Packed full of hidden gems we might have overlooked if it wasn’t for the pandemic and various lockdowns-slash-staycations, the UK is home to some really stunning, sandy locations. We’re talking white or golden sands, glittering waters and glorious sunshine – perfect for visiting during the Summer months and all these heatwaves we’re having. So, without further ado, here are some of the best beaches in the UK:
1. Formby Beach
Sweeping sands and mysterious sand dunes await at Formby Beach – one of the North West’s best beaches by a country mile. The National Trust site is beautiful all year round, with red squirrels frequenting the woodlands that lie just behind the sandy dunes. The wholesome spot is a great spot in which to sunbathe on a Summer’s day, with horse riders, dog walkers and families also favouring this Merseyside spot – one of the best beaches in the UK.
You’ll find Formby Beach at Victoria Road, near Formby, Liverpool, Merseyside, L37 1LJ.
2. Pentle Bay, Scilly Isles
The Scilly Isles might seem like they’re another country, but luckily for us, there’s no need to pack your passport to experience its white sands and turquoise waters. Located just a short boat or ferry ride south of Cornwall, the Scilly Isles consist of a number of stunning islands – but Tresco has to be one of the most picturesque. East of the tiny island you’ll find Pentle Bay – one of the UK’s most remote, and therefore most beautiful, beaches. It’s also dog-friendly. Expect overgrown grassland framing the landscape, white sands, calm and clear waters, and just the sound of the birds tweeting in the background. Who knows – you may even spot a dolphin here!
You’ll find Pentle Bay at Pentle Bay Beach, Tresco, Isles of Scilly, Cornwall, TR24 0QQ.
3. Durdle Door, Jurassic Coast Dorset
The iconic coastline of Durdle Door can be found in lovely Dorset, mostly referred to as the Jurassic Coast. Part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the beautiful beach is a truly unique place to visit, thanks to its highly photographed limestone arch which stands front and centre along the sandy coastline. One of the UK’s most magnificent natural wonders, the beach features beautiful, golden sands, deep blue waters, and is a fantastic place to sunbathe in the summer.
You’ll find Durdle Door at West Lulworth, Dorset, BH20 5PU.
4. South Bay, Scarborough
While Scarborough isn’t the place to go if you’re expecting the Caribbean in Britain, it’s the perfect example of nostalgia. The popular seaside resort is complete with not only a sandy beach, but amusements, ample fish and chips shops and incredibly friendly Northerners. What more could you want?
You’ll find South Bay at Foreshore Road, Scarborough, North Yorkshire, YO11 1NU.
5. Porthcurno Beach, Cornwall
Ok, so we know that the entire Cornish coast is postcard-perfect, but Porthcurno Beach just had to rank in our list of the best beaches in the UK thanks to its tropical-looking white sands and aquamarine waters. Located in the far western reaches of Cornwall, it really is a fantastic place to visit if you’re looking for that ‘abroad feeling’ with an almost Mediterranian vibe, capturing tons of sunshine over the summer and attracting bouts of sunbathers, too.
You’ll find Porthcurno Beach at Porthcurno, Cornwall, TR19 6JX.
6. Camber Sands, Sussex
Camber Sands has long been known as one of the best beaches in the UK – and it’s easy to see why. Similarly to Formby Beach, the gorgeous location is peppered with dramatic sand dunes, making for a unique landscape. While Sussex is mostly known for its pebble beaches, Camber Sands is – as you’ve probably guessed – sandy. Yep. We’re talking gloriously soft, golden sands that’ll have you dying to stick your feet into it. If that wasn’t all, the spot is an incredible place to watch the sunset. Just be sure to have your camera ready. It’s also just down the road from the picture-perfect village of Rye.
You’ll find Camber Sands at Camber Sands, Camber, East Sussex, TN31 7RT.
7. Luskentyre Beach, Isle of Harris, Scotland
One of the more popular beaches in Harris, Scotland, Luskentyre beach is well-loved for its white sands, clear waters and unique mountain views. The landscape is most definitely one you won’t find in most other parts of the UK – which is exactly why it’s not to miss if you’re looking for a standout UK beach. The beach is known for being secluded and has been frequently described as a little ‘slice of heaven‘ – it was also featured on the BBC’s Castaway. What more could you want out of the best beaches in the UK?
You’ll find Luskentyre Beach on the Isle of Harris, Scotland, HS3 3HL.
8. Blackpool Sands, Devon
Blackpool Sands – not to be confused with the North West’s beloved Blackpool – is situated within the glorious English Riviera, which got its name thanks to its resemblance to the stunning French Riviera. While it doesn’t have the guaranteed sunny weather of Monaco, it is a truly beautiful place to visit, with golden sands, looming woodland providing a dramatic backdrop and beautiful deep teal waters to swim in. Further up the coast, you’ll also find a bustling marina, with plenty of restaurants and bars to enjoy during your visit.
You’ll find Blackpool Sands at Blackpool Valley Road Nr, Dartmouth, Devon, TQ6 0RG.
9. Holkham Beach, Norfolk
Holkham Beach, Norfolk, offers a huge stretch of golden sands – providing a gorgeous place to walk surrounded by unspoilt nature. The nature reserve often attracts dog walkers and families looking for a scenic Sunday stroll, and in the summer, you’ll find kids playing in the lagoon, sunbathers pitched up for the peak of the day and paddlers cooling down in the sea. It’s also great for birdwatching and you’re not far from the lovely towns on Burnham Market and Wells-next-the-Sea.
You’ll find Holkham Beach at Holkham, North Norfolk, NR23 1RG.
10. Kynance Cove, Cornwall
Sand dunes, islets and sea stacks form the unique landscape at Cornwall’s Kynance Cove – which is said to be the most photographed location on the Cornish coast and a strong contender for being one of the best UK beaches. It’s particularly beautiful in the springtime when happy yellow blooms begin to sprout and bluebells carpet the surrounding nature reserve. But in the summer, it’s a popular spot for sunbathing and swimming, with many flocking the Lizard peninsula to enjoy the beautiful azure-toned waters.
You’ll find Kynance Cove at The Lizard, Cornwall, TR12 7PJ.
11. Reef Beach, Isle of Lewis, Scotland
Known as Traigh na Beirghe, Reef Beach is home to a long stretch of picturesque white sands and gorgeous blue waters. We definitely wouldn’t recommend taking a dip in the winter being in Scotland and all (as inviting as it looks!), but this location is truly stunning all year round, whatever the temperature. The unique seaside spot is perfect for a little bit of escapism and offers a quiet, peaceful place to watch the waves roll in and get some real R&R.
You’ll find Reef Beach at Kneep, Isle of Lewis, Scotland, HS2 9HS.
12. Pelistry Bay, Isles of Scilly
Rounding off this list of the best beaches in the UK is a real slice of paradise. Kind of like your very own deserted island that you can actually get home from, Pelistry Bay can be found on St Mary’s, part of the Scilly Isles, and like many of the other beaches that form part of the archipelago, it boasts white sands, gorgeous greenery, and clear waters. It’s a very remote place to visit, so go at the right time of year and expect to find a completely untouched stretch of beach just for you – with a lovely café just a few minutes walk away.
You’ll find Pelistry Bay at St Mary’s, Isles of Scilly, Cornwall, TR21 0NX.
So there you have it – a roundup of 12 of the best beaches in the UK. So pack your swimmers, slap on the suncream and we’ll see you on the beach this Summer!