding the ferry to the Farne Islands from Seahouses harbor, on the Northumberland Coast in northeast England, on a bright. sunny summer's day

7. Bamburgh Beach – Northumberland

Best beach for historic landmarks

What’s not to like about a beach with a castle? Beaches get wider and wilder (and a little colder in summer) as you head north in England, but the sands at Bamburgh are astonishingly lovely and backed by the looming ramparts of Bamburgh Castle , used by English kings before being revamped by the Victorian industrialist William Armstrong. 

A fine spot for windswept walks, the beach faces the Farne Islands – thronged by birdlife and home to a busy monastic community before Henry VIII’s destructive falling out with the Catholic church – and walking paths continue along the shore to more coves, caves and castles. 

8. Southwold – Suffolk 

Best unconventional beach town

Suffolk has seaside towns aplenty, but eccentric Southwold stands out from the pack for its calm manner, dainty town center and pretty collection of beaches, from the groyne-crossed sands near the pier to the dune-flanked Denes Beach, which feels like a wilderness despite being strolling distance from the High Street. 

The town behind the sand is rather lovely, too, with a central lighthouse, the fascinating satirical arcade machines of the Under the Pier Show  and lovely wafting smells from the Adnams Brewery .

Planning tip: Southwold is a great base for exploring the bird-filled nature reserves of the Suffolk Coast. Bitterns, curlews and marsh harriers are just some of the species spotted in the beach-fronted coastal marshes at RSPB Minsmere and Dunwich Heath . 

9. Whitby Beach – Yorkshire

Best beach for book-lovers

It’s not just the appealing sand that earns Whitby Beach a place on the list; it’s the setting. This wide, shallow strand is backed by a row of rainbow-colored beach huts and the houses of Whitby rising steeply to the spectral ruins of Whitby Abbey . 

Amongst other claims to fame, this was the spot where the world’s most famous vampire made landfall in England as he pursued his would-be bride in Bram Stoker’s Dracula . It’s a beautiful spot, and good for families as well as goths and horror fans. 

Planning tip: After visiting the beach and abbey, head for the upliftingly beautiful trails of North York Moors National Park for some peaceful contemplation. 

A row of colorful beach huts, West Wittering, UK

10. West Wittering Beach – West Sussex 

Best beach for wind and water sports

The indented strip of coastline facing the Isle of Wight is dotted with beaches that draw kitesurfers and windsurfers like moths to a flame. The beaches at Bournemouth and Sandbanks near Poole are famous hubs for board enthusiasts, but we suggest evading the crowds at nearby West Wittering , at the mouth of Chichester harbor in West Sussex.

This wide and wonderful Blue Flag–rated beach has fine sand, a collar of dunes and shallow waters that are ideal for surfing, windsurfing, kite-boarding and stand-up paddleboarding. 

Planning tip: If you need help getting out onto the water, lessons in surfing, windsurfing, kite-boarding and stand-up paddleboarding are offered by 2XS , just back from the sand near the beach cafe and car park. 

This article was first published October 2022 and updated July 2023

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20 of the most glorious sandy beaches in the UK

With miles of white sand, turquoise sea and sand dunes, we'd forgive you for thinking you were in the Med

sandy beaches uk

The warmer weather has us yearning for the beach and the UK is packed with gorgeous sandy beaches that rival those abroad.

There are the sand dunes and varied wildlife of Holkham Beach in Norfolk , the turquoise blue sea and sheltered bays of Blackpool Sands in Devon and the dune-backed surf of Crantock Beach in Cornwall . In fact, we discovered the options seem almost endless when looking for sandy beaches in the UK.

So, to save you scouring every coastline, we’ve rounded up the very best – the warmest, cleanest and prettiest beaches, from the family-friendly crowd-pleasers in Devon to the surfing hotspots in Cornwall and secluded coves in Scotland , consider this your beachy bucket list for the summer ahead.

With miles of white sand, turquoise sea and grassy dunes, we'd forgive you for thinking you were in the Med at one of these sandy UK beaches .

Check out Country Living's ultimate list of the best sandy beaches in the UK and the places to stay nearby.

Holkham Beach, Norfolk

sandy beaches uk

The salt marsh, sand dunes, pine woodland, sandy beach and grazing marsh that make up Holkham is a National Nature Reserve – best known for its stunning panoramic views and varied wildlife.

Where to stay: The perfectly polished Victoria Inn has 20 rooms with a posh contemporary-cottage feel. Stroll through the walled rose gardens, feast on the restaurant's fresh shellfish and walk the few minutes to the golden sands of the beach.


