25 Best Beaches In UK: So Good They Almost Look Like An Aussie Beach!
Looking for the best beaches in UK? You don’t need to go abroad to find some amazing beaches in England! You might even be surprised to hear that we think the beaches in the UK mentioned in this guide look like they could be Australian beaches because they are that beautiful!
When I took my Australian husband to Cornwall and Devon, he turned to me and said he thought the beaches looked like they could be in Australia!
Add in an English twist with rolling hills, forts, castles, wild swimming holes and a whole lot more to discover, and you’ve got yourself some of the finest beaches in the uk to choose from.
Expect everything from golden sand, rock pools to splash around in the turquoise sea (yes it does exist!), as well as a beautiful sandy beach that you’ll be able to spend the day nestled up in one of the many colourful beach huts along the gorgeous sandy coastline.
Expect to hear about beaches in the UK which range from the Gower peninsula to North Yorkshire, and even as far up as some hidden gems in Scotland.
We only mention a couple of pebble beaches in UK in this post!
We only mention the best sandy beaches in UK except for a couple of pebble beaches, purely because both of us were gobsmacked at how amazing one of them was, plus the other shingle beach is totally iconic (check out our 36 Best Things To Do In Brighton Guide if you’re looking for information on what to do there!). Otherwise we’re trying to stay as closely as possible to what could be Aussie beaches in England to show you how you can have the best beach holidays in UK.
From sandy beaches near London, to Devon beaches, and the best beaches in South England, we mention some of the best seaside towns in UK in this post.
And for those of you who usually dismiss British beaches and head for more European beaches, this post might make you think twice about wanting to go on holiday further afield (it certainly has done so for us!).
This Scottish beach has water so bright that you’ll think you’re sailing on the Whitsundays.
If you’re lucky, you might even spot some seals and if you’re lucky, see deer wondering around on this beach too.
To be honest, there are so many incredible beaches on this island and on nearby islands like Isle of Barra, that as long as you have a wetsuit with you (let’s be realistic here), you could go on a beach hopping tour.
Luskentyre Beach Accommodation: Hotel Hebrides is a boutique accommodation located just 15 minutes away.
How to get here
You’ll need to get to the Isle of Sky and get a ferry from there. Find out how to book a ferry to Isle of Harris.
If you’re wondering how to get to the Isle of Sky first, you have two options by car.
Either by Mallaig and catch the 30 minute ferry to Sky, then drive 90 minutes to the next ferry port at Uig to get over to Isle of Harris.
Or drive north of Kyle of Lochlash and cross to Skye via the bridge
It’s then a 20 minute drive from Isle of Harris port called Tarbot to this beautiful beach.
2. Achmelvich Beach, Lochinver, Scotland
Achmelvich Beach is an absolutely stunning Scottish beach and another reason why Scotland has the best beaches in United Kingdom. Can you believe sand this white and turquoise waters exist in the British Isles?
The small village of Achmelvich is home to a caravan park, a hostel and not much else other than jaw dropping landscapes which are waiting to be explored. Welcome to your future holiday in paradise.
Achmelvich Beach Accommodation: Achmelvich Beach Youth Hostel– Might be the only accommodation on the beach, but it’s worth it for how beautiful it is.
How to get to Achmelvich Beach
Achmelvich Beach is located in North West Scotland, a 2h20m drive from Inverness. You can drive right up to the beach so there’s not a lot of walking involved.
3. Sandwood Bay, Sutherland, Scotland
Known as one of the cleanest beaches in UK for it’s pristine sands (and also one of the most remote) is the beautiful Sandwood Bay is located in Sutherland in the very North West Scotland region. I don’t think you’ll find quiet beaches in UK like Sandwood Bay. The soft white sand stretches into this bay making it an absolute delight that is worth the effort to visit.
Sandwood Bay Accommodation: Transvaal House – this holiday home is the perfect option for families or friends holidaying together.
How to get to Sandwood Bay
If you’re wondering how get to get to to Sandwood Bay, it requires a bit of effort as there’s no roads leading to the white sand beach. You’ll need to hike 8 miles which will take around 4-5 hours. But, as you can see, it’s worth it.
Check out more of Scotland’s amazing beaches below!
