Believe it or not, the UK is home to some of the best beaches in the world, and you’re actually never too far from white sands and pristine waters. So why not consider a shore on home turf for your next coastal getaway? To help you decide where to go, we’ve rounded up a list of the very best beach holidays in the UK.
Best for: Picturesque coastal walks
Nestled on the edge of a working fishing village, Polperro Beach is a small sandy beach with blue waters. It’s surrounded by charming white cottages that are dotted on the cliff’s edge and is one of the most quaint beaches in Cornwall.
Place to stay: Penny Cottage is a modern one-bedroom cottage that’s perfect for a romantic coastal retreat.
Type: Sand and shingle
Best for: Exploring rock pools
Sheringham Beach is a Blue Flag award-winning beach in Norfolk with plenty of things to do. It’s perfect for a family seaside getaway, with rock pools, a steam railway, local eateries, and lots of countryside and coastal walks to discover.
Place to stay: You’ll be just a few steps away from the sea at Cockleshell Cottage.
Best for: Safe swimming
Golden sands and low tides make Freshwater East Beach one of the best beach holidays in the UK. Located in Pembrokeshire, it’s a great family-friendly beach where little ones can swim in the sea, and with no dog restrictions, you can even bring your four-legged friends along.
Place to stay: House in West Wales sleeps four and is perfect for a family seaside holiday.
Type: Sandy and shingle
Best for: Fossil hunting
Discover Yorkshire’s dramatic coastline at Sandsend Beach. It’s quieter than its neighbour – Whitby – so it’s perfect for a tranquil escape by the sea. And it’s set on the Jurassic Coastline so if you’re lucky, you might be able to find some fossils!
Place to stay: Cottage in North Yorkshire is located near the picturesque village of Whitby.
Best for: Water sports
Set on the Jurassic Coastline in Devon, Seaton Beach is a pebble beach that’s a popular spot for swimming and water sports. Hire a kayak or paddleboard and head out for some fun in the sea.
Place to stay: Hollie Cottage is a great base for exploring the East Devonshire coastline and countryside.
Type: Sand and shingle
Best for: A traditional seaside getaway
Lined with pretty pastel-coloured beach huts, Aldeburgh Beach is home to some of the best fish and chips in Britain. It’s one of the most popular beaches in Suffolk, nestled on the edge of the charming Victorian seaside town of Aldeburgh, which is brimming with things to do.
Place to stay: Sleeping up to six people, Number 22 is less than ten minutes away from the beach.
Best for: Spotting wildlife and visiting castle ruins
Craster Harbour is a small beach located on the stunning North Coast in Northumberland and is best known for its rich wildlife: spot seabirds, seals and even dolphins. Make the most of your trip and take the national trust coastal path up to the 14th century Dunstanburgh Castle.
Place to stay: Stable Cottage is nestled in a secluded location just outside Alnwick.
Best for: Sandcastle-making
Saundersfoot Beach is a Blue Flag Award winner. It’s a popular seaside resort with families that backs onto the stunning Pembrokeshire countryside. At low tide, there’s plenty of sandy beach for sandcastle-building or soaking up the sun.
Place to stay: St Brides Cottage sleeps four people and is the perfect base for exploring the nearby family attractions.
Best for: Fun for all the family
The quintessentially British Weymouth Beach is a firm family-favourite, with children’s rides, cafes and shops to keep the whole family entertained. Situated in Dorset, its golden sandy beaches, sheltered bays and shallow waters are ideal for all ages to enjoy sun, sea and sand safely.
Place to stay: The Barn in Dorset is just a short drive from the charming coastal town of Weymouth.
Type: Sandy with rock pools
Best for: Exploring coastal paths
Retreat to Crail Roome Bay for some much-needed peace and quiet. The secluded beach is home to a diverse range of wildlife thanks to a former swimming pool. It’s located on the Fife coasting driving route and is just a short walk from the picturesque fishing village of Crail.
Place to stay: Anstruther Cottage is within walking distance from the beach, shops and local eateries.
Best for: Visiting a traditional Victorian pier
Located on Norfolk’s popular coast, Cromer Beach is famous for its delicious crabs. Sit and enjoy the delicacy on the long stretches of sand or walk along the promenade. There are tons of cafes and restaurants to explore, and you shouldn’t miss the pier with its traditional end-of-pier theatre!
Place to stay: The Cottage in Norfolk has everything you need for the best beach holiday.
Location: Northern Ireland
Best for: Sampling the local seafood
The characterful Portavogie Bay Beach has lots of bays and coves to explore. After high tide, the rock pools reveal hundreds of pretty scallop shells. Head to the nearby seafront restaurants to try the famous Portavogie prawns, which are some of the best shellfish in Northern Ireland and the world!
Place to stay: With stunning modern decor, 16 Fairways is great for a relaxing coastal getaway.
Best for: Walks along the promenade
Soak up the sea air at Southwold Beach, a traditional seaside resort with a lighthouse, harbour and pier to explore. This popular shore in Suffolk is full of British charm and character, and its promenade lines the edge of the bustling seaside town.
Place to stay: Sea View is a modern apartment with amazing views of Southwold Beach.
Best for: White sands and clear waters
Escape the stresses of everyday life on the stunning white sands of West Beach. It’s located next to the world-class Moray Golf Course in Scotland, but it’s truly the perfect haven for anyone looking for a tranquil coastal retreat.
Place to stay: Heron Cottage is nestled in the charming coastal town of Lossiemouth, with two beautiful beaches to explore.
Best for: A picnic on the beach
Pack your favourite snacks and head for Porthmeor Beach. Its long stretches of sand and stunning cliff backdrop make it a great spot for an afternoon picnic. It’s one of eight beaches in Cornwall to hold a Blue Flag Award and is popular with families, surfers and swimmers, all searching for the best beach holiday in the UK.
Place to stay: Be within minutes of St. Ives’ beaches and town centre at Dinky Doll Cottage.