The Best Beaches in the UK

From Cornwall to Scotland, here are 11 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. So, ditch the far-flung travel and read on for our pick of the best beaches in the UK to visit this summer.

The C&TH Guide to Summer

The Best Beaches In The UK

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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.

Image: Studland Bay Flickr 2008

Porthcurno Flickr Nic Trott 2014

Porthcurno, Cornwall

Cornwall is full of beautiful beaches, 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.

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.

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.

Image: Tresco Flickr Nosha 2012

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.

Image: Durdle Door Flickr Kosala Bandara

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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?

Image: Nick Fewings