4. Bamburgh Castle Beach, Northumberland
Bamburgh Castle Beach has all the features of an authentic Australian beach with golden sands that go on and on, but with a bit of English history thrown in. Make sure you go and visit Bamburgh Castle which offers up the best views of the beach here. This beautiful golden sand stretches so far that on a clear day you might be able to see the Farne Islands.
Bamburgh Beach is almost half way in between Edinburgh and Newcastle being about one hour between the two cities on the Northumberland coast.
5. Runswick Bay, Yorkshire
Five miles north of Whitby lies the beautiful Runswick Bay, a gorgeous stretch of beach that could easily looks like it’s come from an Aussie National Park. If you look the other way from the beach, you’ll soon realise you’re in England as the fishing village is absolutely quintessentially English.
Runswick Bay Accommodation
Our top pick for Runswick Accommodation is the Cliffemount Hotel which is situated on the cliff overlooking the beautiful beach.
How to get to Runswick Bay
Runswick Bay is a 15 minute drive from the famous Whitby Beach in Yorkshire and 1h45m drive from the city of Leeds.
6. Whitby Beach, Yorkshire
Whitby Beach is probably the most famous beach in the North Yorkshire area and is actually known as being the place which inspired Bram Stroker to write his famous novel, Dracula. As one of the most popular beaches in the UK which looks out to the North Sea, we love the wide expansive views of the long beach, giving you enough space to chill out even when the whole of Yorkshire is visiting.
Where to stay in Whitby Beach: Ruswarp Hall is an adults only hotel or the adorable Sea Breeze offers up sea views.
How to get to Whitby Beach
Whitby is located 1h30m from Leeds and 30m from Scarborough.
7. Crosby Beach, Liverpool
OK so while you might not find a white sand beach here, Crosby Beach in Liverpool is a hidden gem that deserves a spot on your travel itinerary.
If you’re an art lover, you must make the effort to visit Crosby Beach which is home to an awe-inspiring art installation known as “Another Place” by renowned artist Antony Gormley. Imagine strolling along the shoreline and encountering 100 life-sized iron statues spread across the beach, gazing out to sea. It’s an incredibly unique and thought-provoking sight that is bound to leave a lasting impression.
The beach itself is a peaceful haven with vast stretches of sand, perfect for long walks, picnics, or simply unwinding by the shore. The expansive views of the Irish Sea and the distant hills add to the serene atmosphere, offering a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
8. Holkham Beach, Norfolk
Holkham Beach has a beautiful sandy shore that looks like it could be in an Australian National Park. You may have seen this beach before as it’s featured in the backdrop to many movies and music videos. Remember All Saints’ Pure Shores? Yep, that’s right, Holkham Beach featured in it
Halkham Beach is a great British beach near London to visit which takes just 1 hour from the city of Norwich.
9. Botany Bay, Broadstairs, Kent
The popular Botany Bay between Margate and Broadstairs not only offers up plenty of caves to explore but a beautiful sandy beach to relax on beyond the dramatic cliffs. It’s a photographers dream to capture the cliffs here, which is a unique and stunning beach you must make the effort to visit.
If you’re looking for the seaside near London, or even one of the best beaches near London, make sure you visit Botany Bay. It’s also one of the best sandy beaches in Kent.
Where to stay in Botany Bay
We recommend staying at the popular Botany Bay Hotel which is right on the water with fantastic views and an awesome pub.
How to get to Botany Bay
Botany Bay is just a 2 hour train journey from London, a 25 minute journey from Margate and a 20 minute drive from Broadstairs.
10. Brighton Beach, East Sussex
Obviously I can’t write a beaches in the UK guide without mentioning one of the most popular beaches near London! The iconic Brighton Beach in East Sussex is known for having pebbles shipped in while the two piers hold the seafront together (just).
Having lived there as a student and it being a second home to me, Brighton is one of the best weekend getaways from London. Check out our 36 Best Things To Do In Brighton Guide to find all of our favourite places to visit!
Soak up the town with seaside walks along the Brighton pier, have a pint at one of the bars on the seafront while looking out to the sea from the shingle beach, and dance away the night at one of the many nightclubs in town.
Make sure you shop in the North Laine and South Lanes and support local businesses instead of the bigger chain shops you find everywhere in England.
