The UK offers some of the most breathtaking landscapes and beaches in the world, despite its reputation for being a little chilly and windy. Ever ponder the origin of New South Wales’ name? There are vast expanses of gorgeous white beaches in England, Scotland, and Wales, as well as a tiny island with water the colour of the Caribbean and rocky cliffs and enormous sand dunes.
The best beaches to visit in UK are unexpectedly beautiful, even though the historic sites are an attraction. You should take the time to explore some breathtaking coastlines, whether you go to the windswept coasts of Wales or Scotland or the otherworldly white beaches of Norfolk.
The United Kingdom has a surprising amount of beach entertainment, from little coves to popular attractions.
Sure, there are the quaint, kid-friendly Woolacombe Sands and the beach houses painted in rainbow colours on Summerleaze, but did you know that you can glimpse porpoises from the pristine sands Scarista Beach? Or the unrivalled picnic location with a view of Lulworth Cove?
26 Best Beaches to Visit in UK
With this list of the 26 best beaches to visit in UK, you may choose the ideal gorgeous patch of sand for your upcoming holiday.
1. Holkham Beach, Norfolk
Holkham Beach is a four-mile stretch of golden beaches that is wild, free, and almost lunar in appearance. It is bordered by pine forests and enormous sand dunes that are held in place by wildflowers and marram grass.
A lagoon is formed when a half-moon basin fills up during high tide. Since it is a protected area within the Holkham estate and nature reserve, no fires or grills are allowed there. It is also an excellent place for beachcombing.
This enormous beach is bordered by a lush nature preserve, which is home to a maze of clearly marked walking trails. Explore the pine forests and salt marshes to spot uncommon birds, orchids, and sea lavender. It is one of the best beaches to visit in UK.
2. Portstewart Strand, Derry, Northern Ireland
Between Portstewart and the River Bann’s mouth, rolling dunes and pristine sands can be seen. The two-mile length is one of the remaining locations in Ireland where cars are still permitted to drive directly onto the beach, so authorized drivers may celebrate.
It might not be to everyone’s taste, but families looking to have picnics on the coastlines find it very popular. Once finished, head to the Three Kings Coffee Company for a real flat white sourdough sandwich and some seriously excellent pancake stacks.
In the grassy dunes, hide-and-seek games are most enjoyable. It is one of the best beaches to visit in UK.
3. North Shore Beach, Llandudno, Wales
North Shore Beach in North Wales has a classic British seaside feel, albeit being far less popular than its equivalent in the south.
The Great Orme and Little Orme headlands, which you can also visit by cable car as a day trip for breathtaking views, provide protection for the popular beach.
You may take a donkey ride, enjoy some ice cream, listen to a live band, or watch a beloved Punch and Judy show before passing out on a striped deckchair at this beach with soft sand and a long traditional pier. It is one of the best beaches to visit in UK.
4. Durdle Door, Jurassic Coast, Dorset
Durdle Door is the name of the limestone arch that separates St. Oswald’s Bay and Man O’War Cove, two beautiful beaches on the Jurassic Coast. They won’t be congested even on the hottest summer days; to get here, you must descend several hundred cliffside steps.
But the ascent is worthwhile. It is such a stunning place that Pink Floyd artwork, Cliff Richard, Bruce Dickinson, and Tears for Fears music videos have all been shot there, along with scenes from the films Far From the Madding Crowd and Wilde.
Even the toughest swimmers shiver in the sea’s shockingly cold waters, which are unexpectedly blue and clean.
The adjoining Lulworth Cove is more well-liked by families because it is simpler to access, has amenities close by, and has a few inns that look out over the cove.
The South West Coast Path is best for travelling through its most picturesque corner. It is one of the best beaches to visit in UK.
5. Luskentyre Beach, Outer Hebrides, Scotland
The Outer Hebrides’ most atmospheric scenery can be found on the Isle of Harris. It has a genuine sense of solitude because of the gloomy, sombre backgrounds and lunar-like landscapes. There are also several beaches to enjoy.
The best is perhaps Luskentyre, which features stunning, crystal-clear waters that are more often associated with the Caribbean than with Scotland and are framed by a long, white coastline.
Otters, seals, dolphins, eagles, and deer are just a few examples of wildlife that can occasionally be seen grazing along the dunes in Harris. It is one of the best beaches to visit in UK.
6. Barafundle Bay, Pembrokeshire, Wales
Barafundle Bay, another prize-winning beach for Wales, attracted attention when it was rated among the greatest beaches in the world.
The most beautiful coastline and sandy beaches can be found in Wales’ southwest. Try the stunning Barafundle Bay, which can only be accessed after an exhilarating half-hour gallop across the clifftops, ensuring that it is still largely uninhabited even during summer.
