In pictures: ten of the best beaches in the UK
With ‘summer’ on the horizon it’s time to explore some of Britain’s top coastal gems
British holidaymakers may look to Europe’s costas and rivieras for their next beach break this summer. But despite our suspect weather, here in the UK you can also find some spectacular coastal gems. This “little island in the Atlantic has some big beach game”, said Rough Guides. With hundreds of great destinations to choose from, we travel from West Sussex in southern England to Scotland’s Outer Hebrides to pick out some of the UK’s most beautiful beaches to visit.
West Wittering, West Sussex, England
Users of thebeachguide.com website have rated West Wittering as the best beach in England. Located in West Sussex, the “sloping sandy beach” is lined with multi-coloured beach huts which are available for hire. Sandbar-sheltered tidal lagoons give ample room for safe swimming away from riptides, while the rockpools and salt marshes nearby allow for a great day of wildlife spotting.
Harlech Beach, Gwynedd, Wales
Whiterocks Beach, Antrim, Northern Ireland
“You’ve heard of the white cliffs of Dover, but have you heard of the white cliffs of Antrim?”, said Image magazine. Located just outside the “bustling” seaport of Portrush in Northern Ireland, Whiterocks is tucked into the magnificent white limestone cliffs. The height of the waves at Whiterocks makes this beach “popular with water sports enthusiasts”, including anglers, bodyboarders, surfers, and surf kayakers, said thebeachguide.com.
Holkham Beach, Norfolk, England
Do you remember when Gwyneth Paltrow “frolicked on that pretty beach” in Shakespeare in Love, asked Travel+Leisure. “Well, this is it”. Holkham Beach is a “seaside gem” and often voted one of the best sandy patches in the UK. “Enormous and windswept”, it makes you feel “light-years away from civilization”.
Pelistry Bay, St Mary’s, Isles of Scilly
The Isles of Scilly have “many beautiful beaches”, said Rough Guides, but Pelistry Bay on St Mary’s “has to be one of the loveliest”, making it one of the best beaches in the UK. It’s “unspoilt, sandy and secluded” and teeming with rock pools.
Rhossili Bay, Wales
This Welsh wonder is not just regarded as one of the best beaches in the UK, it’s often rated within “the top ten beaches in the world”, said thebeachguide.com. Located on the southwestern tip of the Gower Peninsula, the “stunning and wild” Rhossili Bay is made up of “three miles of sandy shoreline” and is increasingly popular with surfers, as it’s one of the “most exposed beaches in Wales picking up any Atlantic swell”.
Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove, Dorset, England
This is one of the most famous beaches in the UK, “if not the world”, said Travel+Leisure. Located on Dorset’s Jurassic Coast, in a “truly remarkable” corner of the South West Coast Path, visitors can marvel at the spectacular Durdle Door arch. The rock formation is “best paired with a visit to nearby Lulworth Cove”, said Time Out. The “sheltered white pebble beach” is just a 30-minute stroll down the coastal path.
Kynance Cove, Cornwall, England
Cornwall is home to the UK’s wildest coastline and some of the country’s most beautiful beaches. Located on the Lizard peninsula, Kynance Cove’s clear white sand, hidden coves and crystal clear waters “might make you think you’ve stumbled on something that looks more like California than rural England”, said Travel+Leisure.
Three Cliffs Bay, Wales
Luskentyre Beach, Isle of Harris, Scotland
If you go out of season to Luskentyre “you might be lucky enough to have miles of bright-white sand all to yourself”, said Time Out. The water colour at this Outer Hebrides hot-spot lies somewhere between “aquamarine and turquoise”, said thebeachguide.com. And the sand is the “kind of silvery-white you would expect to find in the tropics”.