11. Camber Sands, East Sussex
If you’re looking for golden sand beaches near London to visit, or even one of the best South Coast beaches, head over to Camber Sands, which also has expansive sand dunes.
Cornwall isn’t the only home to surfing in England, Cambersands is also a fantastic UK surfing beach and is also one of the best beaches in South East England to visit.
Where to stay in Camber Sands
We really love Claverton House which is located near to Camber Sands in the famous town of Battle.
Tips – make sure you check out the nearby historic town of Rye. This beautiful town has some of the best fish & chips and afternoon tea in the South East.
How to get to Camber Sands
Home to some of the only sand dunes near London, Camber Sands is a perfect day trip which just takes about 1h30m to get to from Central London.
12. Bournemouth Beach
Ahh my childhood memories flood back to me when I think of Bournemouth Beach. When looking for beaches in the UK, you can’t miss this famous one.
Bournemouth Beach is like a dream come true for beach lovers. With its miles of soft, golden sand and crystal-clear waters, it’s the perfect place to soak up the sun, build sandcastles, and take refreshing dips in the sea. Plus, the beach has received Blue Flag status, which means it’s clean, safe, and well-maintained.
But that’s not all! Bournemouth Beach offers a ton of exciting activities for everyone. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or just looking to relax, there’s something for everyone. You can try your hand at water sports like paddle boarding, jet skiing, or even take a leisurely stroll along the promenade and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere. Oh, and let’s not forget about the iconic Bournemouth Pier, where you can indulge in some classic seaside fun with amusement arcades and delightful ice cream.
13. Sandbanks, Poole, Dorset
Known for having some of the most expensive homes in England, Sandbanks is also one of the best beaches in England.
Kick back on one of the nicest beaches in England, a fantastic family beach with flat water for kids to splash around in.
Tip – Get the ferry over to Studland and hike over to our next top pick, Old Harry’s Rocks.
Where to stay in Sandbanks
Haven Hotel & Spa located right next to Sandbanks in Poole. Complete with a pool, you’ll definitely have a British Summer holiday you’ve been waiting a long time for.
How to get to Sandbanks
Sandbanks is located in Poole near to Bournemouth and only a 2 hour drive from London.
14. Old Harry’s Rocks, Dorset
OK so Old Harry’s Rocks technically isn’t a beach but when we visited, we couldn’t believe the uncanny similarities with Victoria’s 12 Apostles. Make sure you make the effort to go and visit Old Harry’s Rocks because it’s an amazing site which will make you feel like you’re on the edge of the world.
The nearest place to stay near Old Harry’s Rocks is Knoll House which is a great Bournemouth accommodation option with tennis courts, an outdoor pool, hot tub and sea views from your room.
How to get to Old Harry’s Rocks
If you’re driving, Old Harry’s Rocks takes about 45m from Sandbanks, or you could catch the ferry over and hike.
15. Man O’War Beach, Tyneham, Dorset
We’re featuring the best UK pebble beach in this post because when we went to visit Durdle Door next door (which is as equally impressive), this was one of those moments Steve gasped and couldn’t believe how Man O’War was so beautiful and has therefore made it onto our top beaches in UK list.
Seeing as Man O’War is one of the Jurassic Coast best beaches, this 300 million year old coastline is mind baffling in itself, the crystal clear waters surprised us even more!
Expect Man O’War and Durdle Door to be very busy (as you can see in our photo above) as they are known as being some of the best British beaches and bring in huge tourism. It is a fantastic area to go hiking along the South West Coast Path as well and onto Lulworth Cove which is worth visiting as well.
Tips – Go check out Kimmeridge Bay which is further on from Man O’War beach and Lulworth Cove, both are stunning beaches with less crowds.
Where to stay near Man O’War Beach
The beautiful Lulworth Lodge is the type of place you’ll want to stay for longer than a weekend away from London. With gorgeous views over looking Lulworth Cove, it doesn’t get much better.
How to get to Man O’War Beach
Man O’War and Durdle Door take just under three hours to get to from London. If you’re coming from Bournemouth, it takes around 45m.
16. Rhossili Bay, The Gower Peninsula, Swansea, Wales
One of Britain’s best beaches sits in Swansea at Rhossili Bay, located in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty of the Gower Peninsula. This beautiful stretch of coast is home to plenty of surfers, hikers and para gliders. You’ll also be able to find Helvetia, a ship wreck on the beach as well which has been sat there since 1887.
