Britain’s Best Beaches
While promises of an early May heatwave in the UK have been put to a stop by those damn easterly breezes, the sun is still set to shine for much of the month. And for us, that means one thing: beach time. With its plethora of golden beaches – all the way from the cliffs of Dover to the top of windier climates of the Outer Hebrides – Great Britain has some of the best in the world. So we made a list of some of the best of them… Don’t forget the Factor 50!
1) Saunton Sands, North Devon
The south-west of England is notoriously a haven for beach lovers, and North Devon’s Saunton Sands is perfect if you love your wildlife and walks. This three-mile stretch of golden sands offers one of the largest sand-dune systems in the UK, and is also home to a myriad rare plants and butterflies.
2) Wells, Norfolk
We couldn’t have a list of Britain’s best beaches without featuring one from our home county of Norfolk. And for us, our favourite is Wells beach. Stretching all the way as far as picturesque Holkham, Wells offers vast stretches of sand, colourful beach huts and even a small train journey from the quintessential seaside town of Wells-next-the-Sea. The vastness of the beach is incredible when the tide is out – just be careful not to get stranded when it comes in.
3) Studland Bay, Dorset
If you’re a fan of stripping down to your birthday suit when on the sands, Shell Bay on Studland Bay in Purbeck, Dorset is the most popular naturist beach in the UK. And for good reason too; the National Trust-protected golden strip offers views of Old Harry Rocks chalk formations as well as the nearby Isle of Wight, and almost feel like a desert-island. If you’re not into checking out others’ junk, Knoll Beach is popular with families.
4) Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Lancashire
One of the most visited tourist attraction in the UK, Blackpool Pleasure Beach might not be for everyone, but it’s quintessentially British and we think it should be celebrated and cherished. The beach might not be the cleanest – though a major clean-up is currently underway – but it’s hard not to be charmed by the 100 year old theme park backdrop.
5) Marloes Sands, Pembrokeshire
With crystal-clear waters and dramatic sandstone cliffs, Marloes Sands is arguably the finest beach in Wales. There may be a half mile walk from the car park, but it’s well worth it with views of outlying islands, fossils, rock pools, seals, surf and plenty of space for windbreakers.
6) Portstewart Strand, Northern Ireland
If you’re looking for blonde landscapes around the Irish part of the North Atlantic, Portstewart Strand’s two miles of coastline in County Londonderry is understandably one of Northern Ireland’s top tourist attractions. As well as the beach, the dunes offer a thriving home to butterflies and rare wild flowers, making it a perfect day out for the family.
7) Pelistry Bay, Isles of Scilly
The Isles of Scilly are home to many a beautiful beach, but for our money Pelistry Bay on St Mary’s has to be one of the more incredible. Quiet and completely unspoilt, the secluded beach features a plethora of rock pools and is connected at low tide to rocky Toll’s Island.
8) Bamburgh Beach, Northumberland
The weather might not be conducive for sunbathing in Northumberland, but there are few better beaches in the UK for a stroll than Bamburgh Beach. With the brooding Bamburgh Castle, dating back from Norman times, overlooking the beach, it’s as picturesque as beaches come.
9) Walberswick, Suffolk
Another East Anglian entry, Walberswick combines the best of the British seaside with the best of the English countryside. The beautiful village of Walberswick is connected to its stretch of sandy beach via an idyllic wooden bridge, which is usually filled to the brim with people clutching crabbing lines and plastic buckets.
10) Porthcurno, Cornwall
The famed Porthcurno beach is probably Great Britain’s most beautiful bay. Lying close to England’s westernmost point, Land’s End, Porthcurno’s fine white sands are enclosed by soaring lichen-encrusted granite cliffs. At low tide you can walk to other surrounding beaches and also sit on the sandbars beneath the ancient cliff fort of Treryn Dinas. Overlooked by the stunning open-air Minack Theatre, Porthcurno might just be the best beach in the UK.