Aside from a few surfers who brave the chilly Irish Sea year-round, you may frequently find the beach to yourself when it’s not in season. However, during the summer, the water is uncharacteristically blue for the Irish Sea and has been compared to the Caribbean Sea. Since there are no stores around, bring a picnic.
Like Snow White and the Huntsman’s secluded location, Marloes Sands is a nearby beach that is likewise highly rated. It is one of the best beaches to visit in UK.
7. Rhossili Bay, Gower Peninsula Coast, Wales
Wales, specifically Rhossili Bay, will be mentioned when you inquire about the locations of most of the UK’s top beaches. Best for Breathtaking hikes through the dramatic cliffs of Gower Peninsula.
These beaches are unbelievably pristine, and the sapphire blue sea gave this region its moniker, New South Wales.
The main drawback is that the sea is frequently too choppy and cold to appreciate, but going in the summer will be an unforgettable experience. It is one of the best beaches to visit in UK.
Three kilometers of sand-covered shoreline flanked by verdant hills surround Rhossili bay, which offers a variety of water sports, adorable eateries, and other enjoyable activities.
8. Formby Beach, Merseyside
The best place to see red squirrels is on a wild walk from the shore to the woods.
The lovely, family-friendly Formby beach is embraced by a network of dunes that shift at an alarming rate of four metres per year, making it one of the National Trust’s shorelines that changes the fastest. The tides are revealing prehistoric footprints; take a stroll down the beach to find them and gaze out to sea for breathtaking vistas of the Irish Sea.
Visit the National Trust website to download “squirrel walks” to see how the woodlands that abut the beach are maintained to protect the red squirrel’s habitat.
While you’re here, take the 30-minute journey to Crosby Beach to see the renowned public sculpture “Another Place” by Antony Gormley. It is one of the best beaches to visit in UK.
9. Porthcurno Beach, Cornwall, England
A stunning coastal cliff range surrounds the beach in Porthcurno Bay. At its foot is the crescent-shaped wedge of sand that makes up one of England’s finest beaches.
Porthcurno, which is a part of the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is a visual treat and has served as the inspiration for many landscape artists and photographers.
In addition to its breathtaking surroundings, Porthcurno beach is renowned for its distinctive Minack Theatre, an outdoor theatre with panoramic views of the coastline that was hewn out of the cliffs. Various theatrical organizations put out shows from May to September.
Beachgoers can use a car park at the cliff’s peak, which is staffed by a café and restaurant during the height of the tourist season. It is one of the best beaches to visit in UK.
10. Bournemouth Beach, Bournemouth, Dorset
The expansive stretch known as Bournemouth Beach, which spans more than 11 miles of gorgeous golden sand, actually encompasses some locations, from Hengistbury Head in the east, through Southbourne, Boscombe, Bournemouth town, and westward into Poole.
Bournemouth Beach, known for its iconic pier, has a variety of family-friendly recreational opportunities, such as the thrilling pier-to-shore zipline, Happyland Amusement Park, and the close-by Bournemouth Oceanarium.
One of the nicest beaches close to London is Bournemouth Beach, about two hours southwest of the English city. It becomes a gathering place in the summer for Londoners seeking a peaceful, sandy weekend getaway in South England. It is one of the best beaches to visit in UK.
11. West Wittering Beach, Sussex
The settlement of West Wittering hugs the shore not far from the ancient city of Chichester. This adorable location is well-known for its A-list celebrity residents and a wonderful beach that is rated as one of the top Blue Flag beaches in the nation.
West Wittering Beach is a popular spot for visiting families to bring their buckets and spades, and it is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
While visiting, visitors will understand the significance of the nearby wetlands, an environment renowned for its biodiversity, birdlife, and breathtaking beauty.
The sea, which is renowned for having great water quality, attracts kitesurfers and wind. Kids and adults of all ages will find a succession of shallow lagoons present during low tide to be an interesting region of adventure that is irresistible to explore.
A well-liked beach café, a practical shower building, and a water sports club are included in the recreational amenities. It is one of the best beaches to visit in UK.
12. Bamburgh Beach, Northumberland
The massive Bamburgh Castle, whose ominous ramparts overlook one of northern England’s most spectacular beaches, is the inspiration behind this gorgeous stretch of sand. Although it is believed that a castle formerly stood here, most of what you see today originates from the 12th century.
The beach at Bamburgh is a beautiful expanse of sand backed by a swaying bank of flower-topped dunes and is a popular spot for kiteboarding and surfing. In reality, this beach is among the best in Northeast England for kiteboarding and surfing.