Tip – Make sure you go and visit Mewslade & Fall Bay which is under a 10 minute drive away which has some awesome sea caves to explore.
Where to stay in Rhossili Bay
We love the King’s Head Inn which is a beautiful place to stay right near the beautiful beach.
How to get to Rhossili Beach
Rhossili Beach is just a 45m drive from Swansea in Wales.
17. Three Cliffs Bay, The Gower peninsula, Wales
Three Cliffs Bay, nestled in the stunning Gower Peninsula of South Wales, is a stunning part of the world that entices visitors with its natural beauty and enchanting charm.
With its towering limestone cliffs, golden sandy beach, and meandering river, it offers a captivating landscape that is simply awe-inspiring. Whether you’re an avid photographer, a nature lover, or simply seeking tranquility, Three Cliffs Bay beauty will long lasting memories.
Spend the day hiking along the cliff tops, exploring the intricate caves, to immersing yourself in the cool waters of the bay, there’s something for everyone. Adventure seekers can indulge in rock climbing or even try their hand at surfing, making the bay an ideal playground for adrenaline enthusiasts.
Moreover, the bay is steeped in history and rich in wildlife. Its surroundings are adorned with ancient ruins, including the remains of Pennard Castle, providing a glimpse into the region’s past.
Where to stay
The Gower Hotel is close by offering clean, modern, cosy rooms with a restaurant on site.
How to get there
It’s just a 25 minute drive from Swansea to get to Three Cliffs Bay.
18. Barafundle Bay, Pembrokeshire, Wales
One of the most beautiful beaches in UK is Barafundle Bay, in Wales. It’s a gorgeous beach that will have you in disbelief that the Irish Sea can turn shades of turquoise that you’ll wonder if you’ve been transported to Australia.
You’ll see the remains of the fort that sits above the beach, reminding you that you’re sat on a part of historical England.
It’s a 30 minute hike (half a mile) to get here meaning that it’s not ever as busy as you might think it would be. It’s a popular beach for surfing too and often makes the cut as one of the top 10 beaches in UK.
There’s no toilets at this remote beach which is backed by sand dunes and pine trees.
Tips – make sure you visit the nearby beach of Marloes Sands Beach, which is another equally beautiful Aussie looking beach and also where ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ was filmed.
Where to stay near Barafundle Bay
Wagtail Cottage is a beautiful two bedroom holiday home you can stay in and enjoy away from city life.
How to find Barafundle Bay
If you’re looking for a beach near Bristol, Barafundle Bay is a 2h30m drive away in Pembrokeshire, Wales.
19. Broad Haven Beach, Pembrokeshire, Wales
We have to say Broad Haven Beach is one of the nicest beaches in UK. Expect some of the best UK sea caves and two secret coves called Little Horn and Trevallen which both connect to a sea cave and plenty of rock pools.
If you’re into British wild swimming, make sure you check out the mind blowing blue crater for a swim during mid tide. Just be super careful as always and never put yourself in danger, ever.
Where to stay near Broad Haven Beach
We love the YHA Broad Haven Beach which has a combination of dorms and double rooms to choose from. Best of all, you’ll have a cracking view of the beach!
How to get to Broad Haven Beach
Broad Haven Beach is located in Pembrokeshire and takes around two hours to get to from Cardiff.
20. Watergate Beach & Fistral Beach, Newquay, Cornwall
Home to the UK’s premier surfing beach and popular seaside resort, Fistral Beach & Watergate Beach in Newquay are both the UK’s equivalent to Sydney’s Bondi Beach.
If surfing’s your thing, make sure you visit in August, in time for the five day Boardmasters Festival where surfers come together to battle it out amongst the waves. This time of year will really see Newquay come alive both on the beach and at the thriving nightlife. Newquay is often known as one of the best seaside resorts in UK and it’s no wonder when it brings in many hen and stag do’s on the weekends.
Fistral Beach is just a 7 minute drive from Newquay in Cornwall, South West England.
21. Porthminster Beach, St Ives, Cornwall
OK so this is one of the beaches I mentioned earlier that I took Steve to in Cornwall that he was absolutely dumb founded we were still in UK. If you’re looking for a beautiful English beach to visit, combine this trip with a visit to the beautiful seaside town of St Ives.
