The Best Beaches in the UK

Oh, I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside

The UK may not be known for having the best beaches in the world, but if you take the time to visit the coast on one of the increasingly common sunny UK days, you might be pleasantly surprised. We’ve searched high and low for the best beaches in the UK, from the well-known Cornish coast to the hidden sandy spots in Scotland.

The United Kingdom has a lot of seaside fun for such a small island, from hidden coves to big crowd pleasers. The UK has it all, right down to crystal-clear waters that are unmistakably British and will have you thinking that you have chartered a plane somewhere abroad instead of driving down the motorway. Still not convinced? Take a look at these fantastic beaches on the British coast and start planning your next trip.

West Wittering Beach, Chichester 

West Wittering has a lovely sandy beach at the mouth of Chichester Harbour. The sloping sandy beach is lined with multicoloured beach huts in a relatively flat coastal area. Access is relatively easy over the sand dunes, but disabled access is limited. The beach, which faces the Solent and the Isle of Wight, is divided by groynes to prevent coastal erosion. When the conditions are right, it’s an ideal beach for sunbathing, paddling, and water sports like surfing, windsurfing, and kitesurfing. Although the area is largely undeveloped, facilities such as toilets, showers, parking, and a café are available. There are lifeguards on duty, deck chair rentals and surf lessons in the summer. As the tide recedes, shallow lagoons of warm water form, ideal for a splash.

Formby Beach, Liverpool 

Formby Beach, Liverpool 

Formby Beach, with its sweeping sands and mysterious dunes, is one of the best beaches in the North West. The National Trust property is stunning all year, with red squirrels frequenting the woodlands just behind the sandy dunes. On a sunny day, the wholesome spot is a great place to sunbathe, with horse riders, dog walkers, and families also frequenting this Merseyside location.

Durdle Door Beach, Dorset 

The iconic stone archway of Durdle Door is popular with photographers, and it’s easy to see why. This natural wonder, shaped like a dinosaur, soars from the cliffs and curls around a stretch of beach and crystal-clear water. Durdle Door is a short walk from West Lulworth, Dorset, along the South West Coast Path.

Holkham Beach, Norfolk 

Holkham is a National Nature Reserve known for its stunning panoramic views and diverse wildlife. It consists of salt marsh, sand dunes, pine woodland, sandy beach, and grazing marsh.

Kynance Cove, Cornwall

Kynance Cove is one of Cornwall’s most revered beaches for a reason: its white sands, turquoise water, and serpentine rocks will fool you into thinking you’re in the Mediterranean.

Bournemouth Beach, Bournemouth 

The grand sweep that is Bournemouth Beach encompasses several areas, stretching from Hengistbury Head in the east, through Southbourne, Boscombe, Bournemouth itself, and westward toward Poole. In and around Bournemouth, a popular south coast resort destination since the Victorian era, entire entertainment industry has grown. The town centre and the esplanade are adorned with theatres, concert halls, cafés and restaurants, cinemas, and numerous hotels, as well as a beach regarded as one of the best in the UK. In addition, Bournemouth Beach, known for its iconic pier, offers a variety of family-friendly activities, such as an exciting pier-to-shore zipline, the Happyland Amusement Park, and the nearby Bournemouth Oceanarium.

Rhossili Bay, Swansea

Rhossili Bay in South Wales, near Swansea, has been named the best beach in the UK and is ranked among the top ten beaches in the world. It has three miles of beautiful sand and coastline and is popular with surfers. In addition, it is located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Pelistry Bay, Isles of Scilly

There are many beautiful beaches on the Isles of Scilly, but Pelistry Bay on St Mary’s has to be one of the most beautiful, making it one of the best in the UK. The beach is unspoiled, sandy, and secluded, with teeming rock pools and a low tide connection to rocky Toll’s Island. A fantastic café called Carn Vean Café is also nearby.

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