Porthcurno, Cornwall

sandy beaches uk

With soft white sand and turquoise sea, this west Cornwall beach is practically paradise. What's more, it's set beneath the world-famous Minack Theatre – perched high on the cliffs above.

Where to stay: Situated on the westerly point of Cornwall, Land's End Hotel sits upon Granite Cliffs overlooking the Longships Lighthouse and Atlantic Ocean. A restaurant serving local specialities is available on site, as well as a bar. The centre of Sennen is just a mile from the hotel.

Saunton Sands, North Devon

These three miles of stunning golden sand, between the villages of Braunton and Croyde, are host to some of the UK's best surf. Popular with families too, this is a fantastic swimming spot backed by the Braunton Burrows, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

Where to stay: On a cliff top overlooking Braunton Burrows, The Saunton Sands Hotel features a spa, two swimming pools and a well-known restaurant. With views of Saunton Beach, its elegant rooms have a modern feel, the restaurant offers formal dining and a seasonal menu, and the casual Terrace Lounge has wonderful views.

Studland Beach, Dorset

Studland is a four-mile stretch of sandy beach and heathland off the Isle of Purbeck. Here you can take part in some adrenaline-fuelled watersports, walk through woodland or simply gaze across the sea towards the Isle of Wight.

Where to stay: Knoll House is a hotel in Studland that boasts a seasonal outdoor swimming pool and tennis court. From the sea views to the hot tub, this small hotel makes a quaint base for a staycation of exploring.

Blackpool Sands, South Devon

Not to be confused with the other Blackpool, this South Devon beach has a turquoise blue sea and is set in a sheltered bay, surrounded by evergreens. Here you can hire a kayak or paddleboard and swimming in stunning clean water.

Where to stay: With a magnificent location, looking out over the harbour and the River Dart, right in the heart of Dartmouth, the 17th-century building of The Royal Castle Hotel offers bright, airy rooms, and a stylish restaurant.

Crantock Beach, Cornwall

Great for sandcastles and surfing alike, this expanse of golden sand, backed by dunes, sits at the Mouth of the Gannel estuary and is presided over by the National Trust. For far reaching views, follow the South West Coast Path.

Where to stay: Boasting a spa bath, Sunnyside Cottage , set in Crantock, features three bedrooms, a fully-equipped kitchen and a garden with a barbecue.

Summerleaze, Cornwall

One of Bude’s best-loved beaches, Summerleaze offers a thoroughly British seaside scene for a sandy beach holiday. At low tide a paddling pool emerges, as does an expanse of golden sand for walks along the coast.

Where to stay: The Beach balances style and charm with slick contemporary rooms and a traditional Victorian terrace overlooking Summerleaze beach. The restaurant showcases the best of Cornish produce, while the beach bar comes to life with live music on Sunday afternoons.

Botany Bay, Kent

Budding geologers will appreciate the chalk stacks and white cliffs of Botany Bay – a beach famed for its fossil hunting and rock pools. Smugglers were once rife here, however now you're more likely to see people relaxing on this sandy UK beach.

Where to stay: Boasting picturesque views of the English Channel and the North Sea, the charming Botany Bay Hotel enjoys an elevated position on the cliff tops in Kingsgate, near Broadstairs.

Bamburgh Beach, Northumberland

Perched proudly on a grassy hill above the sands of Bamburgh is one of the country's most iconic castles. To the other side are the world famous Farne Islands – so you won't be short of things to see on this sandy beach in Northumberland.

Where to stay: In the charming village of Bamburgh, The Sunningdale is just five minutes walk from a magnificent castle and scenic coastline. It offers a restaurant that uses local produce and bright rooms, many of which enjoy splendid views of Bamburgh Castle, the village or local farmland.

Watergate Bay, Newquay

One of Cornwall's best-known beaches, Watergate Bay is a popular surf spot but is also home to many different sporting events including the English National Surfing Competition .

Where to stay: Set just 200 yards from the beach, Beachcombers Apartments provide modern self-catered accommodation just four miles from lively Newquay. A 10 mile drive through scenic countryside brings guests to Padstow’s pretty harbour.

West Wittering, West Sussex

The whole of this sandy beach is accessible to dogs from the end of September to the beginning of May. At other times, all zones are open except between groynes 14A and 18, the area in front of the beach huts. It's a great place to take the dogs to stretch their legs – and yours. A family-friendly spot with gorgeous sand, this is one to sink your toes in.

Where to stay: Set in West Wittering, Willow House B&B has a terrace and garden views and offers guests a charming welcome and down-to-earth accommodation just a few miles from the sea.

