15 of the UK’s Favourite Beaches
Planning a staycation and wondering what is the nicest beach in the UK to visit? We’ve got you covered! Join us as we reveal 15 of the UK’s favourite beaches.
The UK has a beach for everyone, from sandy to shingle, family-friendly to off wild and remote. So let’s see where you fancy going next…
15 Best Beaches in the UK
Woolacombe Sands, Devon - Best for families, dogs & watersports
Woolacombe Sands in North Devon has been voted the number 1 beach in the UK time and time again. And with miles of beautiful golden sands, the perfect sea for surfers, and plenty of cafes, restaurants and bars close by, it's not hard to see why.
Whether you're planning a weekend of watersports and adventures, or a family trip to the seaside, Woolacombe has something for everyone. It's even great for your four-legged friends, with half of the beach dog-friendly all year round.
Compton Bay, Isle of Wight - Great for surfing
Regarded as one of the Isle of Wight's best-kept secrets, Compton Bay offers a 2-mile stretch of contrasting gold and dark sands, with rolling seas and spectacular views of the white chalk cliffs at Freshwater.
While Compton Bay is very popular with surfers, it's a 'DIY beach' with no amenities nearby.' This means you'll need to take your own bodyboards, surfboards and snacks. It's also an excellent place for dinosaur fossil hunting. You can even book tours on the beach to see the dinosaur footprints over at Hanoverpoint, exposed at low tide.
Porthcurno, Cornwall - Perfect for relaxing & dolphin watching
Cornwall beaches are some of the very best in the UK, with Porthcurno in Penzance up there as one of the top favourites with holidaymakers. This majestical turquoise bay is picture-perfect, with soft white-shell sands and calm waters, where you’ll often see dolphins and basking sharks hanging out in the sun. The famous open-air Minack Theatre is perched on top of the granite cliffs overlooking Porthcurno and is well worth a visit.
Fistal Beach, Cornwall - The UK home of surfing
You’re in for a double-whammy! Number 4 on our list of the UK’s favourite beaches is another Cornwall beach - Fistral Beach in Newquay. Known as the UK’s most prestigious surfing destination, Fistral Beach hosts a range of contests and events throughout the year, including Europe’s largest surf and skate festival, Boardmasters, in August. With a gorgeous sandy beach and excellent seafront facilities, including surf equipment hire, lessons, boutiques, restaurants and cafes, there’s plenty to keep you entertained whether you’re into surfing or not.
Search hotels in Newquay on Planschange to book a room at a heavily discounted price. Many of our Newquay hotels also offer free cancellation.
Sandwood Bay, Scotland - Off the beaten track
Scotland isn't likely to be your first thought when planning a UK seaside holiday, but trust us when we say it has some of the most beautiful beaches, including the spectacular Sandwood Bay. This beach at Kinlochbervie is special because it's wild, rugged and totally unspoilt. Not accessible by car, you'll need to walk the 4-mile (relatively flat) path from the gravel car park at Blairmore to reach the beach - but it's definitely worth the effort. Spend your time exploring the rose-pink dunes and look out for the giant sea stack.
Bamburgh Beach, Northumberland - Rugged, wild & dog-friendly
While we’re talking about wild, rugged coastlines, what better place to mention than Bamburgh Beach in Northumberland? Voted the best seaside town in the UK by Which? Users, Bamburgh may not have the soaring temperatures of the beaches in South West England, but it has natural beauty and charm aplenty!
Blackpool Sands, Devon - Pay for a pristine beach
Despite having a small entrance fee, Blackpool Sands in Devon is still one of the UK’s favourite beaches thanks to its apparent cleanliness and wide range of facilities. Nestled in a sheltered bay near Dartmouth and surrounded by magnificent evergreens and pines, the Blue Flag beach is a must-visit for families. The calm and clear turquoise waters are ideal for swimming, kayaking and paddleboarding, with equipment hire available from the beach-side stores.