The inner Farne Islands, formerly inhabited by hermits and monks and now home to an amazing diversity of seabirds, are located across from the shore. It is also known as Bamburgh castle beach. It is one of the best beaches to visit in UK.
13. Brighton Beach, East Sussex
The most vibrant and culturally varied town in England is Brighton. Brighton has a fantastic 5.5-mile shingle beach in addition to its popular tourist attractions.
As a result, Brighton and its coastline have previously been named among the top 10 city beach getaway locations worldwide. Its base is rather rocky, so wear your shoes and bring a large towel or beach chair.
The location draws beachgoers from all over the country, water sports aficionados drawn by the availability of kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding, and traditional beach games like extreme Frisbee and volleyball. It is one of the best beaches to visit in UK.
Brighton has a wide variety of dining establishments, sporting venues, amusement parks, and year-round entertainment. It is also well-known for its neighbouring Cliff Beach, the first naturist beach in Britain.
14. Woolacombe Beach, Devon
Woolacombe beach, a three-mile (4.8-kilometre) stretch of charming, sandy beach in Devon that consistently ranks as the best beach in the UK, is popular with tourists, families, and residents who come to enjoy a classic British seaside experience.
In addition to swimming, surfing, kayaking, kitesurfing, and jet skiing, many other activities are available. It is one of the best beaches to visit in UK.
Although numerous beach huts are available for day rentals, there are plenty of seaside stores, cafes, and restaurants to keep you busy.
15. Compton Bay Beach, Isle of Wight
This fantastic DIY beach lies at West Wight and lacks any notable recreational features. Therefore, visitors should bring everything they need for a day to one of the island’s most stunning beaches.
A contrasted expanse of black and golden beaches covers Compton Bay Beach, bordered by choppy waters and occasionally unpredictable breezes. The honey and caramel-coloured sandstone cliffs that form a pleasing backdrop add more colour. Seabirds fly overhead on rising thermals there as well.
The majority of the beach is gentle and softly shelving. However, a few sections of submerged rock extend out to sea and remain concealed during high tide, so you need to be cautious of these. Shallow water is a safe place to paddle.
Beginner paleontologists can reserve trips on the beach to witness dinosaur footprints at Hanover Point that are exposed at low tide on the sandstone ledge. It is one of the best beaches to visit in UK.
16. Scarista Beach, Isle of Harris, Scotland
Best for viewing porpoises from the unspoiled shore.
Even on a cloudy day, Scarista Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in the Hebrides, is stunning; nevertheless, on a sunny day, you’ll find it difficult to tear yourself away from the enticing ocean’s sugary soft sand. It is one of the best beaches to visit in UK.
Some of the best gastronomic destinations are close by despite their distant setting. Stop by Scarista House, a Georgian estate on the beach for a lavish afternoon tea, or travel 10 minutes south to The Temple Cafe, a charming café with a counter piled high with enticing pastries.
17. Giant’s Causeway, Ireland
You’ve probably seen pictures of Giant’s Causeway, which, while not technically a beach, is undoubtedly the most famous section of coastline in the UK.
The tens of thousands of stone columns that have been sculpted by wind and sea over the years make the UNESCO world heritage site a well-known geological marvel. It is one of the best beaches to visit in UK.
Numerous guided tours are available to properly explore the region, as well as a few cafes and shops, so you won’t be complete without facilities despite the fact that it is not a site for swimming or other typical beach activities.
18. Studland Bay, Dorset
Best for developing a complete tan. It is one of the best beaches to visit in UK.
Studland Bay may have a few beach balls in sight as one of the UK’s most well-known naturist beaches. If skinny-dipping isn’t your thing, stay to the south, where there is lush heathland and a forested area with walking trails where you can see wild deer and birdlife.
The tiny town of Studland, which was the inspiration for Noddy’s Toytown because it is so ridiculously adorable, has a variety of dining establishments, including the Michelin-recommended Pig on the Beach, where hearty British dishes are prepared using ingredients that are either grown on-site or that are sourced within a 25-mile radius.
19. St. Bees, Cumbria
St Bees is a wonderfully lovely stretch of shingle and sand that is bordered by several low cliffs and is a great area to spend a quiet day of reflection.
Here, you may select an amazing variety of shells and stones, many of which result from the cliff face’s ongoing erosion.
Wainwright’s Coast-to-Coast trail, which runs from here to Robin Hood’s Bay in North Yorkshire, also begins here. It is one of the best beaches to visit in UK.
20. Pentle Bay, Isles Of Scilly
The Isles of Scilly are frequently referred to as the UK’s answer to the Mediterranean but don’t anticipate this stunning destination ‘Pentle Bay’ to be effortless.
