With over just 60 days of sunshine a year, it’s fair to say that the Brits cherish their summer days, so much so that at the very sight of the slightest sunny rays you’ll hear: suns out, guns out,’ chanted like a war-cry. 

And while the UK might not be known for its stunning sandy beaches, it happens to be home to over 17,000km of glorious coastline fringing the mainland to explore. And by the end of 2021, England is going to have the longest coastal walking route on the planet; at 4,506 km long, the walk will link up some already existing coastal paths, improve others and, in some places, create new routes for hikers to appreciate the UK’s beautiful beaches. 

From well-loved quintessentially British seaside resorts donning their colourful beach huts and traditional kitsch to specialist surfers’ paradise spots dotted up and down the country but always close enough to a quaint coastal town to uncover, keep your bucket and spade on standby and make for these six UK beaches when the weather gets warm.

Blackpool Pleasure Beach

The UK’s Best Beach Destinations: Blackpool 

Blackpool Beach Resort: A Time-Honoured Tradition

As iconic as it’s lights — officially called the Blackpool Illuminations — Blackpool has long stood as a firm favourite beach resort amongst the British public, encapsulating the spirit of the Great British Seaside. Boasting miles of sandy shores, Blackpool’s beach and seafront have been a major draw for over a hundred years. Sandcastles? Check! Fish & Chips on the pier? You bet! Ice cream and amusement parks galore? Double-check!

As the only British beach resort to boast three picturesque piers, it’s fair to say that there’s plenty of things to see and do along its famous Golden Mile. Enjoy the Great Promenade Show at South Beach where some of the country’s top artists have come together to create a 2km stretch of striking sculptures before making for the Blue Flag beach opposite the famous Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Sandcastle Waterpark. If you’re after a mini theme park, you’ll find everything from go-karting and dodgems, to rollercoasters and climbing frames here. Along this strip also run the well-known trams which become the centrepieces of the light show that marks the end of summer each year.

Walk a little further down the beach, past SEALIFE Blackpool and Madame Tussauds, and you’ll reach the Central Pier. Featuring an impressing 108ft-high Ferris wheel, hop onboard for a unique panoramic perspective and on a clear day, you’ll be rewarded with outstanding views across the Irish Sea. Once you’re ready, continue and make your way to North Pier.

At the Grade II listed North Pier, you can play the penny slots, take a ride on the two-tier Venetian Carousel, spot the original Sooty puppet – a treasured TV icon – or watch a comedy or musical show at the North Pier Theatre. Hungry? Check out the Victorian tearoom or skip to dessert by indulging in the ice cream parlour. You won’t have to walk too far either to find yourself in the shadow of The Blackpool Tower.

Runswick Bay Yorkshire

The UK’s Best Beach Destinations: Yorkshire

Runswick Bay: Yorkshire’s Finest Beach

Widely regarded as one of the prettiest spots on the Yorkshire coast, the former fishing village of Runswick is a postcard perfect paradise with its honey-hued stone cottages and a stunning bay. With a strict no-car policy, winding streets lacking typical tourist shops and treasure trove of water sports activities, the Yorkshire seaside spot boasts the best stretch of sand and stone that can be found in this corner of the country. 

Home to its own sailing club, it’s the go-to place for paddle-boarding and sailing courses and is no stranger to canoeing excursions off the coast. Brave enough to brace the icy waters? Join the swarm of surfers who flock here to catch the waves hitting Yorkshire’s shores – and if you’re keen to carve legendary surf, take an hour’s drive south to Bridlington Beach: the birthplace of British Surfing. While it might be 11,000 odd kms away from Hawaii, Bridlington recently joined the surfing hall of fame when a long-lost letter revealed that the Yorkshire resort was the first place in Britain where someone – or rather, two Hawaiian princes – paddled out to sea and returned riding a wave. Though the action took place all the way back in September 1890, to this day, Bridlington keeps it spot on the UK’s supreme surfing circuit. 

If you prefer to stay dry however, sit back and sink your toes into the golden sand or put on your wellies to try your luck at rock pooling, or even better, fossil hunting.

Seaburn Beach

The UK’s Best Beach Destinations: Tyne & Wear

Roker and Seaburn Beach: Tyne & Wear’s Twin Award-Winning Beaches

Guarding a number of beautiful beaches hidden well off the beaten path, a UK beach break in Tyne & Wear is always a good idea. 

Winning both the Blue Flag Award and Seaside Award 2019, Roker and Seaburn Beach are ideal for traditional family seaside fun. Get stuck a sandcastle building frenzy or paddle into the waters under the watchful eyes of the friendly lifeguards on duty. Learn to fly a kite on the soft sand or explore the miniature railway, and when hunger strikes, Pier Point at Roker will have a host of cafes and restaurants eager to welcome you.

If you fancy a break from the beach, discover the history of Sunderland’s Volunteer Life Brigade at their headquarters overlooking the seafront or take a 10-minute walk to visit the National Glass Centre and discover Sunderland’s glass making heritage. 

Active adventurers will find plenty of activities to keep busy with at the Adventure Sunderland Water sports Centre at Roker which offers surfing, rowing, kayaking, sailing and much more.


The UK’s Best Beach Destinations: Ramsgate

Margate: The UK’s Old-School Seaside Resort 

Loved for over a century, Margate and it’s famed vintage Victorian Pleasure Beach, Dreamland, isn’t your typical chocolate-box seaside resort. Traditional fairground fun, jellied eels and oysters, and a timeless beach kitted with a tidal pool, children’s rides and amusement arcades offer hours of entertainment.

Once you’ve explored all you can of Margate, take a short drive to Ramsgate Main Sands to be surrounded by high chalk cliffs, a picturesque Royal Harbour and Marina and a plethora of options for ice cream and fish and chips.

Great Yarmouth Beach Huts

The UK’s Best Beach Destinations: Great Yarmouth

Great Yarmouth: Norfolk’s premier beach resort

Offering three distinctive beaches, Great Yarmouth is a popular family beach destination in the UK bursting with extensive things to do.

Uniquely located where the sea meets the Broads, Britain’s largest protected wetlands, chose from adventures on sand, sea or countryside to while away the weekend. From stand-up paddle boarding or canoeing off the shore, to traversing across the wide sands at North Beach, popular with dog walkers, this resort town on the east coast of England packs a punch with outdoor pursuits.

If the weather takes a turn for the worse, marine buffs will find plenty to check out at the Time and Tide Museum tracing the local history of the area, or the Nelson Museum which highlights the life and learning of Admiral Horatio Nelson. Animal lovers on the other hand will love the penguins and sharks at the SEA LIFE aquarium and if you’re not into either, amusement arcades or a fantastic ten-pin bowling alley await.

Cornwall cove

The UK’s Best Beach Destinations: Cornwall

Kynance Cove, Cornwall: The wild untamed corner of Britain 

Two miles north-west of Lizard Point, Great Britain’s most southerly mainland point, lies a hidden hideout tucked away out of sight.

A gorgeous inlet snuggled under towering cliffs, Kynance Cove is one of the most-photographed spots in all of Cornwall and revered as a Cornish gem. Sparkling turquoise waters, pristine white sand and numerous interconnected caves to explore have ensured that Kynance has been popular since Victorian times. 

The National Trust recently built a toll road and car park at the top of the cliffs making Kynance more accessible. 

Looking for other spots to hit up on your next staycation? Don’t miss these top UK spots to visit once in your lifetime.

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