Porthminster Beach is even home to some of the UK’s only palm trees that you’ll wonder if you’ve been transported over to Australia. It’s no wonder it’s one of the best sandy beaches in England.
Where to stay near Porthminster Beach
Want to stay somewhere with sea views overlooking the amazing Porthminster Beach? We love 27 The Terrace, a beautiful St Ives accommodation option.
How to get to Porthminster Beach
Porthminster Beach is located on the other side of Porthmeor Beach in St Ives, Cornwall.
22. Porthmeor Beach, St Ives, Cornwall
I remember sitting on Porthmeor Beach years ago thinking how much it reminded me of an Aussie beach. The soft sand and beautiful water at St Ives most popular beach is somewhere you have to see for yourself. It’s also popular amongst surfers and swimmers.
St Ives is up there with having some of the best South England beaches which is no surprise when you have one of the best UK seaside towns to stay in.
Make sure you head over to Tate St Ives just up from the beach, it’s an excellent art gallery, part of the Tate we all know in London. And not forgetting, make sure you visit the Barbara Hepworth Museum in St Ives as well.
Where to stay in Porthmeor Beach
If you’ve ever wanted to stay in a castle, now is your chance. Hotel Tregenna Castle Resort is situated in St Ives and has 72 acres worth of gold courses, indoor swimming pools and more to keep you entertained.
How to get to Porthmeor Beach
Porthmeor Beach is right in the middle of St Ives, in Cornwall, South West England.
23. Porthcurno Beach, Cornwall, South West England
I’ll always remember the first time I visited Porthcurno Beach near Land’s End in Cornwall. I remember being absolutely gobsmacked that a beach like this could actually exist in England. At low tide you can walk to other beaches next door, and if you’re a nudist, you’re in luck!
This slice of paradise has blue waters, beautiful soft sand and tall cliffs to protect you from the winds, so if you’re looking for a decent Plymouth beach to visit, make sure you come to Porthcurno Beach!
Tips – A massive draw card is the Minack Theatre, an open theatre perched on the top of the cliff over looking the beach. With Shakespeare performances, this is the kind of place you want to put on your England bucket list. If you miss a performance, stop by the cafe for a classic Cornish cream tea.
Porthcurno is a 15 minute drive East of Land’s End which sits on the most Western tip of England.
24. Nanjizal Beach, Land’s End, Cornwall
Who would have thought paradise could be found just a stones throw away from the hoards of tourists at Land’s End? Words can’t even describe how beautiful Nanjizal Beach really is, it’s the kind of place you want to put at the top of our bucket list.
There’s also a stunning turquoise pool to swim through into the ocean, making it a very Instagram worthy place to visit.
Where to stay in Nanjizal Beach
We love The Loft’s three bedroom holiday home located in Penzance, just 28km from St Ives.
How to get to Nanjizal Beach
Nanjizal Beach is located near to Land’s End in Cornwall, South West England.
25. Pentle Bay Beach, Tresco Island, Isles of Scilly (Cornwall)
Did you know the Scilly Isles are home to a micro climate meaning that it’s actually the warmest part of the whole of the UK? Isles of Scilly have more sunshine than any other part of UK and it’s also rarely humid due to the sea breeze. Spend your time on the stunning Pentle Bay Beach and enjoy a holiday like no other in the UK.
It’s also known as the UK’s only tropical island and there’s no cars on this island so you’ll have to scoot around on a golf buggy. Sounds like heaven right?
What a perfect holiday option if you’re looking for a UK beach holiday.
Where to stay in Isles of Scilly
St Mary’s Hall Hotel is our favourite Isles of Scilly accommodation option as it’s well located, has a cracking restaurant and you’ll want to stay for longer than you prepared.
How to get to Tresco Island
It’s not as difficult as you’d imagine getting to Scilly Islands. Originally I thought it would be a proper mission but turns out it’s not at all. Simply jump on a boat from Penzance to St. Mary’s which takes around 2hrs and 45 minutes.
So there we have it, our beaches in UK guide that might make you think twice about fleeing to another European destination. Where’s your favourite British beach? Let us know in the comments below!