60 Years Of British Naturism: 10 Nude Beaches In The UK

By Olivia Emily

6 months ago

Let it all out


British Naturism (aka nudism) is booming – but where are the best (and safest) places to strip off and bare all? Beaches are the natural port of call, of course, and the UK is no stranger to a nude beach. Whether you’re looking to skinny dip or embrace the naked life entirely, here are 10 nude beaches to visit in the UK this year, clothing optional.

nude young girls walk on the beach in the waves of the surf on a summer day

What Is Naturism?

‘Naturism is the practice of going without clothes – whether that is just occasionally at a beach or in your garden, or as a more general part of everyday life,’ explains British Naturism, the UK’s internationally recognised national Naturist organisation, part of the wider International Naturist Federation (INF). ‘Naturism is healthy, sensible – who wants to wear clothes when the weather is hot – and great fun!’

It may sound eccentric but, according to The Guardian, around 1.3 million Brits embrace naturism – that’s around the same number as there are members of the Church of England – with searches for nudism and naked sunbathing peaking during the heatwaves of recent British summers.

Why Do People Go To Nude Beaches?

People go to nude beaches to feel free. ‘On a hot day, there is nothing better than getting an all-over tan, skinny-dipping and enjoying the company of like-minded people on a lovely beach,’ says British Naturism. That said, naturists go to specific beaches where nudity is embraced to both feel welcome and not make any other beach goers uncomfortable.

Plus, as British Naturism points out, there are actually health benefits to this eccentric passtime, including ‘mental, emotional and physical health, body image issues, and their ability to relax and escape the rigours of daily life. It’s widely accepted that it’s good for everyone to have the sun and fresh air on their skin – so why not get the maximum benefit?’

‘When you shake off your clothes, you do more than just peeling away the layers of fabric,’ British Naturism continues. ‘It often feels like you are removing your worries, stresses and particularly any hang-ups you have about your body. If you’ve yet to try it, there is no greater feeling of freedom than giving your whole body – and in fact your entire ‘being’ – a good airing.’

Is Nudism Legal In The UK?

Yes, nudism is totally legal under UK law, though the uncertainty makes sense. The law is a bit of a grey area, but nakedness is completely legal so long as no one harasses, alarms or distresses other people. Hence why people look for specific nude places: so everyone feels comfortable and welcome.

There are no ‘official’ nude beaches in the UK as such, but here are the sandy stretches that have been frequented by and are famed among naturists.

A woman swimming naked in the sea

10 Of The UK’s Best Nude Beaches

Studland Bay, Dorset

Stretching out in Studland and Godlingston Heath National Nature Reserve is Britain’s most popular nudist beach: Studland Bay. First time nudists will find a warm welcome here, and if you’d like to stay nearby, Studland Summer Camp is a naturist campsite open for a couple of weeks at the end of May and then for the summer from mid July to late August.

Find It: Start at the National Trust car park at Knoll Beach (Ferry Rd, Swanage BH19 3AQ), and hike along the beach until you reach the sign for the nudist part of the beach, reading ‘naturists may be seen beyond this point’.

Newborough Warren, Anglesey

A nature reserve since 1955 (Wales’ first), Newborough Warren is the perfect spot for some nude sunbathing, surrounded by fine dunes, coastal marshes, sandy and rocky shores and a dazzling array of plants and animals. Plus, there are sweeping views of Snowdonia to enjoy.

Find It: Park at Maes Parcio Ynys Llanddwyn car park (Llanfairpwllgwyngyll LL61 6SG) and wander down to the sand.

Brighton beach

Brighton

Brighton Naturist Beach, Brighton

Another extremely popular nude beach is Brighton’s dedicated naturist beach, which brings a sense of community to its typically rocky shores (maybe keep your shoes on). This seaside city was the first place in Britain to demarcate a designated nudist area, which officially opened in 1980 – making it Britain’s oldest nudist beach. LGBTQ+ naturists are especially welcomed here.

Find It: Brighton Naturist Beach sits to the west of the marina at Brighton BN2 1EN.

Druridge Bay, Northumberland

Home to the annual North East Skinny Dip every autumn equinox, Druridge Bay is a popular spot for naturists, beloved for half a century. Backing onto the Northumberland Coast County Park, it’s a beautiful, nature-immersed spot.

Find It: Park at the National Trust car park (Druridge Bay, Morpeth NE61 5EG) and walk northwards.

Holkham Bay, Norfolk

This soft sand beach is perfect for sunbathing – but note that it’s around a mile long hike through pine trees before you reach the secluded nude beach backed by dunes and a forest. Plus, birdwatchers will enjoy flocks of fowls who call Holkham Bay home.

Find It: Park at Lady Anne’s Drive car park (Holkham, Wells-next-the-Sea NR23 1RJ) and head north.

Cleat’s Shore, Isle of Arran

This remote beach is one of the more secluded nude beaches on this list, and even comes with seals barking nearby. Cold water swimmers will love it best: the water is icy cold.

Find It: Follow signs for Cleat’s Shore (Isle of Arran KA27 8PG), park and walk along a track to the sand.

Vault Beach, Cornwall

Naturists and non-naturists sunbathe in harmony at Cornwall’s Vault Beach, a shingle stretch with swimming friendly shallows. The further you venture from the coastal path, the more naturists you’ll come across. For family-friendly nude beaches, Vault Beach is the top choice.

Find It: Park at the National Trust car park (Lamledra Hill, Gorran Haven, Saint Austell PL26 6JS) and follow the coastal path to the beach. The official nudist beach is on the western end.

Botany Bay featuring chalk cliffs and sea stacks in Broadstairs, east Kent, England

Botany Bay, Broadstairs

Botany Bay, Kent

One of the UK’s most beautiful beaches is also naturist friendly. Cocooned by white chalk cliffs, Botany Bay is a stretch of soft sand close to Broadstairs in Kent. It’s the most secluded of Broadstairs’ seven beaches, but still sits close to food, drink and toilet facilities, so it’s easy to spend the day here.

Find It: Marine Dr, Cliftonville, Broadstairs CT10 3LG.

Craikaig Beach, Sutherland

Scotland isn’t too cold for some brisk nudism. Venture up the eastern coast to Golspie in Sutherland to enjoy Craikaig Beach, where a secluded stretch of soft golden sand awaits. Bathe in the pool at the mouth of the river, and book into the campsite next door to make a holiday out of it.

Find It: Helmsdale KW8 6HP.

Morfa Dyffryn, Gwynedd

On Wales’ west coast sits Morfa Dyffryn naturist beach, a long, sandy and easy-access beach that shines in the summer. There’s a boardwalk path through the sand dunes, and a special demarcated section for naturist swimming and sunbathing.

Find It: Dyffryn Ardudwy LL44 2HA.

What Is The Best Beach For New Nudists?

Studland Bay in Dorset is a very popular nude beach, making it the perfect option for newbies looking for peer naturists. The section of nude beach is clearly signposted, too.

Which Is The Oldest Nude Beach?

Brighton Naturist Beach is the oldest nude beach, having been created in 1980. It’s also one of Britain’s most popular nude beaches.