With beaming sunshine, golden sand and twinkling sea, there’s nothing like spending a fine summer’s day on the beach. Thankfully, all around the UK are wonderful beaches beckoning for family-friendly fun, from cute coves sheltered by rolling dunes to sandy stretches fringed by palm-lined resort towns.
Needless to say, whether you can’t wait to take to the waves with a surfboard, swim in real-life mermaid pools or luxuriate on the sand, there’s somewhere for you. Steering you to golden-sand perfection, we’ve picked out Britain’s best beaches for summer fun. Let’s dive in.
Famed for its two beautiful miles of sugary sand, Woolacombe Beach between Croyde and Ilfracombe on Devon’s north coast is a heaven on earth for surfers, kayakers, paddleboarders, swimmers and more. Widely recognised as one of the best beaches in the UK, it benefits from all sorts of great services, from summer lifeguards, beach hut hire, daily beach cleans, and a whole range of amenities in Woolacombe village. It’s even traced by a one-mile “beach walk” through dunes and along a coastal trail if you fancy an extra jaunt!
Lyme Regis, Dorset
The ‘Pearl of Dorset’, Lyme Regis is a fantastic destination for days by the shore. Home to four separate, fossil-peppered beaches (Front, Monmouth, Church Cliff and East Cliff Beaches) all within reach of the town, it promises endless fun. Particularly special, the sand-covered Front Beach sits next to the Cobb harbour and is shouldered by rows of multi-coloured beach huts. This accessible beach is backed by a long, flat promenade and features beach matting, allowing wheelchair and pushchair access.
St Andrews West Sands, Fife
Just a 15-minute walk from the town centre, St Andrews West Sands is a two-mile sweep of golden sand northeast of Edinburgh. With dedicated areas for both family-friendly fun as well as sailing and yachty activities, it provides a natural playground for both leisure and adventure seekers alike. Making it even more popular is the plentiful car parking and array of shops, eateries and attractions close by – including the dramatic ruins of the 13th century St Andrews Castle.
Lowestoft South Beach, Suffolk
For entertainment by the bucket and spadeful, head to Lowestoft South Beach in Suffolk. Offering the quintessential seaside experience, Lowestoft’s Blue Flag award-winning beach promises all sorts of family-friendly fun. Walk along the prom with ice cream in hand, visit the Victorian seafront gardens, play in the Royal Plain Fountains and meander along its two piers, all before taking a seat on the sand to unwind. With something for everyone, days slip by easily here.
One of the prettiest beaches in the UK, Porthmeor in St Ives is coated in fine white sand and lapped by turquoise sea. Set at the foot of the iconic Tate St Ives, it boasts incredible vistas and picture-perfect aesthetics, while only being a pebble’s skim from the many fantastic restaurants, bars and galleries of the town. For a novel way to arrive, hop on the train at St Erth and enjoy a short but sweet journey to St Ives’ station, soaking up the views of one of the UK’s most beautiful stretches of rail.
Borth Wen, Anglesey
The marram grass-tufted crescent of Borth Wen (also known as Rhoscolyn beach) on Holyhead Island off Anglesey is a super beach for summer fun. With a broad, gently shelving shore, it proffers an abundance of space for sandcastle building competitions and games of cricket on the sand. Perfect for all beach-lovers, this beach is also dog-friendly year-round so the four-legged members of your family can join in too. Pack up a picnic, water and sun cream and make way for days in the sun.
West Wittering, Sussex
With views of Chichester Harbour and the distant South Downs beyond, pretty West Wittering on England’s southeast coast is a firm favourite amongst both visiting and local coastalites. A haven throughout the year, it’s particularly lovely in summer when beaming sun cascades over rolling sand dunes and a softly sloping shore. If you’ve never tried surfing before, this is a great time of year to give it a go here too, with lifeguards and surf instructors operating throughout the season.
Tenby North Beach, Pembrokeshire
One of the best beaches in Wales, the Blue Flag North Beach sits between Harbour Beach and the North Cliffs in Tenby. Skirted by brightly painted townhouses and overlooked by the imposing Goskar Rock, it sets a gorgeous scene for summer days. And, with Tenby’s many boutiques and cafés just a stroll away, you can make the most of the easy access for coffee breaks in the sunshine, followed by delicious summer sundowners as the daylight fades.
Viking Bay, Kent
Undoubtedly one of the best beaches in Britain for summer fun, the lifeguarded Viking Bay in Broadstairs in Kent has it all. There’s a promenade for promenading, changing huts for changing, and rental paddleboards for paddling. If you walk to the north of the beach, you can find a picturesque fishing harbour where boats bob in the sheltered water. Meanwhile, if you walk to the south, you come to a cliff-side elevator where you can head into town in style! When in Rome…
Shanklin, Isle of Wight
Shanklin Beach on the Isle of Wight is a must for summer adventures. With endless appeal, its golden sand beach is sandwiched between a glimmering sea and a traditional English seafront prom where amusements and attractions entice all generations. Flit between the beachfront amusement arcade, crazy golf, go-karting ring and ice cream stands before heading to the beach for a dip. Patrolled by lifeguards in summer, Shanklin’s refreshing waters are hard to resist for paddling, splashing and wave-hopping.
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