9 of the top beaches in the UK

Take a look at our selection of top beaches that you need to check out to find your own picturesque pocket of paradise right on your doorstep.

As the evenings get lighter and the days warm up, we’ve started to plan our summer holidays.

The UK coastline encompasses a whole range of natural beauty from yawning bays to dramatic sea cliffs, from golden sandy dunes to the classic shingle beach, with many near historic landmarks or first-rate leisure activities. 

Take a look at our selection of top beaches that you need to check out to find your own picturesque pocket of paradise right on your doorstep.

1. Bigbury-on-Sea, Kingsbridge, Devon

Nestled in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the picturesque village of Bigbury-on-Sea is merely a backdrop to its famous landmark of Burgh Island, set 270 yards offshore. The beach is the largest sandy beach in South Devon and is a hugely popular destination for families and budding marine biologists who’ll enjoy exploring the rock pools at low tide. An exposed causeway during low tide offers a link to Burgh Island, although you can also access it during high tide by boarding a unique ‘sea tractor’.

Nearest site: Start Bay Club site

2. Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland

Image of Bamburgh Castle, photo by Jeremy Sanderson

The sweeping sands at Bamburgh in Northumberland is overlooked by the brooding majestic Bamburgh Castle, which is said to have stood here since the 6th century. The beach itself has swathes of sand backed by a shifting bank of flower-topped dunes, whilst the cool waters are a popular top spot for surfing and kitesurfing. Head to the Stag Rocks lighthouse for a spot of rock-pooling.

Nearest site: River Breamish Club Campsite

 

3. Compton Bay, Isle of Wight

Located at West Wight, Compton Beach is one of the Isle of Wight’s best kept secrets that has a two mile stretch of contrasting golden and black sands, surrounded by the rolling sea. At low tide, fossil hunters comb the beach in search of souvenirs, whilst budding palaeontologists can book tours to see the infamous dinosaur footprints at Hanover Point.

The beach is ideal for games and sandcastle making and you may catch sight of paragliders passing over the cliffs and kite surfers out at sea.

Nearest site: Southlands Club Campsite

 

4. Brighton Beach, East Sussex

Image of Brighton deckchairs on the beach, photo by Kenneth Wilson

Home to one of England’s most culturally diverse towns, Brighton is known for its iconic Victorian pier and 5.5 mile stretch of shingle beach. The Volks Railways, Britain’s oldest electric railway which began in 1883, is still in service today and runs along the beach front from the Pier to the Marina. With miles of striking promenade to enjoy walking along, the beach is popular with watersports enthusiasts who partake in kayaking and stand up paddleboarding. The pier itself houses a large, domed arcade, a historic helter skelter, as well as multiple rides and games for the whole family to enjoy.

Nearest Club campsite: Brighton Club Campsite

 

5. Saltburn-by-Sea, Yorkshire

Image of Saltburn-by-sea beach huts, photo by Ian Jefferson

Developed off the back of the Industrial Revolution, Saltburn is a charming coastal town in North Yorkshire that is rich in heritage dating back to the Victorian era. With the UK’s oldest water balanced cliff lifts still in operation and the formal Italian Gardens which is served by a miniature railway, Saltburn retains the authentic seaside town experience. The beach itself is a mix of sand and shingle and is home to one of the best surfing spots along this stretch of North Sea coast. It’s also been recognised with Blue Flag status for its high-quality seawater, clean beach and the nearby amenities.

Nearest Club campsite: White Water Park Club Campsite

 

6. Rhossili Bay Beach, Rhossili, Wales

Awarded Britain’s Best Beach by TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice for the second year running, Rhossili Bay is known as the 3rd best beach in Europe and the 9th best in the world! With over 3 miles of gorgeous shimmering sand and stunning coastline, it’s the perfect location for walkers, watersport fanatics or visitors just wanting to take in the wonderful views. At low tide, the beach expands making it possible to walk across the bay to Llangennith. There is a very steep walk down to Rhossili beach, which might not be suitable for pushchairs or with anyone who has difficulty walking.

Nearest Club campsite: Gowerton Club Campsite

 

7. Camber Sands, East Sussex

Image of Camber Sands beach, photo by Samantha Hollingsworth

Home to the only sand dunes in East Sussex, Camber Sands lives up to its name with its 5 mile expanses of fine golden sand, which is quite unusual for a Sussex beach as they are normally lined with pebbles and shingle, and lots of groynes. It’s a popular destination for adventure seekers looking to try their hand at windsurfing or kite-surfing. The beach is also regarded as one of the best places for beachcombing in the UK, mainly due to its largely unspoilt stretches.

Nearest Club campsite: Fairlight Wood Club Campsite

 

8. Porthcurno Beach, Cornwall

Image of the Minack Theatre above Porthcurno beach, photo by Jack Hucz

No list of great beaches would be complete without mentioning at least one of the many beautiful ones that Cornwall has to offer. A firm favourite is the stunning spot of Porthcurno beach which, at low tide, joins up with two other beaches to create a huge expanse of golden sand running all the way from the world famous Minack Theatre, the glorious open-air venue that’s carved from the cliffs and have the most wonderful views of the coastline. Part of Cornwall’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Porthcurno is a perfect beach to escape the masses due to its semi-isolated location.

Nearest Club campsite: Trevedra Farm Club Campsite 

 

9. Cromer Beach, Norfolk

Image of Cromer Pier, photo by Nicola Priestly

A traditional Victorian seaside resort, Cromer has a wide sand and shingle beach that is popular for swimming and surfing. The scenic town boasts a bustling promenade with a vibrant pier that offers a variety of events. Take a peaceful cliff walk along the top of Cromer overlooking the beach.

Nearest site: Seacroft Club Campsite

Woods with bluebells

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Image: Clachan Club Campsite. Member photo by member Eric Ness

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