9 Seriously Good Beaches To Visit In The UK

Oh, we do like to be beside the seaside. Us Brits, we really do. But why are we jetting off elsewhere when we’ve got perfectly good — scrap that — seriously beautiful beaches right here? Hello, we’re an island! Coastline is something we have plenty of, and with that, lots of beachfronts and seaside towns too. So from the sandy ones to the pebbly ones, the ones with regal piers, perfect fish and chips, and even those with really not much at all, click on for our pick of the UK’s best beach towns.

Abersoch, Wales

Once a fishing port, Abersoch, up on the south coast of the Llŷn Peninsula is now one of Wales’ most popular seaside resorts. And no wonder, the main beach is wild and beautiful, with powdery shores, good water conditions for swimming, and the cutest row of beach huts. There’s also no shortage of opportunities to try your hand at jet-skiing, wakeboarding, windsurfing and the like if you feel that way inclined...

Where to stay: Glamp! Sure, there are hotels but why not embrace something a little different? Spend the night in a Hobbit, a 16-foot wooden pod with heating, lighting, comfy beds and breathtaking views.
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Photo: Courtesy of Visithanet.
Botany Bay

Serene and tranquil, Botany Bay is iconic with its white cliffs, powdery sands and impressive chalk stacks. Take a towel and while away a sunny afternoon on the sand, before taking a dip and reliving your childhood exploring the rockpools (finding crabs never gets old, right?) There’s not so much going on around the bay itself, so enjoy taking things at 2mph with a few drinks and an early night. Otherwise, Margate is only a 10 minute drive away.

Where to stay: Options are somewhat limited around the bay itself, but there’s Botany Bay Hotel which, though not the trendiest hotel on the planet, is a breezy three minute walk from the beach.
Photo: via @jubilee_pool.
Penzance

Stealing the crowns from both St Ives and Padstow, it’s all about Penzance this year. Along with the beautiful coastline and swimming opportunities, there’s The Lido, which originally opened in the ‘30s, was damaged in the 2013 storms, and then reopened. Then, there’s the food scene and the art. Tremenheere Sculpture Garden is the perfect spot to escape for a few hours of peace and quiet, before dining at one of Penzance's first-class restaurants — be it Bruce Rennie’s restaurant The Shore, or the Michelin-starred chef Ben Tunnicliffe’s new kitchen at The Tolcarne Inn.

Where to stay: Chapel House is a light and luxurious boutique hotel with six spacious double rooms, each with oak beds, sea views, and either roll top baths or rainfall showers.
Photo: Courtesy of Glebe House Cottages.
Bude

Simple and serene, Bude offers some of the UK’s prettiest scenery, down on the Cornish coast. The clear azure seas of Summerleaze Beach could be mistaken for those of Croatia, but if you’re not feeling the mermaid vibes, there’s the saltwater lido to take a dip in instead. The windswept coast remains pretty untouched so don’t go expecting fairgrounds and slot machines. It’s a seaside escape — one that will blow away all the cobwebs.

Where to stay: If you’re up for basic, check out Atlantic Surf Pods, a set of eco-friendly and semi-off-grid cabins just a mile away from the beach. Otherwise, The Beach at Bude is a great restaurant with luxury rooms.
Photo: Courtesy of Xiringuito Margate.
Margate

The UK destination of the minute, is there anyone who isn’t Instagramming Margate right now? Chances are half of your friends have moved to the kitsch seaside town that’s fast becoming “Little London” but regardless, it’s worth the trip for the old-school fun at Dreamland, the art (Turner Contemporary is excellent), the antique stores, and the burgeoning food scene — Xiringuito is the best of the best.

Where to stay: It’s just a matter of time before all the trendiest boutique hotels set up camp in Margate. ‘Til then, The Reading Rooms is the most charming, intimate B&B you could wish for, with just three raw yet luxurious rooms.
Photo: Courtesy of Bike Around Britain.
Torquay

As soon as the sun shines, you’ll quickly forget you’re in England when you’re in Torquay. Its palm trees, shiny yachts and plush restaurants are more on a level with Cannes. Okay, okay, it’s not quite that fancy, but it’s a pretty sweet spot for a weekend break, with over 20 beaches in reach. Get your cozzie…

Where to stay: There’s the Grand Torquay hotel but it’s perhaps a little dated for some. Instead, go self-catered. There’s no shortage of apartments and cottages, ranging from quaint and charming, to more contemporary.
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Photo: Courtesy of Discover Ceredigion.
Aberaeron, Wales

Another Welsh gem, Aberaeron is a postcard-pretty port town, slightly further down the coast, between Aberystwyth and Cardigan. An Instagrammer’s dream, boats scatter the quay, set against colourful Georgian style houses. Though there isn’t a sandy beach right in the town (the closest is New Quay, just four miles away), there’s the harbour to explore, countryside to get lost in, and plentiful excellent restaurants to make the most of – hit up The Hungry Trout for the freshest, tastiest seafood. Don’t miss Llanerchaeron either, a National Trust mansion with pretty gardens and an abandoned railway track.

Where to stay: Harbourmaster Hotel is a luxurious beachy bolthole, with slick, colour-popping interiors, sea-view rooms with metal roll top bathtubs and wrought-iron beds, and a laid back atmosphere. It's the obvious choice in the area.
Photo: Courtesy of Salcombe Harbour Hotel.
Salcombe

Surrounded by sandy beaches and rugged cliffs, Salcombe in Devon is pretty damn heavenly. The estuary is known for its sublime scenery and secluded coves so a visit ain’t complete without a boat trip on the water. The other highlight? The food. Spend an afternoon wandering through the boutiques in the lanes, before stopping for Devonshire scones at afternoon tea, then fresh, delicious seafood for dinner. Can’t go wrong, right?

Where to stay: For first class luxury, it’s all about the Salcombe Harbour Hotel. Prime location, private cinema, mega spa, and more; it’s a no brainer.
Brighton

One of the UK’s most loved seaside destinations and the obvious choice for Londoners being just an hour’s train ride from Victoria Station, Brighton is perfect for a day trip or leisurely weekend. There’s the beachfront and Brighton Pier to enjoy, plus all the fairground rides. And after you’ve braved a dip in the sea, there’s the Instagram-baiting Brighton Pavilion to admire.

Where to stay: Artist Residence is one of Brighton’s original boutique hotels and it remains one of the coolest places to stay. There’s no way you can’t fall in love with each of the individually decorated bedrooms.
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