These Are The Best Beaches In The UK
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These Are The Best Beaches In The UK

From Cornwall to Scotland, here are 15 of our favourite British beaches

Who needs St Tropez? There are an abundance of beautiful beaches to visit right on our doorstep, whether it’s a daycation or staycation that you’re looking for. Plus, Lonely Planet has named its pick of the world’s top 100 beaches – and four UK spots have made the coveted list. So, ditch the far-flung travel and read on for the UK’s world-class beaches, as well as our pick of the best in the UK to visit this summer.

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Best Beaches In The UK 2024

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Durdle Door Flickr Kosala Bandara

Durdle Door, Dorset

Found along the Jurassic Coast on the Lulworth estate, Durdle Door is a natural limestone arch and lovely sand beach. As impressive as it looks, and one of Lonely Planet’s favourite beaches in the world, in fact. ‘Swimming off the shingle-and-sand beach beneath the green-clad cliffs, with turquoise water stretching into the distance, is a special moment,’ they say.

Find It: Wareham BH20 5PU

Image: Durdle Door Flickr Kosala Bandara

Landscape image of Rhossili Bay beach, South Wales at sunset

Rhossili Bay, Wales

This ‘wonderfully secluded pocket of Wales […] retains a special soul-stirring energy, framed by blonde dunes and Rhossili Down’s heather-scented slopes,’ says Lonely Planet. Sounds idyllic.

Find It: Rhossili SA3 1PL

Beautiful clear day at Kynance Cove Cornwall England

Kynance Cove, Cornwall

Looking for turquoise waters? This beach ‘easily rivals any beach in the Caribbean,’ declares Lonely Planet. It’s also the UK’s warmest beach, so we think it’s prime staycation material.

Find It: Mullion TR12 7PJ

An idyllic white sand beach on the Hebridean Island of Berneray

West Beach, Berneray

Way up in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides is another of Lonely Planet’s top beaches in the world: West Beach. With ‘powdery silver-white sand,’ this ‘wildly remote jewel […] might feel more Southeast Asia than North Atlantic,’ the judges said.

Find It: Isle of Berneray, Isle of North Uist HS6 5BJ

The beach of Chapman's Pool

Chapman’s Pool, Dorset

Once the site of a lifeboat station, this quiet beach is off-the-beaten path, located to the west of Worth Matravers on the Isle of Purbeck. A remote spot, there aren’t any facilities and it can only be reached by a rather steep descent – but the beauty of Chapman’s Pool more than makes up for it. It’s horseshoe-shaped so the waves are calm, and backed by a tall cliff-face, giving it a secluded feel. It didn’t make Lonely Planet’s list, but we think it’s perfect for desert island vibes.

Find It: Swanage, Dorset BH19 3LL

Studland Bay Flickr 2008

Studland Bay, Dorset

The famous Old Harry Rocks make Studland Bay a place to behold. This National Trust beach was a popular summer residence of the aristocratic Banks family, who owned Corfe Castle. Be sure to stop by The Pig on the Beach for a botanical cocktail or two.

Find It: Studland, Dorset BH19 3AH

Image: Studland Bay Flickr 2008

Porthcurno Flickr Nic Trott 2014

Porthcurno, Cornwall

Beaches in the UK don’t come much better than Cornwall‘s – but many are perilously overcrowded. Try Porthcurno, which sits below the majestic Minack Theatre, a stone theatre carved into the rock face and built by an old aristocratic lady. It overlooks the turquoise water – a rarity in the UK.

Find It: Porthcurno, Cornwall TR19 6JX

Discover more of Cornwall’s gorgeous beaches here

Image: Porthcurno Flickr Nic Trott 2014

Three Cliffs Bay Flickr Vinay Nair 2014

Three Cliffs Bay, Wales

Getting to Three Cliffs Bay can be tricky, but the views are worth it – and it’s very quiet. Keep your eyes open for the rare peregrine falcon too.

Find It: Gower, Swansea SA3 2HB

Image: Three Cliffs Bay Flickr Vinay Nair 2014

Tresco Flickr Nosha 2012

Pentle Bay, Tresco, The Isles of Scilly

The clear, bright blue waters of Tresco are pretty special. For quiet, untouched beaches, this place is unbeatable. On a fine day, you really could believe you’re on a Pacific island.

Find It: Hugh Town, Tresco, Isles of Scilly

Image: Tresco Flickr Nosha 2012

Nairn beach Flickr Iain Cameron 2014

Nairn Beach, Scotland

The home of the Moray Firth dolphins, Nairn’s lovely stretch of sandy beach and dunes is made that much more interesting with the wildlife. Seals, dolphins and flying fish abound in this little pocket of Scotland. It’s not far from Inverness either.

Find It: Nairn IV12 4EA

Image: Nairn beach Flickr Iain Cameron 2014

Botany Bay Flickr Michael Camilleri 2012

Botany Bay, Kent

Who doesn’t love white cliffs? Botany Bay has some rather impressive ones at the end of its sandy beach.

Find It: Marine Drive, Cliftonville, Broadstairs CT10 3LG

Image: Botany Bay Flickr Michael Camilleri 2012

Putsborough Flickr becks 2012

Putsborough, North Devon

With two and a half miles of golden sands, Putsborough is a glorious spot of coast – quieter and arguably more beautiful than the ever-busy Woolacombe Sands (at the other end of the bay).

Find It: Vention Lane, Croyde, Braunton EX33 1LB

Image: Putsborough Flickr becks 2012

West Wittering Flickr Aurelien Guichard 2014

West Wittering, Chichester

Ever-popular for its coloured beach huts and quirky charm, West Wittering is beautiful whatever the weather. Perfect for walking the dogs and enjoying an ice cream.

Find It: West Wittering, Chichester PO20 8GH

Image: West Wittering Flickr Aurelien Guichard 2014

Croyde Flickr Emma 2013

Croyde Bay, North Devon

Well-known as a surfer’s hangout, the beach is as relaxed as the cool, laid-back Devon town it lies beneath.

Find It: Croyde, Braunton EX33 1NU

Image: Croyde Flickr Emma 2013

Sandbanks, Dorset

A long stretch of golden sand with gently lapping waves and a European Blue Flag Award. What more could we ask for?

Find It: Banks Road, Poole BH13 7QQ

Image: Nick Fewings