When you think about beach getaways, the United Kingdom is probably the last thing on your mind! Boasting over 10,000 miles of coastline, these islands have hidden bays and remote beaches for the ultimate holiday destination. No matter the weather, you’ll find beauty across the shorelines and the endless waters. From family picnic spots to wildlife adventures, there are tons of things you can do at these beaches. So, forget about the Maldives, pack your bags, and spend your summer along the coast of the UK!

The Top 16 UK Beaches That You Should Visit

The United Kingdom has lots of beaches for every type of holidaymaker. If you’re looking for a quintessential English holiday, the county of Cornwall is the best pick for you and your family. For unique beachside breaks, there are plenty of spots along the coastline of Wales and Scotland. And if you’re planning on bringing along your pets, you’ll be glad to know that there are tons of pet-friendly beaches in the country. Here are some of the top beaches tucked across the shores of the UK for your next holiday break:

1. Holkham Beach, Norfolk

Holkham Beach
“Holkham Beach”, by Hugh Venables, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Holkham Beach is a long stretch of sand dunes found on the northern edges of Norfolk in England. Tucked within a small seaside village, the beach is best known for its semi-remote atmosphere. Holkham’s endless golden coastline is popular among locals and holidaymakers, especially families looking for a quintessential English holiday. The waves are excellent for swimming, surfing, and other watersport activities. Holkham is also one of the rare beaches in the country that has a dedicated nudist section for avid beachgoers. And if you’re a fan of wildlife, the beach is right next to thriving marshlands and its winged residents!

2. Rhossili Bay, Wales

Rhossili Bay
“Rhossili Bay”, by Gordon Hatton, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Rhossili Bay is undeniably one of the best beaches along the Gower Peninsula in Wales. Stretching for over three miles, the beach is famous for its stunning arc, golden sands, and steep walks from the village to the coast. Rhossili is also known for its prehistoric past with many fossil sites scattered across its bay. However, what makes the spot truly iconic is its stunning panoramic views and gorgeous sunsets. With its crystal clear waters and never-ending sands, Rhossili is a hotspot for tourists and filmmakers. It’s also incredibly dog-friendly, so don’t forget to bring your four-legged friend on your trip!

3. Freshwater West, Pembrokeshire

Freshwater West
“Freshwater West”, by Mario Sánchez Prada, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Freshwater West is a vast sandy beach located in the village of Castlemartin within Pembrokeshire. With its extensive coastline and consistent swells, the beach is extremely popular among surfers and beachgoers. The beach, often nicknamed “Fresh West,” is the favourite venue for the Welsh National Surfing Championships. Its popularity increased after the coast served as the backdrop for the final Harry Potter films. Fresh West was also featured on the set of Russell Crowe’s 2010 film, “Robin Hood.” Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or a film enthusiast, you’ll love the breathtaking seaside of Freshwater!

4. Kynance Cove, Cornwall

Kynance Cove
“Kynance Cove”, by Lewis Clarke, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Kynance Cove is a not-so-hidden beach tucked on the eastern side of the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall. Despite its relatively small size, the destination is a true gem of the Cornish coast and draws visitors from around the world. The cove is best known for its turquoise waters, sandy beach, and unique rock formations. Thanks to its close proximity to the South West Coast Path, the surrounding cliffsides and grasslands also offer lots of adventures for holidaymakers. Kynance Cove is a local favourite and has had famous visitors on its coast including poets, artists, and even Queen Victoria. Holidaymakers also love its onsite cafe tucked into the cliffsides with its fantastic panoramic vistas!

5. Barafundle Bay, Pembrokeshire

Barafundle Bay
“Barafundle Bay”, by JKMMX, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Barafundle Bay is a remote beach located within Pembrokeshire in Wales. Found within the Stackpole Quay, the beach is accessible through the Pembrokeshire Coast Path or from Broad Haven South. It was once a private beach owned by an aristocratic family, but now it’s managed by The National Trust and is open for curious holidaymakers. Although the walk to the beach is steep, the journey is definitely worth it. Barafundle is known for its golden coast which stretches uninterrupted for almost a mile. Visitors are free to enjoy its warm sun, blue waters, and seaside views!

6. Woolacombe Sands, Devon

Woolacombe Sands
“Woolacombe Sands”, by T Eyre, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Woolacombe Sands is a two-mile beach and the heart of the town along the coast of North Devon. Surrounded by the South West Coast Path and the North Devon Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the beach and its surrounding heathlands are noted for their stunning beauty. Families love spending their days building sandcastles and enjoying the fresh waters of the Bristol Channel. The place is also a frequent hangout spot for surfers thanks to its extensive shoreline and consistent waves. After a tiring day at the beach, you can grab a bite at the nearby cafes and restaurants. There are also plenty of countryside activities near the beach including nature walks and pony trekking!

7. Whitby Sands, North Yorkshire

Whitby Sands
“Whitby Sands”, by Dave Hitchborne, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Whitby Sands is the main beach of the seaside town of Whitby located on the edges of North Yorkshire in England. While mainly known for its fishing port and whaling fleets, Whitby is also a popular holiday resort. Visitors love its busy harbour, bustling shops, and historical moorlands from the North York Moors National Park. Whitby is the perfect classic English beach with its beautiful white sands, colourful beach huts, and idyllic atmosphere. Aside from the coast, holidaymakers also enjoy exploring the promenade and checking out the iconic lighthouse. The Whitby Regatta takes place annually as well, creating the ideal holiday location with lots of activities such as surfing, sailing, and rowing!

