Where are the best beaches in the UK and where can I find them?
When we type merrily into google what do we actually mean? Are we happy if the top 10 beaches in the UK come up?
What about if they are 100s of miles away from us or will take over 3 hours to drive to?
What makes a beach the best? What else do we look for at a UK beach? Sand or shingle? Amusements or wildlife? Perhaps you’re looking for quiet beaches in the UK, or even hidden or secret UK beaches?
If we think about the British coast, there are the big players when it comes to beaches, Devon and Cornwall, South Coast, East Coast, North West all have great beaches each with unique attractions.
In this list, we aim to make it as easy as possible for you to find the beach that is right for you by focusing on where it is, the type of beach it is, why you should visit, whether it be for rock pools, white sands, fish and chips, fresh seafood, long walks or simply being your closest beach.
Nearest beach to London
Beach name: Ruislip Lido
Distance from London: 20 miles
Type of beach: Ok, so this is a faux-beach, but still a sandy beach nonetheless and it’s even possible to travel to it by tube – it is in Zone 6 so it’s certainly a beach near London in fact, it’s a beach in London. This definitely makes the hidden beaches in the UK list.
A perfect option for families looking for a multi-entertainment option including a miniature railway and play areas. The beach is near Ruislip Woods National Nature Reserve, which means there is plenty to explore.
Nearest beach to Oxford
Beach name: Sandbanks beach
Distance from Oxford: 97.7 miles
Now this isn’t technically the closest as the crow flies but Hayling Island has a shingle beach and if you’re making the effort, it’s likely you want the option of sandcastle building. Travelling to Sandbanks will more than worth the effort.
Type of beach: Blue flag beach offering soft sands. If you’re looking for a real British seaside and a sand beach is a must then this is the place for you. Relax and enjoy the view, see who can build the best sandcastle or play a round of crazy golf, take a ride on the land train or if you’re feeling particularly energetic why not try out some watersports?
Nearest beach to Coventry
Beach name: Hunstanton beach
Distance from Coventry: 118.8 miles
Yes, we know, Coventry is technically the city that is furthest from any beach being well and truly land-locked, but that doesn’t mean a seaside town can’t be an option.
Type of beach: Sandy beach with rock pools to explore. Built as a seaside resort in 1846, there is plenty of old fashioned Victorian charm to still enjoy at Hunstanton including the Esplanade Gardens for a quiet stroll. If you want more action then there is crazy golf, pitch and putt or the Oasis Leisure Centre.
The Top Ten Accessible Beaches in the UK
30 of the top-rated beaches in the UK were tested against 10 point criteria to see how they performed. This kind of information can be tricky to find so the fact a study has been performed means there is now an important resource available for those with mobility and accessibility needs. You can find the results here
Best beaches in the UK
This could become a 100-page blog about beaches if we were to list all the best beaches in each area! Instead, we have narrowed them down with the following criterion:
- Sand beaches/ Sand and shingle beaches
- Parking/ car parks close to the beach
- Toilet facilities
- Additional activities
Best beaches on the South Coast UK
- Viking Bay, Broadstairs
- Botany Bay, Broadstairs
- Minnis Bay, Margate
- Joss Bay, Margate
- Greatstone Beach, New Romney
- Studland – Shell Bay, Poole
- Mudeford Sandbank Beach, Bournemouth
- Durdle Door Beach, Weymouth
- Sandbanks Beach, Poole
Isle of Wight
Best Beaches in the South West UK
- Woolacombe Beach, Ilfracombe
- Widemouth Bay, Bude
- Saunton Sands, Northam
- Blackpool Sands, Dartmouth
- Babbacombe Beach, Torquay
- Exmouth Beach, Exmouth
- Paignton Sands, Paignton
- Kynance Cove, Helston
- Portcurno, Penzance
- Sennan Cove (Whitesands Bay), Newlyn
- Polezeath Beach (Hayle Bay), Wadebridge
- Fistral Beach, Newquay
- Perranporth Beach (Perran Sands), Newquay
- Carbis Bay Beach, St Ives
Best East Coast beaches in the UK
- Cleethorpes Beach, Grimsby
- Sutton-on-Sea Beach, Mablethorpe
- Anderby Creek Beach, Skegness
- Chapel St Leonards Beach, Skegness
- Skegness Beach, Skegness
- Gorleston-on-Sea Beach, Great Yarmouth
- Cromer Beach, Cromer
- Hemsby Beach, Great Yarmouth
- Sea Palling Beach, Norwich
- Wells Beach, Wells- next-the sea
- Aldeburgh Beach, Aldeburgh
- Southwold Pier Beach, Southwold
- Denes Beach (Southwold), Southwold
- Lowestoft South Beach, Lowestoft
- Frinton-on-Sea Beach, Frinton on Sea
- Shoebury Common Beach, Southend-on-Sea
- Brightlingsea Beach, Brightlingsea
North West beaches
- Blackpool Beach, Blackpool
- Cleveleys Beach, Blackpool
- St Annes – North Beach, Blackpool
- Morecambe Beach, Morecambe
- Fleetwood Beach (Marine Beach), Fleetwood
H2 The best beaches in Wales
- Llangrannog Beach, Cardiganock
- Marloes Sands, Milford Haven
- Caswell Bay, The Mumbles
- Whitesands Beach (Porthmawr), Goodwick
- Benllech beach, Llangefni
- Morfa Bychan – Black Rock Sands, Porthamadog
- Abersoch Beach, Pwllheli
- Dinas Dinlle Beach, Caernarfon
- Ligwy beach – Traeth Ligwy, Amlwch
Scotland’s Best Beaches
- Sandwood Bay, Kinlochbervi
- Seacliff Beach, North Berwick
- Portobello Beach (Porty Beach), Edinburgh
- St Andrews West Sands Beach, St Andrews
- Kingbarns Beach, Crail
- Coldingham Bay, Eyemouth
- Aberdour -Silver Sands (Silversands), Burntisland
The longest beach in the UK
At 18 miles, Chesil Beach is the UK’s longest beach. If you wanted to attempt it, there is a walk you can follow but it would certainly be a long day out.
Best Beach Huts in the UK
Beach Huts, once a simple fisherman’s cabin by the sea that offered basic shelter or protected the modesty of Victorian women have now become a popular option for quirky holiday accommodation. Here are some top-rated beach hut stays if you are looking for a holiday with a difference.
H2 UK Beaches Map
For a quick view of UK beach locations, you can’t go wrong with this great map of beaches in the UK which lets you pinpoint the exact locations you are looking to visit.