Barafundle Bay, Pembrokeshire

A spectacular beach in Wales, Barafundle Bay caught everyone's attention when it was named one of the best beaches in the world. You can reach it by walking a scenic half-mile route from Stackpole Quay and once you land on the sandy beach, you'll find turquoise water. The crescent of sheltered cove is ideal for swimming, while the Pembrokeshire Coast Path offers plenty for walkers.

Where to stay: At sunset, the Ferry House Inn and its shore-side location are bathed in a golden glow that will set the tone for your stay here. As well as a cosy bar and seasonal restaurant, there is also a bowling alley on site.

Whitby Sands, North Yorkshire

Just a few minutes’ walk from the town of Whitby itself, Whitby Sands is perfect for sandy beach fans, with bright beach huts and sandcastle-building opportunities in sprawling supply. Fish and chips on the beach is a must here too - the battered cod at Magpie Cafe is so good that you'll often fins queues all along the street.

Where to stay: Just 10-minutes walk from Whitby Sands itself, Bagdale Hall & Annexe is an atmospheric Georgian townhouse with easy access to the North York Moors National Park.

Scarista Beach, Isle of Harris

One of the most impressive beaches in the Hebrides, even on a cloudy day Scarista Beach will take your breath away. This sandy beach is simply spectacular when the sun appears, with its flour-soft sand and turquoise water. While it's a remote one, you'll find some top foodie trips nearby.

Where to stay: With its own sun terrace and garden, Harris White Cottage in the Isle of Harris region occupies a beachfront location second-to-none.

Durdle Door, Dorset

Around 10,000 years ago, water broke through a stack of rocks on the Jurassic Coast and started to create one of the most incredible formations in the UK. Today, Durdle Door is an iconic archway with a sandy beach that you'll find on many postcards of Britain.

Where to stay: Lulworth Lodge , just a five-minute walk from Lulworth Cove, is a coastal lodge around an eight-minute drive from Durdle Door. There are 21 stylish rooms, including two that welcome dogs. The restaurant serves up fresh, local fish and the outside deck is perfect for soaking up the summer sun with some fizz.

Formby Beach, Merseyside

One of the National Trust’s fastest-changing shorelines, family-friendly Formby beach has a network of dunes which move at an alarming four metres a year. Look out to the sea for amazing views across the Irish Sea and spot some wildlife in the woodlands that back the beach, too. You might be lucky enough to see some red squirrels.

Where to stay: A 20-minute drive away from the golden sands of Formby Beach, this grade 2 listed apartment on Southport Promenade is also just 750 yards from Southport Beach. The chic three-bedroom apartment provides the perfect sanctuary to rest your salty feet.

Portstewart Strand, County Londonderry

In between the mouth of the River Bann and Portstewart are rolling dunes and pristine sands. And designated drivers rejoice: the two-mile stretch is one of the last places in Ireland where cars are still allowed to drive straight onto the beach. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s incredibly popular with families who want to picnic on the shores.

Where to stay: Situated on the stunning coast of North Antrim in the seaside town of Portstewart, Me & Mrs Jones Hotel offers a boutique restaurant & bar serving highly renowned dishes & drinks for all tastes.

Rhossili Bay, Gower Peninsula

Remote Rhossili Bay has a long list of accolades and has been named the ‘best beach in Europe’ and ‘top ten beaches in the world’. One visit here and it’s easy to see why it's an award-winning sandy beach. The steep, winding walk down to the coast from Rhossili village is stunning, with panoramic views over three miles of golden sand, and on clear days, to the coastline of North Devon.

Where to stay: Featuring sea views, Creek Cottage sleeps four and provides the perfect base for your next sandy beach break. Enjoy a fully-equipped kitchen, dining room and cosy living room, where you can spread out and relax after a day building sandcastles.

Luskentyre Beach, Isle of Harris

Visit Luskentyre out of season and you might be lucky enough to have this bright-white sandy beach all to yourself. A short drive north of Scarista, it's one of Harris’s biggest beaches, attracting seaside lovers to relax on the sand and soak up the Caribbean-like views.

Where to stay: Kirklea Island Suites is situated in Tarbert and offers self-contained units each featuring a patio, seating area, kitchen and coffee machine. Don't fancy cooking? There's an on-site restaurant that serves all three meals, too.

Compton Bay, Isle of Wight

Compton Bay on the southwest of the island is popular with families, surfers and dog walkers, as everyone is welcome on the beach between Hanover Point and Brook Chine. Rising behind the coast, there are walking opportunities across acres of open downland, with stunning views out to sea from this sandy UK beach.

Where to stay: Villa Rothsay Hotel in Cowes is a boutique hotel housed in a Victorian villa. It offers views of the Solent, a comfortable drawing room and an honesty bar with Isle of Wight gin and tonic.

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