Britain’s Top 10 Beaches
You don’t need to travel far this summer to find the perfect beach destination. With over 7,000 miles of coastline, the UK offers many stunning shorelines and beautiful bays that are only a drive away.
Whether you’re seeking shallow waters, golden sands or whitewater waves, we’ve handpicked 10 of our favourites to tick off your beach bucket list.
Bournemouth Beach, Bournemouth
This year, Bournemouth was voted the UK’s best beach. From Hengistbury Head to Sandbanks, this stretch of clean sand and clear water will be buzzing with locals and tourists.
Take a walk along its long promenade or enjoy an ice cream as you watch surfers take on the tumbling waves. If you’re in town between the 30th August and 2nd September 2018, make sure to stop by the Bournemouth Air Festival and catch aircraft soaring over the seafront.
Freshwater West, Pembrokeshire
If you’re heading to the Welsh coastline this summer, you’re guaranteed to find a beautiful beach or two. A must-visit is the wild and wind-swept Freshwater West. The long, golden and exposed strand is ideal for surfing and rock-pooling, as well as a little relaxation. The beach is surrounded by red sandstone cliffs and high, sheltered sand dunes.
Its sandy shores are also something of a celebrity. The beach has featured in films including Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The Shell House, which you will find tucked amongst the dunes, was actually constructed for the final Harry Potter film.
Blackpool Sands, South Devon
On South Devon’s heritage coast and in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, lies the sheltered beach of Blackpool Sands. The Mediterranean-esque shoreline is hidden by neighbouring evergreens and pines, which make it a calming retreat from bustling Dartmouth nearby.
Whether you want to sit back and read a good book on your deckchair or grab your paddleboard and head out into the inviting waters, Blackpool Sands is a great beach to escape to.
Fistral Beach, Cornwall
Fistral Beach is perhaps Newquay’s most iconic beach and one of the best surfing destinations in the UK – and even Europe.
The water’s powerful waves make it a favourite for surfers all year round. But it’s not just those looking to catch the perfect wave who visit. Whether it’s relaxing with a picnic, walking the dog or tucking into the local seaside cuisine, Fistral is a great spot for families.
Crosby Beach, Liverpool
If you’re visiting the vibrant city of Liverpool this summer, why not take a short trip just north of the city to Crosby Beach? This shoreline is certainly unique.
Here you’ll find ‘Another Place’, an art installation by acclaimed artist, Antony Gormley. It’s made up of 100 cast iron, life-size figures (based on his own body, in fact) standing across the foreshore and almost one kilometre out to sea. Go see the army of iron statues for yourself – the beach is only a 20-minute train ride from Liverpool centre.
Porthcurno Beach, Land's End
For many beachgoers, Porthcurno is the top beach spot in the UK, and it’s easy to see why. With fine white sand, turquoise blue waters and dramatic granite cliffs surrounding it, the bay is an oasis for families and couples alike.
The standout attraction of Porthcurno is the Minack Theatre, which was built in the 1930s. Here you can enjoy dramatic clifftop theatrical performances, as well as musicals and operas. The one-of-a-kind theatre is easily accessible and welcomes visitors all year round. Be sure to bring a picnic.
Luskentyre Sands, Isle of Harris
Scotland has a diverse range of natural landscapes for you to explore, including a stunning collection of shorelines. Voted the best beach in Scotland on TripAdvisor, Luskentyre bay along the west coast of the Isle of Harris, is a sandy slice of heaven and a must-visit if you’re looking to get away from it all.
After driving down a winding road, past vast sand dunes, you’ll arrive at a long stretch of white sand and glistening blue sea. Spend your day dipping your toes in the shallow waters and admiring the incredible views.
Bamburgh Beach, Northumberland
There are many reasons why the rarely-crowded Bamburgh Beach is a must-visit. Its spacious sands are perfect for dune sledging, rock pooling or simply taking in the dramatic views of Bamburgh Castle, which overlooks the bay.
The castle dates back to the 18th century and for a small fee (free for under 5s), beachgoers can explore its historical grounds. Perched on top of a green mound, the castle offers spectacular coastal views and a treasure-trove collection of ancient pieces.
Walberswick Beach, Suffolk
A wonderful way to spend a sunny day is at the coastal village of Walberswick. The local beach is a long stretch of sand and shingles, which has been the inspiration for many famous artists, including Phillip Wilson Steer.
You can take a bracing walk along the water or explore the nearby harbour. If you’re with little ones, they’ll have lots of fun building sand castles, too. After working up an appetite, enjoy a hearty pub lunch or cream tea in the picturesque village. The area also has a nature reserve, which is home to lots of wildlife, including otters and deers.
Llanddwyn Bay, Anglesey
A drive to the south of Anglesey will bring you to a narrow headland: Llanddwyn Island. It’s named after the Welsh patron saint of love, Dwynwen, and is part of the Newborough Warren National Nature Reserve. At the end of the small island you’ll discover a row of Pilot’s Cottages and a little lighthouse. If you visit on a clear day you can enjoy fantastic views of the peaks of Snowdonia and the Llŷn Peninsula.
The bay itself is a sweeping and shining sandy beach, backed by grassy sand dunes. It’s the perfect spot for swimming, kayaking or canoeing on a warm summer’s day.