Best 10 UK Beaches

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Whilst the United Kingdom is not well known for its fantastic weather its convoluted coastline is home to more beaches than any other country in Europe. There is real variety here too, with every type of beach imaginable. White sand beaches with turquoise waters, geological curiosities and picture postcard fishing coves can all be found around the British coast, often within a few miles of each other.

Many of Britain's finest beaches are in well established holiday destinations such as Cornwall or Dorset and there is no doubt some of the best beaches in the UK are to be found here. However, there are some lesser known gems in more far flung locations from the very north of Scotland right down to the Scilly Isles, off the south west of England. Many of these beaches are surprisingly wild and unspoilt for a country as compact as Great Britain.

It is true that the UK cannot compete with the guaranteed sunshine the rest of the world enjoys but if you love beaches then there is plenty on offer.

The Best British Beaches...

  • 1. Luskentyre // Scotland

    © anyka / 123RF

    Despite being located on the Isle of Harris in the north of Scotland, Luskentyre beach could almost be Caribbean in appearance. The vast expanse of silvery white sand and the crystal clear aquamarine / turquoise sea all combine to create what is often cited as the best beach in the British Isles. In the distance are the mountains of North Harris which further add to the beauty of this spot.… read more »

  • 2. Porthcurno Cove // Cornwall

    Porthcurno Cove

    Porthcurno is one of the most westerly beaches in mainland Britain, just a few miles around the coast from Land's End. This cove is stunning in so many respects; the near white sand which is made from ground up sea shells, the clear turquoise water and the rugged granite cliffs that form a natural amphitheatre. The cove is not only a natural gem but is overlooked by the Minack, an… read more »

  • 3. Durdle Door // Dorset

    Durdle Door
    Great for:
    • Snorkeling
    • Swimming

    Durdle Door is the name of the limestone rock arch at the eastern end of this sand and shingle cove. Located on Dorset's World Heritage Jurassic Coast this is just one of several geological curiosities within a stone's throw of each other.

    The beach sits at the base of high, white limestone cliffs and is only accessible from neighbouring Lulworth Cove via lots and lots of steps. This helps keep the… read more »

  • 4. Kynance Cove // Cornwall

    Kynance Cove

    It is a surprise not to see Kynance Cove in Cornwall on more best beach lists. It isn't exactly a secret and can be summed up in one word - stunning!

    Situated just along the coast from Lizard Point (the most southerly point in Britain) this beach has been painted and photographed countless times over the past couple of hundred years. With near white sand, turquoise waters and incredible serpentine… read more »

  • 5. Holkham Beach // Norfolk

    Holkham Beach

    Holkham beach is widely regarded as the finest beach in Norfolk, and by some the UK. In fact a recent survey amongst travel editors and writers put Holkham beach right at the top of the list. Whilst I don't agree with this result, it is still a very fine beach.

    The beach at Holkham is a great expanse of fine golden white sand which stretches off in every direction. For… read more »

  • 6. Rhossili Bay // Wales

    Rhossili Bay
    © Anthony Brindley
    Great for:
    • Surfing
    • Kitesurfing

    Rhossili Bay is allegedly the finest beach in Britain and one of the best in the world. Whilst I am not going to disagree that this is indeed a stunning beach I think there is an awful lot of competition and it has quite a lot to live up to. So, just what makes Rhossili beach so great? 

    Well, three miles of golden sand in the unspoilt setting of South Wales'… read more »

  • 7. Shell Bay, Studland // Dorset

    Shell Bay, Studland

    Shell Bay is at the very end of the beautiful, unspoilt stretch of golden sand that forms Studland beach. Despite being on the edge of the busy Poole harbour and opposite the super exclusive developments at Sanbanks, Shell Bay retains a feel of the wilderness. This is partly due to being owned by the National Trust with the extensive sand dunes and heathland to the rear of the beach being… read more »

  • 8. Sennen Beach // Cornwall

    Sennen Beach
    © Chris Leather
    Great for:
    • Surfing

    Situated just around the corner from Land's End is one of Cornwall's finest stretches of sand, Sennen cove. The beach itself isn't really a cove at all, it is a wide open expanse of golden sand backing onto sand dunes and craggy hillsides. At one end of the beach is the little village of Sennen with its quaint harbour. Heading in the opposite direction the beach gets gradually wilder, more… read more »

  • 9. Porthmeor Beach // Cornwall

    Porthmeor Beach

    St Ives is one of Cornwall's most popular holiday resorts. Jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean, the town is home to five wonderful sandy beaches of which Porthmeor is one. Porthmeor has it all, from golden sand and azures waters to the internationally renowned Tate Gallery which overlooks the beach. Just minutes along cobbled streets from the town centre there's always plenty of activity on and around the beach whether… read more »

  • 10. Woolacombe Beach // Devon

    Woolacombe Beach

    Woolacombe beach in North Devon was recently voted the best beach in the UK by TripAdvisor users. Whilst I can think of at least twenty beaches I prefer to Woolacombe, there is no denying it is a good beach, especially for families.

    The beach at Woolacombe is a vast stretch of flat golden sand backed by a warren of sand dunes.At the northern end is the small resort village which… read more »