8. Blackpool Sands, Devon

Blackpool Sands
“Blackpool Sands”, by Tony Atkin, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Blackpool Sands is a beach on the outskirts of Dartmouth within the county of Devon. Compared to the other beaches on the list, Blackpool boasts a spacious shoreline filled with pebbles and stones. Aside from the endless blue of the ocean, the opposite coast is decorated with evergreens and pine trees from the countryside. Thanks to its vast coast and cool waves, Blackpool is popular amongst locals and holidaymakers. You can spend days exploring the beachside or the waters on one of the rentable kayaks. And if you’re done having fun, you can treat yourself to a delicious snack with the best views across Devon!

9. Scarista Beach, Scotland

Scarista Beach
“Scarista Beach”, by Patrick Hamilton, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Scarista Beach is another fantastic beach found within the islands of the Hebrides in Scotland. Stretching across the southwest end of the Isle of Harris, Scarista comes with sand dunes and wild waves from the Atlantic Ocean. Visitors often come from across the country to check out its exquisite views and enjoy its relaxing atmosphere. Scarista is also quite remote, so you can expect fewer crowds even during peak seasons. Aside from family-friendly trips, the beach is an incredibly romantic destination as well. And if you’re lucky and plan your timing, you may be able to see the Northern Lights!

10. Watergate Bay, Cornwall

Watergate Bay
“Watergate Bay”, by Steve Daniels, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Watergate Bay is one of the most popular beaches in Newquay nestled within the county of Cornwall. The sandy beach runs for at least two miles with big waves on one side and a long line of cafes and restaurants on the other. Considering its accessible location, Watergate Bay receives hundreds of visitors each year. The beach is also known to host the annual English Nationals Surfing Championships. Watergate’s extensive coast is an excellent venue for making sandcastles and flying kites. The best part is that the bay is pretty dog-friendly all year round so you can bring your pets anytime!

11. Durdle Door, Dorset

Durdle Door
“Durdle Door”, by Saffron Blaze, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Durdle Door is perhaps one of the most iconic beaches in the UK. Located on the other end of the Jurassic Coast in Dorset, the destination is famous for its sandy beach, turquoise water, and limestone arch. As you approach the coast, you’ll be treated to magnificent views across the bay and the lovely wonders of the South West Coast Path. The beach is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and hunting for fossils as you trek the trails. Found right next to the beach is Lulworth Cove, a small pebble beach which offers a more secluded spot for holidaymakers. Durdle Door can get extremely busy during peak season, so make sure to plan ahead of your visit!

12. Sutton-On-Sea Beach, Lincolnshire

“Sutton-On-Sea”, by Julian P Guffogg, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Sutton-On-Sea is a seaside town in Lincolnshire known for its charming attractions and beautiful beaches. The town’s main beachfront is a wide sandy coast with gentle waves, creating the perfect setting for holidaying families and tourists. Sutton’s relatively remote location also offers a slice of a peaceful haven for busy daytrippers in need of a quick weekend break. In addition to the gorgeous beach, you’ll also be treated to views of vibrant huts, quirky cafes, and landscaped gardens. If you’re looking for the perfect English holiday, Sutton is the place to be. It’s important to note though that the coast is only pet-friendly during specific seasons!

13. Trearddur Bay, North Wales

Trearddur Bay
“Trearddur Bay”, by Ian Greig, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Trearddur Bay is a beach nestled on the Isle of Anglesey in North Wales. Considered one of the best beaches in the UK, the vast shore is shaped like a horseshoe and is famous for its gentle waves. Trearddur is perfect for families and holidaymakers searching for the ideal countryside break. Due to its extensive size, the beach has its own lifeguard station to ensure the safety of its visitors. When visiting, don’t forget to check out the ancient burial ground near the beach’s centre. Trearddur also has plenty of watersport activities that you can try like sailing, fishing, and even scuba diving!

14. Treyarnon Bay, Cornwall

Treyarnon Bay
“Treyarnon Bay”, by Steve Daniels, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Treyarnon is a small hamlet found on the western end of St. Merryn in Cornwall. Aside from its lovely square, the locals love its main beach which extends all the way to Constantine Bay. When the tide goes out, there’s a series of rockpools on one side of the coast which is perfect for shallow swimming. The visit alone is worth it for the views and there are plenty of clifftop benches and trails that you can explore during your holiday. Treyarnon is also part of the South West Coast Path which makes it even more attractive for holidaymakers. After visiting the beach, remember to check out the other neighbouring bays such as Wine Cove, Pepper Cove, and Warren Cove!

15. Lunan Bay, Scotland

Lunan Bay
“Lunan Bay”, by Anne Burgess, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Lunan Bay is a picturesque beach in the county of Angus in Scotland. With its remote location and rugged landscape, it’s a popular destination for romantic escapades or family holidays. But despite its rough rock formations, the beachfront has soft and gentle sands and crystal-clear waters which makes it ideal for swimming. Lunan is undoubtedly popular thanks to its natural beauty and untouched wilderness. After you’ve finished exploring the coast, you can trek the Scottish landscapes and enjoy the wonderful sights. You can also visit the ruins of Redcastle, another historical landmark overlooking the bay!

Final Thoughts

When it comes to beach holidays, you’ll never run out of options in the UK! Families and friends will enjoy spending their summer days along the coast of Holkham Beach or Woolacombe Sands. If you’re in need of a romantic and remote seaside getaway, hidden gems such as Kynance Cove and Scarista Beach are perfect picks. No matter what type of holiday you’re planning, you’ll surely find the right destination for your break. From the rough coasts of Scotland to the warm shorelines of Cornwall, you’ll find the ultimate beach spot for your weekend trip!

Featured Image: “Blackpool Sands”, by Tony Atkin, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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