Tankerton Beach, Kent - Traditional shingle beach
Tankerton Beach is one of the UK’s best shingle beaches. With a backdrop of colourful beach huts and a traditional promenade, it’s the epitome of old fashioned charm. But that’s not all it has to offer! Tankerton Beach’s calm waters are also superb for swimming at high tide, and at low tide, you can walk right out to sea on a natural causeway known as ‘The Street.’
Book a cheap hotel room in Whitstable through Planschange to save money on your UK beach holiday.
Barafundle Bay, Pembrokeshire - Remote & romantic
What could be better than taking a refreshing dip in crystal clear waters on a hot British summer's day? Award-winning Barafundle Bay in Pembrokeshire is the perfect place for it! This crescent beach in Wales has been named among the best globally, famed for its pristine sands and tranquil turquoise waters. But don't forget to pack everything you need for the day as there are no facilities at the beach and with smaller coves like this, it's always important to check the tide times to avoid getting stranded!
Rhossili Bay, Gower, Wales - Great for dog walkers
Sticking with Wales, we have the magnificent Rhossili Bay, which is one of the UK’s favourite beaches and has also been named the ‘best beach in Europe’ and appeared on the list of ‘the top ten beaches in the world.’ Reaching the remote, unspoilt beach requires a steep, winding walk down from Rhossili village. Enjoy stunning panoramic views of the golden stretch of sand along the way, and on clear days, you might also spot the North Devon coastline. Rhossili Bay is dog friendly all year round and has amenities in the village.
Camber Sands, Sussex - feel like you’re abroad
A visit to Camber Sands in Sussex will make you feel like you've been transported to another part of the world entirely. This 'desert-style' beach has a sandy shore stretching almost five miles before it turns to shingles at the eastern end. To the west, you'll find the picturesque town of Rye, known for its cobbled streets, traditional pubs and old fashioned houses - well worth a day trip!
Kynance Cove, Cornwall - Great for photographers
If you're holidaying in the Lizard, you must visit Kynance Cove. With stunning white sands, clear blue waters and dramatic serpentine rock formations, it's easily one of the area's most photogenic beaches. Explore the network of coves and caves at low tide, with names such as 'The Parlour,' 'Ladies Bathing Pool', and 'The Drawing Room.' Above the beach, you'll also find an eco-friendly cafe, selling everything from traditional Cornish pasties to sandwiches, homemade cakes and cream tea. Once you've enjoyed your refreshments, take a scenic 2-mile stroll around the coast to Lizard Point - mainland UK's most southerly point.
Stay close by at a 4-star coastal hotel, Polurrian on the Lizard. Book through Planschange to secure the best price.
Whitby Sands, North Yorkshire - Traditional British seaside
Just a short walk from Whitby's iconic former fishing town, you'll find Whitby Sands. This best-loved British beach offers a traditional seaside setting, with bright coloured beach huts, sandcastles and rolling waves.
Holkham Beach, Norfolk - Great for nature
Even if you haven’t visited Holkham Beach before, you might recognise it from one of the many films and pop videos it has starred in, including All Saints ‘Pure Shores.’ This giant sandy stretch backs onto a nature reserve with many well-signposted walking trails to explore. Trek through to the pinewoods and across the salt marshes, taking in the beautiful flora and fauna as you go.
Durdle Door, Dorset - A bucket list worthy beach
Home to one of the world's most striking stone arch rock formations, Durdle Door beach on the Jurassic Coast of Dorset is one of the country's most iconic and photographed beauty spots. This dog-friendly pebble and shingle beach is accessible via a footpath and steps down from the car park. From rock pooling to coasteering, photography and nature walks, there's plenty to see and do around Durdle Door. We also recommend pairing your visit with a trip to Lulworth Cove - a sheltered white pebble haven, just 30-mins along the coastal path.
Have we featured your favourite UK beach on our list? Perhaps there’s one we’ve missed? Share your favourite seaside locations with us on social media.