There’s common for only one ferry every day, leaving Cornwall at six in the morning and arriving at the island three hours later.
Its magnificent white sand beaches and clear, blue sea are beautiful because they are typically uninhabited. It is one of the best beaches to visit in UK.
Although there are other beaches on the Scilly, it is worth spending a few days there to visit the communities, harbours, and, most importantly, some of the most beautiful beaches in the UK.
21. Kynance Cove, Cornwall
The Lizard Peninsula is ideal for adventure in the tradition of the Famous Five. It’s understandable why Kynance Cove is among Cornwall’s most photographed beaches, given its soft white sand, deep blue waters, and striking rock formations.
The Ladies Bathing Pool and the Drawing Room are only a couple of the fascinating networks of coves and sea caves that are nearly completely hidden by the rising tide if you time it just right.
The 10-minute descent from the parking lot is steep, so proceed with caution and treat yourself to some crab sandwiches from the popular Kynance Cove Cafe when you reach the bottom. It is one of the best beaches to visit in UK.
22. South Bay, Scarborough, Yorkshire
According to legend, Scarborough, located in North Yorkshire, was one of the first spas in the world. As early as 1611, travellers would travel great distances to take a dip in the sea because it was believed that its waters had strange therapeutic characteristics.
The beach is still beautiful today and has many of activities to keep you busy. Make sure to see Scarborough Castle’s 11th-century ruins, which stand between South Bay and its equally breathtaking brother, North Bay. It is one of the best beaches to visit in UK.
23. Saunton Sands, North Devon
Southwest England’s best coastline comprises Devon and Cornwall, and Saunton Sands in North Devon is one of the region’s most well-known beaches. Braunton Burrows, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, supports it.
It is ideal for swimmers and beginners to water activities like surfing because the sea is tranquil and the beach is long. It is one of the best beaches to visit in UK.
There are several cafés and businesses, and a walking path leads to Crow’s Point, where you can get a birds-eye perspective of the neighbourhood. Additionally, this beautiful beach is the most wheelchair-accessible in North Devon.
24. Blackpool Sands, South Devon
South Devon is home to the somewhat unlucky-sounding Blackpool Sands, which is a lovely surprise. You arrive at an incredible stretch of beach after driving past pine trees that nearly feel like they belong on the Amalfi Coast.
Despite its name and distant look, the beach is really made up of the tiniest, smoothest pebbles, which causes the water to be remarkably pure. It is one of the pebble beaches.
In hot weather, the pontoon off the coast is the coolest spot to be, perfect for jumping into the bay’s clear waters. It is one of the best beaches to visit in UK.
The Venus Café, located at the back of the beach, is a cut above your typical beach caff. It serves locally grown food, including lobster, steak, and ethically obtained seafood. It is open every day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
25. Three Cliffs Bay, Wales
Due to the difficulty of climbing the dunes in Three Cliffs Bay, which is unquestionably one of Britain’s most picturesque shorelines, the area is usually quiet year-round.
Nevertheless, the climb is worthwhile. An undulating stretch of sandy coastline with numerous picture-perfect beaches transitions from rough green cliffs.
Naturalists and horseback riders alike enjoy the Three Cliffs bay; you can frequently see them racing down the sand. You might even see a rare peregrine falcon flying overhead if you’re lucky.
Its proximity to the decaying remains of Pennard Castle gives the region a remote, abandoned, and slightly surreal atmosphere. Folklore claims that fairies have long made the castle their home. It is one of the best beaches to visit in UK.
26. Bantham Beach, South Devon
Located in the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this beautiful beach is one of Devon’s greatest. Bantham Beach is accessible by a winding country road lined with cowslip and foxglove hedgerows, which you must squeeze through to pass VW surf wagons. Then, below you comes the sea.
The sand is light and fine; there are wonderful rock pools to explore and a small estuary to discover. Because the waves break here long and low, both experienced and novice surfers like it. There is a huge sand area when the tide is out.
If you wear your shortest shorts and arrive at Burgh Island at the correct moment, you might be able to walk there. Dunes and steep cliffs provide wind protection.
However, we’d much prefer to eat at the Gastrobus in the dunes or the catch of the day at the wonderful Sloop Inn up the road, which has an exceptional daily menu. Sand in the sandwiches may have a certain nostalgic appeal. It is one of the best beaches to visit in UK.
The UK is home to some of the best beaches in the world. From the white sand beaches of the Isle of Wight to the wild coastline of Cornwall, there is something for everyone.
In our opinion, these are the best beaches to visit in UK.